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.