Don’t Give Up

A lot of people say that you shouldn’t talk about negative stuff on your blog. I completely disagree with that as you might expect. I want to talk about real life here – the good, the bad, the raw, stinking guts of it.

Last week I didn’t feel like blogging at all. I felt incredibly disenchanted. Disheartened, possibly disillusioned.

It’s tough to make a living in Sydney. I’ve talked about it before. The economy is really bad right now and anyone who says it isn’t is probably in one of the ultimate, tea and slippers stages of denial or is high. Maybe both.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about when people give up. What is it that takes them to the point where they simply cannot go on, where they can find nothing at all to cling to that will give them hope?

I have been in some terribly dark places over the past few years; so dark I was afraid I would never see the light again. Depression will do that, stress will do that, debt will do that. I have had people I thought I could rely on turn their backs on me not because I am a bad person but because they can handle my situation less than I can. Some people cannot face really bad shit and that is the truth. I’m not saying that as a criticism because I understand how heart-wrenching it is to see someone you know in the depths of despair.

I read this story in the news last week and it really upset me.

A man shot his wife and three beloved dogs before killing himself due to money worries.

It upset me so much because I had just learned that a friend of our family who runs a cafe in the city took an overdose of pills last week due to financial problems. I had no idea until last week that he was in any kind of financial trouble but as it turns out his debts exceed a million dollars. The economy has been so bad that in the past six months his turnover has dropped by more than 50%. He refurbished his cafe about 18 months ago (hence the large loans) expecting his turnover to pay the money back; but the turnover is gone and the loans remain. It is a very common story.

Our friend is alive but he doesn’t want to be. I saw it when I visited him in hospital last week. There is nothing you can say in a situation like that. Nothing. You just have to stand there and hold that person’s hand.

Money. It causes so much trouble. It really is the root of all evil. It’s so hard to fight it because it just takes hold of everything. I am steeling myself because I am going to do all that is in my power to ensure our friend can regain a sense of hope – even the smallest sense – I am going to try and make him see that you can claw your way up out of the pit back into the light. That it’s not the debt that will kill you, it’s the giving up. It will make me really happy if even the tiniest sliver of light gets through to him. But it’s going to be a hard road.

Life. It doesn’t get any easier, does it? But what the hard times have taught me is that there is always a solution, that you can deal with the things you thought you couldn’t, that you can open that closed door.

The hard times have also taught me that the beautiful things in life, the most blessed things, are all around us. And guess what? They are all free. All you have to do is open your eyes and look. And they will sustain you – like the city turning pink and glimmery at sunset.

Don’t Give Up.

Say it to yourself every morning……

…… and every night.

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33 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up

  1. What I have have always loved about your blogging, Selma, is that it is real, and in that way I know that you are real. Life is not all joy and laughter, in fact I think it holds far more difficult times than easy ones, but that serves to make us appreciate what is good all the more. The message behind this post is powerful, and you are right, it IS one we need to remind ourselves and those around us of every day… Don’t give up! My daughter also struggles with depression and experienced a devastating blow 18 months ago when her husband ended their marriage. She didn’t think she would make it, I wasn’t sure she would, but I wanted her to believe. I kept reminding her that she could get thru one day, just one, at a time. And somehow, thru much pain and struggle, she has managed to do just that. Proving to herself that she can survive far more than she ever imagined, and find her way thru the darkest of times. She is slowly healing now, and finding a new direction for her life. I believe that this can also happen for your friend and for each of us. Just when our lives feel the most hopeless, some turn of events, some realization will help us find that pinpoint of light that can lead us safely home again. You are a blessing to your friend, because you understand and you don’t run away in fear. I wish your friends would have been as caring, you deserved that. But it doesn’t matter, because you have survived in spite of them, and each day we wil continue to move on, and we count our blessings because as you say, they are all around us in the small things. There is always hope, life always returns to us. That is how it is meant to be.

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  2. I appreciate your “tell it like it is” style here Selma. I don’t read blogs for a mythical land of happiness, but to identify with the joys, challenges, and pains of others around the world. Good message for today here and keep up the good work.

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  3. Good on you for talking about these things Selma – so important not to give up. You never know what is just around the corner – throughout my life whenever I have felt stuck between a rock and a hard place, something has come out of the blue and fixed the problem – now I just wait it out.

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  4. Add me to the people who appreciate your blog for its forthright look at life, with all of its good and bad parts. I am totally in agreement with you. It is so tragic when someone gives up when they face hardship. Almost everyone faces some kind of hardship in life. It’s impossible to avoid, I think. But even when things are at their worst, there is still much to appreciate.

    I truly believe that a person’s mindset is critical to their well-being. If someone stays strong, they can overcome almost anything. If they give up, they never will.

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  5. You are a true friend, Selma, and there aren’t many around! My life has seldom been easy and there was really only one black period where I took pills, but fortunately was unsuccessful. I have since accepted all the trials that have come my way as, looking back, everything has worked out in the end. I must say I am stronger now than ever before. I congratulate you on helping your friend and hope you are successful! God bless you.

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  6. A sad story mate, and I know about thaty stuff but let me quote you here.; ” I had no idea until last week that he was in any kind of financial trouble “.
    Isn’t that exactly why he felt so isolated. They are too ashamed/fearful/ to talk about it and the only way onwards seems to be the way out! So tragically unnecessary!
    He might ge bankrupt. So? He can join the hundreds of thousands of others and know it wasn’t his fault. The economy is really hurting.
    Holding his hand was exactly the right thing to do.
    and don’t forget, you have friends too, Selma.

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  7. I agree Selma, it’s impossible to be happy happy joy joy all the time. Unrealistic. The reality is we all have our crosses to bear in life and some of it isn’t pretty and writing about the ugly as well as the wonderful is cathartic in a way.

    (People who are happy happy all the time make me want to practice my fork throwing skills……)

    I’m sorry for your friend or anyone who feels like they can’t do anything but give up. I think sometimes the sense of shame of failure is so strong, people cannot face it and would rather die than face or deal with it.

    All the more reason for us to be there to hold their hand to assure them that it doesn’t make them less a person, that it isnt a sin, a crime, a blot on them personally when things like this happen. The reality is they are one of millions in the same boat.

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  8. Hey Selma, I love your grit and your way of telling it like it is. And now I love your true to the heart way of being a friend. It is very tough times out there, I get so very sad and upset about the unfairness of things and wonder sometimes if we are all going to be okay, if we can rebound from bad choices made by those ” in charge ” .
    All I can do right now is send you love and light and remind you that I am here, people do care, and most will show up and do the right thing if they know about the need.
    Bless your sweet heart.

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  9. You’re doing the right thing here; don’t preach, don’t advise … just listen and be there.

    That’s what the best counsellors do … I did a counselling workshop once, & learnt many things.

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  10. Hi Selma,
    I totally agree, never give up, we all have different challenges in life, and I feel without the challenges life would be boring. No matter how hard it gets, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

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  11. I selfishly wish you lived around the corner, though jobs aren’t likely to be any better here. You have no idea how much I appreciate you. My own blogging energy is waning pretty low, too. What a wonderful commitment you made to your friend. I hope you succeed.

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  12. Destiny
    During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered. He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt. On the way to the battle, they stopped at a religious shrine. After praying with the men, the general took out a coin and said, “I shall now toss this coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal itself.”

    He threw the coin into the air and all watched intently as it landed. It was heads. The soldiers were so overjoyed and filled with confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and were victorious. After the battle, a lieutenant remarked to the general, “No one can change destiny.”

    “Quite right,” the general replied as he showed the lieutenant the coin, which had heads on both sides.

    Going with the Flow
    A Taoist story tells of an old man who accidentally fell into the river rapids leading to a high and dangerous waterfall. Onlookers feared for his life. Miraculously, he came out alive and unharmed downstream at the bottom of the falls. People asked him how he managed to survive. “I accommodated myself to the water, not the water to me. Without thinking, I allowed myself to be shaped by it. Plunging into the swirl, I came out with the swirl. This is how I survived.”

    The Present Moment
    A Japanese warrior was captured by his enemies and thrown into prison. That night he was unable to sleep because he feared that the next day he would be interrogated, tortured, and executed. Then the words of his Zen master came to him, “Tomorrow is not real. It is an illusion. The only reality is now.” Heeding these words, the warrior became peaceful and fell asleep.
    http://users.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/present.html

    Sometimes, ‘giving up’ is what’s needed. 🙂
    DavidM

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  13. I really wanted to thank you for your incredibly kind, thoughtful and supportive comments and want to let you know before I responded to them that we are beginning to sort out our friend’s finances. The finance companies have already agreed to consolidate the loans at a lower (or no) interest rate; the tax department will accept staggered payments for company tax; and most of the creditors are also on board to accept staggered payments. It looks like he can trade out of it. His family have been amazing and said they would never have let things get this bad if they had known. This shows how important it is not to keep things as serious as this to yourself and it also shows me how much people are willing to help when the chips are down. If something is backing us into a corner we should say something – even if we think it’s minor – it’s crucial. Thanks again for being the gorgeous people you are!

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  14. JOSIE, I can’t tell you what your comment means to me. Life is gritty and raw sometimes and there’s no point in pretending it isn’t. I remember you writing about your daughter’s struggles and I am really pleased to hear of her progress. Depression is an extremely hard thing to deal with and often doesn’t go away just because we are in therapy or on medication. I am sure your support has helped your daughter enormously. I wish her nothing but the best ♥

    SLAMDUNK, you are an absolute gem – do you know that? I want real life too – the highs and the lows. It makes me feel our experiences are similar and that we are all in this together!

    GABRIELLE, that is an excellent attitude. When things are really bad, they don’t stay bad, that seems to be the nature of things. The lights will eventually come back on. Waiting it out is the only way to go!

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  15. PATTIKEN, I do so appreciate you saying that. There’s more hardship than not in life and we do have to learn how to deal with it. I think however, that a lot of men find it hard to ask for help, especially when it comes to business. I know many men who shoulder the burden themselves. It’s probably something we, as a society, need to address.

    ADEEYOYO, I am so sorry to hear that. I understand how dark that place is. I am glad you’re still here. REALLY glad. Awww, hon. I just want to give you a great big hug becsause I know. I KNOW. XX♥

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  16. STAFFORD, you are really kind to say that. It is a tough economy out there and there is no shame in finding oneself a victim of the marketplace. It is hard to judge which way it is going at the moment. Taking that step of just admitting you are in trouble is so hard for many people. They see it as failure but it is often just reality. We should never understimate the power of holding hands ♡

    CATHY, your comment made me laugh. It’s what I think too. The happy happy all the time people are like ostriches hiding their heads in the sand and I often wonder what they’re not facing. It’s just not realistic to be that way – it doesn’t mean you need to be cynical and gloomy all the time – but you do need to be prepared for what lies around the corner. Unicorns and lollipops won’t help you deal with that.

    You are so right about how powerful the need to avoid failure is. I know many people who would take extreme measures to avoid it. I would recommend to them that they write and submit short stories. A rejection slip puts things into perspective and makes you realise that failure is relative. I have over 200 of them in my desk drawer and I’m still standing albeit with a slight stoop and a lean to the left but I’M STILL HERE. Being able to deal with faliure is one of the skills we need to develop as adults. It is very hard but it can be done. I wish they would cover this subject in schools. It is so important.

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  17. SUSAN, Awwww. You are an absolute sweetie. Thank you so much for your kind words. I worry too. There are many people in dire straits out there. I worry about what’s going to happen with so many people losing their homes, their jobs, their health care. What does that mean for society and how can it be fixed? It could be any one of us at any time. I recently read an article about people living along the disused subway lines in New York. Entire families. How can we let that happen? It’s just not right. The ones ‘in charge’ need to stop looking the other way and address this problem.

    TRAVELRAT, absolutely agree with you there. I shy away from that because I have been preached to by many people and it’s horrible. It also doesn’t help. I always say to someone in trouble: ‘I am here if you need me’ and there is no judgement. It’s the only way to move forward.

    JONAS, aren’t the comments wonderful? I have the best readers ever 😀

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  18. MAGS, the challenges are part of it. You are so right. I firmly believe there is always a solution – it may not be entirely palatable – but it will present itself if you give it time. It can be hard to do when panic and despair set in but that light at the tunnel will come back on. It has every time for me!

    SQUIRREL, Now you’re going to make me cry. I wish I lived near you too. We would have some great talks and laughs, wouldn’t we? It would be brilliant. I hope that one day we get to meet. I would be thrilled about that ♥

    DAVID, those stories are amazing. You are a wise, wise person. I really like the message in them that it is OK to give up on the outside but to accept what is on the inside and go with the flow. If we could that we would reduce our stress and anxiety overnight. Thank you, David. Your comments are always so valuable!!

    KATE, Awww. I hope you’re alright, hon. You’re not alone, remember that. I am here anytime. Love you.

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  19. I’m so glad things are being sorted out Selma, it takes people being ‘real’ with one another to make things happen, and it’s so nice to know people actualy do care…given the chance x

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  20. Life is ups & downs, the good times & the bad. We see so much and we go through so much. It’s what makes us human, for now atleast. Maybe a few generations down the line, money will be obsolete, as will poverty, hunger, famine & war. But this is life for now. Keep writing Selma, you never know who all you touch with your words.

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  21. EDDIE, I had a feeling we did. I am absolutely delighted you came to visit me here. So cool!

    DEBORAH, I do believe most people care and want to help others – but sometimes people put up so many walls it’s hard to break through. Being ‘real’ is the only way to go 😀

    ROSHAN, your picture of the future would be like a dream. It would certainly be a different world. I will keep writing. Thank you for the encouragement ♥

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  22. I had no idea the Aussie economy was struggling so much – really out of touch! So sorry to hear about your friend really awful. But at least he now knows other people are there to help him through. People need to talk more!

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  23. KATE,
    It is tough at the moment. It’s really beginning to bite now. Mining and property have kept us propped up for a while but they can only do so much for so long. I think the next 6 months are going to be very hard. And you are so right – people do need to talk more. Get it all out!!!

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  24. Damn!!!! One heck of an article…..I’ve been in this situation before, my own brother ditched me when I was drowning in debt, I didn’t give up. I paid up all my debts and am now doing quite well for myself. My brother called me up last week, asking me to lend him some dough. I did! Just coz I think I am different, I want to be better than the rest….He realized what he had done and started apologizing for leaving me when I needed him the most….All I did was embrace him and said “You are my kid brother, I’ll look after you forever”.
    http://doubtscleared.wordpress.com/

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  25. This post was very good to hear. I am a college student, and I’ve been living in my own apartment for a little over a year now, with my boyfriend. We have definitely learned some things trying to get by on two minimum-wage jobs. Life can be hard, but it’s like you said, you can’t give up. It helps to focus on and appreciate the good things you have, rather than just the bad, but sometimes the bad can be overwhelming. Thank you for the affirmation!
    http://randomreignssupreme.wordpress.com/

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  26. Wow I seriously am crying right now. I am going through quite a tough financial grind myself. I started blogging about a month ago to get some interesting topics into my head instead of depressing, morbid ones. Thanks so much, it’s nice to know another human being feels the same way I do sometimes.

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  27. Really sorry for your friend.I hope things will get better soon.Sometimes when I’m depressed and when everything goes upside down,I stop for a moment and try to find what I have experienced so far.I’ve had really really bad times.but anyway life goes on.We have to look the full side of the glass,the other side always makes me pessimistic and depressed.

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  28. GREG,
    That is such an inspiring story. How good you are to do that. Many people would have said: ‘Well, you weren’t there for me, why should I be there for you?’ I really admire you for doing that. I am really glad you managed to clear your debts. That is excellent!

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  29. CECI,
    It’s really, really tough when you’re a student. You have to study, attend college and work. I really admire you for sticking with it. it will get easier. best wishes for your studies!

    MELODY,
    I am so sorry to hear you’ve been doing it tough. It is so hard for so many people right now. I do sympathise. I hope in some way that blogging helps. It really helps me make sense of things. I hope you’ll come back and visit again.

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  30. SEADREAMER,
    What a beautiful name. I really like that. It sounds like a song or a poem. We do need to look at the full side of the glass – you are so right. There is always something in each day that was good. I firmly believe that. The trick is to see it. I think it helps to know that other people are going through similar experiences. It certainly makes me feel less alone.

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