December 2012


So its December now and I was decorating the house and getting into Christmas mode this past weekend.  I was thinking about the Season as it approached and the Ghosts of Christmas past.  I wrote a lot about the negitiveness that followed me over the past years.  My Depression started in full force two Christmas’ ago and I was thinking as I sorted through the good decorations and tired ones, where am I this year.   (Sorting was the theme of the day at my house this past weekend)

I am not in the movie “A Christmas Carol” this year.  The Ghosts are not here or near this time.  I am in a better place.  I think some of it has to do with breaking tradition and running away last year to Mexico with my husband and kids for a week.  This year I am breaking of tradition again.  I think this is what is helping me this year.   I have redefined my Christmas story.  How I want to celebrate it, even what  bible vs to define it.

 I will explain.  We have done the traditional things each year.  We help out with Care and Share at our church and attend the kids program for Christmas Eve service at 7:30 and then we head to our neighbours for a drink and home.  Christmas day has always been a back and forth thing.  The day at one parents, boxing day at the other side, and both sides of the family take turns hosting.  Same old same old.  The last time we did this I was deeply depressed didn’t have a diagnosis and didn’t know what was wrong with me, and was not on medication.  My husband’s family saw this as a pout fest on my part and I was ridiculed for being anti social.  My side of the family we decided to stop the Christmas gift exchange and have a gift party, or rodeo.  Buy a gift, no name, but wrapped, play a game to see who gets it.  My sister-in-law showed up with 4 of the same gifts.  It wasn’t that exciting.  She got mad cause she realized she didn’t understand the game.  A day later we were back at home and I had been begging my husband to go to Florida instead for Christmas.  He conceded and said that maybe we should have gone.  I cried for an hour.

 Last year we went to Mexico the 4 of us as a family.  It was wonderful. A week in the sun at a resort. We were all so happy and all relaxed it was the best thing we ever did as a family.  We told the rest of the family that they were to continue on their own and not to buy us anything cause we were spending all our money on this trip.  BEST thing ever.  It was a real bonding time with the kids especially as one is now in college, 4 hour drive away, and the other is working part time and in grade 11.

This year I decided to try something different.  It is my year to host on both sides of the family, believe it or not this is a blessing from God.  Boxing Day I am having a Family Christmas Party.  Inviting both sides of the family on the same day and party. I sent out invitations, asked them not to bring presents, but come prepared to have some fun and a celebration of family. No sit down dinner, lots of appetizers.  We have some games to play and it should (praying to God for this one) be Great.  In the process of my husband and I discussing this I started to get excited about Christmas.  I have to say I haven’t said that in a few years.  It really has felt liberating.  No running around finding stuff no one wants. No menu prep for large dinners.  The lack of shopping and the more we have spent time just enjoying the season the better it is getting.  Well its only December 3rd I am praying for this.  My only fear is not the season and what it will do to me I think I am ready to face it.  Well at least today I am ready.  My fear is that I have become chemically unbalanced and have a fall. 

I also have one family member who does not understand what I am going through.  I have tried to tell her – three times I have tried to tell her—she thinks I am angry at her and hate her and she does not hear anything I say to her.  I do not on both accounts. (hate or angry at her) I would just like to finish a sentence so she gets it.  I have come to realize that sometimes its better not to even try, some people don’t hear, period, unless its about them.

Sunday the phrase “doing it for God” came out in some bible readings.  Do all you do for God, has always been a hard thing to grasp.  But I saw it with clarity on Sunday.  I have always thought do everything you do to the Glory of God.  Forgiveness to the nith degree, Loving everyone to the nith degree, Doing my Job, raising my kids, etc. etc. to the nith perfect degree.  It has always put a burden on me.  I have a hard time trying to connect doing something — for God, and trying very hard but mostly failing at it and feeling like I am letting God down. Yesterday, however,  it struck me that I decorated my house for Christmas to the Glory of God.  It was so easy. I didn’t clutter my house with lots of stuff,  I didn’t over decorate,  I had thrown out a lot of old stuff I strung every where.  I just decorated simply to please God not anyone else.  I did it for the happiness of the season, and God filled me with stress free, liberating, joy.  It was amazing.   It seems like a simple thing.  God wants the simple things.  Two years ago I took a couple of things out kicked the rest in the storage room and didn’t really do much.  Last year I did just as much cause we were going away for Christmas.  This year I pulled everything out, used the best of what I had and decorated for God.

This has put me in a real sense of peace for this week.  I can’t say that I am on top of the world.  There are a few dips this week but for the most part it is not darkness approaching its a case of feeling a little sad, but I have been able to shake it off.

 

That is all for now, till next time……………………

 

 

 

Happy New Year 2012


Hola.  A week on vacation is never enough- We spent a week in Mexico and it was wonderful.  The sun, sand, time away, all good and peaceful for the soul.  Every morning we would wake to drink our coffee watching the birds and feeling the ever-increasing heat and it warmed my soul as well as my body.  God blessed me with a wash of peace.  I could feel it come over me like a comforting blanket, and lifted my spirits.  The ghosts of Christmas past did not follow me, they stayed in the past where they belonged- it was my greatest fear. I think for me the pain of the previous year frightened me into believing that I could replay or feel them all over again.  That was a lie that the darkness wanted me to believe.  The darkness wanted me to believe that the Birth or our Saviour wasn’t important and I would associate this celebration with pain, not a promise of light.  Jesus‘ birth this year became more to me than any family celebration I have ever had.   We bought no presents, we planned this expensive vacation to get away, and in some ways I was worried I was running away.  It concerned me because next year we would not be able to run away and what then?  Will the darkness find me and sink me down?  The devil knew all the buttons to push.

Here is what happened.  We stepped out of the commercialism, family ritual, expectations of people and left. Sounds like running away- but we just took a break.  What filled those holes.  Love.  We spent time as an individual family, just our kids, just us as a married couple, and reconnected.  We walked away from family problems, personalities and we all have those in our extended families.  We returned and spent two days with dear friends, and connected with them.  New Years Day I am sitting at my table with my friends for dinner, we had our close friends for New Years Eve and the day was our camping friends, and my thoughts were very much on my friends who I couldn’t be with that day and I felt a wash of love, peace, and joy.  Why, cause we get along with friends than family?? Well that may be true partly, I think God was giving me a deeper meaning.  He has blessed my family with friends that are life long.  There is an old saying that says, it takes a village to raise a child.  I was sitting, thinking and being with my village.  My heart overflowed with joy, I was sipping from my saucer cause my cup over flow.

So what does that have to do with depression?  Ya it is easy to feel all warm when you’re at a resort that is all-inclusive and the tequilla was flowing, no wonder I felt all warm and fuzzy!! Yes true, but and its a big BUT. Depression strips away all you hold dear.  Your mind fails you and you feel you are alone, sad, isolated, unworthy, disappointment, failure, better off anywhere else, even death than to be where you are right now.  Depression is a long struggle between feeling good to resisting the sadness which try to seep in and steal your happiness.  There are good days like the past two weeks and there are bad days like previous, and some days your mind completely leaves you in a storm where you don’t know which way is up.  Then God gives you a present like I am feeling now.  Shows me that I am worthy, smart, loved, blessed and in His protection.

As the plane descended on Mexico I was still battling the ghosts of Christmas past, I prayed that God could protect me from the darkness and show me even more of his light and grace.  I kept my eyes focused on him and my family and I felt carried by God through our vacation and even back here in Canada.  As I return to routine I hope that I can continue on this level.  But the chemicals in my brain may not allow it in a week or two or more but in the mean time I prepare as always for the next storm by healing my wounds, coming and studying closer God’s love and creating a foundation that is build on rock and not on sand – to handle any storm!

Happy New Year and God’s Blessings

December — already!!!


December already, how did that happen. Hard to believe it is that time already.  This weekend I don’t have much happening so its a good time to decorate the house — well clean the house first and then decorate for christmas.  Its a weird Christmas this year.  We are going to Mexico for Christmas, land in there a couple days before and leave before New Years.   I am starting to get excited for the adventure. I am going to miss my friends and my Mother but it makes for a real breaking of traditions. We are not buying a tree this year, no point.  I have this huge Ficus tree that already has pin lights on it so we are just going to add to it.  No presents to buy.  We told everyone not to buy for us we would not buy for them.  No Christmas shopping – It is really neat.  No cards to send we decided we would take a picture on holidays and mail them out when we got back as Happy New Year pictures.  There are some things I will miss but this is a once in a life time thing, so its ok.  Its kinda nice to shake up Christmas.

Last year I had my breakdown before Christmas and was so depressed I couldn’t bearly function.  I hated the holidays last year. I couldn’t stand the carols, the decorating, the services, the parties, the food. It all just was too much to swallow.

This year is so much different. Since my prayer meeting with my pastor and best friend, I have been feeling more and more like me.  I canceled my therapy meeting for next week.  I have been feeling good and with Christmas coming up I am a little busy to be driving across the city, for now.  I was standing in Canadian Tire this morning with my husband, I was listening to a christmas song with a sax in it, it was so pretty and then I felt a very soft little pop.  I was waiting for my husband to make up his mind as to what bulb to buy for the van lights and just thinking about God and my previous day’s devotions and half listening to the music and suddenly I felt excited for Christmas. Not because we have this big trip planned but just excited about the event its self.  The services at church the getting together with people, the parties we are going to, the little things I want to do to make christmas special for the kids.  It was all very neat, and foreign.  At first I was hey what does that mean.  Then I had this thought “I like Christmas” and then I rethought the thought and Yes I do like Christmas.  I know this sounds weird but here’s the thing.  I hated Christmas last year and for the rest of the year I kept thinking about how the depression started and how it was at the Christmas time of year and I have been putting such negative energy and thoughts around the Holiday that I was a little taken a back when I decided that I like Christmas this year.  The only thing that grieves me is I will be missing two of my favorite services, and my friends. To think about it now makes me a little sad, but I will be sitting on a beach in the sun so maybe I can live with

In the end I am feeling more and more like me, is it God, is it I am getting adjusted to the drugs, is it the therapy I have had, is it a combination of all of the above?  — well yes but I think that my prayer meeting with the 4 of us has made the most difference.  It was such a powerful prayer meeting– it is defiantly a do over. I think God is giving me a peace I haven’t had in a while and that is wonderful, as for therapy– not sure what to think yet.

This is all i have to say for now – have a great weekend

October: thinking of Christmas


I know — thinking of Christmas??? My family just booked a vacation to Mexico for Christmas break.  Just me my husband and kids.  No parents, in-laws, or any other family.  We will spend Christmas morning on a beach.  We have never done this and I am looking forward to the heat and break, and seeing the palm trees.  The last time I saw palm trees was 18 years ago.  So needless to say that I am looking forward to it.

A friend said to me “well you are going to miss the celebration of the birth of Jesus”  I said “ya but its something that everyone wants to do sometime take off for Christmas.”  Then the friend said ” True, but then again you were in a bad place last year you didn’t enjoy any of Christmas.”

I thought about last year, the breakdown I had, the deep depression I was in, the endless tears, fears, the darkness that surrounded me.  I hated Christmas last year.  Hate is a strong word but I was confused, I was scared, I truly thought I was going crazy.  When I sat in church and listened to the bible verses being read, it was like the they spoke another language.  I could not understand what they were saying.  On our Nativity night at the church where we dressed up as wise men etc. for the neighbourhood and sang christmas carols and read about the birth of Jesus, I was so angry that night.  To hear the elder read, made me want to put my hands over my ears and scream “Stop Stop, enough”.  I didn’t want to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth.  The lie had me convinced that I couldn’t believe it, and don’t listen to it.   That was last year.  This year when I had the discussion about my coming trip, I thought about Christmas Eve, how we would miss the evening candle light service; my favorite, and all the things we usually did to make Christmas special at home.  Then it hit me.  When we booked the trip and everything was said and done.  I was so relieved.  That was the feeling I felt.  Not excitement, not  “what an adventure”, I just felt relieved, like someone had taken a burden off my shoulders.  In my meditations this week it came to me;  Your running!  From what? From last year.  Last Christmas.

Running, I was in a lot of pain last year.  I suffered from panic attacks, deep depression, and paranoia.  I was being shadowed by darkness, in a way I had never experienced before, and it scared the crap out of me. This trip is going to take me away from all the usual events we do every year at Christmas.  Christmas Eve service and party at the neighbours.  Christmas day presents breakfast and coffee with kids and dinner with family.  Boxing day with the other side of the family.   December 27th is pajama day, no one gets dressed and lays around all day.  This year I was to host my side of the family Christmas and my in-laws on Boxing day.  Both events last year were very hard last year, I was so sad, and they thought I was being snobby.  They never figured that I was suffering from anything and I was too embarrassed to say anything.

So now what? What do I think of this revelation? I think its right.  I am running.  I can’t face the families, the services, the parties, the events that I couldn’t handle last year.  What am I afraid of?  I am better these days for the most part.  I have been feeling sad and lonely this week but nothing like before and I can talk myself out of it for the most part.  Being around a lot of people sometimes makes me anxious, but I am trying and sometimes I take my anxiety meds. or if I can, walk away and take a breather for a minute or two I can handle it.  Panic attacks are gone for the most part, the darkness seems to be leaving more and more.  Today it seemed closer but it’s still along way off.   I feel God is near me and I trust him completely to look after me.  I don’t feel crazy anymore.  I have adjusted to this illness and not so embarrassed anymore.  Does any of my extended family know-No but I will deal with that another time.  There are people you can tell you are going through depression, and there are people who don’t understand it at all, that is my extended family.  So ya I guess I am running.  I can’t face Christmas in Canada yet.  I can’t face family and Christmas church events yet.  The pain and brokeness from last year is too fresh.  I have come along way baby ( sorry couldn’t resist the line) but  in some ways I feel I haven’t come far enough.

So this year I will try to have some Christmas traditions in Mexico.  I am sure we can create some new ones and maybe we can find a church service on Christmas morning.  I think it maybe a time of healing and maybe next year I can cope better.

All with Gods help cause truly I can do nothing by myself. Through God there is healing. Through God there is hope.  Through God there is life.

Amen