Tag: cheer

dark clouds of depression

How to live when the clouds just won’t move

It’s not easy maintaining a positive attitude when dark clouds seemed stalled over our heads because there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in our lives.  While there is a break in the clouds on occasion, mostly it’s overcast. God seems to have spread a gray sheet between Him and us. 

Would you agree we all have days like that? Sometimes a number of them in a row.  We’re not clinically depressed. We don’t need medication.  We don’t need therapy. We just need a break from our unrelenting cloud-shrouded life.  

I find when I’m under grey clouds it helps to remember the transient nature of clouds.  Even today as I write, the sky overhead can’t seem to make up its mind.  Will the clouds be given permission to part so the sun can shine through or will they remain huddled together in a solid mass?  

I find I respond two ways to the dark clouds. If I’m already having a “reflecting” kind of day, I might actually prefer clouds. If I’ve planned a day to stay inside and pursue a creative project, I kind of like gray days.  I think you know what I mean. There’s something that appeals to us when the sky matches our mood. 

It’s like friends. 

When we’re in the dumps we usually seek friends we know will try to match our moods in their manner of speech, and choice of words. We don’t need them to act depressed, of course, but we don’t want someone who acts too cheerful either. It feels cold and insensitive.

Sometimes a pep talk is needed but not in a “rah, rah” cheerleader fashion.  I try to make sure I act appropriately as well when I’m the one listening. Something I experienced a few years ago brought that home to me.  

 I was in a meeting at church and I mentioned how fortunate I felt when compared to the rest of the world. One individual, (I learned this later) misconstrued what I said and felt I was saying I was better than other people. I meant my remarks exactly as I spoke them. I guess it’s all how you look at things, glass half-empty or glass half full.

I wasn’t aware that this person was struggling with some serious issues at the time. To someone who wasn’t feeling very blessed himself, my remarks must have felt like cold water splashed in his face. While I would say the same thing again I would be careful to explain what I meant. 

I try to remember that while my clouds have moved for the time being, someone else’s clouds have just shown up. I wished he could have seen my past and the clouds that once hovered over me as well or the clouds that are hovering now. But even with the clouds I really did feel blessed. Undeservedly blessed.

But if I’m feeling really down, I don’t want the gray clouds; I want the sun. I want something to interrupt my mood and cheer me up. On those days, I remind myself that clouds, by their very nature eventually move. (Of course, if you live in Michigan as I do, you might have to wait weeks, not days.)

I keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually the sun/Son does break through.  My mood gets better. I see things more clearly. It’s just the unrelenting nature of life. 

Some days we have to look to the heavens and just wait for the sky to change.

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Related posts

when we are afraid

When the fear wakes you up and your heart races

We are at our cabin. Our adorable little red cabin.

I’m sitting in the porch of my she-shed which is “adorabler”. (I know.)

But I am sharing this because even when everything is perfect, or maybe because everything is perfect, satan can attack as fast as a lion in wait for his next victim.

I was the victim.

You are caught so by surprise when satan ( I never capitalize his name) jumps out at you, your heart stops and then beats so fast, you feel as if you are on a roller-coaster that is about to careen off the tracks.

It had been a perfectly wonderful day. So when I woke up in the middle of the night terrified. I could not for the life of me figure it out.

I didn’t sleep well the rest of the night and the next day felt incredibly sad.

What’s all this about? It was a very “down” kind of a day which I rarely experience when we are at the cabin.

I had been working on my book the day before and I had joined a Zoom meeting for Hope Writers of which I am a member.

I enjoyed the meeting but I noticed my mood dropping a little as I compared myself to those I was listening to. I came up short. I was a bit discouraged even though I’m almost done with the book and feel really good about what I’ve written.

My husband had gotten up in the middle of the night to check on something that was hitting the roof. It is a tin roof and was raining really hard. He didn’t come back right away as he was checking outside and walked around the cabin. I didn’t know that and was scared something f had happened to him.

When he did come back, I sighed in relief, and fell back asleep and it was shortly after that I had that horrible anxiety attack.

That next day was the day, I was feeling so “down” and confused.

Thank goodness, I have studied my triggers over the years and know that on the rare occasion this happens, I need to examine the events of the few days prior.

As you can surmise, I did figure it all out.

The feelings of coming up short as compared to the other Hope Writers, and my husband not returning to bed right away, coupled with a bad nights’ asleep, all worked together beautifully as far as the enemy is concerned.

What a perfect opportunity I gave him.

So why did I share this and how can it help you?

First is all, never overestimate a good day, meaning always be prepared for the next day maybe being a not-so-perfect day. Because this is

just. how. life. works.

And when you have a bad day, don’t overestimate it either. Just because you have a bad day today doesn’t mean tomorrow will be more of the same.

I have a tendency to overestimate and overgeneralize both kind of days. Like most people I want every day to be wonderful and when they’re not, I get off kilter.

What about you? Do you have a tendency to do that? If you’re having a bad day, do you assume tomorrow will be more of the same? By the way, that’s a great way to be sure the next day is a bad one.

I am doing better. Yes, I did figure out that day but, honestly, there have been a number of them lately. It’s been almost twenty years since I have felt this way, so this is a little bit disconcerting.

I’m telling myself today that just like a lot of people, the pandemic and the riots are taking a toll and I’m trying not to over generalize or exacerbate my symptoms by being negative.

This is one of my favorite chapters, Psalm 91. Click on the picture to reveal.

You hang in there as well.

God bless and have a great day.

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keeping things simple

Do you have a rubber band constricting your life?

So, I have a tale to tell. It’s funny and embarrassing but I’m going to tell you anyway for a good reason.

I woke up in the early morning hours. My hand was throbbing. It was really swollen. I pinched it and didn’t feel a thing.

A few weeks before this, believe it or not, I had a similar thing happen with one of my fingers. I had cut it and it became infected. It was so swollen, my husband had to cut off the ring on that finger because it was making it worse.

So when I realized my hand was swollen, I immediately wondered if I had cut my hand and not realized it and the same thing was happening again. I felt my hand for a cut somewhere. There wasn’t one. At this point, I was sure I would end up in the emergency room. The pain was throbbing and intense.

And then…..

I decided to feel the rest of my arm.

(We’re going to take quick detour for a minute now, so stay with me.)

At my local library, the staff wraps the books in white paper and then secures it with a rubber band. The patron’s name is then written on the paper. A great deal can be learned by knowing what kinds of books people read, so this is how our library handles this privacy issue.

Well, I always put the rubber band on my wrist while I check out the books.

You know where this is headed, don’t you? I had left it there and completely “forget aboud’ it”. (Think an Italian accent.)

I had even double-wrapped the rubber band on my wrist! I guess, it took that long for my hand to swell. I hadn’t noticed a thing earlier because I was moving my arm and that probably kept my hand from swelling.

I immediately jerked off the rubber band and my hand was back to normal in about an hour. When I told my husband the next morning, he howled. However, he wasn’t surprised. I’ve been known to do things like this before. I am kind of a klutz.

But you know what I was thinking once I took off the rubber band?

I was thinking about how it was such a good example of how we approach much in life. We never think of the simplest answer first. And it’s usually the simple answer that’s right.

For example, if you want more joy in your life, examine how you spend your time. It’s that simple. Spend less time doing the things that don’t bring you joy and more time on the things that do.

Thinking in simple terms works across many issues:

Instead of looking for that elusive medical answer to your issues, take stock of your health habits first. If you’re tired all the time, take stock of your eating habits. Are you exercising daily? What about your mental habits? How are you talking to yourself?

Always look to the simplest answer for everything first. The old adage, KISS (keep it simple, stupid) still works although there should be a better word for “stupid”, maybe “silly”?

Alway look for the obvious.

Jesus never delivered a complicated, or long sermon. They were short and to the point. He never complicated his message with complex theology that no one could follow. He used simple stories that highlighted simple truths like, if you want to grow tomatoes, don’t plant pumpkin seeds. (Actually, he said you “reap what you sow”. Basically, the same thing, right?)

So, as you go about your life today, think about a rubber band. Do you have a rubber band in your life that is robbing you of your life’s blood supply? Is that rubber band causing anxiety for you because you won’t take it off?

The rubber band is any emotion, habit, action, etc. that you continue to engage in with no clue why. And trust me, we think and do most things in our life robotically, seldom asking ourselves “Why”?

Why do you feel the way you do?

Why do you do the thing you do?

What do you need to do differently?

It really isn’t complicated but it is complex. But you’ll figure it out if you “keep it simple, silly.” I did and I’m no smarter or more enlightened than you as clearly indicated by the rubber band incident.

Have a great and simple day and God bless.

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roses in a vase/purpose

My purpose? What purpose?

Do you sometimes feel like all the “Rah, Rah” Ziz, Boom, Ba” kind of sermon you hear or meme you read is just a bunch of hooey?

Sometimes do you just want people to quit the cheerleading? I mean it all sounds a bit much after a while, don’t you think?

There are times I just don’t want to think about my purpose. It’s all too overwhelming.

Purpose? What  purpose?/inspirational

Sometimes I just want to pamper myself and my self-indulgent habits. I just want it (life) to quit being about purpose and goals and what I should or should not be doing. I just want to do what I want to do.

Or do I?

Yep. Sometimes I do.

And sometimes I do just that, do what I want to do.

But I think if we don’t believe we have a purpose,, what’s the point? The truth is sometimes it’s hard to believe we have a unique purpose. However, we don’t find it hard to believe other people do, however.

We don’t have a problem believing a Bill Gates has a purpose. We don’t have problem believing a famous pastor with a huge congregation has a purpose. How about an author with lots of published books? Someone with great influence? But what about us in our little corner of the world?

I struggle with this myself. I struggle with this blog. There are so many bloggers out there with beautifully designed blogs. For a long time, I tried to be one of those. I worked hard on my decorating pictures. The DIY projects. I tried to keep up.

Purpose? What  purpose?/inspirational

But these other bloggers have one huge advantage over me. They take beautiful pictures. They have the cameras and the photo lens…I don’t. And not because I can’t. I certainly can. I’ve toyed with buying the right camera, and accessories.

But that’s not my purpose.

My blog was started for one main purpose, to share my faith and to speak to the subject of mental health, primarily depression and anxiety. I need to get back to that.

So I’m rethinking how to come back to where I began. How often to post. I want to do a better job of scheduling and planning.

My purpose?

To encourage you. To share my faith To share my experience with depression and all I’ve learned over the years. That is the purpose for all of us.

To be authentic.

To be honest.

To be genuine.

To live fearlessly.

To live openly.

I’m glad I’m back to my purpose. I think most of us have to do some digging sometimes to figure it out.

I’m looking forward to where God is leading for this next year.

And I hope you are, too.

God bless and have a great day.

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Let's all be heroes/American flag

Riots and Rockets. Shades of the sixties

Talk about history repeating itself. The sixties were a time of rocket launches and riots. The only difference is that now we are seeing everything unfold twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We couldn’t avoid it if we tried.

This will not be a political post. There’s enough blame to go around for both parties. No, this is a post about the heart.

Where are our hearts?

I would suggest our hearts should be breaking over all this. Our hearts should break because of what happened to George Floyd.

Our hearts should break over the towns whose business districts are being destroyed.

Our hearts should break because the very people who were peacefully protesting are now being used by outside political groups.

The other day I was at Walmart, two days after the shooting. Two women in front of me were asked by the man (what position he had, I don’t know) to see their receipt. They refused, telling him he had no legal right to ask them that. He backed off.

As they walked away, I heard one of the women say to the other, “I’ll bet they don’t ask white people to show their receipt”.

But as I left, he didn’t ask me.

I felt like catching up with the women and letting them know that I felt what happened to George Floyd was horrible. That not all white people are racist. Certainly, not me. (Hmmmmm ?)

I didn’t follow them, because frankly, I was quite sure they probably didn’t care what I thought. And that’s OK.

My heart was with those two women and the insult they felt from the “security” guard. It was just wrong.

I trust you are praying about all this hate and hurt.

Let’s get our hearts in the right place. Let’s quit judging and treating people differently because of their ethnicity, education, weight, economic or educational disparities……

I really do believe that change occurs in the world when it changes in individuals first.

Think about when you meet a new person. Can’t you just feel whether they are angry or calm? They each emit a kind of aura, don’t they? I want my “aura” to reflect God’s love.

We were all feeling a bit helpless because of the pandemic and now we have these riots. We really feel helpless now.

The history when Jesus walked the earth was not that much different than now. (Except for the rocket launch, of course.) Poor people and minorities were being taken advantage of, too. Why do you think headdressed the treatment of the poor so often? Political turmoil was everywhere.

Jesus preached that our hearts had to change and we, and we alone, are responsible for that heart change.

It’s no different in 2020.

I know that for me, I’m looking at my heart intently. I don’t want racism or any kind of discrimination to live in my heart. I am challenging myself this next week with the thoughts I choose and the words I use.

Let’s all just open our hearts to the Holy Spirit to search us and see if there is any “wrong” thinking. Is there something as an individual we need to be doing differently?

God bless and pray for the safety of America across these situations.

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trials from God

I had a Covid test. And then there are God’s tests.

My husband and I were heading home for our little up-north-Michigan cabin when we learned there was a free drive-thru Covid-19 testing site that was open for two days.

My husband had a scheduled testing in preparation for a colonoscopy this week. I decided I should have one as well as we saw our family over the week-end, social distancing and all that. I wanted to be able to tell them that I probably wasn’t infected when I saw them, for my own piece of mind.

It was very interesting. It didn’t take long at all. The line moved quickly.

I also felt it was good simply to give the health department in our town more information. It would certainly add to the database.

Let me just say, I hope the test with the shorter swab is available soon! Enough said. At least, it only took about five seconds. So there was that.

My husband’s test came back normal. Mine isn’t back yet but seeing as my husband’s was normal, mine probably will be as well.

Seriously, if you have to have one it only takes a few seconds so don’t worry about it.

Which brings me to tests in general, especially the ones that take longer than five minutes, the ones God allows or even at times sends our way.

There are some Christians I know who don’t ever see the “test” in their difficult situations. They don’t see that maybe, just maybe, their struggle is God reaching out to them, to grow them and draw them closer.

I believe God quite often allows us to wade through difficult situations. Maybe he’s tried to get our attention in other ways, more gentle ways, but we just didn’t hear him. I often thank God that he loves his children so much, he allows these trials to come our way because he wants to be closer to us!

But after a period of testing, I listen a little harder. I prefer to learn in easier ways.

I pay closer attention to how God dealt with the Israelites in the Old Testament. The admonitions that Jeremiah preaches to Israel over and over quotes God as saying, “because you didn’t listen to me”. These particular warnings are used often in the Old Testament to warn the Israelites.

I think it behooves all of us to remember God’s words of admonitions to the Israelites, “Because you didn’t listen to me” because they provide direction for our own lives, .

So “listen” when you read God’s word. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit as you read. It’s so much better to learn what we need to learn the easy way.

I hope you have a wonderful day and be safe.

God bless you.

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excitement fatigue, depression

Have you heard of excitement fatigue?

OK, so I made that term up. But I think you will agree it makes sense.

Fatigue is a common trigger for depression. And it doesn’t have to be the kind that results from physical labor.

  • It can be stress fatigue.
  • I can be emotional fatigue.
  • It can be mental fatigue.
  • And it can be “excitement” fatigue.

It’s easy to understand the connection between stress fatigue, emotional fatigue, and mental fatigue. It’s harder to understand the connection between excitement fatigue and depression.

It really doesn’t have anything to do with fatigue. It has to do with the let-down we feel when the excitement is gone and that feels very much like fatigue. And if we are counting on the “highs” to make us forget about our depression, then it only stands to reason that when the excitement is gone, our low mood comes back in full force.

Our lives needs “evenness”. That’s why I suggest we pay attention to the “highs” and try to moderate them a little because a “high” for any reason anything means a degree of “low” is inevitable. Be prepared for those times with a plan.

I’ve often repeated the words, “Watch out for happiness!”. That may sound awful but hear me out.

Depression is all about moods, their fluctuations, their unpredictability. That’s why we often found that after a wonderful, happy day, our moods can drop very quickly.

When we’re having a great time we want it to continue. Why would we not? Isn’t that normal?

But the truth? Life won’t always be happy or problem free. It feels so good to not think about our depression for a while.

Life is full of routine, predictability, mundaneness so we should relish the high moments. They are life’s reprieves. They give us hope for the future.

But real life happens in the space between the ups and the downs, the in-between places.

Rebecca Platt

It’s in the “in-between” places we find out who we are, how strong we are.

For myself,I didn’t want to deal with those ups and downs. I wanted to enjoy my “great” days without anticipating the inevitable low days that followed. It was one of the motivators for me to conquer my depression. I wanted a smooth ride not the up and down ride of a roller-coaster.

People with depression almost always do better when they keep their moods a little more “checked”.

Go ahead. Look forward to those good times. Enjoy them. Savor them. Just don’t make them such a high, you are bound to fall.

God bless and have a great day.

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Let's all be heroes/American flag

Happy Memorial Day. Let’s all be heroes.

I’m afraid Memorial Day is not what it used to be. It used to be a holiday for “remembering”. Not necessarily a remembering of anyone we personally knew. But a remembering of those who sacrificed their lives so we could have our freedom.

Right now we need to remember all those men and women who have fought and those who gave their lives so we could have choices.

Choices about how we want to live our lives. Choices about our future. Choices about our faith.

Right now with the pandemic still looming, it’s easy to forget those brave men and women because we are all caught up in our own worry and fear.

It’s often been said that if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. When we remember the soldiers, the medics, the nurses that spent years away from families to protect us, we feel a sense of pride. We don’t know their names or anything about them. They are faceless. But we are proud of them. We are proud to be Americans who look out for each other.

And there are still men and women protecting us around the world.

So while we are all experiencing some much needed freedom after our quarantine, let’s not forget all those who’ve protected us in the past and those who are protecting us now.

Tell them thank-you. Honor their uniform and their sacrifice. The politics don’t matter.

And remember, Americans look out for each other. To me that means we do the things that keep each other safe. Wear those masks if not for your own protection, then for others. Appreciate that while you might not feel the need, others do. For their sense of well-being, wear the masks as an act of respect for their fears.

We can all be present-day heroes by being sensitive to the fears of others.

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