Month: August 2017

depression

The worst fear for a recovering depressive.

You know what it is.

Think about it for a minute.

If you are recovering from depression, your worst fear is that you will fail. If you have been depression-free for a while, your worst fear is that you will fall into that pit again.

Let’s be clear.

If you’ve never been seriously depressed, you have no idea of the overwhelming fear that can strike.

Death is easier to contemplate.  If ever there were an illness that felt as near-death as depression, I don’t know what it is.

If you’ve never been there, I hope you never are.

I am s currently supporting a few people  who are either in the recovery stage or the “I’m scared to death stage.” Both are wonderful people. Their ages are far apart. Their lives are totally different. Which, of course, proves that depression is no respecter of persons; it can and does strike anyone.

They are believers in Christ, all of them, although they are in different phases of their “growth in Christ”.

Then there’s me. I, too, have had some “rumblings” of depression. This would be quite natural as I’m also grieving the miss of my mother. My birthday is coming soon. This will be the first one absent my mom’s presence. Somehow, the first birthday without your mom seems one of the most painful experiences. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

I, too, have had some “rumblings” of depression. This would be quite natural as I’m also grieving the loss of my mother. My birthday is coming soon. This will be the first one absent my mom’s presence. Somehow, the first birthday without your mom seems one of the most painful experiences. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

The first birthday after her death was hard but I’m self-centered enough to think my first birthday without her will be worse. It’s always harder when you’re the one left behind.

  • My mom’s death.
  • Then there’s the horrible situation in Texas. I feel so helpless.
  • The hours of sunlight are shrinking fast.
  • Our present unrest in America.
  • Possibility of a third world war.

No wonder I’m struggling.

Put all this together and sinking into depression is a real fear for me. But as I write, I reminded of something I heard the pastor of the little church we attend when we’re at the cabin. We were purposefully walking in late. (I’ll you about that tomorrow. You’ll laugh.) He was at the end of his prayer. I heard him say, “Thank you, Father, for equipping us for whatever comes our way.”

My ears perked up. That’s right.  So often I forget that while God was present in my past,  while He ispresent for the present”, He is also the God of the future, “The Great Equipper” of whatever comes my way.

I live so much in the present that at times I forget my present was once my future that I worried about yesterday. And God has remained ever-present throughout it all.

Depression is terrible. It consumes every part of us. Parts we would never expect. Aches and pains. stomach and colon issues. Headaches. Insomnia. Hypersomnia. Nausea. Sounds like a commercial for the side effects of a prescription drug.

But for the Christian, God is ever-present. Not condemning us. Just holding on to us till our feet on a solid place again.

God bless and have a good day.

 

prayer comes in many forms and colors

Pain hurts. Now there’s a “Duh”.

I have the greatest empathy for anyone who suffers chronic pain. It’s no fun.

As you know,  I’ve had numerous foot surgeries. For the past two years, I’ve been able to walk without limping and without pain.

Until yesterday.

Even the limp is back. Needless to say, I’ve been discouraged. There’s pain in places in my foot I wouldn’t have thought could cause pain!

Now, this is not to elicit your sympathy. It’s just to acknowledge that pain is very much a part of the Christian’s experience.

I’m always amazed at those Christians who are proponents of the “Christians don’t hate to experience pain. We can pray ourselves right out of it.”

Hmmm. Do you think they would have dared tell Jesus that as he hung on the cross?

I don’t think so.

But it’s not just physical pain where Christians are not exempt. It’s the emotional pain as well and this garners even more disdain from those Christians I dub the “Christians for whom everything is always wonderful.”

Just wait.

If one’s lives long enough, they will experience some emotional pain. How traumatic it is, whether it results in true depression or not, might well depend on their willingness to admit it.

Maybe there’s something to be said for experience some pain before you have to experience a whole lot of it. Hopefully, I’ve already reached my “quota”.

But there’s to be learned from pain.

First of all, we get a “sampling” of what Jesus suffered for us.

Secondly, we learn to trust more. Wouldn’t you agree that our faith grows more during difficult times?. I wish it wasn’t so, but I’m afraid it is.

Third, pain, in all its forms, keeps us humble. Somehow when we’re in pain, it’s easier to empathize with others.

Since my mom died, I’ve found it easier to empathize with the pain others feel when they lose a loved one. Up to this point, I feel I fell short. The last year, and especially the final six months were particularly hard due to the dementia. So when I ran into a couple who were having a garage sale and they shared they had moved back to the area to take care of the women’s father who had dementia, I knew what to say. I was able to share the pain I had felt. I hope it helped.

Pain should make us more “open” and understanding of another’s pain.

I’ve never lost my home to a natural disaster, the type of which is hammering Texas.  I did have a tree fall on our house many years ago and I remember how I felt then. While that was nothing in comparison, I can take my mind a little further and think, “What if my whole house had been destroyed?” To me, losing my home is the second rung on the ladder of disasters, with death and/0r a terrible prognosis being at the top.

Recently, I went through a season of pain with someone. Watching them suffer broke my heart. I felt helpless but I wasn’t.

I prayed hard. Not just in the morning either, but throughout the day and every time they’re name came to mind , which was just about all the time.

That’s the skill we hone when it’s someone else’s’ pain. We really learn how to strip aside all our fancy words; we learn how to “get real” in our prayers.

We cry out.

We don’t worry about whether we are being too honest or not. (Is that even possible?)

We set aside our “genteel” notions about prayer.

We pray a whole lot more like Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Maybe that’s the biggest benefit of pain-learning to pray better.

God bless and remember there isn’t anything you can’t say to God.

 

Thank you

Thank you, Joji and all other recent followers who don’t have blogs or websites for me to say “Thank You”. So, “Thank you,” and God bless each of you.

A special prayer today for all the survivors of Hurricane Harvey. I know all of my followers are doing what they can, and however they can, to help.

It’s hard to know how to pray so as I’ve caught the various news shows, I’ve seen individual lives highlighted, or individual stories, and I’ve prayed for them specifically.

Also, there are many organizations, other than the Red Cross, that are taking donations.

bedroom addition

Yea! The bedroom is almost done.

Yea. Things are progressing pretty much on schedule. A contractor finishing his work ahead of time. What alternative world am I living in?

Plus, the cost. Looks like it’s right on target.

Was painted yesterday. Polar Bear White my Behr. At least that’s what the lady in the paint department said during the first go-round. I took in a piece of watercolor paper and it color-matched because my favorite white, Cottage White, just didn’t look right to me. So I call it Watercolor Paper white.

Then when I had to buy another gallon, the woman told me it wasn’t Polar Bear white. It was a custom color. Hope she’s right because I like the idea of Watercolor Paper white better. Sounds so much “artier”.

Here’s some pics. Look closely at top and you can see the peak. The odd-looking triangle “thingee” is where the fan goes. After all, it’s a peaked ceiling and the fan has to be attached to a reinforced area. Kind of cool though.

bedroom addition

 

My closet. Has a light and a switch. Yea!!!

bedroom addition

 

This picture shows how the closet walls go up to the peaked ceiling. Look up to the right-hand corner.bedroom addition

 

The flooring is by Pergo. It wasn’t my first choice. My first choice, believe it or not, was a linoleum that looked like bleached wood. But we do not heat the cabin in the winter so I couldn’t do that. This was a close second, though.
bedroom addition

depression

Tailor-make your depression recovery plan

Here’s the thing.

Everyone’s different. No surprise there, huh?

Everyone’s different “looks” and feels different. Maybe a little surprise there.

There are certain hallmark strategies for recovery that will benefit most people on their way to recovery. No surprise there. But just like the unique people we are, some of the recovery strategies that you will develop will be totally unique as well.

Just as everyone’s depression does have similarities, so do they have their differences. Some people find sleeping difficult, some sleep a lot. Same with eating. For example, when I suffered clinical depression, o functioned pretty normally. But I felt like the “walking dead.” Nothing drew my interest; there was no joy in anything. I felt like I walked in a fog all the time.

For example, when I suffered clinical depression, I functioned pretty normally. But I felt like the “walking dead.” Nothing drew my interest; there was no joy in anything. I felt like I was in a fog all the time.

The worst part was grocery shopping.

Seriously.

I don’t know why grocery shopping was excruciating but it was.  For one thing, I couldn’t avoid people. And I just knew that everyone could tell I was depressed. Plus, it seemed everyone was happy. Also, I couldn’t make decisions about what to buy. It was overwhelming.

The next hardest experience was simply being around other people whether at church, birthday parties, family gatherings. I felt so disconnected from everyone. Back to the whole “walking dead ” thing. Again, I just knew everyone knew what a mess I was.

These were all my perceptions, but they were very real to me.

For my own recovery, there were certain strategies that worked best for me. Exercise was crucial for me to keep my depression at bay, as was (and is) keeping my “gut” operating as normal and regularly as possible. My spiritual life and keeping “short accounts with God” was also crucial. (Keeping short accounts with God means keeping a constant “communing” with God, especially in regards to forgiveness.)

I also made my bed everyday. Watch this video for someone else’s opinion about this. It’s really good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70

Something else I did was to make sure I was presentable when if you’re depressed is pretty darn hard to do. But I would look in the mirror and at least do my best.

Other people might find it’s what they’re watching on TV or what they’re reading that is the trigger for them. Some people find it’s other people that trigger their episodes because they are so negative. So they avoid them when and if they can.

Someone else I know finds that keeping busy works. A different person I know finds controlling their thoughts is their first line of defense. (This is a big one, by the way, for everyone. Some just find it easier to reign in their thoughts.)

I think the point is that while the symptoms of depression are the same for everyone, they are tolerated differently. Recovery from depression always means a different way of thinking and adapting to our world, and yet the how and the timing is different for everyone.

As Dorothy Rowe writes in her groundbreaking book called simply “Depression”, “depression is a prison we create for ourselves. So if you think of it that way, there are many different ways to break out of a prison, aren’t there?

I hate depression. I hate it for you. I hate it for me. I hate it for everyone I love. Does that make it clear enough?

But…..

Depression is not a death sentence. Most everyone survives it. And sometimes, there are some great lessons we learn.

You know that eclipse we all watched yesterday. To me, it was very spiritual. It reminded me that no matter how dark it gets, God is still there shining his love on us and leading the way.

More tomorrow.

God bless and I really hope you have a good and happy day.

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