Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Recovery and discovery

(This pic is from last year. The fence and Virginia creeper are no more.
And that's a good thing.)
Fall is definitely in the air here. Yesterday it was in the 50s; today in the 70s. Years of starting school makes me think of new beginnings in the fall. Today, of course, makes me think of endings as well. If you're grieving any kind of loss, a book that was really helpful to me after my mother died was Life is Goodbye/Life is Hello by Alla Bozarth-Campbell, PhD. A random excerpt:

Pain has a stubborn habit of not going away just because we deny it exists. In fact, the more pain is denied, the deeper it tends to go inside our bodies and souls, and the harder it is to identify and deal with and ultimately grow beyond.

Pain is an essential part of any growth process - the process of growing up, growing old, growing beyond grief. However, in our fast-paced world we have come to expect fast results. We expect to find the cloud with the silver lining without having to spend time looking for it. We have become impatient of processes....Ultimately, the only way to get through something is to get through it - not over, under, or around it, but all the way through it. And it has to take as long as it takes.

Yesterday, I noticed Terrie Williams has a book coming out in January called Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting. Terrie suffers from depression and is brave enough to talk about it. Publisher's Weekly says the book will have 150,000-copy first printing. I hope they sell those and a few million more. A bunch of us could really use it.

I've written here a little about my own issues. I never really thought of it before, but quite a bit of my writing deals with recovery from something or another. Orange Mint and Honey deals with women in recovery. Nona, the mother, is a recovering alcoholic who goes to AA and has been sober 4 years. Shay, the daughter, starts a journey toward recovery at the beginning of the book. She's an adult child of an alcoholic and finally is forced to deal with how her mother's alcoholism has affected her.

I'm glad more of us are talking about pain and recovery. Bebe Moore Campbell (rest her soul) did a lot toward bringing mental illness in the black community out of the shadows with 72-Hour Hold. Before that, Meri Nana-Ama Danquah's beautiful memoir Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression shined a light on depression. Another helpful book is Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman's Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic and Fear by Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett.

My book, Walk Tall, is finally at iUniverse in the process of being reissued. Here is the reading for September 11:

Typically, we think of exploration as discovering new lands and faraway places. But the most exciting adventures begin when we discover who we are. When we know who we are, we can achieve anything. When we know who we are, there is no need to pretend. There is no need to lie.

Today, let's investigate inner spaces. Let's venture into new frontiers. Let's discover ourselves. With God's grace we can find ourselves. As the song says, "I once was lost, but now I'm found."

The affirmation is: I am an explorer of my hopes and dreams.

Peace and blessings, everybody. Be well today.


Lisa said...

All day today I've left the TV off, I threw the paper away without opening it, skimmed or not read posts about this date. It's my way and everybody has her own. This post brought the tears and I suppose that's what I really needed. Can't explain it, but thank you.

Ello said...

Lovely post and the picture was beautiful. I especially love your quote "I am an explorer of my hopes and dreams." That really speaks to me. I know I will remember it and quote it for those who may need encouragement.

Sustenance Scout said...

I agree with Lisa on tuning it all out. Luckily it was a busy day. A few photos from the memorial service in NYC was all I viewed and I'm glad I did; a photo of a woman holding a photo of a beloved, smiling woman will remain with me forever.

Carleen, I'm right there with you on the need for more conversations, awareness, and acceptance of mental illness. Thanks for this post and all the great titles. K.