Tag: anxiety

God is in your tomorrow

alphabet of thanks, “T”

Today I’m thankful for “TOMORROWS“.

Isn’t it great we have tomorrows to look forward to? When things are going bad, it’s great that we have a “tomorrow” that might be brighter.

I can remember times in my life when I went to bed at night, grateful for the sweet relief of sleep and the small hope that tomorrow might be better.

Sometimes “tomorrows” are all we have.

                               Tomorrows hold promise.

                               Tomorrows offer hope.

                               Tomorrows make today’s problems seem temporary.

But tomorrow is also a day not to “borrow” from.  According to scripture, each day has enough trouble on its own. I’ll admit I don’t always get that right.

Matthew 6:25-34New International Version (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It’s hard to trust in the future because it is the future. Only God knows what our futures hold. And most of the time, he’s not telling us.  

I haven’t experienced a bad episode of anxiety for a long time.  But the other night I woke up and was frightened. I thought about the people I love and “What would I do if something happened to them”.

I know what triggered it. The husband of a dear friend of mine has prostate cancer. It was completely unexpected. His PSA from the year before had been normal. I projected that to my husband even though his results had just come back and his numbers were very low.

I immediately asked God to help me trust him.

I didn’t beat myself up for my doubt. When we lose a loved one (my mother, six months ago), and when people around us get sick, we can’t help but be reminded that life is not only fragile, it is fleeting.  That’s a good thing.

Do you realize we are the only living beings that know we are going to die, that we, are temporary. That’s pretty humbling, isn’t it? And yet, even with feeling that way at times, it doesn’t really change us all that much.

I find that curious.

So all we truly have is the reality of today and the hope of a tomorrow.

When I had my devotions that morning, I gave thanks to God praising Him that he’s already waiting for me in my future, no matter what it is. He has prepared the way for me and walks ahead of me clearing the path to Him.

God is in your tomorrow

He does that for all His children. He is in your future as well.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

 

Alphabet of thanks, “E”

(Hey, I had this ready to publish this morning. I did not miss a day. But I just caught it now, so am sending it on its way to you.)

I am thankful today that I can Exercise. That means I’m healthy enough to do so.

My husband and I walk forty-forty five minutes every day. When we can’t because of inclement weather, we use our treadmill. I feel downright sluggish when I don’t.

Excercise is good for just about every illness. It helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, dementia, etc. And it certainly doesn’t have to be forty minutes. Thirty minutes is just fine.

And the best part is, it’s free. No expensive gym memberships. One can just walk out the door and begin.

While exercise is good for almost every medical condition, it really helps promote good mental health. I’ve written many posts about the importance of exercise in treating and preventing depression and anxiety. You can find some of those posts here, and here.

For me, to be able to walk for forty minutes is a real gift. I have very bad feet (five surgeries to prove it) and sometimes I would rather not walk but I know that I am able to walk because I do walk.  I’ve always remembered what my doctor told me a number of years ago.

If you don’t routinely walk most days of the week, you will find that eventually, you won’t be able to walk. You will go from a cane, to a wheelchair, to being bedridden.

So I walk. When my feet hurt, when my back hurts, when I just am not in the mood. If you have to start out with two days a week, do it. I can almost guarantee that after even one walk, your mood will improve. You will sleep better, too.

So today I am very thankful for exercise. It has made a huge difference in my life.

 

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.)

 

 

 

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.

depression

Why don’t bad people get depressed?

Have you ever noticed that as a rule, mean, self-centered, egotistical, self-righteous people never seem to get depressed?

Haven’t you ever wondered why?

The other day I thought, after watching a news report about yet another terrorist attack, that’s it!

“What’s that, you ask”?

That’s how you stop terrorism and all the hateful acts we hear about every day.

You inject a whopping big dose of depression into these people. That would take care of it.

Really, it would.

If you’ve ever suffered a true clinical depression, the kind where you can’t get out of bed, or if you can you feel like you’re sleepwalking through your life, you would know exactly what I mean.

That’s how bad real depression can be. I will repeat myself for the umpteenth one,

Depression is not just being down in the dumps. It’s not a few bad days because your boss yelled at you. It’s not that you’re sad about a critical remake someone made about you. It’s not the fight you had with your husband.

Depression is all-consuming. You don’t talk yourself out of it. You don’t take a few vacation days and get over it. A good talk with a friend doesn’t cure it. These are all good strategies for the recovery phase but they won’t make depression go away.

Depression affects many parts of the body. It’s almost always impossible to know what prompts an attack. That’s why depression is sometimes so difficult to get a handle on. It can be brought on by grief and other losses, ill-health, divorce, crisis, etc. I’ve been watching my own moods since my mother died (just over three months ago). I know I am very vulnerable now, so I’m taking good care of my emotions. The Bible calls it “guarding one’s heart.” I’m gentle with myself but making sure I’m productive every day.

One fact we do know about depression for sure is that women suffer from it far more than men. That’s a no brainer to me and to a lot of other people, including medical and mental health professionals. When it comes to women, hormones play a big role especially during the peri-menopausal and menopausal years. Many a woman who never suffered depression her entire life, finds herself depressed during these years. It doesn’t mean we are weaker or more emotional. It just means we are subject to hormonal swings and men aren’t.

Not all will need medication. Why I don’t know but neither do you, and neither does anyone else.

There is so much we don’t know about the brain, it’s kind of unbelievable considering medical advances in so many other areas. Oh, we know what parts of the brain direct certain parts of the body, but even then people surprise us all the time.

There was a time that if someone were in a coma, we gave up thinking they would recover. Now more and more people come out of comas and go on to lead a normal life. In fact, now doctors put people in comas for all kinds of reasons.

There was a time, certain injuries were considered life-altering and yet we see people regain use of their limbs, their minds, etc.

We’ve come so far in so many medical areas and yet the brain continues to perplex us.

Think of Alzheimer’s, so many theories but so far from a cure. Maybe that’s because in our society we don’t think anyone that has Alzheimer’s disease is important enough to find a cure for because generally, they are much older. Except that now we know Alzheimer’s can impact a much younger person which is why Alzheimer’s research is so important.

All of this is just to emphasize and quiet the critics who think they’ve got it all figured out. Somehow these armchair experts think they know more about the brain and the body more than medical professionals and scientists.

Really?

So ignore the naysayers. You have a “say” about what you need to do for your own health. Remember, while you can tailor-make your own recovery as far as where you concentrate your efforts, there are some common symptoms included in all almost all depression that needs addressing.

Also, I find it interesting that Jesus never once condemns any kind of mental illness. In fact, you know all those statements Jesus makes about anxiety? We’re going to look at them a little closer in future posts. I think sometimes Christians think everything in the Bible happens immediately. I mean like you ask for anxiety to be relieved and whammo, it is. Not so.

Negative thinking, poor health habits, lack of discipline, destructive behavior, they didn’t happen overnight. They probably won’t get “cured overnight, either.

When you think about the disciples, how long did it take them to mature spiritually? What about the Apostle Paul?

Don’t condemn yourself today. If you’re really trying, if you’re asking God to help you battle through your depression, you will get better.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

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