Saturday, February 28, 2009

Proud of Depression

Being out of the depression mindset is literally showing me new perspectives with not only my life, but with life as a whole. Studies show that most people go into the psychology field because of their own ‘issues’, yet admission of a mental disorder among clinicians is highly discouraged, at least the work settings and peer groups in which I have belonged. “You’re a therapist… you should know how to fix yourself,” and “How are you going to counsel clients when you have your own problems?” Do orthopedic surgeons get asked similar questions when they break a bone? “How can you help patients with a broken foot?” Why are psychological issues different?

Of course, there are extreme cases. Someone with an Axis II/psychoses may be incapable of providing ethical, competent therapy. When I applied to be a licensed therapist, the State of Florida’s application specifically asked if I had ever been treated for mental illness, and if so, when, where, etc. (I think the application for Certified Rehabilitation Counselor did too). My psychologist had to make a sworn statement regarding my mental competence, which, of course, he had no problem doing. I believe my competence, and even excellence as a therapist results from admitting I needed help and seeking counseling rather than letting my pride keep me from reaching out. In fact, one of my proudest ‘moments’ now is when I quit my job as a counselor despite having no safety net, no plans, and no support from colleagues. Even the psychologist who supervised & trained me said I needed to beg for my job back. I knew my state of mind, and while I had no resources, what mattered more to me was I had no hope. I refused to be responsible for clients’ welfare in the depressive state I was in and I am immensely proud of my decision.

After all, the clinician’s responsibility is to act in the best interest of the client, and that is what I did. I will never be ashamed to admit my battle with depression as admitting it not only saved my clients’ well-being, but it saved my life as well.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Deal With Church

My church just amazes me. Non-Christians will likely not read past that first sentence, thinking “here she goes with her religion again!”. I grew up in a church where it was literally a chore to go to on Sundays. I remember being very quiet in the morning hoping my mom would oversleep so we would miss church.

The church I go to now, Northland, is so different. I go there during the week just to hang out! It has a Natures Table cafĂ©’ where I meet friends for lunch, a well-stocked bookstore, and a feeling like “Cheers” where everybody knows your name.

People around the world do know the Senior Pastor’s name, Dr. Joel Hunter. Google him sometime… very impressive credentials. He prayed with President Obama a couple times, and travels the world helping promote the love of Christ. Yet you would never know who he was if you didn’t know what he looked like. He is one of the most humble people I have ever met. And his entire family have each done incredible things for the community and country but humility runs through each of them.

So where am I going with all this? Northland helps me love people in a real, caring, active way. Not just my friends, but strangers in the store or drivers on the street. Every time I leave Northland, I want to help someone, send an anonymous thank you card to a missionary, pay the toll for the car behind me, let someone with only 2 items go ahead of me at Publix.

You see… it’s the act that people remember. The thoughtfulness and selflessness when people take time to care for you. My friend, Rob, is always working plus has 2 kids and a very successful wife. Yet he makes me feel like I am the most important person in the world sometimes. Yesterday, he was hard at work, I knocked on his office door with 2 pieces of a cat scratch post that needed to be screwed together (fine motor skills is not my forte!). He removed his headphones, got a screwdriver, and put it together for me. Perfect example… that may sound minor to you, but for me, having cerebral palsy, he saved me from jabbing my hand with a screwdriver!

Today, make it a point to do something simple for someone. It may be no big deal to you, but for the recipient, you could be showing them the way Jesus loves people… and that is a HUGE deal.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Parents Complain Disabled Host "Scares Kids"

This REALLY angers me!

Lent Day 2

The second day of Lent, for which I gave up watching TV. Yesterday was the first day in six days that I left the house. My mind needed clarity and perhaps some fresh air. So I went and sat at the park. *See previous entry.

Wonder what Jesus did when He was in the desert. Did He talk to cactuses? Did He make a mental note for man to one day create sunblock? Did He grieve all the souls who would block the Son?

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to meeting Him face to face. I already know Him, and learn more about Him every day. He’s Awesome. Maybe this time with no TV will fill me with the Truth about the Ultimate Star. After all, I already know how this ‘show’ ends, and it is definitely a happy ending.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Revelation Park

video

Here's a great way to start Lent

Yes, today is Ash Wednesday... This page explains the meaning behind Lent and gives practical instruction for engaging in a time of intense self-examination, confession, and repentance.

http://asburyseminary.blogs.com/asbury_reader/

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

39 and 1/2

I am 39 ½ today. Six months until I’m forty.
Forty is old.
Forty is for people who have children in high school. Forty year old’s are established in their dream homes, at the top of the ladder in their career, vacation a few times per year, and have finally began to see the rewards of their hard work in college & entry level jobs.

This is the least successful period of my life. I once excelled in college, climbed the ladder in private practice, became ‘the expert’ in disability issues… but that was then.

I’m not who I want to be,
No strength to become.
This life needs more for me,
I was created to be someone.

I sat in the sunlight for hours,
Searching for answers from above.
Unknown territory lies ahead,
Why can’t I know Christ is enough?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Numbers 11:15


I know... my entries are becoming fewer and fewer... Seems I am going through a rougher spot than usual. So without giving the gory details, let me share a Bible verse I read this morning that pretty much sums up my prayer right now:

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995) - Numbers 11:15
If this is how you're going to treat me, why don't you just kill me? I can't face this trouble anymore."


It's nice to know Moses shared the same feelings that we do.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Age to Age


You can assume ‘something is going on’ when I don’t blog.
It’s not depression… it’s discontent. It’s a mid-life crisis. Now don’t tell me I’m too young or any of that. I am having a mid-life crisis. I went to my friend from middle school’s house and we drove around, just talking like we were still in high school.

Anyway, she shared others who went through the same thing when they hit 40. Feeling like they hadn’t done enough to ‘help the world’. She turns 40 a month after I do… but she isn’t freaking out like I am.

One last thing; she told me the following:
“I’ve been thinking about what you said, how you feel sorry for the men who date you. Shelly, I have never put Cerebral Palsy before you. I see you, I see my friend, Shelly, who has brown hair, and Cerebral Palsy. When we were kids, C.P. never entered my mind. When we had to run laps at P.E., you did it. You did everything we did. Your C.P. was never an issue.”


This is the girl who has known me since 6th grade. This is the girl who is helping me face my 40th birthday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Denial and Depression

Now that I am going on my 3rd month not being deeply depressed, I am able to see the benefits of being in a major clinical depress. Yes, there are significant benefits which actually protect us by not giving us more than we can handle. Depression allows us to deny everything outside of ourselves.

When depressed:
• Nothing matters except living through the day… the next hour even.
• Relationships take too much energy. It’s hard to take others feelings into consideration when you can’t even tend to your own.
• All you want is people to leave you alone so you can sleep. The bills pile on the table, laundry piles in the basket, and housework ‘to-do’s’ do not exist since you don’t care about your surroundings.
• You save money by not taking care of yourself… who cares if your hair is so overdue for coloring that you have a line around your head where roots are contrasted with last year’s dye?

When depression has lifted:
Your future matters. There’s a sense of urgency to accomplish all you should have accomplished 6 months ago.
• You start thinking maybe it would be nice to be in a romantic relationship. Loneliness appears, as does the longing for quality friendships who understand and challenge you to be a better person.
• You are bothered by the clutter and disarray of your home, and suddenly, NOT doing housework is no longer an option.
• You look in the mirror and suddenly see everything wrong with your appearance… and you want to fix it, to better your appearance.

I am definitely in the latter category now. While my situation has been MUCH worse since June, I have an ongoing sense of urgency to get out of this mess. Suddenly, I don’t want my electric shut off or my car repossessed. I want to get my hair done and buy new clothes. And I feel empowered to do whatever it takes to get away from taking from others, and am ready to be the one who gives to others. Who surprises a friend with flowers, or buys that Life is Good shirt for the friend who loves the brand.

I heard the following explanation of denying oneself as addressed in 2 Corinthians 4:10,11: We deny our selfishness, ambition, pasts, or damaged emotions the right to cheat us of His far higher plans for us.

When depression lifts, so does our self-absorption. Suddenly, we realize the best way to tend to our needs is to deny ourselves and tend to the world outside of us.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Eyes Opened By No Shut Eye

Never mind paying my bills… God has been providing in ways I was not even aware of! Today will be a week without my medication. I had a misunderstanding with my health insurance company (which I am sooo thankful I have coverage) and will not get my refill until tomorrow. I haven’t slept more than 3 hours straight all week. It has worn me down.

It also is showing me how dependent we are on God for everything, even sleeping! Each breath we take, every heart beat, even falling asleep, it all comes from God. Wow!

The next time we wonder if God cares about something as small as putting gas in our car, we need to remember how He takes care of the smallest thing, including our ability to rest. I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me… and I CANNOT even do NOTHING without Christ who strengthens me.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Poem - Hours Ahead

nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 2 Thess. 3:8

Another day, full of chances.
Time for work, time for dances.
Hours to use, hours to waste.
Invest them wisely? Or spend in haste.
Invest in tomorrow, what ‘could be’s’ ahead.
Don’t be a victim, take control instead.
sweiss

51 days until State licensure expires
20 days until rent is due
18 days until email & web site cancelled
16 days until electric shut off
approx. 4 days of gas left

I am convinced I should take no more ‘handouts’, rather, I need to work for money like everyone else. Stay tuned for opportunities to purchase Dillon and Friends. Falling Up (devotional), and Years of Poetry books. I may have to take orders, have books printed, then distribute… but I am not going to sit back in fear and panic. Perhaps my insomnia is for me to work around the clock, pull up my boot straps, and get out of this situation, once and for all.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Grab His Hand!

I wish I had my medication right now to alleviate my panicking. On the positive side, I’ve checked off ‘to-do’s’ that have been on my list since last June. Submitting queries for Dillion the Dolphin has been on my list for years. Pressure is getting to me. I don’t want to be freaking out when March comes around and I am praying I’ll be able to pay all my bills – including my professional license renewal fee-to myself.

It looks impossible. How am I going to come up with my electric payment which is due to be shut off in 2 weeks? Two weeks! My conditioned response is to sleep as an escape. I would if I had my meds. Yet I’ve slept maybe 22 hours total in the past week. Insomnia has been worse than ever, making me realize how helpless I am on my own. Without God’s provision, I can’t even fall asleep! Late last night, I wondered if He was keeping me awake to talk with me. I prayed slowly, allowing time for Him to respond, and felt His presence with me… it was then that I fell asleep.

The moral of this entry is to focus all our attention on God. Once I turned my attention away from my problems, I was able to fall asleep. He wants us trust Him… keep our focus on Him, and let Our Father take care of our problems. It does no good to sit back in panic, being a victim. All that does is delay a resolution and compound the problems. In order to take His outreached hand, we must stop clinching our problems. Let go, and grab Jesus’ hand.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Perfect

Sometimes just surviving certain tasks without falling apart is our best and in those times God is not ashamed of our performance. He is proud of us for fighting overwhelming human emotions to do His will. God isn’t interested in our stellar performance but in our hearts. He loves our willingness and obedience despite our insecurities. – Beth Moore

Reading these words was just what I needed this morning.
The past few years, all the hard work I put into my career dwindled. I stopped speaking, committee-ing, and participating in the community. I don’t want to ‘go out’ like this. Michele convinced me that even though I am feeling like a failure, surviving the past year has made me a success.

Now I am paralyzed with not sending my writing to publishers for emotional reasons. It took everything I had to send one Dillon query Wednesday, only to have the publisher email within 5 minutes, “we don’t publish children’s books”. That simple statement discouraged me. I need to get use to being rejected, get over my fear of not being self-sufficient with freelance writing, and just send out queries. It’s all in God’s hands anyway. Perhaps me not sending my writing shows not only a personal insecurity, but an insecurity in Him.

He created me, and I know He gave me my life, background in counseling, and gifts with words to glorify him.

What gives us the idea we need to be perfect, when He is the only Perfect One? The good news is when we believe in Him, he gives us the power and strength to achieve His purpose for our life.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Positive Pessimism

While chatting about the recent events in my life, my friend said, “Hopefully, things will get better now...” My immediate response was “I doubt it. I just read that the storms come AFTER the blessings...” He probably thought I was being pessimistic... then again, maybe not since he knows me so well. But a casual acquaintance, especially a nonbeliever, wouldn’t understand my acceptance of trials and tribulations. I have seen how hard times mold my character, and finally realize pain is needed for growth. I don’t want to stop growing, thus, I can’t expect the adversities to stop.

Outsiders do not understand my way of living. I am always being told what I need to do, how I should change, when I don’t want to change in certain areas. As followers of my blog have seen, a week in my life has more cliff-hangers than an Agatha Christie novel. My faith becomes increasingly stronger, leading to a deeper hunger for God and His Word. Just as newlyweds want to spend every waking moment together, I feel the same about my need to be with Jesus.

Francis De Sales describes this better than I can:
Now devotion is true spiritual sugar for it removes bitterness from discipline, and anything harmful from our consolation. From the poor, it takes away discontent, care from the rich, grief from the oppressed, pride from the exalted, melancholy from the solitary, and fracturedness from those who live in society.

It serves with equal benefits as fire in the winter and dew in the summer. It knows how to use prosperity and how to endure want. It makes both honor and contempt useful to us. It accepts pleasure and pain with a heart that is nearly always the same, and it fills us with a marvelous sweetness
.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pumped!

My life could make an atheist believe! Too many ‘miracles’ happen for there to be any explanation other than God.

I have to get my writing out there. Last night, I did not sleep well at all. I even rolled out of bed! That reinforces my thought that I may have a fear of success. Not only are my bills taken care of for another month, I have the money to take my licensure classes online, which I am already LOVING – feeling productive again.

I am not allowing myself to do anything/go anywhere (not even BSF – sorry Marcia!) – although I am tempted by free breakfast at Denny’s – except submit my writing. I’m pumped. I’m ready! I want to tell THE WORLD how AMAZING God is!

On a side note, I see my faith is constantly being tested… late yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call informing me I would have to pay back all the unemployment funds I received (approx. $9,000). I’m not worried… I know God is in control. This is just another tactic from the enemy, trying to prevent me from glorifying God through my writing… well, it ain’t gonna happen, Buster! There’s no stopping me now!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Learning


Strength from scripture,
Power from prayer.
Knowledge from kneeling,
To comfort and care.

Can’t do this alone,
Still – when will I learn?
Can’t do this alone,
To You I must turn.
- SWeiss

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Minor (cough) Setback

Okay, I had a little (cough) melt-down this morning. Details not needed… just know that even people with faith fall sometimes. As a friend said, “Everyone needs encouragement…”

I called one friend… one, because I have been doing so good lately, I didn’t want to tarnish my witnessing for God. I poured out my heart to her, of course- it is all about money. Not only do I need to come up with money for basics, I have to come up with funds to renew my mental health license (including the CEU courses I have yet to take), and NOW my Mac account is due for renewal $99. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

Breathe.
I’ve already accepted I will have to have my car repossessed (sounds evil!!) this week. I HAVE to pay rent and COBRA. Period. So I’ll be posting more stuff to sell online, etc.

I mentioned to my friend that Borders.com will publish your book, then you can sell them online… Listen in:
Me: So if I get Dillon uploaded, I could be selling it and making money by the end of the month.
Her: Okay, so what do you have to do? Is there a fee?
Me: I don’t know because as soon as I saw it, I filed it in my “follow up” folder without reading it.
Her: Well, what are you doing right now?
Me: (stammering) um, driving… (I was on my way to refill a Xanax prescription so I can sleep all day).
Her: I know it’s not easy, but what is stopping you from going home and just looking at the requirements?
Me: I don’t know.
Her: There has to be a reason. Are you afraid of failing? What are you afraid of?
Me: I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I’m not yelling at you, I’m just mad I’ve wasted all this time… God has given me all this time and talent, and I’ve done NOTHING with it the past 7 months.
Her: Now, don’t go there… you can’t go back in time… what can you do TODAY?
Me: I want to just go home and sleep. Everything’s due…
** This went on for awhile. Finally, at the end, she agreed to pay my internet bill IF I uploaded Dillon to Borders.com TODAY. I told her don’t let me manipulate her and she said I am not manipulating her, she’ll be happy to do this.

So when we hung up, I did NOT pick up my Xanax because I had a mission to accomplish! I had to get Dillon on Borders.com.

Well, there that idea went. There is a fee… a big fee… and it doesn’t even mean your book will be in the bookstore. See: http://publish.borders.com/services/index.html

So now what? God, now what am I suppose to do??