Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Source Of A Great Deal Of My "Normal" Depression

"Don't let today's disappointments cast a 
shadow on tomorrow's dreams." -Unknown

After my first experience with my aorta I 
was struck by how blue I was.....How easily 
I wept over things...however small they might 
have seemed to me before it all happened....

I remember the first ride I had in a transport 
vehicle to rehab....It was a dreary gray day 
anyway,  and I was experiencing things like 
this for the first time. The driver took a turn 
in the opposite direction from the hospital and 
I asked him where he was going....only to tell 
me that he had someone else to pick up on the 
way....an elderly woman as well....

I started to get all choked up, and realized I 
was seeing my lot was now cast among the 
elderly and the infirm, I was in a medical 
transport vehicle in a world that I thought I 
would never be in, at least for another 20+ 

years or so! I remember watching that vehicle go by 
when I was healthy and sort of sub-thinking..."Oh...
those people in that bus....Thats a world far from me !" 
Little did I know.....

That happened to me a lot....Everytime I got bad news 
about my health, tears would well up in my eyes, and I
would not know exactly what I was thinking, but this natural
"awareness" of what I was going through would strike deep 
in  my soul....

I asked about my apparent depression, and I was told that it 
was a normal occurance for heart patients, especially men, 
and I should consider counseling.....Gosh! More depressing news...
I was needing to rehash all this depressing "stuff" about my 
experiences with a "neutral" stranger....only to wonder what 
good it would do really.....

I just couldnt imagine that my life was going to go down this road
of filling out forms, becoming dependent on the powers that be, 
sitting around all day every day with no choice as to where I was 
going to go that day....taking meds daily to maintain my fragile health, 
just completely worried about what the future held for me....

I realized the crux of the issue, was that I had always felt like I was 
going to live forever...you know,....you're going along in life in reasonable
health....no real problems...you got a lot of plans for the future, and 
no reason to think that anything would end it till you were good and ready 
to cash it in, like when you were in your 90's or so!

When I was a boy, my nickname was Skipper, evryone called me Skip.
He is my "Inner Child", and his heart was broken! He could now plainly 
see the door every day, right there in front of him....that death was as
real and likely as it ever could be.....and he really had a stark realization 
that that third aneurysm could burst at any time, or he could have that 
final stroke that would kill him or put him on a hospital bed for the rest 
of his tube and machine filled life....

Ive been told many times that I was "...Lucky to be alive".....and that 
God wasn't done with me, or that the Devil didn't want me yet...or that 
I was in the top 5% of people that survive through what I went through...
that I was living on borrowed time....

You know, I can say we all are living on borrowed time, it's just that
I'm more keenly aware of it than people who haven't teetered and tottered
over the cliff of Eternity...We truly are mortal, finite beings....and no matter 
what we plan or think day by day.....it could all be over in a very real 
and quick instant!

There's a song by Henry Rollins of "Black Flag" fame called "Shine"....
I remember hearing it before my heart event and being struck by how 
positive it was..and yes, even being brought to tears over its powerful 
message as I remembered it again....Here is a portion:

If you think you've got 100 extra years to mess around you're wrong
This time is real. your time is now. it's hero time.

Hard times are getting harder
The liars are acting strong
You better get a grip on yourself
Or you won't be around too long

No such thing as spare time
No such thing as free time
No such thing as down time
All you got is life time  GO!

No time for drug addiction
No time for smoke and booze
Too strong for a shortened life span
I've got no time to lose

It's time to align your body with your mind
It's hero time
It's time to align your body with your mind
It's time to shine

from "Shine" by Henry Rollins
Album  "Weight"

I know that I can think that I have to take care of myself and 
not do anything that fulfills or challenges me, and I do at first...
but I realize full well that I have the same inertia and ambition
battles I had before my heart event....and that it really is up 
to me what I do with my Precious Lifetime here on Earth!

If I'm a heart patient I still have the use of my hands and feet, 
my brain and my talents, I still can play in a band and draw with
pastels, I still can Love my Fellow Man and seek to help and aid 
those that are less fortunate than I am...and there are plenty....

"The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment 
to moment." -Pema Chodron

"Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a 
wonderful stroke of luck." -Dalai Lama

"Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to 
live with insecurity is the only security." -John Allen Paulos

I am certainly going to clear my heart with those that I Love around
me before I die....I am certainly going to cherish every single second
and breathe that I take, and no matter what happens to me I know 
that I can make lemonade out of lemons, and fight for the very last drop
of opportunity that Life Gives Me To "Shine"

Stephen "Skip" Stavropoulos

aka Smilinsteve

Nov 30, 2010


  1. This entry is moving & inspiring beyond description.

    I understand living with limitations. In 2001 I began having health issues that were a mystery until I was DX'd Dec '04 w/Multiple Sclerosis. I thought my life was over. For several months I felt like all I was doing was waiting for MS to turn my brain into a mass of scar tissue and there'd be nothing left of me. The depression was consuming. I often asked myself -- is waiting to die any way to live?

    Then something catastrophic happened ... Hurricane Katrina. We lost everything. We were an entire city of walking wounded ... the crestfallen citizens of New Orleans were devastated & not sure where to start to recover. I was told time & time again that I was lucky to survive such a catastrophe but when I was gutting our home & throwing ALL our belongings in a dumpster (by myself as my S.O. worked to get a oil refinery up & running)I felt none too lucky. It's all relative -- what happens to you, happens to you. It's hard to look beyond that when it's happening.

    One day I was standing in line at Home Depot. There was a woman standing beside me. She looked so defeated. I reached out, put my hand on her shoulder & gave her a small smile as if to say, "I understand. You're not alone." She looked quizzical at first. Smiling & crying at the same time she told me it touched her that someone cared. We stood in Home Depot, total strangers, embracing & crying but smiling as well. It was that day I decided -- I'm going to be who I am and I'm going to change my tiny little world, one smile at a time.

    One never knows what good a smile can do. No matter how many I give, I always have an abundant supply. I found it lifted my heart as well. I also realized my depression was due to the fact that I may be in my 50s but I still feel like a little scamp. I've been told to act my age all my adult life. I decided I was going to act how I feel -- young, alive, daring, sassy, fun loving but most of all loving.

    My MS presents a challenge to me every day and I'm happy to meet that challenge head on and not let it change who I am. I have MS, it does not have me - it is not who I am.

    We're all in this together. We don't know what struggles others have so it's important, IMHO, that we should be more kind to everyone.

    Your smiling face on blip cheers me each time I see it. I'm glad to know more about the man behind that smile.

    Thanks for sharing & for letting me share. =^D

  2. This is Teresa_8888 from blip.fm..may i sugested you could read about books of Death views of Osho, everyone weak inside and tried hard to outlook...that's not healthy because there's battle's fighting always that cost our health much, my friend, let things out of your chest and i got answers about all questions which suffering for long time from Master Osho. Take care always Teresa

  3. I say be happy if you are and make the best with what you have got BUT it's also alright to be sad when you feel sad-just don't spend too much time down in the dumps. You are on the right path my friend...

  4. To Fridays Child: Thanks for your compliment and I really appreciated your message....Your Smile is a million dollar asset, and you're right, it's always there to give away free ! Thanks again

    To MeetGhostInMyLife: I am certainly aware that holding things inside is unhealthy, and I appreciate the tip about Master Oslo, I will look for his writings...maybe at Amazon?

    To Liberality: I am grateful to you for your insight, I know that sadness is the heart cleansing and teaching....sometimes I know that all my emotions are good "indicators" of what is really going on, or what needs to be seen...Thanks for your involvment in my blog...You already kn ow that I value what you write at your most excellent blog, very easy and enjoyable to read! http://liberality.blogspot.com