Tag: anxiety

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.

depression

Why it’s not always right to”tough it out”.

I often write about depression.

I say things like, “Look within yourself. Somehow you are contributing to your own depression.”

  • I suggest exercise, eating healthy, trusting God.
  • I suggest meditation and prayer.
  • I suggest talking to a counselor or trusted friend.
  • I suggest a lot of things.I still do.

I still believe every one of those aforementioned ideas can help prevent an episode or at least “quiet” one down.

I still believe antidepressants are often over prescribed.

BUT…………………….

What if it’s too late? What if we really have worked hard and yet the big IT is attaching us ferociously? If you are from the age of 40-60, this post is probably for you. Or if you’re female and your hormones are raging at another period in your life.

Let me tell you from personal experience that when I started peri-menopause, I was doing all those things. In fact, I had a busy public speaking schedule as well. My faith was strong. But still, depression and anxiety had a grip on me. I wish someone had even told me I was peri-menopausal.

I didn’t have a clue.

I know some younger women who are beating themselves up because they think they have failed to handle things without medication. This philosophy had to originate with a man and let’s be honest, most of them would never be able to handle the hormone fluctuations we women do. Many are truly understanding though. My husband always was but he still could ‘t totally understand it. How could he?

Then there are Christians of both sexes who totally disapprove of medication for emotional and/or psychological issues. I have found some of these Christians would do their families a favor if they would take something! There are all kinds of ways that people use to deal with their issues that are far more to be criticized than taking pills,

How about that more Christians than ever drink alcohol these days to handle their problems. That’s not what they admit, of course. But if you’re having to have a drink or two every night, it’s more than likely it’s more than just liking the taste. Alcohol consumption is the method many people use to deal with their stress.
I am not making a statement about whether drinking is right or wrong. I have friends that drink and those that don’t. They are all wonderful people. I’m addressing this in the context of those who are critical of Christians who take medication for depression but then resort to drinking alcohol for the same reason.

Other habits we use to calm ourselves down?….overeating, smoking, excessive devotion to sports, over-exercising, drugs, watching too much tv, the list goes on.

There are lots of ways people use to avoid facing their issues. Many of these people do, in fact, suffer from depression but they just refuse to admit it. Instead,   they are short-tempered, grouchy, touchy, and overall just plain difficult to live with

So hopefully you are encouraged that you are not to be condemned if you are taking antidepressants. It may be exactly what you need for now.

More tomorrow.

God bless and have a good day.

scared

When ghosts are in your house

I’m kidding, of course. I don’t believe in ghosts.

But my grandson does think our house is “spooky”. Actually, when my husband was traveling a lot, my friends would ask me if I was afraid to be alone in this house.

spooky

I never have been. Maybe that says something about me, that maybe I’m not too bright.

bulb

I guess it could be a little scary to some people. It’s four floors. Our attic has regular ceilings, for example. And, of course, there’s the basement.

We are in a regular housing area but the road dips down in front of our house so it seems like we’re up on a hill all by ourselves. Plus, our driveway is kind of weird and our house sits on our property at an odd angle so our neighbors can’t really see our house.

So anyway, yesterday we had some huge trees removed (which prompted some interesting thoughts for the post tomorrow) and there were some pretty big thuds.

Later that night, around ten, all of a sudden we hear loud music coming from the basement. Neither one of us had been down there at all during the day.

What in the world? So my big brave husband says, “Sounds like your CD player and your exercise music. Go down and check it out.”

 

So my big brave husband says, “Sounds like your CD player and your exercise music. Go down and check it out.”

“What”, I say. “You mean you’re not coming?”

 

“It’s your CD player”, my big brave man says.

brave husband

“I’m not going down there myself”. Anyway, he finally got brave enough to follow downstairs and just as we figured, it was my CD player on full volume.

We figure what happened was the vibrations from the tree branches hitting the ground jarred the player somehow. But for some reason, it didn’t come on until later and that was because the player sits on a shelf directly above our underground pump and those vibrations somehow made it start to play.

As I said, I’ve never been afraid in this house, but had I been alone when that happened, I most certainly would’ve been.

scared

But, are you wondering if I would have gone down there all on my own. Yep, I would’ve.

Even without my big brave man to help me. 😦

God bless and have a good day.

(PS. I told my husband I was “telling” on him. That’ll teach him.”

 

funeral flowers

How God answered an important prayer

Just a quick update.

I posted yesterday that I wasn’t sure I would be able to share my thoughts at my mother’s funeral yesterday.

I asked for prayers.

As I was falling asleep Monday night I remembered one of my favorite portions of Scripture, Philippians 4: 6 & 7: (italics mine.)

Be careful for nothing (don’t worry about anything); but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, and with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (tell God about them.)

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding,will keep (protect) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

As I fell asleep, I knew I would be able to share my thoughts. It was like a cloud of peace came over me. I felt “cocooned” from fear and anxiety.

The day was hard. But when the time came, I was able to say what I needed to say without falling apart. Others spoke as well and it was truly a celebration of her life.  There were times the attendees (of which there were far many more than I thought there would be), were actually laughing. That’s exactly what we wanted.

My mom said and did some very funny things.

Believe it or not, the scripture portion I asked my husband to read was from II Samuel 12: 15-22, where King David is mourning his son because he is very ill. The son dies and David quits mourning. This was our message to everyone, to remember my mom but not to be consumed with grief.

Here’s the thing, love the people in your life the very best you can and then when the time comes to say good-bye, you don’t have to have regrets.

I will share more at another time but for now, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who lifted me up in prayer.

God bless and have a wonderful day.

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