Monday, November 5, 2012

I've Returned...

My intro to NaNoWriMo-

Hi- I've done NanoWriMo and succeeded in 2010. Trying to get into the groove. Having laptop issues so a friend is loaning me his Macbook Pro (LOVE IT) to write my novel. Have it in my head - a FABULOUS plot!! Just anxious about putting it on paper... I am currently working on a Childrens Book series, have a publisher, editor and illustrator and the first 6 books will be out in the Spring of 2013! So excited! So now I am trying to zone in to my novel.... oh, I am 43 - live in Central Florida but plan to move back to Tallahassee (my utopia!) in Summer of 2013.

So that's me!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Poetry from my Past

Working on poetry book... here's something I wrote in 1990:


Yesterdays and Tomorrows

A lesson I’ve learned through my journey in life,
is to leave my yesterdays’ behind.
I must look forward to all my many tomorrows’,
And the peace and joy that I’ll find.

Why dwell over my past mistakes?
It doesn’t do me any good.
Sure, I want to make the wrongs’ all right,
But probably everyone would if they could.

My tomorrows’ will be filled with yesterdays’.
Containing mistakes in which I’ll regret.
I’ll try to savor all the wonderful times,
And the painful times- I’ll forget.

Writing

Sometimes writing consists of just sitting, thinking, zoning… listening to the words sprouting from within… enjoying the euphoric high...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Awareness



Forty-Three

Forty three, the age of me. Forty three- I should be, I should be...ME.
Not who I planned, at forty three... Although I can... I'm not me, not the me I planned to be. Change, it's time. This life is mine. I'm forty three... albeit, I'm free.
Let go of lines, let go of time... Live who I am... Be who I planned.

In His Presence


I'm there...
I feel Your presence, God. I want to stay in this zone, where I sense Your leading, You're leading my pen... You're opening my mind and my heart, filling me with an urgent, desperate desire to serve You... 
Guide me, Guard me with Your pure intention.
Hold me, Heal me, You've got my attention.

Safety

Certain events snap me back into the realization that past experiences shape who we are today, even after we believe events have been buried in the past. A situation happened that would appear meaningless to everyday people. Even my close friends had to be incredibly patient and understanding when I freaked out. It's the first time I feel like I needed outside help in a very long time. 

I didn't feel safe. I had been so excited to go to Tallahassee that at the last minute, when this situation happened, I felt like I was 6 years old again. I felt unable to trust my gut, unable to make my own decisions, and pressured to go along with "the group" or else they'd be mad at me. A free ride to Tallahassee with 2 great friends and nothing to do but work on my novel! It was a no brainer.

But I didn't feel safe. So I made the decision not to go. I felt such peace once I cancelled my plans. 

I woke up feeling a Crohns attack coming on (I had terrifying night terrors about my relatives- reliving the abuse) and a text from the friend who was going to dog sit saying he is sick as well (no pun), reaffirming to me I made the right decision. 

... And that feels unbelievably empowering...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Prayers for Repentance

I find myself needing to clean my soul, and get right with GOD...I've been spending time meditating on this prayer of repentance... I really want to be in God's will. You may find the site useful:Prayer of Repentance


Thursday, September 20, 2012

God's Call and My iPhone


I met Jen first thing this morning to have her switch my SIM card to an old “dumb” phone. Last night, I had emailed Jen, who called AT&T and was told it sounded like I needed a new SIM card for the phone to make calls. Still, I needed a workable phone until I could find a replacement. Jen put the card in the old phone and it didn’t work, so we concluded the SIM card was preventing my phone from calling. I had accepted I would only have a phone that made calls for awhile since the MAC store told me I either had to pay $99 to get my screen fixed, or pay $245 to upgrade early and renew my contract for a new phone. I was thinking I would be financially strapped again just to get a phone to make calls.

I went to the AT&T store where the guy told me the problem was my SIM card was for my old iPhone that I hadn’t used since January 2011. I argued with him, and asked him to please just let me have a new SIM card, I have been using this iPhone for months. He kept telling me it wouldn’t work… blah, blah, blah. So I got a bit assertive, and told him to just call AT&T as they made notes on my account when Jen called them last night that ‘customer was to get a FREE SIM card ".So he called, while I prayed I would accept whatever the outcome was, and know God was in control. YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE GUY'S FACE AS HE SAID ON THE PHONE, “Oh, so you DO have that SIM card number and she has been using the phone…” I prayed for God to keep me from sticking my tongue out and saying, “na na na na na na!! Told you!” I kept my composure. He put in a new SIM card and not only is my phone calling out again, it is as good as new! The screen is fine! GOD IS SO GOOD! Throughout all this, I did not get depressed. I was tempted to stay in bed and ‘give up’, but after the AT&T store, I raced to Bible study, telling the story and giving God all the glory!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

No Phone


On the surface, I am having a bad day. My iPhone died and my laptop is still dying. I sat in the Apple store for 2 hours trying to fix my phone and lusting over the new products I want so much. I pouted, I childishly thought how unfair it is I can’t have the latest MAC products… I’m a writer! I need MAC and Levenger stuff! Now I don’t have a working phone… what if I need to call 911? I’m going to stay in bed and sink back into a depression.  NO! I REFUSE TO LET THIS GET MY DOWN! I am focusing on the blessings… I love my home, I am safe, warm, part of a great church, have true, caring friends, and a book series in publication. Jireh and Addy are happy and healthy, I have a car, money in the bank, food in the pantry… and I have a Bible to comfort me.
I’m  fine. I won’t let this pull me down.

Intro to New Book?

I am working on several writing projects, including an autobiography/story... Here is the rough draft intro... please tell me what you think. Would you want to read more?


She's a writer who loves Jesus above all else. That is all she wants to reveal. But her writing indicates her life has been challenging, taking her into areas good girls don't frequent. A hellish childhood scarred her for life, physically altering her mind and her heart. She wanders aImlessly through the fields of her head, treading places no one has visited… so no one relates, and without having her dysfunctional background - years, no… a lifetime of hurtful messages, left orphaned in the world, trying desperately to reach her mom, but her mom pulled away after messages that she was a failure… not worth saving her life. So she wanders, she spent months completely isolated, and a lifetime of loneliness… places she has seen, images and experiences a single, Christian lady should know nothing about… but her carnal, sinful side has been wooed by the enemy. For the most part, she has devoted her life to Jesus, but sometimes, especially in the past, sometimes, she wandered off on her own… and found worldly wonders filled with initial excitement followed by inevitable emptiness. This is the story of her world.

Psych Central

Here is a great site that I keep getting lost in... Psych Central

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Enjoying Depression-Free Brain!


Still no depression – thank God. Motivated. Organizing all the writing on my laptop and, somewhat, trying to get to my writing material crowding my home. So much writing!! Love reading my words written throughout the years, knowing God has been grooming me to share what wisdom He has given me through my life experiences. Growth through pain… so much pain resulted in valuable wisdom and  growth. God always turns what the Enemy intends to hurt me into precious blessings. I am so thankful!
*This entry was cut short as I received an email asking if I could come help out at church… OF COURSE I WILL J. When people help you, it is a HONOR to serve them…

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Birthday,Seminole!


Happy 19th Birthday, Seminole!
I have never loved as deeply as I loved Sem,
Never felt such heart-wrenching pain as the day that I lost him.
Memories live on, as does my love.
No doubt in my mind Sem’s with Jesus above.
He’s sitting for me at the heavenly gates-
I’m coming to you, Sem... it’s so hard to wait!
Seminole 1993-2006

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Some Anxiety...Comes With Change


I want my life back on track in a faster motion.

Something I hate is disappointing friends, especially those who have been good to me. I have trouble knowing how much compromise is
healthy.

Anyway, a nice distraction is Jireh has been having blast with her doggie friends, and I’ve been snuggling with Addy. Both of those things make me happy. Change is scary, but I’m going go keep walking.
 No turning back.



Friday, September 14, 2012

No Depression!


Woke up for the second day NOT feeling the weight of depression. No rhyme or reason. Just as I never know why I fall into a dangerous clinical depression, I don’t know why I feel good. Too many factors involved other than external factors. That is a major area of misunderstanding with depression – people believe external factors play a bigger part than they do. There’s a difference between being ‘happy’ and ‘not depressed’. If I go to the beach, I am usually happy, but the depression always lingers. It rarely goes away. It’s a heavy, unexplainable weight that won’t dissipate, a tiredness, anhedonia hanging on throughout the day. The intensity may waver, but the heaviness rarely leaves. I think it has been 4 years since I have been not-actively-clinically-depressed. Yesterday, I woke up not feeling depressed- colors are brighter, feelings are more intense, sensations and thoughts are clearer. Basically, life is not dreadful and I am not consumed with how much I want to be with Jesus.
This is a great feeling, and if you have never experienced clinical depression, be thankful. Don’t take a lack of depression for granted. I know I never will again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9-11


On September 11, 2001, I was in Private Practice, interacting primarily with clients having disabilities severe enough to have them placed in Group Homes. I had the Today Show on in the background as I was working on billing and Medicare forms. Katie Couric announced a plane flew into one of the towers. I went to the TV in shock, and when I saw the building on fire, I called my friend Michele. It was early in the morning so she wasn’t her most pleasant self. I told her what happened.
Michele: Yeah, okay.
Me: Did you understand me?
Michele: Yes, a plane flew into one of the World Trade Center Towers. What do you want me to do about this, Shelly?
Me: Well, I… I just can’t believe it!
Michele: It’s awful. Okay. Now I have to get to work…

I hung up, thinking I was overreacting. If Michele didn’t think it was a big deal, I needed to calm down. Okay. Then, the other tower was hit, indicating we were being attacked! I called Michele back. She evidently saw my name on caller ID.
Michele: Yeeeeesssss, Shelly? (with sounds of irritation).
Me: THE SECOND TOWER WAS JUST HIT! IT IS INTENTIONAL!!
Michele: Look, I have bigger problems in my life. I am sorry you are upset, but there is nothing I can do about what is happening in New York…

So I hung up, and told myself this wasn’t a big deal. If it was, Michele would be reacting as I was. But it felt like a big deal. Childhood experiences have taught me not to trust my feelings, not to listen to my intuition, so I went about my day as if it was no big deal.

Later that day, I called another friend, Stacy. Now Stacy was freaking out! What if they hit Disney? Of course, they are going to bomb Orlando because so many people are here! I can’t stop watching the news!!! I’m afraid to leave the house!

Now THAT was more like it. I felt reassured with my feelings about the events.

Perspectives were different because life experiences were different. The day before, Michele had found out she was pregnant, which was completely unplanned. She was so much in shock, I had to go with her to buy THREE pregnancy tests as she refused to believe the first two. Michele was going through her own trauma and could not be concerned about anything else. Now, I call her once a year – on September 11th – to tease her about that day and we both crack up laughing as we reflect.

Life is like that. What matters to you may not matter to others, and vice versa. Mental illness stems from experiences, lack of coping strategies, PTSD, etc. The tiniest thing may upset me for a very good reason, yet other people may become confused and defensive at my reaction.

Forgive me for making this post about me. It should be in tribute to the people who were involved in 9-11. Then again, I guess in a way, it is.

God bless America!    

Monday, September 10, 2012



National Suicide Prevention Day


Today is National Suicide Prevention Day – something near and dear to my heart. I’ve been on both sides – the therapist talking a client out of taking his life, and the patient in the mental hospital for trying to take my own life. I had to take a break from private practice while I was having suicidal thoughts for the sake of being unable to put my own feelings aside to help others. Several years have passed, and I will renew my counseling license, but I don’t know if I will ever go back into private practice. I want to lobby and write about suicide prevention – how there are minimal (if any) resources to help, how the topic is so taboo, and how unspoken depressive feelings continue to be. If you reach out for help, you lose friendships, you are shunned by church members, you are an outcast, or you are placed in a mental hospital where they pump you with drugs to keep you compliant (I was personally on 9 medications at one time during an admission last year).
Right now, today, I am not suicidal. I haven’t been for awhile, and when I say ‘awhile’, I mean several weeks, maybe two months. Perhaps I should clarify… I haven’t wanted to die in two months. I rarely become suicidal anymore as I know God will not let me die on my time schedule – I must wait for His timing… and I hate that fact. On the other hand, ‘wanting to die’ is, for the most part, always in the back of my mind as I am anxious for heaven… anxious for pain and heartache to end. Anxious to finally go home.
So let me give you some hints if you are or ever become suicidal:
Be prepared to hear you don’t have enough faith in God or you need to pray more. Even prepare for being told you give Christians a bad name for wanting to die. My mother once told me I wasn’t a true Christian if I was suicidal… don’t listen to such foolishness. Your brain has neurochemicals, which can malfunction and alternate your thinking. Throw in medications, childhood trauma, and life stressors, depression happens to the best of us.
All of the experts say you should get help… problem is, there is no safe, secure place to get help, at least not in my experiences. I have determined that while I no longer tell people how I truly feel when I am in a serious depression (I’ve been betrayed too many times, I’ve lost too many friends…), I am determined to bring awareness, however I can, to mental illness, especially suicide and depression.
If you are suicidal, try to just focus on the next hour, even the next 5 minutes if you have to… just hang on. Life can change so quickly, your situation can improve in an instant…hold on. I know it hurts, it’s lonely, it’s painful… the sunshine hurts, smiling hurts, you don’t want to interact with people or take a shower or brush your teeth or do anything. I understand. And I am sorry I do not have any quick, easy answers… you just have to hold on. Somehow, find a way. Be careful what you do, be careful who you trust, and believe in yourself. Believe you can change your life… you can dream and make those dreams come true. Yes, it will take time… time can be your worse enemy or your best friend. Take time as you can handle it, even if it is five minutes at a time. Please, don’t give up. Don’t let go. Find the strength to keep fighting.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Writer Writes

Writing from iPhone. Sick today - Crohns, Migrain, anxiety. It's my parents' 49th anniversary and I can't call them to congratulate them since I have no way to reach them. Every holiday, my issues with them resurface and I get physically and mentally sick. But I'm determined to write every day. A writer writes, and I am a writer! But I feel awful so right now, this sleeper is going to sleep.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I Can't Write!


I made a deal with Karen – I would write all weekend and reward myself with a beach trip Monday. One of my writing resources glamorized sites where you submit an article and get quick cash. I need quick cash, so I planned on a minimal of 5 published articles, leaving money for the rest of the month with the rest going into the ‘moving to Tallahassee fund’. Seems I forgot a couple of bills when figuring my budget, which completely changed my mindset. My glass is half empty- stupid,  petty things are irritating me: I bought the wrong coffee, the Florida State game is on a channel I can’t get, plus they are playing a team I never heard of… what happened to the familiar colleges we played when I was in school? What’s up with the ACC? Penn State is on – I’m not even letting my mind go to Jerry Sandusky – turn the channel – tennis is on… why the hell is tennis on? I’ll take a shower then write. Write about what? I obviously do not have the temperament of a hopeful, joyful, woman of God today? SO I can’t write a blog… I wanna go see that movie about the writer, what’s the name of it? And who is that handsome guy in it… Bradley Cooper, that’s him. No, I can’t sit through a movie. I have this Macbook on loan – I need to write… just write!
I text a few friends, “I can’t write!” and they remind me I have a book deal. I have 8 books being released in the Spring. I have a publisher, editor, illustrator… still, that doesn’t matter to me at this moment…I can’t write!

So I sit down and write what I can,
Portrayal of a writer – some kind of scam!
Nobody knows the fool that I am…
Still, I sit down, and write what I can.

I know, know. Everyone has bad days, moments of doubt… conflicting feelings. I am being honest, transparent…open… which are qualities of a writer.

Free Writing

In the writing mode... thanks to Macbook Pro. Mac is soooo worth the extra money. I want to write my own way to survival... a working computer is a must! So thankful for friend who loaned this to me. So much to write, to say, - writing uncensored with medication feels so 'right'. I may be ostracized, I may be praised, I may be seen as insane... but I am releasing the clutter in my mind. Some of it is not pretty, but all of it makes me who I am today, Finally, an outlet without rules... I am stretching out and living with my words...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Poem - Wondering


AM I crazy? Am I insane?
Is this pride? Is this shame?
My life stands out – what’s it about?
Do I change, am I strange?
Or carry on – for Him be strong?

Free Flowing Writing...


Gabapentin – like speed or Adderall. Makes me intensely motivated, brain racing with thoughts and intentions to put into action. So much stimulation I don’t know which trajectory to follow. Can’t type fast enough. Praise You, God, for my intellect and interest, passion to share, for justice, to live for you… so antithetical to suicidal ideations. Same brain, inconsistent strategies… Gabapentin makes me want to utilize every minute of my days to leave a legacy, to share what God has shown me… to proclaim my depression has been the bridge connecting me to Jesus, such a wonderful blessing for Jesus to hem me in with no where to turn. Alone in this world. Multiple attempts to take my life, to quit… only to end up in hospitals where they tell you what you believe is wrong because they are so uncomfortable with not knowing the cure. You are not expecting a magical cure from man… but let me explore the existentialism of life, of people, society, why we are here… God won’t let me go to heaven until I complete the ‘to-do’ list in which He created me for. I want to know the ‘tasks’ so I can do them and go home as quickly as possible, but I see that is shamefully selfish. I am in this world to change the world…  He created each of us to be part of His family, to be the Church…  yet we are fools who chase our own desires, turning away from the Lord, not listening yet convincing ourselves we are obedient servants… we are wasting precious time and resources and gifts. Just a side note: I know I use too many ‘ands’ and will have to edit the ‘ands’ for pieces of publication… but my thoughts freely flow on this keyboard with ‘ands’ when  I do not censor my content. I have so much to say… so many reasons to give this hurting world why they can have ultimate hope… not wanting to be viewed as some Jesus freak, yet wanting people to know I have been through such hardship, loneliness, pain, and agony… it all dissipates when I quiet myself and focus on Jesus. Come to Jesus and live. Jesus will fill you with His Spirit, and as weird as that sounds, there is no greater feeling, no comparable sensation that having, KNOWING His Spirit is in your heart. He fills your heart with warm lovelies and your mind with knowledge that is undeniably from Him… comfort, security, love. People need to know what a relationship with Jesus provides. I want to tell the world what they are missing, what they can have… yet I am a hypocrite who is consumed with the temporary things of this world. So much to share, so much to give… where do I begin?

I NEED TO GET MY HAIR CUT!

I LOOK HIDEOUS

Visit with Shrink


(from yesterday)-
Me: We need to write a paper together on the neurological impact of cerebral palsy and depression.
Psychiatrist: You write it. I'll sign off on it.
Me: Seriously, I've always considered you a prodigy.
Psychiatrist gets iPhone, tells me to hold on. "Siri, define 'prodigy"....
Siri- "One who excels above others; a highly intelligent person."
Psychiatrist: "Awwww, THANK YOU!"

Told psychiatrist my plan to move to Tallahassee and lobby for mental health issues. He said, "If you are serious, I will lobby with you! I can catch a flight to Tally on Mondays and we can lobby. It is so needed!" I'm so excited!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quote by E. M. Bounds


E.M. Bounds:
In Christianity, we must not only go on, we must know where we are going, we must know where we are going - what our goal is. It is essential that in going on in the Christian experience we have something definite in view, and we strike out for that one point… It is important that we do not lose sight of the starting point in a Christian life, and that we measure the steps already taken. But it is likewise necessary that the end be kept in view, and that the steps necessary to reach that goal always be kept before our eyes.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Feeling A Bit Better


I have a bit more energy- made phone calls, sent thank-you notes, looked at some pay-by-article sites. Made some progress. Doing much better financially with my goal of moving back to Tallahassee.
*Really keeping my eyes on God and I feel His special provision. Life is so much simpler when I live in God’s will instead of my own. Maybe not as fun… but simpler.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Whining About Exhaustion


The past few days have been exhausting! Not doing anything  (including writing for pay.) Miserably tired! Called in sick yesterday –lost my appetite. I just want to sleep. Can’t get enough sleep.
But I want tomorrow to be better than today. I want to move to Tallahassee next summer. So much more I want to do… something more than sleep.
I want to go back to sleep NOW. Must be depression. Can’t remember the last time I showered or even changed my clothes. Yes, it is THAT bad. I wanted to start Willow Creek’s Woman’s Bible Study tomorrow morning, but it doesn’t look good. Maybe I should, lay around all day, and just take a shower… I have to take a shower.

Phillipians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Exhaustion

I am typing from my iPad, laying on the couch, because I still have no energy. Something is wrong with me. I haven't had the energy to eat or even shower. Mentally, I am not having depressive symptoms - although the longer this goes on, the more likely I will go into a depression, and I hate to see what happens then. I am beginning to panic, wondering what to work on next for income. I must have over 500 poems written so perhaps a poetry book.  Still, there are several clinical psychology articles that I just need to complete the outlines. I'm feeling bad for not helping out at church yesterday, there was just no way. My body wouldn't function and endure.

I guess I may as well face it; thinking all of these catastrophic possibilities will undoubtedly lead down a dark road. I just hope I get some much needed rest!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can't Keep My Mouth Shut!


--- I’ll try to be more optimistic today, although part of me wants to NOT be optimistic just to disprove that stupid book. Who is he to judge who is or isn’t a Christian based on whether they have depression? I looked to see what his credentials were – didn’t see a medical or psychological title behind his name… only that he is a well-known pastor.

I was talking with my best guy friend who shares the depression diagnosis (as well as being a Christian) and he reacted like I did when I told him what the book said!! (Including if someone is depressed, they are NOT a Christian). Further confirmation for me not to read the book. I rarely react so negatively to a book but mental illness is such a passion for me, I believe Christians should be able to go to the church for support and that has not been my experience. Thank God I know what I believe and am secure in my faith or I’d question my standing before the Lord, and/or avoid the church altogether. It was reassuring talking with someone who knows that depression cannot be alleviated solely by prayer or by ‘walking in the sunshine’. So many people have recommended those remedies (and many more) that is hard not to yell, “IF IT WERE THAT EASY, DO YOU THINK I WOULD STILL BE SUFFERING AFTER 25 YEARS?! REALLY?!” I don’t try to tell a baker how to bake a funnel cake or a pilot how to drive a plane, so why do people disregard my education, experience, years of counseling and psychiatric treatment with ridiculous statements such as ‘go walk in the woods’?! To those people, I say, “go jump in a lake!”

Okay, suffice it to say I have not turned into a more optimistic person. I intended to go along with the flow, keep my thoughts to myself, be inauthentic…. but I can’t. At least not in my writing, I can’t.

Once again, I like who I am, and I believe God has given me the passion, intelligence, and voice to speak up for the oppressed.

Isaiah 1:17- Seek justice, encourage the oppressed…

Monday, August 27, 2012

Birthday Photos







Mumbles From An Older Lady


Why can’t I wake up? Why can’t I feel better? I turned 43 and have a whole list of aspirations and intentions…but all I want to do is sleep. I’m exhausted and feel like I can sleep for years.  I can’t wake up. Feel like I have been drugged or something is putting me in a fog. I know, I know, I am ON DISABILITY for depression and anxiety so, hello – I have a real diagnosis. But I don’t want those conditions anymore. I don’t want to stay stuck up in my home while the world goes around me. Yet this is my comfort zone. Socializing drains me. I think that is what wiped me out – I socialized for three days straight and, as weird as it sounds, I knew I was pushing it when I made the plans. But at the time, I enjoyed myself. Now I am paying for it. I slept all weekend and here it is Monday night and I still feel like I was hit by a truck- repeatedly. Is this my destiny? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?

There are some non-negotiables – I will maintain my licensures for counseling, I will never stop reading, and I will now write as much as I can to submit to more publishers… I am determined to write my way out of poverty and live the life I dreamed. I don’t want to rely on people anymore – I want to give, and since I  may not be able to give of my time, I need to use my talents, so the next several posts may have no plot whatsoever, especially while I am feeling bad. But I will write…

By the way, I started writing an optimistic post (see below) and I read the post above and, well, that didn’t last long…

----

Year Forty-three!

My attitude has changed since I turned 43. It’s only been a few days, so I hope this new perspective continues because it’s nice to be optimistic and hopeful for a change. Someone recently loaned me a book describing how Christians shouldn’t be depressed and how that gives outsiders the a negative image of Christians – how we should all be happy and joyful and hopeful and positive and blah, blah, blah! THAT is why Christians suffer in silence. THAT is why Christians turn to other ‘hidden’ escapes, such as alcohol, drugs, etc. and when the suffering becomes unbearable, they snap… some resort to suicide, which brings up another issue of mine. When I tell people I can hardly wait until the day my work on earth is through so I can finally see Jesus… finally be I heaven where my sole duty will be to praise and glorify God forever.

People act like I have just admitted to some heinous confession by saying I am ready to be in heaven with my Jesus.! This world is not our home…. We Christians are aliens in this world. The world is full of sin and pain and I don’t understand why anyone would want to stay here any longer than God commanded. And to say Christians should not suffer from clinical depression is like saying Christians shouldn’t get head aches. Ridiculous. People act as if Christians’ have supernatural body make-up that heals, fights, and repels more than the rest of the population.

Having depression makes you feel weak and bad enough without having to question your faith as well!

*Forget it… I AM NOT WASTING MY TIME READING THIS TRASH! Too many quality books out there. Just so you know, not ALL Christians are perfectly healthy! I have so much more to say on this topic but I am not wasting my time addressing such a ludicrous concept.

People forget there are several depressed people in the Bible… and poor people, and hated people, and all kinds of people. News flash- that didn’t make them any less of a Christian.

I like who I am. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Uncomfortable Discussion About Depression


I am reminded of my desire to lobby for mental health issues as my stomach is churning over things I read about depression, triggers, and suicide. I just posted this comment to a stranger who writes about the possibility of a familial relationship ending over what outsiders may see as insignificant:
Why can't your sister just apologize for yelling at you? It obviously hurt and triggered you- that is the bottom line. You shouldn't have to 'lighten up' or 'not take it so seriously'YOUR FEELINGS ARE YOUR FEELINGS - IT HURT YOU. That is what truly matters. Don't 'feel' bad for how you feel. People are so clueless about depression. There are deep rooted issues that are causing you to feel this way. You can't just throw up a white flag and say 'okay, it was my fault. You're right'. It's not that simple. My heart goes out to you.

People with clinical depression resulting from childhood trauma and/or messed up brain chemicals think differently. Medication and therapy helps, but we still have irrational thoughts and feelings that ‘the average person’ will not understand. I am finally learning to keep my most personal thoughts to myself for fear of losing yet one more friend/family member. Basically, no one knows me anymore, not like they use to. I have come to accept people are uncomfortable with my thoughts and therefore, I try to stay on the surface. Losing my recent best friend was ‘the last straw’ for me. I am not in any way trying to escape fault in destroying relationships. My personal issues are too heavy for the lay person to deal with. There are negative repercussions to my new way of guarding myself, which, of course, I refuse to tell anyone. I am becoming a different person for the sake of keeping friends and attempting to ‘blend in’ as a ‘normal person’. I admit here- I am being inauthentic. But that is what one must do sometimes for survival.

I will give a brief example- my birthday is Friday. I never hear from my family on my birthday. In a way, this is a harder time for me than Christmas. During my twenties, I thought it would be appropriate to commit suicide on my birthday and truly considered it every year.

Doesn’t that paragraph make you uncomfortable? Maybe make you want to run from me, or the opposite, to give me pretty words and offers of prayers to make me feel better?

See, that won’t work. There is no answer. That is what sucks about major clinical depression – others think you are irrational, attention-seeking, and crazy. But there are chemical, deep-rooted reasons for my feelings. And I shouldn’t have to justify how I feel – no one should.

There is no ‘happy’ way to end this entry. I just had to speak up after hearing several serious mental illness issues yesterday. People cannot claim ‘suicide’ is never the answer when they haven’t been severely, clinically depressed. How about just a little compassion and understanding? Deal with the here and now- tomorrow, or even an hour from now, the depressed person may feel better. Then again, it could take weeks or months.

If I understood depression and knew what to do, I would tell you. But with a lifetime of experience and years of graduate education in psychology myself, I don’t understand it myself. If I did, I wouldn’t be too disabled to have a full time job because of my own mental illmess.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

FULL of Faith


So I went back to bed, secretly hoping I would oversleep and not make it church. I woke up and had a migraine, my hair wouldn’t cooperate because I desperately need it trimmed yet cannot afford a haircut, which made me mad about my whole financial situation as I looked at the mountainous pile of laundry I need change and energy to take to the laundromat. My attitude stunk. I told God I would show up at church but I am not talking to anyone… I felt like a 4 year old brat and I didn’t care. As I turned into the parking lot, I felt God remind me my sole purpose in life is to bring Him glory. “OKAY! I’ll smile! But I’m not talking…”

The sermon was on faith and believing and how doubt is part of the process… how Abraham didn’t have 100% faith and grew to develop more faith the more he walked with God. How ‘God will take away from us what keeps us from Him’ (that scared me). How we must believe… it’s all about believing God to do what God has promised to do. Wow… I needed to hear that!

The new coffee shop just opened, and my friend/boss asked if I wanted a cup of coffee… Of course not, I want to get home and not socialize. Besides, I don’t have any money. “No, thanks”. “It’s free!” she said, as if reading my mind. Heck, yeah! I don’t deny free coffee so I went in and soon forgot I didn’t want to socialize. People kept leaving before I was done talking to them! Cheryl (my friend) and I had the best conversation as her son (in medical school) asked about my book series:
Cheryl: Do you pronounce it CerEEEbral Palsy or CerABLE Palsy?
Me (joking about my speech): You’re asking me?
Cheryl: Well, things are CerEEEbral, but I always here people say, “CerABLE”…
Me (cracking myself up): Maybe that’s because people with Cerebral Palsy are the ones’ who talk about it…
Cheryl: It’s like “peruse”...
And she proceeded to correctly describe how people incorrectly use the word, ‘peruse’. I LOVED THE CONVERSATION! Then I talked to her son who just finished his psychiatric rotation about neurotransmitters. I WAS LOVING THE SOCIALIZING, talking about my passions.

Finally, the discussion went to how my books will be promoted to medical professionals through my publisher. Cheryl told her son my publisher is the same one who published “The Bernstein Bears”, and he proceeded to tell his fiancĂ©, who seemed somewhat impressed.

The socializing was over and as I drove home, I got the greatest image in my head…being at a social event and someone introducing me as Shelly, the “writer”… and then saying something like “You know, her books, ‘Dillon and Friends’?” She wrote the entire series. She also wrote the bestseller “Falling Up”, “Sufficient God” and numerous others? to which the audience all had read and loved, of course…
God told me that dream will never happen if I sleep my life away, if I hold on to the past, and if I worry when more money will come to me. God told me while my laptop is working, I am to use it to WRITE instead of sleeping because of it’s dysfunction. And God told me He has a bigger plan. I know that, but I forget. Thankfully, He has given me His Spirit to remind me of all I forget.

We serve an amazing God… I pray I don’t soon forget that.

Faithless



Since Jireh’s fall on Friday night, I had a horrible Saturday Googling and thinking of all things that could be wrong with her… thinking she will be dead when I wake up, all of these ridiculous, TERRIBLE images, causing severe Crohn’s attacks, depression and anxiety. Plus, my laptop has died a bit more so I did what any trusting Christian should do – take anxiety medication and sleep the day away. Of course, I am being sarcastic- I should’ve prayed and read Scripture but I didn’t. I didn’t even think of those options (shamefully). So I just slept… when I felt bad for not socializing, I texted a couple of friends, then when back to sleep. I journalled the short hour I was awake how awful life was and how I can’t deal with anymore.

I woke up this morning (actually, the middle of the night) to the smell of poop. I automatically assumed Jireh was losing control of her bowels as she was dying. When it comes to my pets a.k.a. “kids’, I’m completely insane! I looked down at Jireh sleeping beside me and realized I had fallen asleep on the sofa, of which Addy’s litter box is near. Okay, so maybe it was Addy who pooped… still, what a crappy time of life I thought. I took Jireh out in the wee hours of the night, begging her to poop, thinking something is definitely wrong with her if she does not poop… yes, she pooped yesterday morning, yet I am so paranoid she is dying that I wanted her to poop at that very moment. Jireh just wanted to go back to bed!

I’m writing this from a different state of mind, one you will realize after reading the next entry. My faith is back now and I have to ask – how do non-believers survive? How do they not worry about every aspect of life?

If you are not a Christian, know that your life can be so much better if you accept Jesus as Savior and have the Holy Spirit within you. If you are a Christian… seriously, stop right now and THANK GOD FOR YOUR FAITH! Thank God for Jesus. And pray for Jireh...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Refuse to Give Up



Today was a failure. Failures will happen, you pick yourself up and move on. You vow to make tomorrow a better day and not let your depression and anxiety win. Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll refuse to let yourself be seen as who you are. Maybe you’ll realize there is no use acknowledging neurotransmitters and childhood experiences and family relations, even though they make up so much of who you are. You promise again: Tomorrow, I will lean fully on God, live life abundantly, glorify Him however I can.
That’s all you can do. Try again. Refuse to give up.  http://www.nextsteprunning.com/persistence.php

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daddy



My dad’s birthday. Twenty years ago today, I left home for Florida State. It was my dad’s 50th birthday and he said me moving out was the best gift I could give him. I think he was joking. After he moved me into the dorm, I saw my dad sobbing for the first time in my life as he ran to his truck, leaving his baby girl behind. The second time I heard him sobbing was a year later when he called me in Tallahassee Psychiatric Hospital where I had been admitted for suicide ideations.

Today is his birthday. My parent’s have changed their phone number, refusing to speak to me. Now I am the one sobbing. I can’t tell my daddy "happy birthday". Today was not a good day. I barely existed.

Happy Birthday, Dad… wherever you are.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Heavy Post, Happy Ending


“Holiness of heart and of life is thoroughly saturated with prayer, and so consecration and prayer are closely allied in personal Christianity.” – E.M. Bounds
Morning Prayer: “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” –Psalm 143:8.

I am determined to stay out of bed today and spend every possible moment writing. My Macbook is so old, each time it acts up, I get more of a sense of urgency. Before, I would have landmarks of Christmas or my birthday to aim for a high-priced item, but with no family, that is no longer an option. My upcoming birthday is reminding me of that, but more importantly, reminding me the woman who gave birth to me wants nothing to do with me. Not only her, but my father, my brothers, and all of my relatives… maybe I am focusing on the material loss of my birthday because I cannot handle the emotional loss of having no ‘family’ to celebrate my birth with.

I am going to be honest here- if I isolate and stay in bed long enough, focusing on that cruel reality, I will end up suicidal again. Such thoughts will dominate everything else, including my knowledge that my life is not my life since I gave it to Christ. I am merely a vessel that tries, rather INTENDS, to glorify Him with my days. Such a simple quest is impossible sometimes, thus, I end up in bed.

A Macbook wouldn’t heal the pain of not having a family. I know that. But using every ounce of will, determination, God-given gifts I have to earn the money to buy a new Macbook will distract me from my loss. I miss my mom. It breaks my heart that she refuses to speak to me.

But you know what? Life sucks… and not just for me. Life is hard for the couple going through a divorce, the child being bullied, the families separated by war, the lonely people with no one to call… the individuals who do not know Christ, thus, believe this life is all they have…

My friend, Tammy, commented on a photo I posted of Jireh. I said what a beautiful dog she is and Tammy wrote, “Yes, she is… you are truly blessed!”

She is so right. My pets are gifts from God in so many ways.  They give me purpose when I isolate. They make me laugh and bring me such joy in ways I cannot explain. No, I don’t have my relatives… but (thanks to Willow Creek Church), I have food, I am sitting in a wonderful home where I am able to spend my days writing – fulfilling my passion. Yes, I lost practically everything when I had to end my counseling career due to what I now view as a ‘nervous breakdown’, but, praise God… I can get it back. I still have the mental ability to write and study and counsel and contribute. For goodness sake, I have 8 books being published and released in the Spring, with 16 to follow! I have a publisher, editor, and illustrator! That means I AM A REAL WRITER!

Tammy is right. I am blessed. We all have hard lives… but don’t give up! Don’t you dare give up! Especially if you know Christ…for His Word says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” – Isaiah 43:18,19.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Friends... A Good Thing


After spending the entire weekend in bed (didn’t even go to church), yesterday I was determined to pursue my quest for finding a writing income through selling an article, writing a column, pouring all my energy and time into my monetizing one of my 3 blogs… I know a lot of my anxiety and depression stems from finances and I am determined to get back on my feet. I am still a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, as well as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, so technically, I have the credentials to reopen my private practice…. but I know I could not handle the responsibility (yet). Maybe one day I will be able to return to what I love, counseling all day. But now, there is no way I can handle knowing I have to be somewhere every single day. I wish people in my life knew the Shelly I was before I crashed into the deep depression… I was such a self-sufficient success…

It is so hard to explain to people who have never experienced a life-altering hidden illness. Hard to justify what appears to be laziness and stubbornness. There’s a feeling of guilt for not doing my part in the world, and taking things I don’t necessarily deserve, having the verse “If man does not work, he shall not eat’ going through my mind.

And the thoughts continually ruminate in my mind, what people think of me, how ‘lazy’ I must be, why can’t I use the God-given strength within me… where is my faith? The depression and anxiety becomes exponential. It can drive me crazy!

Meeting a friend for a ‘writing/working date’ was just what I needed – good company while working… it doesn’t get much healthier than that! Well, my laptop wouldn’t cooperate – it deletes every 2 or 3 letters I type! I know my laptop is going to die any day now and this is my only computer so THAT is even MORE motivation for me to find a writing gig. Just the thought of  being computer-less freaks me out to the point where I am determined to do nothing but write and query publishers until I get some enough cash for a new computer!

Okay, come back, Shelly. My Attention Deficit took over for a while there.

My computer problem meant I could talk freely with my friend, who shares in having a hidden illness that dramatically altered her life. She is a teacher – wonderful with kids – yet had to stop working due to constant pain (and I suspect resulting depression). She is also a strong Christian and shares in my frustration with wanting to glorify God yet feeling limited because of her illness. Sometimes, we text each other when there is an event we need to attend, and texts are like ‘did you get off the couch yet?’ and they last for hours! She understands how arduous taking a shower is when I am in a depression. And the fact that I could tell her how hard it is for me to socialize yet I am lonely and have been thinking it’d be nice to have a boyfriend… and she understood! Having someone understand what you are experiencing, what the world cannot see, what you KNOW to be true… comforts and encourages the heart. It’s why I share. It’s why I am determined to be an advocate and lobbyist for mental illness.

Maybe that’s a good thing about having depression – you appreciate friends who understand. I am immensely grateful for mine.

My Writing Distraction


Jireh is such a beautiful dog! She stays by my side as I write, so I can't resist stopping to pet and play with her... too often!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Beach Wins!


So I ended up going to the beach yesterday cause I knew I would stay in bed otherwise. Sometimes, I feel useless… absolutely useless. I have more than my share of prideful moments when I take entirely too much credit for my gifts and talents. And even days like yesterday and today, I know I have intelligence and empathy and understanding and the gift of writing  (that is an incorrect sentence grammar-wise as I am using my poetic license). Still, without initiation, all the skills and gifts in the world is of any use. Depression sucks up all initiation, thus, staying in bed is always my “go-to activity”.
The beach was wonderful!!!! I haven’t felt that anxiety-free in a long, long time. Too long. I drafted an article to send to a magazine, ideas were flowing as I was subsumed in nature. I knew I had made the right decision.