Friday, November 30, 2007

Thank God For My Afflictions!

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I may learn your decrees. – Psalm 119:67, 71

Physical Afflictions

I have often wondered what kind of person I would be if I had not been born with Cerebral Palsy. Truthfully, I don’t think I would like myself. If I had to guess, I would be snobbish thinking I was better than most, walking by the indigent saying ‘get a job’ under my breath. With those having visible disabilities, I would probably view as being pitifully doomed to a life of misery and oppression.

Thank God for my afflictions!

Social Afflictions
If I had the perfect family (with my disabilities), I would’ve probably stayed home and collected disability checks my whole life instead of putting everything I had into earning an education and becoming independent. If other kids did not make fun of me and I wasn’t automatically denied job opportunities because of how I walk and talk, I would’ve probably went the ‘party route’ of wanting to have fun while destroying my body and living for the moment.

Thank God for my afflictions!

Emotional Afflictions

If I did not have seasons of clinical depression, I would DEFINITELY not be the quality therapist I am now. I would coldly tell depressed client’s to ‘get over it’ and view them as lazy freeloaders.
No question – my afflictions bring me to the arms of Jesus. Like a child who is learning to ride a bike, My Father keeps me steady, cheers me on when I glide at a fast pace, and heals my hurts when I fall until I am ready to try again.

Thank God for my afflictions!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Consultant Services

I've updated my main web site here with the About page here announcing my Consultant Services. Stay tuned for much more including:
7 things you should know about Cerebral Palsy
7 positive qualities of having Attention Deficit Disorder
and What the Bible says about disabilities...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Depression Portrayed

Cymbalta does a great job at portraying depression in their commercial. Whoever wrote the script definitely understands and has to have had personally been effected by the illness. You can’t know how depression feels merely by reading or hearing about it. Realizing this is what gives me the patience in dealing with people who say things like “don’t worry about it!” or “Snap out of it...”. Truth is, sometimes wanting to be happy is not enough, sometimes praying is not enough. Sometimes depression does take over. Two songs that are accurate portrayals of depression are Meatloaf’s It Just Won’t Quit and Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train. There are many more but those two are my favorites.
What about you -- Do you have a depression portrayal?

Disability Leading to Abuse

Once again, I learned an individual with a disability is being taken advantage of by a service provider. Obviously, I cannot elaborate on this specific case, but I do want to write about this all too common issue. This is an area that makes me cringe… here are some findings from my experiences, which I am sure I could back up with research articles.

People with disabilities are frequently abused because:
Unclear boundaries when dependent on others for bathing, toileting, and dressing needs.
Difficulty communicating
Limited access to proper authorities
Disability (unfortunately) causes individual to be viewed as incompetent, thus not credible.
Social delays
Minimum friendships – loneliness, desperation, vulnerable
Lack of experience and ‘street smarts.’

These all came off of the top of my head. I am sure there are many more reasons and perhaps I will write a paper on the issue. There needs to be more awareness and education. There needs to be comprehensive background checks on providers. The public needs to put their discomfort and ignorance aside to be open to the possibility of sexual abuse. More programs need to be implemented to socially mainstream individuals. Tougher laws and consequences are needed to hold perpetrators accountable.
This needs to stop!

Just Write!

I’ve always been a writer... still have all of my journals starting from third grade where my first entry was about the neighbor having chicken pox. Words, pens, paper, books, all enhance my life and I wish I could live in isolation, just writing and reading. Like this entry, I am writing whatever pops in to my head because I don’t do that enough. I try too hard to make it perfect, to create a masterpiece on the first try. That pressure prevents me from trying at all. Too many reservations, expectations, and determinations. Attention Deficit Disorder doesn’t help! But other writers write all of the time with kids screaming and dinner cooking, they find ways thus so should I. After all, my entire life, people have complimented my writing, calling it a “gift” and “talent”. I need to do more with it, not just use it for myself. So that’s what this section is for, to broadcast my writing to the world of agents, publishers, etc.
This part will be brainstorming free-thinking, which could be seeds for articles and books. It’ll be a way to keep myself accountable to write something... anything, just get words down and be A WRITER.

This is Your Brain on Depression

Written May 2007
Sunday night brings anxiety and depression. I never wanted to be chained to a job that I dread so much that it bleeds into my weekend, but that is where I am right now. It’s not just, ‘I don’t want to go back to work…’; I get physically sick.
Then again, I’m not too crazy about leaving my home for any reason, including vacations. As much as I love the beach, I joined a tanning salon so I could work on my tan 8-minutes a few times a week rather than being away from home for several hours.
This describes ‘situational depression/anxiety’ where there is a known cause for such mood change. Sometimes, I wake up after weeks of deep depression, feeling energetic and upbeat. This happens frequently, telling me depressive episodes can result merely from neurochemistry regardless of external factors. After 20 years of this, I have become well-acquainted with the ‘depression dance’ and know how to better control my responses to the uncontrollable. The best way I can explain depression to people who have not experienced it is imagine going out with dirty sunglasses, causing a grayness to everything you see. Things that have been so bright and aesthetic are now dim and monotonous. Knowing your perception has changed dims the glasses even more. Plus, you have that achy, low-grade flu where all you want to do is lay around and sleep. You want everyone to leave you alone, keep the blinds closed and just go away. Everything irritates you… everything. This level of depression only hits me once or twice a year and I call it my “I hate everyone” times. (I really don’t hate people, I just have to focus more on getting out of the pit than taking time for socializing.) Sounds selfish, but it is survival.
Contrary to society’s belief, I don’t see depression as being a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it takes more strength to endure depressive episodes than everyday life. Depression makes you fight harder, hope deeper, and (for me) hold on to Jesus like never before. Then, when the episodic battle is over, not only is your determination and resolve strengthened, your relationship with the Savior is as well.