Friday, May 14, 2010

Faith

Faith is increased by exercise: by being put into use. It is nourished by painful trials. - E. M. Bounds  

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Website

Okay - sorry for the confusion. I now will be blogging here - http://www.shellywcrc.com/.

(Kristi- please click right here and it should take you to my site. I don't have your email address).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Road to Recovery

Road to recovery, speeding through
I miss the turn that leads to you.
Yesterday, so confident, moving along
Didn't veer to the right, turned to the wrong.
Blinded by confidence, not checking in
Now I gotta go back, do it again.
But You're coming to get me, lost on this road.
This time I'll grasp on to Your scarred hand to hold.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lessons from BSF

BSF really is hitting home for me as we study the trials and crucifixion of Jesus. Two lessons are convicting me:

  1. There comes a point when God is silent because He has already spoken to us about an issue, and we harden our hearts to Him. I learned Jesus was silent when King Herod and Pilate were questioning Him because they had rejected Him so many times. They had passed the point of no return by refusing to accept what God had made clear to them. In 1993, I prayed God would help me find a publisher and allow me to live comfortably off my writing income. He made it clear I needed to aggressively market myself and get my writing out there. I had the material, I just failed to query the market. I was waiting for a publisher to knock on my door and say, “Excuse me… do you have a book I can publish?” I was shown yesterday through God’s silence I am still waiting for the knock. God told me what to do in 1993… I never did it. I can just imagine Him saying, “My dear child… talking to you is like trying to talk to a brick wall!”
  2. While being crucified, Jesus refused to drink the wine mixed with gall because it had a sedative component which would have dulled the sensitivity of his pain. According to the BSF notes and lecture, Jesus wanted to stay alert to fully experience the work His Father sent him to do. Wow. Put this in my terms, Jesus would’ve refused Xanax to escape discomfort. I want to be like Jesus, and this shows me where I need to be fervently praying.

You know, I tell Jesus how hard it is to live by faith, how it’s not easy to ‘just believe’ when my circumstances seem impossible. He does all the work, and asks us only to trust and obey. During my small group yesterday, I realized how little credit I give Him for orchestrating ‘all the work’. It’s one of the great things about being a kid- your parents are suppose to take care of the ‘serious’ stuff such as food, clothing, shelter, safety. You just have to go by their rules.

Our Heavenly Father asks the same from us… just trust Him and do as He says. That’s all… He’ll handle the hard stuff. The great thing about this deal is He always has our best interest at heart. When I look at it THAT way, trusting and obeying doesn't seem so bad, especially since He has promised to even help us trust and obey.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Active Faith

*Having issues with my main website so updating this site again.
---------
Facebook is helping me titrate of Xanax as my statuses reflect progress:
I'm making it!!! Making it through the day! Oh, yeah. Dillon has a new friend- Sunny the Sandpiper... He had a stroke. 4:23pm Monday
This morning’s update:
Slept great, feel great! Prayers are working. Only took 3. If this lasts, Sunday I'll go down to 2.
Encouraging words by others remind me I am not in this alone.
This is reiterated when I get quiet before God, and he brings specific verses to mind:
2 Corinthians 3:5 - Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
Philippians 2:13 – For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
None of this can be attributed to my own self-will, rather it is the power of the Holy Spirit working through me. My struggle has been allowing Him to work through me by believing... and even believing is only possible through faith which comes from God. One of my key verses is from Mark:
Mark 9:23, 24 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes. Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Matthew Henry’s Commentary reinforces how important faith and believing is in following God’s will:
The father of the suffering youth reflected on the want of power in the disciples; but Christ will have him reckon the disappointment to the want of faith. Very much is promised to our believing. If thou canst believe, it is possible that thy hard heart may be softened, thy spiritual diseases may be cured; and, weak as thou art, thou mayest be able to hold out to the end. Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ for grace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficient for them.
In no way am I saying failure to live happily is always due to disobedience to God. But for me, I am learning to trust my Lord in ways I have always tried control myself. Basically, I am giving all parts of my life to Him... at least that’s my goal as I pray the following prayer daily:
I pray for an open mind so I may come to believe in a power greater than myself. I pray for humility and continued opportunity to increase my faith. -- from The Twelve Steps- A Spiritual Journey

Friday, April 16, 2010

Moving Blog

I am in the process of compiling all my writing on to my main website so if you don't mind, please update your bookmarks for my blog to here.

Celebrating Recovery


I considered going to a Celebrate Recovery meeting last night at my church, and even had a generous friend offer to go with me. But within  an hour of agreeing to meet her, I gradually became increasingly ill with psychosomatic symptoms. My Crohn’s kicked in and, basically, I was curled up in a ball for the rest of the afternoon. I must’ve lost 5 pounds in one day, I was so sick!

Why? I have already admitted publicly that I am addicted to Xanax. I write about it and share the dirty details with anyone who will listen. What is the big deal about going to a group of fellow addicts?

In my ball, I worked on my 12-step workbook, and talked to Jesus, apologizing, “I guess I’m not ready to go through with this…” But I am ready! In fact, I want it to be over. I realized the reason I got so physically ill was because I don’t want to sit around with a group of people, focusing on being addicted to a stupid pill. My identity is not ‘a Xanax addict’, there is so much more to me than that.

I remember back in 1993, when I was discharged from Tallahassee Psychiatric Center after having suicidal ideations. I had met some great people in the hospital… people who liked me in spite of all the ugly secrets that came out in our groups. We helped each other go through some tough stuff! But once I was discharged, I couldn’t be around them anymore. It wasn’t healthy for us to call each other, and discuss ways to commit suicide or how depressing life was. We had to move on. I still think about them and pray they are alright… one lady went to the State hospital to have her brain shocked… I never heard anymore from her… anyway, point being, we cared about each other, but caring so much meant we had to distance ourselves in order to heal.

Last night, I received an email saying the Celebrate Recovery groups are closed, but they would be starting new ones soon. I couldn’t have participated anyway.

But I realized, despite what the enemy says, I am ready to break this addiction because I did not take any Xanax to escape yesterday (as I normally take them to avoid painful situations). That is a huge accomplishment! And for that, I am celebrating my recovery.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Now Hear This!


I am dreading BSF more than ever this morning. We are studying the trials and crucifixion of Jesus. Once a month, I allow my brain to take in Jesus’ death on the cross – when I take Communion.

Working the 12-Steps shows me I ‘escape’ from uncomfortable situations. Take a couple Xanax, go to sleep, and believe it will be all better whenever I wake up. Of course, this is twisted thinking. And, of course, escaping in no way helps alleviates the situation. (As I write, I had to turn the TV channel from a news story covering animal abuse.)

The treatment of Jesus is too much for me to process. Oh, the way they beat, flogged, spit at, and crucified Him is only part of my heartache. (I, for one, cheered when Peter cut the enemy’s ear off, though I understand it was wrong.) Realizing all the Father and Jesus did for me is too overwhelming. Add the way I treat Him, the things I refuse to obey, times I chose my own will instead of trusting Him, not keeping an ongoing awareness of His presence, etc., well, it’s too much.

But we need to remember what Jesus did. Yes, it brings unbearable heartache, however that is just what we need to revere and honor the King of Kings and Lord or Lords. And who better to experience the heartache with than the Great Comforter?

P.S. I still am dreading hearing the details.

Stand-Up Comedy by ME!

Stand Up Comedy

Here's another one: Dating & CP

Monday, April 12, 2010

Introducing...

Okay... I'm still working on this, but HAVE to share my revamped website... I'm excited :).  Let me know what you think. Remember, I am still working on it. Here it is.

P.S. Both my BSF leader and teacher have been reading my blogs. I'm so humbled by that!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trust Him With NOW

Shelly, you’re not fooling anyone… you’ve been ‘writing a book’ since middle school. Thirty years have come and gone with only one book published, a few articles in national magazines, and a handful of technical papers here and there. You have done nothing, NOTHING the past two years. Why do you keep claiming you’re going to be financially comfortable as a freelance writer? If you were THAT good, someone would’ve discovered you by now. Just forget writing.

Discouragement seeped into my bones. It was all true.

I am no longer paralyzed by my depression, still I am not ready to go back into private practice… not until I get my addiction under control. So all I have is my writing. In the silence of the night, I confessed I don’t believe it is possible for me to change my patterns enough to get another freelancing gig. I told God I know he performs miracles in my life daily, I know His ways are far beyond my wildest thoughts… but I also know myself. Nothing is going to change.

Then I watched this video – Before The Morning.

Then I watched the story behind the video, how a couple was told to have an abortion because the baby wouldn’t survive, and the wife said something about, “If we trust God with our eternity, shouldn’t we trust Him with our present?”

I felt a bit of hope… actually, a lot of hope. Yet I thought that was God’s message to THEM, not to me.

Within hours, I received the following email from my BSF leader (who gave me permission to blog about this). I got chills. God made it clear… trust Him with the NOW. Trust Him with it ALL.

Shelly,
I looked in my word study notes and found the scripture that gave me
this revelation:
If I trust God for my eternal salvation, why would I not trust him with
______________?
See Isaiah 12:2
Blessings,
Adele

Willa the Walrus (repost from 01/09)

** this is from "Dillon and Friends" (my series of stories explaining disabilities to kids):

Willa the Walrus
There are things on our bodies that we can’t see,
Two pairs are normal, but I have three.
“Chromosomes” they’re called, which is hard to say,
They are the things that make us a particular way.
It’s hard to tell why I have once more.
I’m not really sure what the extra one’s for.
My body’s make-up is made super tight,
Guess God wanted to be sure my identity was right.
It’s not so bad being different from others.
‘Cause my parents love me, and so do my brothers.
They know I have feelings, and a heart that can cry.
They always support me in the things that I try.
I want friends to run with, to laugh and to share.
To like me for me, this is my prayer.
I’m a neat kid, one of the neatest around.
So you shouldn’t dislike me ‘cause I’ve a syndrome called. “Down’s”.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

God's Gifts

The past 3 weeks, I’ve been working hard on my website, finally ready do full-time freelancing again. Writing is my passion and I’ve missed it. The gift of writing is something I’ve had my entire life until it was taken away from me in March 2009. Medical complications left me with no ability to produce readable penmanship, much less have the cognitive activity to transfer to paper. Six weeks of amnesia, inability to process information, and overall confusion. Writing was out of the question. How I regretted taking advantage of my writing ability for so many years and I vowed if God would let me have my mind back, I would write whatever He wanted, whenever He wanted.

He returned my gift… I returned to my old ways.

He brought this to mind when I couldn’t find the work I had been doing to propel my career. He reminded me of the sickness in my stomach as I wished I could get the writing back again. I messed up again. I was wasting my gifts, my life, AGAIN.

After hours of beating myself up, I had this thought… “What if the MAC signed in under my OLD name when it rebooted?” It couldn’t be that simple.

Guess what? It was. I didn’t lose a bit of the last three weeks work. Those hours of writing, editing and researching had not been wasted. I still have it, but now I value it so much more!

Matthew 25 tells what will happen when we take God’s gifts for granted.
24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' 26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Addy Escapes

After finishing writing yesterday morning, I called the cats in from the back screened in patio so I could get to BSF. Zoey came in alone – no Addy. I figured she must be in the house and called her from the kitchen. Addy came running –from outside the torn screened door!

Anyone who knows me knows those 2 cats are my world. When I told Cathy, she was stunned because she realizes how ‘crazy’ I get about them. “Did you find her? Are you okay?” Her validation that this was a HUGE deal comforted me as she validated my distress.

Addy had green sticky leaves stuck to her along with a dirty face. I paused to thank God she was okay, then I started yelling. Addy laid on the floor, acting like she had been there all the time. I found a wound – sort of like a cut- between her shoulder blades.

What if a snake bit her? What if she gets rabies? What if she gets sick, and then gets Zoey sick?

The possibilities rushed through my head.

I thought of the similarities between Addy and myself. Just like Addy, I try to sneak away from God’s plan to explore the unknown. I mean no harm, and may even innocently lose track of my surroundings, ending up in a danger zone. When God calls my name, I try to run back to him, acting like I had been by his side the whole time. He convicts me, then forgives me and loves me… just as I did with Addy.

But there are consequences. Unconditional love does not remove consequences. I will remember this the next time I am tempted to wander off God’s path—yes, He will forgive me and take me back, but my actions have consequences… not just on my life, but on those around me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Disability is not a 'brave struggle' or 'courage in the face of adversity'...disability is an art. It's an ingenious way to live. -Neil Marcus

Throw Your Food Away!

The Easter holiday brought on a surge of depression. Long story short, I gave in to the despair and pain, relapsing into taking more Xanax than I needed. See, I am so OVER this Xanax addiction that I don’t want to titrate, taking months to fully be weaned off the pills. So I go 4 or 5 days without taking any Xanax, leaving me so physically sick as my body goes through intense withdrawals. I know how dangerous it is to stop cold turkey, but somehow I convince myself I am strong enough to plough through the misdirected neurochemical activity. I feel great when friends congratulate me for white knuckling through another day sober. Conversely, when I do take Xanax, I feel guilt and shame, letting people down (including myself).

But giving up Xanax is NOT like giving up cigarettes; rather, it’s much like dieting. When people tell me to throw the pills away, I want to say throw your loser boyfriend away (if they are in an abusive relationship), throw your groceries away (if they are overweight), or throw your Blackberry away (if they are workaholics).

How about some compassion, people?! Well-intentioned or not, don’t be so quick to praise and/or condemn.

Time Machine

One thing I both love and dislike about being a freelance writer is the lack of structure. My time is my time. It can seem I am free to go wherever, whenever I chose since there is no time clock waiting to be punched.

The struggle comes with prioritizing. Of course, at the top of the list is generating a comfortable income to pay my bills. If I don’t write, I don’t eat. If I don’t get clients, I don’t have internet to do my job. Can be quite intimidating if I sit and think about it.

Of course, it is tough to ‘write on demand’ when distractions (mental blocks, illness, cats wanting to play with strings, etc.) arise, which is most of the time. When time aligns with my mood, focus, and catnaps, I savor the minutes of productivity. Still, life happens.

We are not in this world alone. As Christians, we are commanded to love our neighbor, serve others, give of our time, talents and treasures, and to be vessels through which Christ shows his love. Our purpose in this world is to glorify God by letting others see ‘something different’ about us. I have to admit, as an introverted, nonconforming, self-proclaimed loner, I struggle with the ‘other people’ part.

So how does one find balance?

As I write this, I should be getting ready to go to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). I don’t want to go because I really need to send out book proposals. As the Bible says, if one does not work, he does not eat. However, people from BSF regularly thank me for my contributions (answers, insights) to the group, even saying they see Jesus in me. THAT is the ultimate compliment. THAT is why I am here.

So I am choosing BSF over writing, trusting God’s promise that when we put His Kingdom first, all other things will be given to us as well. That includes writing inspiration, income, and catnaps.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Xanax

I admit I have a drug problem and am no longer blaming others for not understanding. I joined a 12-step program and am getting professional help. I have limited use of phone/Internet/outside contact for awhile. So I won't be on here much. I'm going to get better for me. It's only God's grace that has kept me out of jail, maintaining professional licensure, and alive. I'm going to do this this time. My mom is helping me since I have admitted I have a serious problem. Thanks for your support and I'll be better than ever in a few months.  

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Website

I am completely revamping my main website... IWeb isn't cooperating with me at the moment, so as I try to figure out the problem, here's an idea of what the new site will be like:

Recently, I stopped blogging for several weeks after being told to "quit putting garbage out there… you only want people to feel sorry for you." The 'cyberbully' went on to say I blame everything on depression, and all I care about is my drugs. The part that stung the worse was when she questioned my Christianity…

So this site is now in sections as I realize there are people who do not believe in psychology and mental health, especially depression (not to mention suicide). I am not only a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, but also a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Graduating Cum Laude from Florida State University, I earned two Master's Degrees (Rehabilitation and Counseling Psychology) and an Ed.S. (Educational Specialist Degree). Since graduating in 1996, I have worked in a variety of settings, which can be seen on my .

Advocating for students is one of my core passions. Too many students are placed according to diagnoses, especially those with physical disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy (C.P.) and Spina Bifida, preventing the student from being seen/taught/challenges as an INDIVIDUAL instead of part of a classification. Professional information (from years of attending IEP meetings in public schools), education (drawn from keynote speeches, conference presentations, and co-teaching at the University of Central Florida) and personal experiences (from having C.P., Attention Deficit Disorder) will be posted in the Rehabilitation section of this site. Teachers, parents, students and rehabilitation professionals are the target audience of this section.

The Psych section will be for readers who feel as though no one understands. Unfortunately, society veers away from addressing clinical depression, suicidal ideations, etc. As someone who has been 'on both sides of the counseling couch' so to speak, I continue to be amazed at how taboo depression is, even among professionals including pastors and psychologists. As I write this, my thoughts roam to Marie Osmond's recent loss of her son to suicide. He had been battling depression and media sources reported, "he went through rehab and was doing much better…" So very sad. Very sad, indeed. I am not ashamed to say I've sought help (i.e. been hospitalized) for being suicidal in 1993, and again in 2009. (To say I 'sought help' means I talked to someone, and as a result, ended up being put in a psychiatric hospital.) On the Psych section, I write about those experiences with anger, desperation, and profound insight.

Among the things I heard most when sharing my depression were comments like, "just pray about it", "you must not be a Christian if you want to take your own life" or "Where's your faith? You have so much to live for!" I've found the people who tend to be the most ignorant about depression are those sitting in church pews every Sunday. In fact, I actually had one congregant-friend yell "Go ahead and kill yourself! Stop talking about it and do it!" Rage simmers in me each time I think about how my 'church family' treated me, meaning this is how they treat others who come in for help with depression. Yes, the Church section of this site will definitely be fueled by emotion and bitterness (which I am praying God will help remove my anger and bitterness).

To balance out the dark, bitter stuff, there is a light section which is comprised of humorous anecdotes and miscellaneous ponderings. Life is funny - here's where I'll prove it!

Finally, the backbone of my identity is being a child of God. My relationship with Jesus is everything! I try to share glimpses of my interactions with Him and how He carries me through every minute of every day. But words cannot come close to delineating His presence in my life. Still, I must praise Him, and share how He is beyond majestic.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Poem- Spa Day

2 more days until the Spa!
Yipee! Yee Haw! Ra Ra Ra!
I like being made up girly fresh. 
Somehow the setting puts my mind at rest. 

The experience leaves me confidently pretty-
Inside and out- I get so giddy. 
Working tirelessly for my pay-
Makes sacrifice worth it for a Ritz Spa Day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Zoloft, Please

Went 5 days without Zoloft. Now I remember why I need it:
I think too much. Analyze to pieces.
Self- criticism & shame never ever ceases.
I judge and I nit pick when I am worse than the rest.
Distracted and graceless- tolerant at best.
Back on my meds, chemicals behave!!
Until they kick in, I stay in my cave.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sharing Struggles

When hard times appear endless, it is human to question our relationship with God. Did I make Him mad? Has He removed His favor from me? Why isn’t He outwardly blessing me? Or, my personal favorite, how am I suppose to bring others to Christ when my life is such a mess?

In John 12:27-30, Jesus publicly proclaims his inner distress – Now my heart is troubled and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? God answered in an audible voice, Jesus had glorified the Father’s name. Not long after, the crowd witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross.

How can we expect to have an easy life just because we are Christians? Why do we hesitate to share our struggles in fear of ‘giving God a bad name’? God’s ways are so much higher than ours. In Hebrews 5, we see how God was indeed glorified through Jesus’ death.
7During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
If we are to be like Jesus, we must be willing to die to our own ways and limited reasoning for the ultimate purpose of obedience to the Father’s will. Life as a Christian is far from trouble free, but it is simple. Just focus on following Jesus, obeying the Father’s will, denying your own comforts and desires. Let God take care of the rest.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Poem-Wooly

I miss the way it use to be,
The things you use to do me. 
The way you made the world aglow. 
The hope in just your face did show. 
My view of people you did change
Making me feel a bit less strange. 
Making me see the glass half full. 
But over my eyes was a blanket of wool. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He Always Shows Up


I don’t set out to have a ‘religious’ blog… I don’t go out of my way to talk about God. As a writer with disabilities, I have plenty of material to share from my life. Thing is, God shows up in every part of my life. He has become so embedded in my identity that I cannot separate myself from my relationship with Him.  He always shows up.

He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives
He lives within my heart.

Last year, God spoke to me through a palm tree as a way of telling me He is always with me, I just have to look. He regularly brings palm trees (search this blog for 'palm trees) into my head along with comforting reassurance.

Yesterday, I ran into a girl I haven’t seen since May at BSF. She told me she had been thinking about me since the new year as God spoke to her through an oak tree, which made her think of my palm tree. I had shared my palm tree stories with my Bible study group, which touched her.

This morning, the woman at Starbucks drive-thru told me she had been hoping I’d come by as she just started her internship in Special Education and wanted to consult with me about transitioning students with disabilities into regular education (my area expertise in private practice). Here is a way I can use what He has given me to further His kingdom! I gave her my email address and sat in the parking lot as the sun rose outside of me, and the presence of the Son rose within me. It felt like a bouquet of roses opening up from my heart. Just then, I noticed a tree… a palm tree… with a heart shaped bottom springing vibrant palms into the sky.

Speechless,  I realized - He always shows up. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Uplifting Benchmark


Just before midnight last night, depression significantly lifted. Weird. Woke up feeling ‘lighter’ with a reservoir of energy. While I am interested in knowing what happened, (did all my neurochemicals agree to play nicely?), I’m determined to maximize this freedom while I can. Later, maybe hindsight will provide rhyme or reason to the drastic change.

One thing I have been studying is neuroplasticity- the ability of the brain to be shaped by experiences, including later in life. Kids who have severe trauma (i.e. abuse, loss) often are literally molded by changes in their brain at that time in life. Fascinating. Anyway, I’ve been repeating thoughts/affirmations for weeks in attempt to change false thoughts. For example, I always feel deeply indebted to people who spend quality time listening to me without checking their watch. I tend to seek out those who have little time to give me only to be rejected due to their busy schedules. My parents were always too busy to listen to me, so in a weird way, I unknowingly seek out the same ‘busy’ people only to feel insignificant. This also explains why I have dated unavailable men. Think about it- God has always blessed me with a surplus of friendships, yet I ‘shell’ myself from them all, desperately seeking friendships from people like Judge Pirro or a mega-church pastor. I set myself up for failure, telling God, “See? I tried to be social… but they don’t have time for me…” Meanwhile, my inbox and voicemail are full with various offers to socialize.

Speaking of socializing, I need to finish my BSF homework before class this morning. I know my mood can change on a whim though and wanted to document this benchmark.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Physician, Heal Thyself


January 25 – Monday

Physician, Heal Thyself describes recent weeks explaining my lack of writing. Instead of denying my depression or trying to mask it with another unhealthy behavior, I’ve been living through the storm. This is unusual for me as I tend to sleep through the darkness or seek comfort (temporarily) in others – techniques which may provide instant relief, yet the denial impedes change. The cycle continues the next day.

So the new year has brought changes… including being a my own counselor. I’ve been in an isolative yet safe environment where I can focus on getting better instead of being distracted by well-intending persons trying to fix me. Or even worse, sharing a glimpse of my pain only to have the recipient look at me blankly as he rushed out the door.

It’s too much for people. But it’s not too much for God. And so I stay in bed an average of 18 hours per day, wading through murky waters, noting breakthroughs and revelations in the journal next to my pillow. Noise bothers me, as does light, so I cover my head and listen to beach waves on my iPod. Television no longer provides an escape. Somehow, as my physical activity decreases, my cognitive behavior increases.

Daily hygiene takes 80% of my energy so I lay back down after showering and brushing my teeth. A few hours later, I read psychology textbooks and prepare for renewing my counseling licensure next month. I regularly search for freelance writing jobs, and continually work on revamping my websites. My Bible is never out of arms reach as I feel God’s presence and hear His voice throughout the day.

I know it’s depression as I no longer am interested in Judge Pirro (former role model), friends at church, Starbucks coffee, Days of our Lives. In fact, the only things I maintain an inkling of interest in are my cats, moving to Tallahassee and getting a companion dog.
These 3 things are desires of my heart, thus surely a big part of my future.

Finally, I am paying attention to working through depression – this time as a clinician as well as a client. When this storm is over. I’ll use the insight to help others through writing and research. Until then, I’m asking God to work through me to heal myself.

Physician, Heal Thyself - Meaning
Attend to one's own faults, in preference to pointing out the faults of others.
The phrase alludes to the readiness and ability of physicians to heal sickness in others while sometimes not being able or willing to heal themselves. This suggests something of 'the cobbler always wears the worst shoes', i.e. cobblers are too poor and busy to attend to their own footwear. It also suggests that physicians, while often being able to help the sick, cannot always do so and, when sick themselves, are no better placed than anyone else.
From http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/281850.html

Monday, January 18, 2010

Textbook Depression



Depression has kept me from writing recently. For close to 2 weeks, my days have been ending as early as 2pm when I go to bed and stay there until 5am the next morning. It’s an endless cycle – guilt at my lack of productivity, shame for wasting valuable time, anxiety at not having a steady income, and pure sadness.

It’s the textbook case of clinical depression:
         -Low energy
         -Isolation & avoidance
         -Anhedonia
         -Difficulty concentrating
         -Unable to finish tasks

After reviewing potential therapeutic options, I finally made an appointment with my former psychologist, Dr. L. He knows my history, and is brilliant enough to see through my manipulations. I even try to manipulate God! So there is a light at the end of the tunnel… if I can hang on until my appointment next month, I know Dr. L will be able to pull me through.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Great Column in Star Tribune

Love this post from Star Tribune
Dear Pat Robertson, I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract. Best, Satan
LILY COYLE, MINNEAPOLIS


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Twitter Thoughts

Oceanpoet
I'm realizing so many people abuse prescription drugs, that those who need them (like me) feel guilty for taking them. --- cont.---
4 minutes ago from web
Oceanpoet
I have cerebral palsy, crohns, ADD, asthma, clinical depression, and anxiety disorders, including self-injurious behavior. Only take 2 rxs.
1 minute ago from web
Oceanpoet
I think that's pretty good, yet people criticize me for taking Xanax. Just doesn't seem right.
less than 5 seconds ago from web

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Briefing

Cold, rainy, even sights of snowflakes in Central Florida. Feel bad for animals. Am reminded of the Robert Frost poem, I think it's called "Walking Through Woods on a Snowy Evening." Great poem.

Writing this from my iPhone so just a few thoughts to "check in":
- disappointed people aren't interested in the "Celebration of Discipline" online study.
- hoping I can find all my CEU documents to renew my CRC.
- pursuing therapeutic horseback riding at Heavenly Hoofs.
- looking into adopting an assistance dog from a different agency since Canine for Companions do not train dogs to help with mobility.

Can officially say 2010 is getting off to a great start.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back in the Therapist Mode

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I may be ready to re-enter the counseling profession. An interaction today reminded me why I wanted to pursue psychology as a child. I like helping people. The following conversation showed me how God has provided me with all I need to be a good clinician (now that my own depression is under control).

In a meeting with a lady who knows me only by name, having no idea I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with a lifelong history of major clinical depression:

Me: Was your Christmas okay?
Her: Yea, I just have no motivation.
Me: Are you depressed?
Her: I don’t think so. I don’t have any reason to be depressed.
Me: Don’t you hate when people ask you what is wrong when you don’t know? Like you’re sad but don’t have any reason to be sad?
Her: YES! That is exactly how I feel! I’ve been staying in bed and drinking a lot. I don’t know why… maybe I need to get out and be social, be with people…
Me: But it depends on the people… some people just want you to ‘snap out of it’, and that makes you feel worse!
Her eyes welled with tears: “Exactly! Oh my gosh! You know exactly how I feel!”

I felt God tell me to keep it about her, and this was not a time for self-disclosure. Just be there, listen, and not judge. Honestly, it was easy. I simply responded to her as Jesus responds to me when I am hurting.

I’m ready to use what He has given me to serve His people.

Four Less People

In pointing to Jesus as being a strong leader, partially because of His vulnerability, Phillip Yancey writes:
He did not hide his fears or hesitate to ask for help: ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death... Jesus quickly established intimacy with the people he met.... he cut instantly to the heart of the matter, and soon these people revealed to Jesus their innermost secrets...

During the holidays, my depression worsened as expected. I reached out to a few ‘friends’ who had stated they would always be there for me. People who I trusted with my innermost feelings. People who knew the true me. After sharing my severe panic attacks, needing Xanax, one of those people went behind my back seemingly trying to organize an intervention for me. She contacted my friends on Facebook, revealing information I had only shared with close ‘friends’. Since she did this not once, not twice, but four times, I finally told her I no longer could be her friend.

Another heartbreaking incident was from a man who God used to change my life in a positive way a few years ago. He had strengthened and encouraged me when my brother and best friend walked away during a 2008 depressive state. He was a rock in my life. Though he now denies it, right before Christmas, he told me (with 3 witnesses, all of which said they were shocked he said this, but now 1 - his coworker- is changing his story) people can only take so much... he said with me only sharing the ‘bad’, people are going to walk away. I asked if that meant he was walking away like my brother and my former best friend... he said yes.

Over the holidays, 4 key people were knocked out of my life. It’s like when a spouse cheats on you, no matter how/if they apologize, that bond has been severed. The relationships are beyond repair.

I’ve been telling myself it was my fault for confiding in people. For sharing too much. But Jesus shared His feelings. Jesus was real and transparent and emotional. He said things that made people uncomfortable. He said things that made people want to kill him. Yes, his life would have been much easier if he kept his mouth shut. But He put God’s will before the opinions of others. In the end, it was just Jesus and His Father... I want to be just like Jesus.