shoess

It’s ok to feel good about looking good

Have you ever been to a function where you spent hours trying to find the right dress?

The right shoes?

It was for a late afternoon wedding so I wanted to dress appropriately.

So let’s start with the shoes. After five foot surgeries, shoe shopping is a nightmare for me. I haven’t worn high-heeled shoes in over fifteen years.

SeriousIy.

I did find a pair I could wear but albeit very painfully. Hmmm. Why not check online and see what I can find? Of course, who buys shoes online? Right. Well, apparently me. I ordered a pair and voila’, they fit perfectly.

So, one down.

shoess

Now the dress.

After buying three dresses, and taking two back, I thought I had found the exact right one. But having had such good luck with the shoes, why not check online? I didn’t want to spend too much and I wanted a dress I could wear again. So……..I ordered two of them. One was almost identical to the one I’d decided on but a little cheaper and I felt more comfortable in it.

black dress

So finally, the right dress and right shoes.

I’ll bet you’re thinking there’s is going to be a funny twist to this story. Like I’m going to tell you about a fashion mishap or something. Like a heel broke or someone spilled something on my dress. Or that I got sick and couldn’t go.

Nope.

I loved the whole ensemble. The shoes didn’t hurt. The dress looked terrific. I liked the reflection in the mirror.

And I think that’s perfectly OK.

The Proverbs thirty-one woman takes good care of herself. She works hard at looking good. She dresses beautifully. She’s not worried about feeling bad about looking good.  I’ll even bet she liked what she saw in the mirror, too.

Many times I come home from these events feeling as though I’ve dressed all wrong, that everyone else looked better.

Do you?

Not this time. This time it felt really good not to feel bad. 

Usually, I’m pretty confident with how I dress. I’ve always liked fashion and putting outfits together. But since my mom died I’ve kind of lost a little of that. Maybe that’s why the right ensemble was so important.

As Christians, I think that sometimes we feel guilty over frivolous things because they are frivolous. And so when we pay attention to them when there are such horrible things happening every day, we feel guilty.

And yet David danced and Jesus went to dinner parties. And there’s not a hint in scripture that they felt bad about it. And by the way, things were even worse then. 

Maybe the condition of the world is exactly why we need to take a break from all the seriousness.

What about you? Do you sometimes get conflicted between the seriousness of the world and the frivolous nature of other parts of your life?  Actually, I’m glad I am conflicted at times. It keeps me grounded.

We are meant to enjoy life while at the same time never forgetting those in our world who need our prayers and our help.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

cowardice

Courageousness versus cowardice. Know the difference.

Yesterday I wrote about how, especially when we are “down”, that we often respond to remarks too sensitively.

Proverbs twenty-five was the Proverb I read yesterday:

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.

Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, is a wise reprover to a listening ear. (Italics mine.)

I mentioned social media and how it seems like someone is always offended by something.

Think about that for a minute.

We check-in on social media no matter what our mood. And, of course, many respond negatively because they are in a bad one. If we were having a face to face conversation, we would probably be much more sensitive and less apt to blurt out in a ridiculous manner. I heard a good term the other day and I buy into it one hundred percent, “Social media courage”, something like that. It means we are far more courageous when faced with a computer than faced with a person.

It’s true, isn’t it?

Or in front of a camera. The politicians I heard yesterday on the various news programs sounded like a bunch of third-graders.  I wonder how many of them would have been so brave without a camera in front of them. This kind of “fake courage” just nauseates me.

cowardice

Does it affect you the same way?

The Bible says there is a “right” circumstance to speak up and that “right” circumstance is when the listener is willing to listen. 

So let me ask a question?

How can we possibly know how receptive a person is to what we want to say unless we are in their physical presence, or at the very least, talking on the phone with them? (Yea, I know. Talking. An antiquated social skill.)

The short answer is, we can’t.

And one thing is for sure, no one really hears what is being said unless they are in a receptive mood. When we are more courageous spouting off on social media and/or in front of a camera, then we are not brave at all. We are no different from the neighborhood bully.

My conclusion is that those who do spout off when it’s safe are those people who hate confrontation. They have a lot they wish they could say in person but don’t have enough guts to do it.  I guess that’s why I’m seldom on social media.

The words in Proverbs are as true now as they were before social media was a “thing”. Don’t you think God foresaw all of this? He allowed words to be written that would prove beneficial for us thousands of years later.

Truth is truth no matter how old or new it is. 

Be willing to voice your concerns in person. Don’t be a coward.

God bless and have a good day.

Healthy reflection leads to a really healthy life

A couple of weeks ago someone posted the quote below on Facebook. That person really got some feedback, a lot of it negative. (I think some people were having a bad day.) I really couldn’t understand the reactions of some people. I find this quote actually true because “things” (more of them or less of them) has never been proven to equate with happiness.

gratefulness

Then a few days ago, I was feeling “down” but was crawling out of it when someone made a remark that stopped my progress in its tracks. I realized later though that my reaction to her was just that, my reaction. She wasn’t having a problem, was. She couldn’t possibly plummet my mood, only I could do that.

That got me to thinking back about people, people who offend us, people who try to help us with trite euphemisms and silly little sayings.  If you’ve followed me very long, you know that I’m not a fan of many of the little “hip, hip hooray “sweet” inspirational sayings. For example, I hate the phrase, “It is what it is”.


it is what it is

But just because many of these little “Pinterisms” are trite and overstated, they sometimes contain a bit of truth. And if it helps some people, good.  Lots of things “hit a nerve” and when I’m feeling “down” it’s certainly true for me as well.  But at least these little “pollyanna” phrases are meant to lift our spirits and:

If anyone can prove to me how jumping in the pit with someone, helps them get out of the pit, I’d love for them to tell me.

It’s certainly better than the “pull yourself up” kind of remarks from a person who’s never experienced depression. (Or perhaps it makes more sense to say, never “admitted” to depression.)

 

And maybe the best question we should ask ourselves is,

“What if what is being said contains some truth?”

Or,”Can I learn something from this”?

For example,  “It is what it is”. I don’t like this one at all and I hear it all the time. I hate it because it reeks of hopelessness, not acquiescence.

(On second thought, maybe I would be better off sometimes by buying into “It is what is” ((maybe more, “They are who they are.”)) thana feeling as though I have to single-handedly change the world.

I like this better though; it offers more hope.

It is what it is but

Often people who are depressed will receive all kinds of well-intentioned advice. Sometimes it is not received well. Often because we feel no one else has ever felt this way so how can anyone else help? But as I wrote the other day,

Our depression is not unique.

Why do you think there is a “standardized” list of symptoms that determines when one’s mental health can officially be classified as depression?  That’s because when depressed people describe their symptoms, they pretty much describe the same symptoms. The causes may be different, the manifestations of those symptoms may look different but the illness and its symptoms are pretty consistent across all reported cases.

Depression feels pretty much the same for everyone.

I’ve yet to read a post by someone who is clinically depressed that sounds any different from anyone else, including me. As long as we think our depression is somehow unique, we are never going to listen to any advice. We are sure these strategies that have worked for untold numbers of others, couldn’t possibly work for us. Our depression is “so much worse”. (I don’t mean to sound crass.)

Also, all well-researched books, doctors, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals suggest the same basic methods to manage depression, with or without medication. For example, exercise is suggested by every mental health professional as one of the most important tools for managing depression, especially if there is accompanying anxiety.

The  symptoms and the management tools for dealing with depression are amazingly consistent.

I think the harder question is why some people recover from depression and seldom deal with it again, while others struggle throughout their entire lives. This is especially hard for those who’ve worked hard at getting better and just can’t seem to get there.

At various times in my own recovery process, I asked the same thing, “Why can’t I get beat this?” Eventually, I did. But others have done the same things I’ve done and not got better. Did I work harder? Did I have more support? Did I hate depression more? Did the fact that I’ve never used alcohol or drugs make a difference? Did it just “run its course? Did I pray more?

I wish I knew.

But for the life of me, I can’t understand why there is so much anger on social media about just about everything.

overreation

Can’t we just all be generous enough to agree that for the most part, people are trying to help? Can’t we allow for a “well-intentioned although ignorant” remarks sometimes? Besides, haven’t we all done that?

After all, we all know depression is one of those illnesses that is hard to explain to someone who has never been there. Instead of reacting maybe we should be educating.

I sometimes think people have a hard time understanding my personal recovery.  They assume I was ever only mildly depressed. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was where many of you are now. I have the journal notes to prove it and every once in a while, to remind me of where I used to be, I read them. It’s very painful.

I’ve also witnessed serious depression in a number of people I love. I can tell you unequivocally, that in every case, these people got better. And they started to get better when they realized they had a part in either causing their depression or exacerbating it. Once they admitted to one or the other or both, they started to heal because they knew they could do something about it.

As I said earlier, a few days ago, I found myself very defensive with someone’s remarks even though what she said deserved some thought.

On this blog, you can share your honest opinions, whatever they are. You can disagree with me. You can offer help when I need it. That’s how we learn from each other, through honest conversation.

As long as your motive is to help, as long as you use decent language, as long as you are not just reacting and have given thoughtful consideration to my point of view, I would love to hear from you.

For me, I never comment on someone else’s post unless I think I’m helping. And I don’t comment haphazardly. I think before I write. But I have also offered a dissenting opinion if I think it adds to the conversation. I speak from my heart. I urge you to do the same.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

 

 

Psalm 40

Depression isn’t for “sissies

I see I posted twice yesterday.

But the whole “thought my kitten was lost” really had me frazzled. I thought I had everything in order and the post entitled “why overreacting doesn’t help depression” hadn’t even been edited. I’ve since corrected it.  It was a post from a few years ago that I thought bared repeating. I hope you found it helpful.

So because it did publish I felt I should continue the theme. The truth is that depression isn’t for “sissies”. What is interesting about those that suffer from depression is that it’s almost never the “bad”, “mean” or “shallow” person that experiences depression. You have to be kind of a “deep-thinking” person, a sensitive person to suffer this mental illness. And “mental illness” doesn’t always mean what we think it means. Depression is an “illness” that involves the  “mind”, therefore it’s a mental illness.  What is the matter with our society that we still don’t understand this?

My heart aches for anyone who suffers depression and/or anxiety. It’s horrible. And I think more people suffer from the disorder than don’t. But there is still such a stigma that many people never talk about it. Instead, they stand at the edge of a precipice never knowing when they are going to fall in the pit. That feeling of impending doom clouds their very existence and life becomes shrouded with fear and dread.

You would almost prefer to fall in the pit rather than standing at the edge worried that any minute you might drop into the dark hole and disappear.

(I realize this isn’t a photo of a “pit” but they were all too scary-looking so I chose this cliff instead. Same concept though, right?)

edge of a cliff

It’s like feeling dead inside but pretending to be alive. The effort of trying to act like everyone else is almost more than you can bear.

I get it.

If I thought I was heading there again, honestly, I would be terrified.

For a little while.

“Why for only a little while?” you ask.

Because while I have a history of depression, I also have a longer history of recovery. I’ve learned a lot from my battles. Mostly, that God will get me through if I cooperate.

Would he get me to the other side anyway? Probably. But it would take a lot longer and if I were rescued every time, I don’t develop the skill set necessary to keep me from succumbing the next time.

Psalm 40

I’m never one to tell anyone that all one has to do when faced with depression is to trust God and just like a magic Genie, everything will get better. While God can heal instantly and he often does, it’s no guarantee.

Besides, we develop a great deal of resilience when we cooperate with God instead of letting God do all the work.

My understanding of God’s dealings with people throughout Scripture is that cooperating with God is always God’s first choice. It’s kind of like God wants us to have a stake in our own growth. It has been proven time and again that people who have a vested interest in something appreciate it more.  I think God created in us the desire to claim some responsibility for our own lives.

When Moses balked at God’s command to speak to Pharoah because he didn’t think he could (for whatever reason and the jury is out on that reason), God said that Aaron could be his mouthpiece. How much personal growth did Moses give up right then? I would say, a lot.

So if you are on that precipice, you don’t have to fall in. I have no idea the faith walk of any of my “followers” so I can’t really give you steps 1-10 to keep you afloat. I can only tell you what I do.

I will try to share more tomorrow but here’s a preliminary list (in no order) without much detail:

  1. I pray and read Scripture.
  2. I exercise. If I’m struggling with a current depressive episode, I might walk longer and/or more than once a day.
  3. I stay distracted. If you are employed, this is easier. If not, just start moving and doing something, anything, and that will spur you on some more. This is very hard when you’re feeling down. Do it anyway.
  4. I should’ve started with this: Make your bed. I’ve been saying that much longer than the recent hype over the commencement speech of the same title and the subsequent book.
  5. Talk to someone today with your “voice” not your fingers.
  6. Avoid negative people.
  7. Don’t go to bed tonight without having accomplished something. (See # 3)
  8. Keep up with your personal grooming. You should look in the mirror and feel somewhat better by the image you see.)

That was a very cursory list.

Apparently, I’m on a roll, so I’ll try to keep this up for the rest of the week.

It’s hard for me to write about depression when I’m not actively experiencing an episode. But it’s also hard if I am.

Anyway, God bless and have a good day.

(PS. You can always check out my menu under the heading “depression”.  I have lots of material there that you might find helpful.)

 

 

 

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