The positives in negativity

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings

hast thou ordained strength…”

KJV Psalm 8:2

I passed the entire night in the hinterland between sleep and waking. It is that odd state where the body rests unresisting but the mind wanders down strange pathways, making connections between seemingly random things and finding answers to questions we did not know we needed to ask. Therefore, when I woke, exhausted and feeling rather low, I simply blamed the fitful night.

It had not even occurred to me to take the leaflet that seriously. I don’t like the things, but I am only going to be taking the damnable pills for a short while and adding steroids to the current handful of pills, as opposed to being waltzed off to hospital, seems a far better option. I had them once before for pneumonia and, beyond the usual sleep disruption and digestive problems, I was fine. I simply dislike steroids on principle.

By the time I arrived at my son’s to make his morning coffee, I was feeling lower still and, when I received a surprising and very worrying message about my finances, that was enough to tip me into feeling royally depressed. It was not until much later that I realised the depression was probably chemically induced and not ‘me’ at all. In the meantime, however, I went from bad to worse and spent much of the morning fighting back or giving way to tears.

My son is, by no stretch of the imagination, a babe. On the other hand, he is my junior by some thirty-three years and we have known each other all his life. Over the past few years, given the unusual circumstances, we have learned how to talk to each other at a level that often goes beyond the mother-son relationship and into that of friends. Those discussions have led us deep into the realms of psychology, at both general and personal levels, especially since Nick took conscious control of his inner life and started down a path to greater awareness and understanding of what makes life ‘tick’.

Unsurprisingly, many of our discussions have focussed on his journey. Today, he turned the tables on me. As neatly as any surgeon, he stripped away the veneer, the excuses and justifications we are all able to come up with. He pointed out that the life I have lived, though not always either easy or pleasant, has been lived with a capital ‘L’… the fight or flight response, when it cuts in, always allows us to live at a higher octane and heightens experience. He looked at the passions in my life, referred to the gratitude I have for every experience, good or bad, that has helped me grow or allowed me to be of use with a real understanding. And, after pointing out all the things I am grateful for in my life, managed to sum me up concisely.

He even, and deliberately, said some things I can only take as the ultimate compliments… but which he refused to commit to paper and would probably have to kill me should I repeat them…but which meant an awful lot.

By this time, I was in tears again…for several reasons. Firstly and foremost because I could see just how much he has grown by applying what he has learned to his own life and journey, not just reading about it or knowing the words. Then he spoke of the suit of armour I wear to face the world… armour I have had to build in order to be a partner, daughter, mother and friend. He took it further, suggesting that the armour was not just there to face the world, but to protect the ‘hurt, fragile little girl’ who still lives in me, and who ‘just wants to be loved and cared for.’

We discussed that little girl, because he is right. She is still there. We spoke about her in some depth and honesty. I denied that I needed to forgive her when he suggested that might be the case. There was nothing to forgive, I had realised long ago that the little girl had no reason to feel guilty. We had already agreed that as we grow, we do the best we can with who we are at the time and that hindsight sees events differently, and with a wider view, than the person we were when we experienced them.

“That little girl we are talking about in the third person?” he said. “You need to forgive her for feeling  that guilt.” And as I write that, the tears come again… because he is right.

It doesn’t take much sometimes, just a few words, rightly placed, can open what you thought was a proverbial can of worms and show you that it was empty all along. It is seldom a Big Thing that changes a person’s perspective for the better. Life is made up of chains of tiny things, pearls and pebbles strung together, that heal or hurt. This was one of the pearls and without the imposed depression, the tears and utter negativity with which I had faced the day, it would never have happened.

I wandered to the shop to pick up a few things for Nick and the dog, so deep in thought that it was not until later that I realised I seemed to have been charged ten pounds less than expected for my purchases. It is a tiny amount, compared to the problems I will have to sort out after that message, but it is also a tangible reminder that the universe has a way of giving us what we need, even if we do not get what we think we want. Trust in the rightness of life goes a long way.

It was not until I was obliged to lift something heavy that I realised the third gift the universe had given me this morning. For months I have been unable to lift so much as a cup without horrid pain from an RSI… the lousy steroids I had been cursing must have taken the inflammation away, completely, and with it the pain, even from all the other dodgy joints. You truly do not know what you have until it is gone… and being free of pain after so long, even temporarily, is wonderful.

And as three is a magic number, it was no surprise when a Raven, displaying white feathers under its wings, landed in the tree beside us with an astonishing aerial display, cawing and clicking fit to burst.

What had begun in darkness and depression became a morning of gifts and gratitude. Although the depression continues, now that I know its true source, I can only be grateful for the opportunity it has opened for me to see a little clearer. We can never really tell whether any event may be good or bad until we are able to step away from it and see it from a different perspective and then, the very darkness that descends from time to time serves only as a foil against which we can see the light.

50 thoughts on “The positives in negativity

      1. Depression is always a chemically induced problem – endogenous or exogenous – and it always sucks! I’ve been there. I am so sorry to read you are slogging through the depths at present, regardless of source. I admire the manner in which you are writing yourself through it.

        Shoring up the gut biome can help a bit – so taking a good probiotic (meaning, unfortunately, one of the pricier ones) would be wise while you are taking the meds and for a while afterwards – more than is available in food sources. They can’t hurt, and you may well find they help. They made a HUGE difference for me – but mine was sourced by a protracted course of necessary antibiotics. Any time I find myself spiraling down for any reason, however, I bounce back rapidly when I begin taking them again. Serotonin begins in the gut not the brain.

        Meanwhile, baby yourself and don’t make yourself wrong for throwing a few neurochemical “pity parties,” no matter how many positivity mantras you chant or how well you understand, intellectually, what’s going on. Also, as I’m sure you already know, whenever sleep is impacted negatively, mood management becomes all the more difficult.

        Sending prayers and white light.
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to educate a world!”


        1. Thanks, Madelyn. You are right…it is always chemically indiced, even when no pills are involved. I’m finding it useful at present though to look at what it is highlighting…areas that evidently need more care than I have given them. I’m still on the cocktail of pills responsible, including antibiotics and between them, sleep has left the building too, which is perhaps the worst of it. xxx

          Liked by 1 person

          1. ALWAYS hateful when you can’t sleep through it. I hope that all these pills are “fixing” the problem, in any case. I loved your post on what it was highlighting – especially since Nick was able to walk with you as you thought about things. What a wonderful relationship (another silver lining to a horrendous incident).


            1. So do I! I’d give a lot for a straight night’s sleep. It did mean a lot to talk things through with Nick though…for all sorts of reasons. Not least being able to see myself through eyes other than my own for a moment. xx

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Not just eyes of “other,” I’m betting, but eyes of someone who knows you well, loves you and has had to come out the other side of similar. Off to bed when I hit send – shutting down the computer so maybe I will be able to get to sleep before dawn myself. 😦

                Dare I wish you sweet dreams?


  1. I think we could all benefit from having someone like Nick in our lives. His unique take on life is remarkable, and so is his ability to make you understand yourself a little better. I hope you recover from all the stress and illness soon, Sue…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so glad to read that your pain has improved. On-going pain is very debilitating and can tip you over into depression. You are very blessed to have a son like Nick who can speak very straight to you and help you. I hope your financial problem can be sorted out, Sue. It is a most uncomfortable thing to have to worry about.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this, Sue. Isn’t it odd how we can be open to learning and still be blind? And then those AHA moments seem to lift the veil and understanding shines in with such clarity that it transforms. How wonderful that Nick’ s journey has developed his own vision so that he can now enrich the lives of others with his insights and intention.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Steroids really can give you a week or two of a pain-free life. Such a pity that there are such serious side effects. The last time I got them, I had almost a month of feeling like a regular, “normal” person. And then, my body returned, which really WAS depressing.

    Today is MY son’s birthday, so I have some thoughts about aging and children and how things change. My son is 48 today. How did I get old enough to have a son nearly 50? I spent some anxious tossing around time this morning too. There aren’t many things that so much remind me of aging as the growing older of the son you bore. Even though he is a much happier person now than he was … why couldn’t he — and I — stay young?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I would have wanted to stay young. Apart from the aches, pains and rapidly reducing time to play, I have enjoyed this end of life much more than the earlier years. But I too wish there was an alternative to steroids that worked as well. I hadn’t even realised how much I hurt these days till the pain went. You just get used to the new normality…


  5. I hope you are soon well enough to come off the steroids and kick the depression, but pleased that there is at least one small mercy in that you are not in so much pain.
    Take care of yourself, Sue xx


  6. I had to read the last paragraph twice – it’s beautifully written.
    I agree with you. Everything in life happens for a reason and the reason is only revealed when stepping back and seeing it from another perspective. You’re a fighter!


  7. You give so much to others.. Thank you for sharing some of your own journey here Sue.. Living with pain like that is not easy.. I am pleased to hear it is getting better… Your Son is a tribute to you Sue..
    And I know something of getting to that Little girl.. She at times takes some digging down to get to her core.. But when you reach her and release her.. The weight also lifts..

    Sending You love and Blessings your way..
    Sue ❤


    1. Thank you, Sue. I believe that most of us still have the child within us in need of love and healing… many hurts go unnoticed as we grow, but ther scars still give pain. It is never an easy task…but we would do it for another child. Why must it be so hard to do it for ourselves? Fear, perhaps, of what we might be obliged to see… but it is worth it. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed Sue. You do not realise until you peel back the many layers, just how you held onto wounds of words.. And how they affected us in later life.. Coming full circle and revisiting the vulnerability of that inner child took me many attempts to reach her heart and get her to listen that she was loved.. When you finally do, She is so thankful and you suddenly become much lighter for releasing the burden you carried for so long.. ❤ xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This was beautifully written, Sue, and we women DO possess so much more strength than we are given credit for. Going through a lot of pain over time is something we were built to do since we did not always have hospitals in which to have our babies. It is strange how the little boys are brought up not to cry because they are “big boys,” and they are sort of encouraged to do things that we women, as children, would never be. We are basically brought up to be timid and subservient, with no real goals of our own, at least this was what took place when I was young. We need to treasure those little girls inside us; they need most of all to be validated, as do we all. It is still an uphill battle for women, but we can make it if we believe we can. I have plenty of severely physically challenged women friends who live with the most difficult things every single day, but they fight to live and to be respected for the abilities they DO have. It is the same for women throughout the world. I like to think of women as being empowered because we are if that is what we believe. It is hard to do when all our training has been otherwise, but that is one of the gifts of empowerment. Thank you so kindly, Sue.


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