Depression and All Its Might

Everybody feels depression at some time or another. We all get a little down in our spirit now and then. A little depression is normal, right? No one is 100% happy, 100% of the time. Some people call it the blues. Some folks just refer to it as being down. True enough, we all feel down in the dumps from time to time; the problem is some people fall into the pit of depression and can’t find a way out. Sometimes, we cannot find our way to the surface of that deep blue. Some people are pulled under by a current that won’t let go.

 

A photo by Clem Onojeghuo. unsplash.com/photos/-YMhg0KYgVc
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Pexels

 

That Sinking Feeling

I’m not going by things I’ve heard. I’ve been severely depressed before. I’ve never been suicidal, but let me tell you, there have been days when it really didn’t matter if I woke up or not. I just didn’t care. Did I want to die? Nah. I would never want to leave my friends and family. My son and my granddaughter need me. If there’s one thing I know, I know my folks love me. That man loves me. He needs me.

During the time I was married, though, when the days of hell melded together, I just didn’t care. I knew that on any given day, I would likely be blamed for something. I knew that it was likely I would be belittled or made to feel inadequate in some way or another. I knew that regardless of how clean the house was, he’d find a speck of lint (because he made a point of looking for things like that). I knew that he’d head upstairs to check if the underside of the toilet lid was clean. I knew if there was a single cup in the sink, he’d stand there with his coat on and wash it because he “couldn’t stand mess”. Overall, I knew nothing I ever did would be good enough.

When It Finally Sets In

For me, deep, deep depression set in on three different occasions in my 50 years. As I said before, the first time was while I was married. The depression I experienced back then was the result of being battered mentally and emotionally. Eventually, I got professional help. I had to. To be honest, initially, I sought help for my son because I could see him spiraling out of control. I was kinda blind to what was going on in my own mind, but I knew my child needed help.

Almost from the beginning, the sessions that I had meant for my son turned into joint ones because the counselor recognized the mental and emotional beating I was taking. He actually told me that in the beginning, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to help me because I was so damaged. He thought he would have to refer me to a more experienced counselor. I was a complete mess. Like I’ve said a million times before, I didn’t realize that I was in shambles because I thought the hell I was in was normal.

Anyway, the next time I found myself down under was after the divorce. Sure enough, I had been freed from that hell, but the dissolution of my marriage also meant that for the first time in nearly 20 years, I was on my own. I found myself floating in the middle of the ocean with nothing but a life raft. Yes, my family and friends were all around me and refused to let me fall or fail, but depression can put a stranglehold on you that can’t be readily pried loose. It had me and it was suffocating me. All I wanted to do was sleep. Honestly, that’s all I did. I slept. I ate. I gained weight. I cried uncontrollably. I repeated those things day after day. The difference with that bout of depression, though, was that I was able to pull myself out. I know I would have benefited from the help of my counselor, but he was 250 miles away in Dallas, but thankfully, I was able to pull myself out.

My latest battle with depression is going on right now. It still pains me to say my nephew died. My entire world shifted on December 9, 2017. Many people who knew us have said that on that day, Margarett’s son died, but that he was my baby. He was. I was nowhere near being okay when one of my closest cousins died on January 14, 2018.

This time around, though, the depression is different. I know I won’t need professional help (although I wouldn’t hesitate to get it if I felt I needed it) this time around because I’m shrouded more in grief than anything. I’m still so stunned, I haven’t reached the point that I’ve entered the grieving stages. I’m not even at the first stage of the process which is denial because the truth is, it’s still not real to me. In my mind, neither of them are dead in the sense that I will never see them again. They’re just gone. I know that makes no sense, but neither of them is dead to me.

I know the reality will set in at some point, but as of this writing, it hasn’t. Nope, there’s nothing wrong with me — folks grieve differently and this is just my reality. I’m okay. I just need to process this stuff in my own way.

Help

 

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Photo credit: Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

If you’re depressed, get help. If that means reaching out to your folks, CALL THEM! I know what it is to be too embarrassed to tell your story, but trust me when I tell you, your folks are there for you.

 

IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF CRISIS COUNSELING, CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE AT 1.800.273.8255. Call those folks TODAY!

 

 

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Today

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Photo Credit: Town of Gilbert, AZ

Later today, I will speak on a panel regarding the 19 years I was a victim of domestic abuse. Thanks to Project Celebration, I will sit speak to health care providers and students at LSU Health in an effort to help.

Today’s focus is on helping healthcare workers better recognize domestic abuse victims. It can be hard to see the abuse under all those layers of shame, fear, and sometimes, guilt. I hid all that carnage well. The people who saw me nearly every day had not the slightest clue that I was being abused.

I was blessed to land at Presbyterian Dallas on July 21, 2009, after that aneurysm. I was blessed to be treated by the best neurosurgeon in the world, Dr. Jeremy Denning, and a magnificent staff who knew I hadn’t landed there by some weird chance. I had been relatively healthy and while an aneurysm can strike anyone at any time, they somehow knew that I had landed there because of the things that were pushing against me.

They kept asking me if I had been under a lot of stress. I kept telling them that I hadn’t because after fighting a man who was so self-absorbed for nearly 16 years at that time, it had become “normal” for me to be in some sort of stupid battle with him every day. It was never-ending.

I’m honored to have been chosen to share my story today because just the thought of knowing that there are other women out there who are being gnashed mentally and emotionally destroys my soul.

Words hurt

True enough, we can see the scars of those who are battered physically. It’s the scars to those who are ravaged mentally and emotionally, though, that we must look for. I hope to shed some light.

Which One?

She was probably sitting right next to you yesterday at church.

 

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Photo credit: http://www.pexels.com

 

She just might be the lady standing in front of you in the grocery store.

 

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Photo credit: http://www.pexels.com

 

Maybe it’s the guy in the next cubicle.

 

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Photo credit: http://www.pexels.com

 

Perhaps it’s the older man who greets you every day with a gentle nod.

 

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Photo credit: http://www.pexels.com

 

It could be a relative.

It could be the friend of a friend.

It could be you. It was me.

 

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Photo credit: Trease Shine Hinton

 

What Do Victims Look Like?

Abused people look like, well, people. They’re black, white, yellow, brown, and every color in between. They have blond hair, black hair, red hair, and every other color in between. They are short, tall, and some are in between. Look in the mirror — it could be you.

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Photo credit: http://www.pexels.com

 

What Do Abusers Look Like?

See above.

Who Are Domestic Violence/Abuse Victims?

They’re people. They’re male and female. They are not from any one particular ethnic group. They’re not from one specific part of the country. They are not confined to a particular career sector. A victim can come from any sector of life. They come from every geographical area of the world. They are your friends. It could be you.

Who Are Abusers?

See above.

Some Numbers. Some Facts.

  • 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
  • Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).
  • Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49.
  • n a nationwide survey, 9.4% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey.
  • 43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal or controlling abuse.

Read more about the statistics here at The National Domestic Violence website.

Your Sister’s Keeper. Your Brother’s Keeper.

It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you’ve turned a blind eye to this atrocity until now, vow to get involved and help bring about change. Acknowledging that there is a  problem is such a huge step in bringing about that change.

Someone somewhere needs your help. Don’t turn away.

National Resources:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline — 1.800.799.7233 | 18007873224 (TTY)

Shelter  –  www.domesticshelters.org

Local Resources:

Project Celebration — Shreveport, LA

Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

 

This Month

Today marks the first day of a month of celebration and remembrance. It’s also the perfect day to pop that collar and resolve to do more. It’s the perfect day to resolve to do better.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Let us remember those we’ve lost to breast cancer. Let us remember those we’ve lost to domestic violence.

Let us celebrate with those who’ve won the battle against breast cancer. Let us celebrate with those who’ve escaped domestic violence.

Let us stand with those who are fighting breast cancer today. Let us stand with those who are caught in throes of domestic violence today.

Unfortunately, we all know someone or we are that someone who is fighting both these demons.

Stand firm and fight hard. We’re in this together.

Why She Kept Quiet

Good Lord! The level of foolishness I’ve heard about sexual assault over the past week — what it is, what it isn’t, when a claim’s valid, when it’s fluff, is unprecedented. So much of it makes my stomach crawl because I’ve heard everything from people questioning why a woman would wait years to report it to proclaiming that spousal rape doesn’t exist. A few of the stories I’ve heard over the past week left me shaking. I was physically shaking.

I know what sexual assault it. I lived it, so let me tell you about it.

Here’s the Stuff You Can’t Just Do Because You Want to

  • You can’t grab my boobs. No, you can’t squeeze, pinch, or poke them, period.
  • You can’t rub my behind. Nah, you can’t. I don’t care who you are, what you have, what your title is, or who you’re going to be some day, DO NOT rub, poke, or otherwise move on my ass.
  • You CANNOT kiss me – not on the lips, cheek, neck, hand, or anywhere else. Just the thought of this makes me want to throw up.
  • You can’t pull me in for a “hug”. Sigh. Just don’t.
  • You CANNOT tell me (in person, on the phone, in an email, via text, on paper, or by video chat) all the lewd crap you want to do to me. Jesus.

The First Time

Now let’s address spousal rape. Not too long after I was divorced, my family came in for our reunion and naturally, people wanted to know what happened. I had gone through my story about the mental and emotional abuse and while most of my cousins sat quietly, one began to question me. You see, we come from an extremely strong line of women and anyone who knows us knows that. Up to that point, I had only told two people about the two times my ex-husband raped me. That day, I decided I would no longer hide it. When the words, “He raped me twice”, left my mouth, every single head in that circle turned to look at me. Some of my cousins were shocked, some were clearly hurt. I saw some anger, but on the face of the cousin who started the questioning, I saw a look of confusion. She was genuinely confused. She said, “Trease, how could he rape you? He was your husband. A husband can’t rape his wife.”

My most immediate reaction was anger, extreme anger. We are one of the closest families you’ll ever meet and while we never bite our tongues with each other, we are, for the most part, gentle with each other. I said to her, “What do you mean?” She said, “A husband can’t rape a wife.” I actually had to count to 10 because I was getting angrier by the minute. I said to her, “Yes, he can. I wanted him to stop, I pleaded with him to stop, but he wouldn’t. He ripped the zipper out of my jeans. HE RIPPED THE ZIPPER OUT OF MY JEANS! He used so much force going in on me that I bled for two days. I could bearly move the next day. He raped me.” She lowered her eyes and put her head down.

DO. NOT. EVER. SPEAK. THE. WORDS: “A man can’t rape his wife.” 

Why I Kept My Mouth Shut

After that man raped me the first time, I was stunned. I don’t remember much about the two days that followed other than the fact that I repeatedly told him that he had raped me. I was in a daze. Initially, he said he hadn’t. He was adamant that he hadn’t. Then I showed him my jeans and the detached zipper. He began to apologize. Then the excuses came (…”I was drunk”, “I was high”). I also showed him the ginormous maxi pad I had to keep tucked between my legs because the bleeding wouldn’t stop.

Despite what he had done to me, I loved him. There will never be enough words to describe the confusion I felt after it happened. I didn’t know exactly how I was supposed to feel or what I was supposed to do. In all honesty, the thought of calling the police or going to the doctor never occurred to me. I was his wife. I loved him and didn’t want him to get in trouble. I was some 1700 miles away from my family, but I knew that if my brothers found out, it may as well have been 17 miles. I kept my mouth shut.

Why You Can’t Keep Quiet

It took years for me to gather the courage to speak on this thing. It took years for me to shake the shame of it all. It took years for me to understand that if I kept quiet, other women wouldn’t know that you have to buck the ideology that sexual assault and rape are okay. Nah, you can’t keep quiet. Shine the biggest spotlight you can find on it. It’s not okay.

 

Kiss for a Cause

Most everyone knows that I’m a Mary Kay business owner. It is hard, hard work because it requires your unconditional presence. Most people see photos of professionally dressed women, with meticulously applied makeup, driving beautiful pink Cadillacs or those gorgeous black BMWs, but there’s a part of Mary Kay that few know about. That part of this amazing company is such a huge part of the reason I will always be a part of what can only be called a movement

My calling is to help other women who find themselves trapped in abusive relationships. I didn’t realize this was my purpose in life until I suffered and lived through a brain hemorrhage due to domestic abuse that should have taken my life. On that day in 2009, it became apparent to me that I had been spared in order to help others. People don’t usually survive aneurysms. They don’t. That day, I vowed to God that I would tell my story whenever possible and that I would focus on reaching women who would otherwise not know they aren’t alone. I asked Him to show me how to do that and that is when the shift of my blog posts began. Up until that time, most of my posts only alluded to my abusive situation but was primarily focused on my son and his adventures in sports.

I had already “tried” selling Mary Kay before, but I had never really put in the effort. I had not taken the time to think about the impact that I could have on women through selling lipstick and teaching about skin care. I will never forget the day that I had been fasting in an effort to hear God more clearly as I had been asking him for a job. It was early evening and the woman who was my Mary Kay director at the time called and gave me a scripture to read. She didn’t carry on a long conversation; she just gave me the scripture to read and hung up. I went back to praying after I hung up with her and I said to God, aloud, “I need a job, Lord. You know I need a job. Please show me what You want me to do.” Just as clearly as I hear my fingers tapping on this keyboard right now, I heard him say, “You have a job, Trease. Work your business.” Most of you know I’m full of the foolishness most of the time, so when I heard that, I looked around to see who was in the room with me. There was no visible being there, but His spirit covered the room.

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Mary Kay is not just about making a woman pretty on the outside. Oh, don’t get me wrong, that is one of the most amazing parts of my job — making a woman so beautiful, she’s startled when she looks in that mirror, but mine is to bring out her greatest potential. That means showing her that she can do and be anything she wants whether that’s accomplished by looking like a million bucks because of a new lipstick or through starting her own business. Mary Kay is on of the staunchest allies you will find in the fight against domestic violence. It is also one of the greatest advocates in the fight against breast cancer.

Awareness Month
Photo Credit: http://www.pef.org

This month, I will be using every option at my disposal to shine an additional light on these two causes and to bring in donations. In that light, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness, please consider hosting a virtual Kiss for a Cause party or place an order at my website. I will donate $1 for every lipstick or lip gloss sold to the Mary Kay Foundation or the organization of your choice. Just place your order at http://www.marykay.com/thinton2145 and I will handle the rest. If you’re lead to host a party, email me at thinton2145@marykay.com. Blessings are yours to receive.