DEPRESSION

DIY/a wake-up call

(Heads up. This is a re-post from way back when and from my other blog. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how blogging, the technical side, has been a steep learning curve for me. I’m re-writing some very early blogs because I did so much wrong in those early days.. Like wrong tags, no tags, no categories, etc. I like to think I know so much more now. 🙂 Some of these early posts set the stage for subsequent posts. I’m not re-posting just to re-post. I’ve spent even more time on these than I did the originals, another mistake. Anyway, this disclaimer will appear when I re-post something which won’t be too often. Thanks for understanding.)

This blog finally became reality when I decided (after years of procrastination) to paint my dining room hutch. When I see this “before”,  I remember how much I disliked it for years.

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Here it is in progress.

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The thought of possibly ruining it kept me paralyzed. But one morning I knew the time had come. I was up early and painting by 10:00 am. For some reason, that morning’s resolve was an epiphany. After years of studying my nemesis, depression, and coming to terms with where I wanted my life to go, it just all finally came together like a really good recipe.  It seemed as though during the night God had silently imprinted on my mind,  “You can go ahead and enjoy your life.  It’s o.k. I approve.”

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It seems there has always  been a “worm in my apple”.  There’s always been something that wants to take away the sweetness of life. It’s like I thought I didn’t deserve to be healthy, to be happy, to make a mistake. Ten years ago, with my doctor’s permission, I decided to fly solo-no more anti-depressants.  No safety net. The time had come to face my demons.  My blog will share many of the techniques and strategies I’ve learned these past years that have kept me medication free.

I promise not to sugar coat my struggles. Managing depression (or better yet defeating it)  is very hard work.  It means getting real with yourself and the part you play in your depression.  (And we all do no matter what the cause. Our own footsteps  are all along the path of our depression.) The research is overwhelming that there is much we can do to manage our depression through the way we think, the things we do (or don’t do), and how we take care of physical bodies, etc. Medication can only do so much as most researchers now agree.

I’m not a doctor but this is a subject I’ve researched heavily. I had to. I have a degree in psychology and worked as a hospital chaplain after completing two quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education. I have counseled many women and led many groups. I am not a pastor.  I am a Christian, and while I feel God was the power behind my ability to conquer my depression, many techniques I will share with you are applicable whether you believe the same way I do or not.  I won’t try to convince anybody to believe as I do. That’s up to God. But I won’t shy away from stating my beliefs either.

Life isn’t compartmentalized or narrowly defined. We are total beings so there might be weeks that go by when I don’t even use the word “depression”. But rest assured most of my posts will contain little gems of information meant to help you in your struggle. One part of our life affects the others. Painting the hutch, exercising, eating, reading, praying etc are all part of who I am. Tomorrow was going to come anyway (God willing) whether I painted that hutch or not. That doesn’t sound very profound until you think about it. It didn’t to me either at first.

But painting  the hutch was a heads-up for me. It reminded me I was tired of regretting all the things I’d wished

I ‘d done. So what if didn’t turn out the way I wanted? Hey, it’s just paint. I can repaint it. If only all our mistakes could be repainted, right?

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I want my tomorrows to be full of dreams realized not dreams left unfulfilled. I want my tomorrows to be depression-free which means I need to take care of today. I don’t want to always be afraid of making a mistake. I want my yesterdays to be cherished not regretted. Therefore, it’s  imperative that my todays are filled with meaningful activities. Filled with pursuits. Filled with attempts, even failed ones.

I hate to use the tired phrase (because I hate jargon) but life really is short. It was just yesterday I was a little tow-haired girl eating butter/sugar sandwiches, playing in my tent of blankets thrown over a clothes line pegged to the ground with wooden clothespins. Today, I am a woman whose “tent” is a lovely, old home that sits on a hill. I don’t have the luxury of a lifetime ahead of me. I need to love my life NOW. It’s all I’ve got, the now. It’s all any of us have.

Isn’t it just something that  a hutch that needed painting settled a lot of things for me? I believe God speaks to us in the most common ways if we just pay attention. Every time I look at that hutch I will remember what painting it represented to me. It was within two weeks, I also started blogging. All this from painting a hutch!

Tomorrow is coming for you as well.  What do you want it to be?