Today is my day. My birthday, my anniversary. My day.
Every time my day rolls around, I think it's time to change something. Why I think this, I don't know, since I'm dead-set against resolutions. If a person wants to change, take Nike's advice and just do it. Making a resolution out of it gives it greater impact than it's worth.
But change is good, so this year I've decided to change, to work through depression whenever depression rears its ugly, black head rather than let it spoil my life. I know how to get through depression; it's just hard to do the work. This year I started with a bouquet of lilies. I love lilies.
I love Lilly Johnson, too, because she's a wonderful little girl who makes my heart happy.
As I lounge in my recliner doing nothing and happen to look at the flowers - or think of Lilly - I smile, and smiling is a good step out of depression. Small steps are good steps.
The other day in my e-mail, I got a message from Gail Pursell Elliott, the dignity and respect lady from Roland. She says it's important "to remember how to treat ourselves with dignity and respect and treat others the same. You can only give other people what you have."
If that's not a kick in the get-along. If a person remembers that, there's no extra room in the psyche for depression. But, if depression does sneak in, it's also easier to get rid of it.
An author, Elliott has written books about bullying and mobbing - group bullying where people gang up on one person to isolate him, make jokes about him, shun him and make it look like he deserves it. That often happens in schools, but it happens in the work place, too. It's not a new concept. About six years ago, she presented a program on school bullying and mobbing at Iowa Central Community College.
"It surprises people" when she explains it, she said. "They've seen it before, they've felt it and heard it. It's not random. It's social cruelty. It distorts a person's self-esteem, shatters their ego. It's a syndrome, even a big contributor to suicide."
That's why it's called mobbing.
But, she said, when people realize what they've been part of - or what they've seen going on and did nothing to change - they often try to change it.
"The more people are aware of it, they'll make personal decisions not to do it once they understand the consequences," she said. "Most people are not bad people. Once you start talking about it and going through the steps, people recognize it. They didn't know it had a name, didn't know it was a process."
Elliott's Web site, by the way, is www.innovations-training.com.
When you think of bullying and group mobbing, dealing with depression doesn't seem so hard. Still difficult, though, because a big part of depression is feeling alienated and alone. That's when it's important to remember Elliott's premise: "remember how to treat ourselves with dignity and respect and treat others the same."
No one needs a resolution to do that.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org