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My name is Maribel. I have two wonderful children and a strong faith. I am also a survivor of depression. I want to share my stories and feelings with everyone in the hopes of removing some of the stigma associated with this disease. You are not weak, you are not crazy. It is not a feeling that you can just wish would go away; it is a struggle from day to day. Some days are good, some days are great, other times everything around you seems bleak. The good news is that there is hope, and depression can be controlled. Thank you for visiting my page. I hope you will enjoy reading my thoughts. At times you will find my posts to be educational and uplifting. Other times I am sure they will be raw and personal. My hope is that you will travel this road with me as we continue to explore what is in store for us in this journey called life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Afraid to Live?

     Fear. The word itself connotes worry and concern. We have all feared something or someone.  Whether it’s another human being, an illness, a decision, or commitment we have at one time or another experienced that uneasy feeling up and down our spine. And you know what? It is perfectly okay to be afraid!
     Many people hold fear as being synonymous with weakness. I couldn’t disagree more! Fear is an emotion that leads to action. You might be thinking, “No way! Fear makes me freeze in my tracks!” The fact of the matter is that either way we must take action: freeze and turn around, or face the fear and trudge forward.
     According to www.psychologytoday.com, “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats.” Too often, however, we protect ourselves so much that we end up giving in to our fear.
     Let me be candid with you and share some of my fears. Because of an incident when I was around 4 years old, I fear black hairy spiders (one crawled down my arm)! I am slightly claustrophobic (I don’t like feeling trapped). I dislike speeding in cars and driving over bridges. I absolutely have a fear of heights. And, I definitely fear something bad happening to my children.
     To a certain extent I have faced some of the fears I listed. One of my proudest moments was climbing a very tall ladder and swinging on a flying trapeze. I was literally paralyzed with fear in the beginning, but it got a little less intimidating each time I climbed. Am I still afraid of heights? Certainly! However, each time it gets a little easier. I constantly pray to God to watch over and protect my children. Do I still worry about them? Of course, but I don’t let it consume my thoughts.
     What I’m trying to say is that fear used to hold me back from living. It was safer to stay in my comfort zone. If I tried, I might experience failure. If I loved, it would hurt. I was afraid to be happy. I had many goals and dreams, but fear kept me from attempting to accomplish them. Remember I said fear is an emotion that leads to action? Well it was that same fear that prompted me to change: fear of the hopeless routines, fear of missing out on all of the beautiful things life has to offer. And most of all, fear of living an insignificant life.
     God placed each and every one of us on this earth with a unique purpose to serve. Some live a majestic life of record-breaking achievements, others enjoy the thrill of being financially secure, and yet others enjoy the reward of having a loving family life. While it is perfectly normal to be afraid, we should never allow fear to hold us back from embracing God’s purpose for us. We are not here to merely exist, we are here to live!

Saturday, October 10, 2015


      They say timing is everything. I guess that’s true, but I also believe that sometimes it’s a little off. It takes you in a direction you were not planning to go in. Nevertheless, I have a saying, “The best times are had unplanned.” You can’t plan for situations and expect them to come out right 100% of the time.
     Some of the best feelings in the world are impromptu smiles, unplanned adventures, secret escapes. You can’t be disappointed because you’re not expecting anything in the first place. On the contrary, your heart is filled with genuine joy because the stars lined up and everything turned out just the way you didn’t plan.
     This was my experience during my recent trip back home, the home of my ancestors. No economic crisis, no lack of employment, nor moral dilemmas can take away her beauty. Not one of God’s creations is ugly, and Puerto Rico is a prime example of that. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. 
     During this recent visit I was re-energized and further educated. I learned that we have four different landscapes: beaches, mountains, rainforest, and desert…all within driving distance of each other! Our people are open, warm, and caring. We have a zest for life. Music is in our blood, and it carries a variety of rhythms through our veins. And what can I say about our food? It’s unparalleled! 
     Our rich history tells of our TaĆ­no ancestors’ struggle to survive, the slaves’ cries for freedom, and the expansion of the Spanish. But the real beauty of the matter is that we are all one. Black, white, tan – we all lay claim to a rich heritage that has intertwined throughout the years. One cannot survive without the other. 
     Although I am returning to the place I’ve called home for the past 30+ years, I have left my heart behind. It was touched, it was blessed, and it was captured. I have not felt this cleansed and alive in a very long time. I was not prepared to experience the feelings that came over me, but it couldn’t have happened at a better time.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Looking Good

Yesterday someone said I looked good. Today someone else said I looked healthy. I did not agree. “But I’ve gained ten pounds!” I uttered. Then it dawned on me…I am healthier. I am emotionally healthier.

Sad thoughts are few and far between these days. My mind is clearer. I find myself smiling more often, singing along to my favorite songs, and acting goofy. And most importantly, I look forward to the future, with hope.

Life is all about climbing the peaks and resting at the valleys, and I hope I have been able to encourage you in some way. You’ve shared in my journey and have been able to see how depression has affected me. There are many, many things I have not shared on here but believe me when I tell you it is a miracle that I have not given up on life. I know depression well enough to know that it will try to make a re-appearance. But I also know my God well enough to know that He will still be there to sustain me. I know because He promised (Isaiah 46:4).

So keep your head up, even when the burden is heavy. It will get lighter. After all, a certain amount of darkness is necessary to see the stars.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Hand of God

I don’t always remember vivid details about the dreams I have. Most often I remember how I feel after the dream (scared, happy, confused, etc.) Last night was a different story. I had a dream that was very brief, but very powerful.

My dream took place inside an old factory that I had wandered into. Oh, I didn’t wander in there by mistake. No, my intentions were not good at all. I was there to sin, purposely sin. I weaved through the factory, which inside seemed to be all but abandoned. I saw a set of steps that led me to a cramped corner that was barely lit. I curled up in that corner with my back to a small window. It was dusk outside – no bright sunshine or rays of light coming in. Just above me there was a small ledge. On that ledge was what I believe to have been a small bird inside a tiny cage.  At the bottom of the steps was the object of my sin. I had passed right by it, hoping it would recognize what I was there for.

I remember a feeling of dark anticipation, vacillating between feeling excited and feeling guilty. I remember looking up and seeing a stream of light moving across the wall and the steps. It wasn’t very bright, but it was enough to create shadows. Then the most amazing thing happened, a shadow formed into the silhouette of an open left hand. I instantly knew it did not belong to me, for my hands were folded and placed near my stomach. Also, there wasn’t anything or anyone else around me.

I didn’t have to guess for long who the hand belonged to. I immediately felt a strong desire to pray, and then everything became clear. I had just witnessed the hand of God. He was there with me. In that abandoned factory, in the darkest corner, God was with me all along. I could not hide my desire to sin. I also knew that even in that solitary place, I was not alone.

I’m not sure what the bird in the cage represented. Was it perhaps a reflection of how I felt – trapped in a dark corner where no one would see or find me, except for the person who put me there? Did I feel trapped by my own sin? Oh well, that doesn’t matter much to me. What matters most is knowing, and being reassured of, the fact that I am never alone. No matter where I find myself physically or emotionally, no matter how obscure my circumstances seem, God’s hand is always there to guide me.

Are you feeling broken, shameful, desperate, or simply getting ready to deliberately commit a sin? It’s not too late, reach out and grab the hand of God. He is right there with you. He will pull you out to safety and restore you. His word promises just that. 
John 10:27-29 
Isaiah 41:13

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Whirlwind of Emotions

     If you grew up going to the playground, chances are you had the joy of riding on the merry go-round at top speed, then stepping off feeling as if you entered some sort of vortex. Your feet might have been touching the ground, but your brain was still spinning. Your eyes moved to the left or the right, but it took a few seconds for the picture in your brain to catch up. This is the only way I know how to describe what I am experiencing now that I stopped taking one of my antidepressants.
     Aside from the dizzy-like effect, which is sometimes referred to in the antidepressant world as “brain zaps”, I have been experiencing a whirlwind of emotions and physical symptoms: fatigue, irritability, strange dreams, and blurry/double vision. Fun, fun! 

     I was aware that taking any type of medication can cause side effects, but I did not give much thought to the fact that coming off of certain medications can cause withdrawal symptoms (hence why doctors are adamant about properly weaning yourself off of them, a piece of advice I did not heed too closely.) 

     My decision to stop taking Celexa has been a year in the making. Thanks to God, I stopped going to my therapist last year and it has gone rather well. That, I admit, was a scary decision to make. A therapist/patient relationship is just that, a relationship. When you stop going to your appointments, it’s as if you “break-up” with that person. We both agreed I was at a good point in life where discontinuing counseling was not a bad decision. I had decided, however, it was best not to discontinue my medication at the same time, lest it be too much too soon. So, I made it my goal to quit one year later, and here I am. I do not regret this decision, I just wish I had done more research about what to expect. 

     If you or anyone you know is on antidepressants, be patient! Be kind to yourself. Be empathetic with others. Let the person explain how they are feeling, even if you do not completely understand. The symptoms can feel like hell, but they are not permanent. Even if just one person reading this has gained some insight about what living with depression is like, then I know this blog entry was not written in vain.

It's a whirlwind in my skull
Mind flipping this way and that
Dizziness is good for the soul I think to myself
But then it starts up again
Mind tossing this way and that
It won't stop
It can't stop
It's a whirlwind in my skull...

Aug 23, 2013


Friday, March 27, 2015

New Risks Equal New Beginnings

Once again, it has been a while since I have written on my blog. Aside from sheer laziness, I’ll blame the fact that I am working two jobs, which leaves me little time for extra-curricular activities.

All of the wintry weather we’ve been having lately reminded me of something I posted three years ago about gentle reminders and new beginnings. Basically, while it seems that winter will never end, we must remember that indeed it will and soon enough we will be enjoying the robin’s chirp, April showers, blooming flowers and my personal favorite, a walk in the park.

            It’s not often that we think of an end to something as the beginning of something new. We tend to concentrate on the loss. It just happens to be human nature, and that is ok. We must allow ourselves time to grieve. People handle situations differently, and that is ok also. I hate that people are labeled as strong vs. weak. How about we just accept the fact that we are all built differently? Our background and experiences shape us into the person we are today, and none of us has the same exact story.

My depression has been hiding for a long time, although it tried to make an appearance around the holidays and a couple of days ago. I am better prepared this time around so I put it back in its place. In the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!” Meditating on some recent tragedies in my community lately reminds me that life is indeed a short journey. What is tangible to us today can be gone in an instant. I am once again encouraged to not take people, things, or opportunities for granted. I will once again open my heart to love, knowing that nothing in life is guaranteed. After all, if you don’t take risks you will be left wondering what could have been.

“In the end, you’ll only regret the chances you didn’t take, relationships you were afraid to have, and the decisions you waited too long to make.”

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Delayed, But Not Detained

So you’re driving along, on your way to that dream vacation you’ve planned for months now, when one of the tires on your vehicle blows out. You skid, you pull over, fix the flat, turn around and go home. Right? Wrong! No way are you going to turn around now! Your trip may have been delayed by half an hour, but you have put way too much time, effort and money planning for this trip. Better late than never!

You know, life is much like that dream vacation we yearn for. We have goals (or at least SHOULD have goals) that we strive to achieve. Some may be short-term, others may take longer to accomplish. Regardless, they are important to us. If we are truly committed, we will do whatever it takes to reach that goal. If you’ve ever reached a goal you set for yourself, you know just how good that sense of accomplishment feels!

Sometimes we are cruising along on the road called life, having a good ole time, when we encounter a little bump. Other times we run face first into a boulder! We become frustrated. We stub our toe on the little bump and it hurts too much. We look up at the big boulder and become convinced that there is no way to climb over it. But what if, instead of doing that, we would take a step backwards and looked at things from a different perspective?  What if we realized that we could try to find a way around the obstacle?

I encourage you to take advantage of times like these and use them as an opportunity to re-focus. Remember that you’ve been down this road before, and have somehow survived. Not only have you survived, but came out stronger on the other side. I know because I have been there, more times than I would have preferred!

“It’s too difficult!” “This is taking too long!” “I’m too tired.” These are some of the negative things that I have said to myself when the going got tough. However, I am a dreamer by nature. I love life and am always planning my next adventure. The years are going to pass me by anyhow, and darn it if I’m going to sit back and not challenge them! “Yes I will rise, out of these ashes rise. From this trouble I have found, and this rubble on the ground, I will rise. ‘Cause He Who is in me is greater than I will ever be…” (“Rise” by Shawn McDonald).