Holy Week


I am going to say I had a miracle this weekend. I have had a brutal cold, thanks to my son ( I knew I never should have taught him to share!  haha) So it’s a week and half still coughing to the point when I have a real coughing fit, I have to put my back against a wall because it hurts.  So Friday after a bad coughing  day and went to bed coughing and sputtering, ( I made a model T sound like a purring kitten)  but as I lay there I said “Lord I am so tired I need sleep please let me get some sleep tonight.” I woke up at 8am – I didn’t cough once all night. I felt so good I couldn’t believe it.

Friday my husband had a really bad day at work, with a co-worker, he was very upset. That Saturday morning I was so elated to not cough and felt rested that I lay there Praising God for giving me what I needed most. Then I put my hand on my husband and prayed for him.   My man is very heartfelt, conflict like that bothers him very much and he will play the events over and over in his mind.   I felt God poking me. Poke, poke, poke, the message I was getting “you prayed in silence now pray it aloud”. I did what a normal human does – ignored it.  So after a few more pokes, I started to pray aloud.  We felt uplifted, it was a good day.

It is a lesson on trust.  Trust is one of the hardest things to learn.  Depression takes away that trust.  You know your mind is not processing things right and you distrust everything.  Your emotions carry you away like a tornado from Kansas.  The darkness takes away your ability to see where you are stepping, there is no light upon the path; that you can see, and as a result you curl up in a ball unable to unclench your eyes afraid of the dark afraid to open them because you won’t see the light and you become paralysed.

I was reading about Peter the other day – I love Peter (if you have never read about him look it up in your bible – well worth it).  Peter is the sum of humanity.  He is a man’s man.  He is a fisherman, aware of nature, rugged, hard-working.   He is loyal, not afraid to grab a sword to defend himself  or his friends.  He is real, he knows who Jesus is and is the first to say go away from me I am a sinner.   He also speaks out of turn, lets his enthusiasm get the better of him, so he is heartfelt.  He denys he knows Jesus 3 times – he is like the rest of us. There is a story of the disciples in one of their boats and they are crossing a body of water and a storm blows up.  Its bad and they know they are in trouble – even though most of them were fishermen by trade, they are panicking.  They look up and here comes Jesus walking in the storm on the water.  As what is happening sinks in for these guys, Peter asks Jesus if he could walk to him.  Jesus asks him to come and he does and is doing ok, for a bit, then realizes what his feet are doing and sees the darkness around him and begins to sink, Jesus grabs his hand and helps him.  The meaning of the story is obvious.   But as I rolled this story around my mind I was thinking more of the storm than of Jesus.  The storm is a great example of our trials in life but also of the storm of depression.

The portral of people, who suffer from depression on TV, to sell the latest drug, shows people quietly sulking, at least that is how it looks.  There are times I curl up in a ball and can’t move, but the mind is nothing like what the body is doing.  The mind is swirling like a perfect storm.   Thoughts, voices, misconceptions, twirling around, you feel the coldness of the loneliness, the emptiness and you can’t shake it.  The fear of the wind of lies blowing from all directions as you feel yourself being blown all over the map. You see the darkness below you the abyss that wants to suck you down and never give you up.  This is exactly what Peter experienced, the wind of divisiveness, the dark abyss below, the fear, the coldness of  the emptiness, alone on the water out of the safety of the boat. The doubt of what you see to what you feel.

The next thing that happens in the story, besides Jesus saving Peter,  Jesus calms the storm.  The winds stop, the lake becomes like glass, and they are at their destination.  This is the season of Lent and beside it being a time of repentance, and lets face it, praying and repenting doesn’t last that long.  40 days of ‘forgive me God’ gets old.  Don’t get me wrong,  I need every second of that time, for I am a sinner.  but, Lent is a good time of introspection but it is also a time for expansion.  Expansion of thought, of trust, of faith.  This lent I have had some up moments, but I have been mostly down, but not lost in the dark.   Of all the readings, services and things I have done this Lent one thing sticks in my mind (which is saying something cause my memory doesn’t stick well 🙂 but it is the 5 words:  I don’t know my place.   God is Holy, divine, and I am not.  I don’t think of myself as wonderful and divine, but I do think I am; or am desperate to, be in control.  Don’t we all.  Depression takes away your control because chemically your brain misfires and you can not control it.  When I heard that, it felt like an arrow hit me in the heart!   I have had a couple of things that have bothered me through out this process of depression.  Why will God not take this from me? When will it be over? I miss my old self. I can’t believe I am suffering from this and how frightening it is to be really low.    And then comes the thought.  As a christian one of the major problems we have is not knowing our place.  As it says in Job, God asks ‘who is it that speaks words with out widsom’.  That be me!  I do not know my place and I want God to ‘fix’ me.

The reality of all these thoughts.  I am suffering from depression, it may and could last the rest of my life, I have an amazing Lord, Father, that is divine and powerful, and knowledgable.  I am not.  These thoughts have made humble, they have made me repent, they have brought me closer to God.  It has put me in the right place.  I know God is in control.  I have put myself in the place I should be, it has increased my trust in God and it has increased my faith.

So now what?  I am still a sinner, I am still struggling, I am still suffering from mental illness, I have up days and down, but the days don’t seem so hard, my heart feels more full.  Maybe this is just a moment in time.  Tomorrow could be a dark and evil day for me.  But if it is there are a couple of things I have to  hold on to.  I have the memory of the fullness of my heart and the joy I feel today.  I have a wonderful supportive husband, family and friends, and most of all I have hope…. amen

till next time………………………

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Research and thinking


I have been sitting on an island for 4 days now. Once in a while I get off but most of the day and night that is where I sit. I have had a wicked cold, and slept on the couch to keep from waking my husband. Its the first time in 21 years of marriage that my husband and I have been in the same house but slept in different rooms. I took two days off work, but back now. Slowly recovering. This winter is my winter to get sick, It is rarely I do get sick — but it seems once in every 5 years its my year– and this is my year! But I am getting better day by day.

I have depression wise been ok, its hard to be depressed when you can’t stop coughing!!!!! Actually its been ok. I called my doctor today to see if the psychiatrist I saw a month ago had submitted the report yet. No. So I am thinking and researching my meds. I am on Cipralex and Wellbutrin.   I am considering going off the first and staying on the second.   I think the Cipralex has been hard on my body and its time to maybe make a change.   Its just something I am rolling in my mind. But like anything always consult your doctor before starting or stopping something.  I won’t do anything till talk to her but in the mean time…… researching and thinking.

 

till next time………………..

Rippling


Wednesday – just trying to get caught up on my house work, and prepare for painting my daughter and son’s rooms. Feeling a little down. I knew I was going to feel that way today, I could feel the physical change this morning. I went for a walk with a friend today and had coffee. It was so fun hanging out with her. I have always thought her of a good friend. It was nice to talk.

Its funny over the past few days I have been having the same theme re-occure. You never know how people look at you. You never know how you appear, you know how you feel and usually the two never coincide. My friend told me that I put forth a projection of confidence. I don’t panic but look at a problem and make a plan. I have always seen myself as not having confidence. I have always felt self-conscious and afraid of not meeting the demands of marriage, family and work. Being raised on the farm you never sat down, you always had to keep working to meet the demands of the day, the needs of the animals on the farm. It was just expected that things got canned, things got cooked, cleaned, and taken care of. You just did.  I have always been self-conscious of dressing appropriate and trying to look ok and being accepted, and never really feeling that I was. Yet others always seen me as an achiever, confident and self-assured. Funny the confidence others saw, was me just taking care of business and doing what had to be done, or expected, yet never feeling like I really met those expectations, if anything I was anxious, a little OCD and never really fitting in or feeling normal.

How screwed things can get.  I am not bringing this up to be negative, I am a people watcher.  I love to sit some where public and watch people and see what they are doing.   This insight I find interesting, and yet I think that this is a standard of how every one really is.  Don’t we all put on a brave face, Don’t we all try to show a cool James Dean exterior?  We want to appear controlled, together, smart, able. — Sorry, previous psyc student, human behavior I find interesting.

How ironic is that.  I am a previous psychology and sociology student, and here I am going to Psychiatrist and councilors, and taking medications and endless doctor appointments.  Come on that is a little ironic !   Tomorrow I find out what the pyschiatrist  says about my apt I had with her and what her recommendations will be.  I am a little nervous about it.

As for tonight – it’s getting late, I went to Lent service tonight.  I was feeling really down. It was hard to sit in church and listen to the service. The evening was more an argument in my head.  I heard the voices say that if this God of mine is to be Holy and Jesus drove out demons and calmed the waters of a storm, why can’t he cure you- you are not worthy of curing, your God is not loving.  I spent the evening telling myself that God is love, and he is holy and I don’t know my place.  What words are these without knowledge. What words are these that want to challenge God.  I was considering giving my darkness a name.  In the bible it was considered almost ownership to know someone my name.  I don’t want to give the darkness credit or a licence to stay, but I am drawing back to the thought that if I am going to suffer from this for the rest of my life- I need to realize that this is the way it is.  Acceptance of this has been the hardest thing for me.  Maybe because I have always looked at a problem and said don’t panic, make a plan and do it.  With this there is no plan there is no pattern, there are no rules.  That is the other thing I was telling myself in church. This is your life deal with it, accept it.  Or as my son would say Keep Calm Carry On.  The emotional side of me tonight, just wants to cry tears that don’t come out.  Like the previous post of that book said,  the pain is the companion that never leaves.  It is with you and there are days like this evening where you are the walking wounded. So I smile at those around me. Argue in my head. Try to calm the voices, stick to my beliefs and fight the temptation to hide in the dark.  Another day in the life.

till next time……………..

 

 

Ripples.


Today I am back from visiting my Mom and doing some stuff for her. I left two men in a hours for 36 hours and have spent most of this morning cleaning up after them! Men! I have been sleeping like you would not believe. Its been 10 to 12 hours a night. I am still tired but I am heading out with a friend to hike so maybe I can get some fresh air and wake up! I have that tingly feeling this morning — not shakey but could be. I can’t stop thinking about the people I met in Stratford yesterday while Mom and I were hacking around down town. People I haven’t thought about in over 20 years. People who knew me when I was a pastry chef in Stratford, and before. Talking how they remember me from those days and why they remember me. One lady I knew her son in high school and spent some time at their place a few times when we were picking him up for a party or dance. He died about 15 years ago, she never talks about him. My Mom didn’t even know he had passed. I sent her a card then telling her how much fun her son was and how I will always remember him. She stills remembers to this day, and told my Mom how I used to make them laugh when we came over way back then. I have to admit I was taken a back.

I guess this story is a reminder that no matter what you do in life, no matter who you run into, little things do mean alot. Twenty to 30 years later people remember something I can’t remember. Its humbling, but in the same breath its nice to know I did something nice. Depression makes one feel so useless and unworthy, but you are the ripples in a pond of the world. Please note I didn’t say a storm in a quiet sea, cause sometimes that is how my brain feels. Life is not centeralized, we need to decide what ripples we want to make in life. Love ripples, supportive ripples, or hate ripples and ripples that create brokeness.

Thought for today–

Dear Lord


Dear Lord I am praying tonight for the brokenhearted. Me included, but more than me, I have been traveling around the past few days talking to old friends and people from my home town. Hearing their stories of late, having them tell me stories of past, stories about me and how I made them laugh long ago. I don’t know how this happened, I know you put them in my path these past days. I prayed with and for them. I am pulled down by the pain and heartbreak they are enduring but Lord I hope I was able to show your love and light to them. God bless them and show them the Light and the way. I need to spend more time with my Mom. She needs my help. Help me find the energy, time, and clarity to help her. Bless the people who are broken hearted and love them dear Lord. All these things I place into your hands and pray the prayer that never fails, may your will be done. Amen

Faith


Faith and depression. A person who comes to faith changes their thinking, they can’t possibly not change their thinking. Usually it is an awakening of thoughts that were always there, but ignored. It is a shift from self to our creator.  Jesus said “love the Lord with all your heart with all your soul all your strength and with all you mind” To have faith demands an intelligent response. It’s not a happy fluffy feeling good thing. It’s not like, “I’m craving steak tonight.” It’s not a craving or whimsical. When you make the decision or recognize that there is a God, it is all that, a decision. It involves pondering, revelation, thought, and trust in the truth of God’s word. When we spend time reading the word and studying it, the Holy Spirit works in us to give us a new mind and way of thinking in line with God’s thinking and its peace. In a normal mind that relationship is closer and more intimate.

In a depressed mind, there are blockers, blind spots and moments of light. Notice I didn’t say walls or complete separation; for that is something God would never do to us, there is always a window, a crack to open, even if you don’t see it. The relationship may not be close, but if I can recognize that there is a light, a crack in the wall, a slight hope of something. If I can notice these things and try to trust and try to come close to God…. and in my darkness, I may be able to survive this and I could fail, fall, maybe that is all I can expect. I may hide my eyes from the Lord but that doesn’t mean he is not there. It is a peek a boo game but he is always facing me, reaching for me, loving me. I have no peace today, but tomorrow could be a better day. It could be worse too. And if it is, I guess that is what it is and try to do what is right and healthy, limit my temptation of taking wine to dull my pain, not eating to punish me, instead let myself off the hook. This is a positive response.
The most important thing tonight- fantastic friends, a Great God, and a limit of darkness in my day today and loving my husband and my kids. I need to count my blessings. To quote the”Life of Brian” I may feel like I am being crucified but “Always look on the bright side of Life” looking for the light

later in the day………….

That last line is more a convincing for me than for my readers. I went to my monthly prayer meeting with my pastor, his wonderful wife, who is my best friend, and my husband tonight. Prayer night can be uplifting or exhausting. Tonight I feel exhausted, angry. When we pray together we are a mighty force, we can all feel the force of God around us and we pray not only for me (which I don’t like cause it makes me feel needy) but we also pray for our families our marriages, our kids, and each other. The bible says that where there are 2 or more in prayer the Lord is with us. He is always with us when we pray. The spirit comes upon us and I feel we can move mountains.

I may not be in the place I want to be – I feel sad but I also feel a direction tonight. and my spirits are uplifted by texting my best friend, and feeling God close.  Tonight I think I can sleep.

The next day.
I did sleep and I do feel better this morning. I spent some time alone today. An hour to just think and allow my mind to wander and listen if God had anything to whisper to me. He did. The thought came to me – this depression could last the rest of your life. This may seem weird but I got some comfort from that thought. I don’t want this illness, I have asked God to take it away from me.

Remember when you were in school waiting for summer vacation to come. Time could not pass fast enough. You couldn’t wait for what ever you were doing to pass to get the prize. When I thought about depression for the rest of my life, it seem to take the pressure off of waiting for it to get better and as the weeks pass and I go up, and I go down, the downs seem to be devastating. If this is my lot in life – deal, get some strategies, take the drugs, do what feels right for me. That could result in some debating with the Doctor. I will not be a study for them, I want a quality of life. Tonight I feel confident in saying this- who knows next week, I could be down and out. I have to keep looking for that crack of light and trust that I am in the hands of God. Otherwise there is nothing
till next time………….

Darkness Visible : William Styron


A dear friend shared this with me. It clearly sums up what I have tried to explain in a dozen postings.
Its from a book see below author and title.

Its what I go through every day- some days better, some days worse.

“In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come- not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul. So the decision-making of daily life involves not, as in normal affairs, shifting from one annoying situation to another less annoying- or from discomfort to relative comfort, or from boredom to activity- but moving from pain to pain. One does not abandon, even briefly, one’s bed of nails, but is attached to it wherever one goes. And this results in a striking experience- one which I have called, borrowing military terminology, the situation of the walking wounded. For in virtually any other serious sickness, a patient who felt similar devistation would by lying flat in bed, possibly sedated and hooked up to the tubes and wires of life-support systems, but at the very least in a posture of repose and in an isolated setting. His invalidism would be necessary, unquestioned and honorably attained. However, the sufferer from depression has no such option and therefore finds himself, like a walking casualty of war, thrust into the most intolerable social and family situations. There he must, despite the anguish devouring his brain, present a face approximating the one that is associated with ordinary events and companionship. He must try to utter small talk, and be responsive to questions, and knowingly nod and frown and, God help him, even smile. But it is a fierce trial attempting to speak a few simple words.”
― William Styron, Darkness Visible