Donuts anyone?

Years and years ago, I remember going to the Salt Lake Donut Co. with my Mom. They were very serious about their donuts, and made them for all sorts of grocery and other retail stores in the area. They did not sell to the public, but did allow people to come in and purchase their donut mistakes - or "cripples" as they called them. That is not a very nice, or politically correct, term today. However, back then it was just how they referred to donuts which were considered to be "seconds" (not first choice).

Those were the donuts which did not quite make the grade - something was wrong with them, and they were not considered suitable for selling to the public at large. But for a considerable discount, anyone could buy a big ol’ box of them. The secret was timing the visit to obtain the best type of rejected donuts they had (chocolate was always very popular).

I often see myself as comparable to a rejected donut - and that’s not just referring to my shape, mind you (hey, round is a shape!). No, it’s that I perceive there is something wrong with me - that I just don’t quite make the grade. The greater majority of all of the other donuts (aka: people) that I know are top shelf, first grade. Whereas I see myself as analogous to a leftover second reject.

For someone who is fairly blind (for whatever reason) to what I can plainly see in the mirror everyday -- they may happily conclude that I am okay, with perhaps some weirdness issues (as everyone seems to have).

For myself, I see a discounted misshapen donut with missing or deformed icing - and notice all the irregular bumps and cracks. I know that I can fit myself into society to a certain extent - but I do not believe that I really belong there. I do not believe that I can truly be of service to others. I do not believe I am worthy to be the recipient of service. I do not really believe others when they give me compliments. And I do not believe I deserve to be anything more than what I am... a crippled defective person (who sometimes tries to cover her, oh so obvious, faults with attempts at humor).

Currently I am working on my sad excuse for a self image, but I am certain it is going to take a very long time to alter my point of view. With lots of prayer, proper counseling, and seeking insights from good books... maybe, perchance, conceivably, in the realm of possibility... (step away from the thesaurus!)

Right now I certainly lack faith in believing I will overcome this - but hold onto the hope that eventually I will. How much does my point of view affect and influence ongoing periods and episodes of serious depression? How much does the depression affect my self image? I am not convinced it is a "which came first, chicken or the egg" type scenario -- but more of a symbiotic growth, which needs a good vaccine!


There is no easy way to put this, so I will just simply say it... I have cancer. It can be very a virulent and debilitating disease - with no sure outcome.

What are the first thoughts upon hearing the word, "cancer"? Probably something along the lines of... cancer is a horrible physical and painful disease, which needs immediate treatment by professionally trained clinicians!! Get thee to a doctor, post haste!!

Not all cancer needs, nor receives, the exact same treatment. Each instance of cancer is fully unique to the carrier and their specific circumstances. There are a multitude of methods to treat cancer; it is never a "one chemo, or radiation, therapy fits all" disease. The type and intensity of therapy is ultimately jointly decided upon between a clinician and the patient.

Ah, but there are always the inevitable non-clinician and non-trained people in life - who have had a form of cancer in the past - and out of sincere empathy offer to others their "golden solution" and "cure" for this disease. A promised cure can be had, if it is truly desired. It worked for them, so it will surely work for others too.

What they apparently do not fully understand is that everyone's cancer, though seemingly similar on the surface, is totally unique and individualized on a cellular level. Therapy and actions which completely eliminate the disease for one, may never be fully efficacious for another.

Okay okay, please don’t have a heart attack! I do not really have "cancer". But I do have clinical depression - for which I substituted the word "cancer" in the above scenario (sorry if I scared you, honest). Doing this simple word-switch makes a difference in how an illness is viewed and reacted to. In reality both cancer and depression have levels of seriousness and severity, which should be dealt with in an appropriate and individualized manner. Plus there is always the possibility or hope of a remission.

I have gone in and out of clinical depression "remission" a number of times over the past 30+ years. Through a lifetime of experiences with my specific type of depression, I instinctively have grown to know what will work best for me in certain situations.

A couple of weeks ago, I was once again faced with the devastating thoughts of how easy suicide would be - and how it would provide a release from the unspeakable pain that depression brings. I knew that I would not act on these thoughts, just as I had not acted on similar thoughts in the past. But that does not lessen the intensity or reality in any way.

I suppose the mistake I made this time was attempting to reach out to certain people for desired support. This is something I have not really done in the past - pretty much keeping the full truth of such dark thoughts to myself. From some dear friends there was understanding in a "been there" way, accompanied by sincere sweet words of comfort which really did help in the moment (thank you my friend for your timely IM words that night).

For others there was more of the knee-jerk scared angry reaction of "how dare you give into temptation and entertain such thoughts... you know better than that". I understand that the cruel inflections and words spoken in the heat of the moment (purely based on own personal thoughts and past experiences), were given with a measure of love. A "golden solution" and "cure" was being offered, because it worked for them so certainly it must work for others too.

This dichotomy of reactions were confusing to say the least... leaving me not knowing exactly what to think, whom to ever again trust with personal thoughts, or which direction to turn. When confronted by such feelings, I did what I always try to do - turn to words of wisdom from the scriptures, and inspired leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Taking guiding insightful thoughts from my clinical counselor into my search, I found these words of wisdom, comfort and help...

Our choice is in deciding whether to defy or succumb to temptation, not in whether to have the temptation itself. ~Ensign, Sept 2004

From this I understand that it isn’t so much that I have such temptations and thoughts, but my choices and actions subsequently taken are what really count.

When any unworthy desires press into your mind, fight them resist them, control them. The apostle Paul taught, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Cor 10:13).
That may be a struggle from which you will not be free in this life. If you do not act on temptations, you need feel no guilt. They may be extremely difficult to resist. But that is better than to yield and bring... unhappiness.  ~Boyd K. Packer

Sad to say, thoughts of suicide are not a new thing for me. I have had such thoughts for almost as long as I can remember - and I may always struggle at times with similar thoughts. It does not make me a bad or defective person because another's solution does not work - it just means that my type of depression does not originate from the same source. At first glance depression can appear as similar on the surface, but is vastly different in nature and needed actions or treatment.

I know from previous experience with dark thoughts that I need to separate myself from the "temptations" - doing that helps me resist and control thoughts. In the past I have had to physically remove myself from certain situations - stepping back from the precipice so to speak. This time I physically removed things in my home, rather than removing myself. Leftover pain medications, from a previous surgery, were promptly and properly disposed of. A handgun, with ammunition, was placed in a secured safe-type lock-box, and the keys given to a good friend. Out of sight, out of reach, out of mind was the motto of the day.

I felt so much better after taking these simple steps, like a dark weight had been removed from my shoulders. Also, being able to meet again with a trained counselor to discuss certain thoughts and feelings has really helped too. How fortunate and blessed among people I am to be given necessary strength and counsel from professional and understanding loved ones when I need it the most.

When people ask me, "what can I do to help?" - my only answer is to just continue as a friend, and don't run away... because depression is not a communicable disease.