Making Sense Of The Mess

Changing Messy Thinking

How Reconnecting Keeps Hope Alive

You are feeling hopeless, battling depression. Following the doctors orders, you take your meds, watch your diet, and get more sun and exercise. Yet, you still feel stuck. You search for a way to reconnect with the world. An idea flashes!  Filled with hope, you give it a try. You start out strong only to falter. Defeated, you give up.

Have you ever felt this way? Given up on a plan you were sure would lift you up? Watched those embers of hope slowly turning into ashes?  I have. Let me share a recent experience from my own life.

My story begins four years ago. I was battling depression and suffering from post-traumatic stress. In two short years I experienced two major losses.  The first was my 24 year old son, Scott, who overdosed after battling an eight-year addiction. Two years later, it was my partner Al, who died of a massive heart attack in my arms. I was left shattered and feeling hopeless. I was drowning in depression.

Depression was no stranger to me. It’s something I’d battled on and off most of my life. But the severity of those losses made it worst. Even though I was taking my medication and following the prescribed regiment, I still felt out of control. I needed something more.

A lot of tragedy can befall us, but there is always something else; there’s always hope. – Chris Pine

I came up with an idea that I hoped would give me a sense of control. Inspired by blogs I’d read, I decided to create my own. Besides, I enjoyed writing and was told I had a talent. It seemed like a good plan to keep hope alive.

As I posted my first blog, I envisioned its message of hope spreading like wildfire. Instead, it was short-lived. It was too soon. Writing was painful. I was confused. I felt guilty. I was entrenched in self-blame. Accusing thoughts told me I had nothing good or trustworthy to say. I believed I was a failure. So I stopped.  My message of hope began to die – for myself and others.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shattered, I retreated deeper into my cave. The safe place I created for self protection when severely depressed. The illusion of safety it provided kept me bound. Close family members and friends were the only ones allowed in. Gradually, their love and support began to fan the embers of hope.

As my hope grew, I connected with a counselor. She taught me to dig deep and make sense of my messy thinking. I began to understand how my thoughts elicited the emotions and responses I was experiencing. She carefully equipped me with strategies and tools to help change the way I was thinking. Embers of hope grew into flames.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness. – Desmond Tutu

I was ready to leave my cave. I followed my counselor’s suggestion and joined a 6-month program in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP). It offered the opportunity to connect with others, and to discover additional strategies and tools to live life fully. With each new discovery my hope surged. I reconnected to my vision of helping others. I was ready to share my tools and build a campfire – my blog. I was ready to soar

Soaring was possible because I took the time to make sense of life’s messes.  To quote my brother, “Life is messy.”  None of us are immune. We may not have control over what life deals us, but we can control how we respond. That control begins with changing our messy thinking.

How about you?  Would you like to join me around the campfire?  Would you like to swap stories and learn ways to make sense of life’s messes? Would you like to learn strategies and take away tools to use for the rest of your life?  Would you like to soar, even if you are wounded?

If so, come join me!

Trust me.  Wounded birds can fly, even in the dark…I’m proof.

About Pamela Parker

I am a writer. I love spending time with my family, especially my grandchildren. My passion for learning shows up in reading and taking courses on topics that help bring positive change in my life and hopefully those around me.


15 Replies

  1. Carol Horton

    Awesome Pam! I love it. I think this will help a lot of people!

    1. Thanks so much, Carol. That’s my hope, to help others. It’s been a long journey of self-discovery and empowerment!

      1. Rebecca Huntley

        Your story is so encouraging to those of us with similar trauma. Keep sharing and writing, please!

        1. Rebecca, I’m glad you were encouraged and hope that you are experiencing growth and healing from your own personal traumas.Thanks so much for your encouragement to keep sharing and writing. It helps me fight those old patterns of thinking that question if I’ve got what it takes!

    2. Thanks Carol for your encouragement! I’m hoping it will help other people as well.

    3. Thanks for your kind words. I hoping it will help others.

  2. Your images are very vivid! I could picture myself in the story which is so important!

    1. Again, many thanks for your feedback and encouragement! Looking forward to reading your blog!

  3. Maryalice Kelley

    I love reading your thoughts. I have saved some of the posts so I can re read them
    Thank you for doing this.

    1. Thanks Maryalice. I’m honored that you’ve saved them to reread. I’m doing this as a way of continuing my own healing process as well as encouraging others along their own paths.

  4. Love hearing your story, and your struggle. Life is messy <3 Thank you for sharing, and giving us a spot at the campfire. Love the song- it adds a great backtrack to your post 🙂

    1. After I put the song up, I couldn’t help but think of your posts! I love how you do that. Louis reminded me that he played that song during our closing ceremony for CAPP. How appropriate – CAPP empowered me!

      Thanks for your encouragement. BTW, I love your blog!

  5. Barbara

    Pam, that was so inspiring! When I saw you were writing I jumped to read what you wrote! I look forward to reading more for you. Please keep it coming. Much love to you💖

    1. Barbara

      Pam, that was so inspiring! When I saw you were writing I jumped to read what you wrote! I look forward to reading more for you. Please keep it coming. Much love to you💖

      1. Barb,
        Haha…I could see you jump!
        Thanks for your encouragement. It’s been a dream of mine for awhile. I’m at a better place with a willingness to be vulnerable and hopefully help others. I’ll keep it coming! Love to you, too!

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