Monday, July 30, 2012

Part 2 - Happy Ending to Weekend


Part 2:
As I wrote yesterday, I haven’t been able to find my joy since I ended the relationship with my best friend. We hadn’t been friends for too long, but I thought of our friendship as a ‘new beginning’ as she stepped in when I had no one or nothing, and has put up with my moods like a champ. So when our friendship ended, I had to admit the problems I had attributed to my family and everyone else were obviously MY fault. Plus, I wasn’t sure I had it in me to try to form friendships again, at least not ones of substance.

Rob is always the exception. His history with depression has bonded us beyond measure. Don’t get me wrong… I can and have been vile with him, yet he has learned my patterns and somehow, he always seems to forgive me. The man is a saint and I can only attribute it to his deep relationship with Christ along with his ‘been there’. He has a wonderful family who keeps him from sinking as deeply as I do, yet he still understands. But because of his family, I know I need to find some female friends, so that is when I reached out to a few on Facebook practically begging them to hang out with me. I had gotten to the point where I was starting to fear aloneness again. I remember hesitating to commit to helping at VBS when it was 3 weeks away ‘because I may not be here’. Almost daily, I tell Rob I will NOT survive another holiday season alone. I won’t. Rob tells me not to worry what about is months away, so I say “I don’t know if I can make it through my birthday 8/24”…

Where is my faith? Where is my dependence on God? What happened to only worrying about today, because tomorrow has enough worries of its own? What happened to all I need is God? What happened to all those times Jesus turned what the enemy intended as harm to bless me? Maybe I am crazy. Maybe I do need to be sent away to a hospital, smelling of urine, where I sat in a white rocking chair all day, staring absently out the window overlooking the lawn…

But I won’t give up Jireh and Addy, so I (having no gas in my car) asked Shannon (who I haven’t seen for months as she has 2 young children) to please hang out with me. Yes, I was that pitiful. Shannon suggested she we go to Starbucks and then go to Northland. UH-OH!!! PEOPLE DON’T LIKE ME AT NORTHLAND! I HAVE BURNED BRIDGES AT NORTHLAND! However, I will go just about anywhere if you take me to Starbucks, I wanted to spend time with Shannon, I wouldn’t have the gas to go to Willow Creek, and I was serious about changing – forgiveness, releasing bitterness, and being more Christ-like. So I agreed. I was soooo sick with anxiety and Crohns attacks, but I was determined to go. I truly felt like I was wearing a “USA” shirt across the Iranian border! 

As soon as we walked in the foyer, I saw Pastor Joel! He exclaimed, “NO WAY!” when he saw me and we hugged like long-lost friends. It was perfect! I told him he always will be my pastor and, while I have a lot of enemies at Northland, they can’t keep me away from him. It was just what my heart needed to see one of my all time favorite people ever! Shannon had mentioned Pastor Joel had written an excerpt about me in one of his books and wanted to go to the bookstore to show me. Well, guess what the name of the book is? I Don’t Do Crazy Anymore. I kid you NOT!!! There is a blurb about me inside the covers of I Don’t Do Crazy Anymore. As I write this, the book is propped on my desk. I’m letting it sink in.

I’m not denying I have depression and anxiety. In fact, I had to pray for God’s power, strength, and cohesiveness to write this entry. I am fighting the desire to go back to bed. Tonight I am meeting “the ex-best friend” (prayers needed!) to see if we can reconcile any part of our friendship. Again, anxiety, depression, fear, and all the weapons from Satan are trying to discourage me from attempting to reconcile our relationship. Trust has been broken, we have hurt each other, etc. Yet part of Pastor Joel’s message was the verse about as far as it depends on you, be at peace with with everyone. And one of Pastor Joel’s trademark statements is “Just take the next right step”. It was right of me to go to Northland yesterday. It is right for me to try to reconcile broken relationships. And it is right of me to try to utilize God’s power and love to make new friends, love other people, not be so guarded, and take chances, like I did with Shannon. I had the best time with her yesterday! I enjoyed the puppy-playdate with Karen Saturday, and I even enjoyed sitting at the Springs with Susie last week.

God created us for relationship. I must not allow depression to take that away from me.
Don't Do Crazy Anymore!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Update Part 1 - Depressing Part



Why I haven't been writing...
I knew it. Once VBS ended, I went back to spending the day alone, mostly in bed. This was disappointing as I was determined not to get back into the pattern of basically just waiting to die. I dread going back to the psychiatrist Friday, telling him the depression and anxiety continues to immobilize me. His threat of sending me to inpatient, intensive treatment looms over me all the time. “We’ve tried all the medications… your issues are so imbedded from your childhood trauma, you need intensive, ongoing therapy.” No, I need my Bible, cat and dog. “Please don’t take me from my cat and dog… give me one more chance.” Then I want you out of that bed and interacting with others.

That was 2 months ago. I started working at church a couple days per week, talking to new people, then coming home and going to bed. The best friend I had was no longer in my daily life so I would (and still do) go days without any social contact. As an introverted recluse, you’d think I’d be thrilled. I found myself getting caught up in lies, lies I knew were not true. My pain was unbearable, loneliness was excruciating. I spent nights doing the only thing I knew to do, clutching my Bible while laying in the fetal position. I obsessed over Job, how Job’s friends only added to his torment, trying to challenge Job’s faith. But Job knew who his God was, and continually praised God despite what he was experiencing.

I spent the past week at Vacation Bible School, where I discovered that talking to other adults helped me forget my depression, at least for that moment. I found myself laughing and enjoying myself… until I came home to my empty apartment, where I would go right to bed and sleep as long as my dog would let me. I wasn’t writing (except for requests from my editor), was barely grooming, and definitely wasn’t living the life for which God created me. Rob, the one friend who has stayed in my life through the past several years, would text and check on me. I know he grew tired of me saying how miserable I am.

And so I started thinking about the relief I felt talking with the adults at church. I really don’t have any close friends since I lost my best friend (“I’ll show the world! I don’t need ANYONE except my pets…”) and that, I discovered, is when the cynical, worse-than-ever depression set in – when I started isolating for days. I reached out to a couple people who had been wonderful to me in the past, Shannon being one of them. Looking back, my plea was pitiful, “Can we get together next weekend? I really need a friend… I really need someone to talk to…” I sent similar messages to Susie and Karen. I went to the Springs with Susie and just stared into oblivion. She kept asking what was wrong, “I’m depressed… this is the way I am now”. When Karen came over, she brought her dog, who played with Jireh and THAT made me happy. When my dog is happy, I am happy… for that moment. Karen is truly a gift from God, and talking openly with her reminded me I need friends. Having friends definitely helped with depression and anxiety…

Still, . I couldn’t find my joy. It had to be in there since I have the Holy Spirit within me…

To Be Continued…  The HAPPY ending tomorrow. I’m going back to bed now.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Introduction





Vacation Bible School ended today and I met some wonderful people, some of who may start reading my blogs so I figure I need to update with a background. Obviously, I don’t go around telling everyone about being unable to work because of depression and anxiety. I sometimes share I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, but I leave out how I went into my own deep depression and had to shut down my practice a few years ago. I rarely share how I am in bed 18 hours a day and how my psychiatrist is frustrated with not knowing how to alleviate my depression, at least so I am able to work and have a quality of life again. I don’t share how I have been hospitalized a total of five times for wanting to die… how alone I feel, how I have no family. Someone asked me today if I had any brothers or sisters and for the first time, I said, ‘no’. I figure if my relatives have repeatedly disowned me, I have no relatives. Too many years have passed to expect a change. God can perform miracles, yet I am learning to let go.

As a writer, I have prided myself in being a loner-recluse, but I don’t think isolating is wise when I am depressed which seems to be more often than not lately. Let me explain when I say ‘depressed’, I mean ‘clinically depressed’, the kind of depression, which makes people uncomfortable when elaborated and discussed. If I didn’t have a dog, I would stay in bed and wait until God took me home. I believe we are on this earth to glorify God, and that is my desire. When in a depression, I know I cannot do this, except maybe through my writing in the safety of my own home. That is where my anxiety kicks in. Yet isolation fuels the depression so I can’t win!

Believe it or not, I don’t mean to complain. Speaking about depression and anxiety tends to lead to complaining though. I try to find the spirit of joy within when I write so when I don’t post for several days, that means I have sunken deep into a depression and can’t reach for God’s hand.

My depression and anxiety makes me hard to be friends with and I am aware of this. When I feel better, I frequently start forming friendships, but I lose them when I crash into a depression due to self-destructive patterns. I had a best friend for a year but my words were too harsh… I hurt her and pushed her away. She was a great friend, an angel from God. I thought we would be friends forever.

Anyway, this is my brutally honest blog. Yes, I have Cerebral Palsy, but that is NOTHING compared to my depression and anxiety. I am ready to go home to heaven. I have tried unsuccessfully to go, but Jesus won’t let me come home yet. He still has work for me to do here on earth. I wish He would TELL ME, give me a ‘to-do’ list so I could complete my work and go to HIM. I want to hug Him. I want to be with Him and praise Him and do nothing but sit at His feet all my days… but He wants me in this world a little longer… so I try to fight the depression and serve whom He tells me to serve. I read the Bible obsessively to learn how He wants me to live, to learn what Heaven will be like, and to learn who Jesus is. 

So that is the theme of my blog…. Desire to see Jesus, yet fighting depression to wait and do His work here. Holidays are hard for me. In fact, almost daily, I tell someone I cannot make it through another Thanksgiving-Christmas season. They tell me not to worry about holidays until they come, yet my resolve is so serious, I am sure I cannot make it through another holiday season. Yet I have to be here to care for my cat and dog.

Finally, I love the ocean – boating, wave runners, anything on the ocean. I love taking my dog swimming. I love sleeping with my cat. I love reading my Bible and learning new things each time I read it. I love Beth Moore lessons, Def Leppard, existentialism, Mac computers and psychology. I love pens and socks and journals and animals. And I love Tallahassee and Florida State.

I am not fond of noise, trains, arguments, sweet potatoes, and ignorance.

Welcome to my Blog! I have another blog written from a clinical perspective which will be updated soon. You can find it here: http://thewritingtherapist.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Silence

I am in in deep depression, whirling with anxiety. Helping out at church 4 hours per day is making me sadly aware... I may never be able to have a regular job again. It may be strictly freelance writing from now on. I AM thankful for my gift of writing. Hopefully, in a year, I'll relocate to Tallahassee to write and lobby for Mental Health Issues. Nothing with structure. Keep me in your prayers. I have been on Prozac for 3 weeks and the sadness will not subside. I believe losing a close friend is having a MAJOR impact on me. I just don't understand people... signed, the Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Friday, July 20, 2012

High Anxiety!


Last night was brutal… well, the whole day wasn’t exactly easy peasy. It seems the longer one takes anti-anxiety medication, the less effective it becomes… the whole threshold facet. My Gabapentin (Neurontin) doesn’t help anymore unless I take massive amounts (which I refuse to do – came too close to ruining my life with Xanax to play with medications). The anxiety increased with the time passing… I was afraid something ‘doomful’ was about to happen. Rationalizing, I thought the worst thing that can happen is death and I am not afraid of death. My fears were silly, such as what if the smoke alarm battery didn’t stop beating and I couldn’t get it to stop? How am I going to survive my birthday alone? The holidays? And while my concerns seem menial, they continued to steamroll and crush me. I emailed, “I feel like I’m having a nervous break down!”.

I prayed… I studied Psalms… and I prayed some more. I needed human interaction. Who? I am beginning to re-evaluate my loner lifestyle. Thankfully, Stacey and Karen communicated with me, but they had no clue what I was experiencing on my side of the phone.

Maybe it is good I will be volunteering at church today and 4 days next week. It’ll be interesting to see if socializing will help or hurt my anxiety. 


Jireh was right by my side the entire time. She ‘sensed’ something was happening. Jireh is my four-legged angel. Hugging her while praying… that is all I could do


Thursday, July 19, 2012

See My Post On Fighting Depression

I wrote this in hopes of finding a way to back away from the pit of depression: The Writing Therapist: Step Away From the Pit of Depression. Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Am I THAT Disabled? Really?

Working in the disability field, I know it is unheard of for anyone to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits the first time they apply. The norm is two-to-three years to finally get the decision IF you were approved. Imagine my surprise when I was told within 3 months of applying that I qualified for Disability. And not for a physical disability, but an unseen disability – depression. Cerebral Palsy didn’t keep me from having a successful career. One day, I just broke down. I knew I could not effectively counsel clients with my mindset. I would be violating the therapist’s oath of putting the clients needs before my own. So I had to quit. Quit everything I had worked so hard for, I had to walk away. A single person with no alternative income. I had to quit. I love counseling and miss it terribly. I loved being a counselor and hated to walk away. But my depression was so strong, I did what I had advocated so fervently against – I applied for Disability based on my depression. And I was so depressed, I couldn’t even fill out the paperwork. I had no where to go, no family to take me in, and I was too depressed to care. God provided through the church I attended… somehow, God provided until I received the letter from Social Security in record time – a matter of months – yes, they agreed, my depression was too severe for me to engage in gainful employment. I remember what a blessing, what a relief – I qualified for Disability! But then again, it hit me…  I really did have a mental illness. And even though I did my time in college and interning and supervision and licensure exams, I was too disabled to work. I vowed not to let the depression keep me down, to take a couple months off and then go back to work… I’ve lost track as to how many years ago that was,. Yesterday, I received another letter bringing similar feelings… regarding my student loans, the Federal Government has determined my depression and anxiety are too severe for me to ever return to gainful employment and my loans will be forgiven if I don’t make above the poverty level for two people within three years.

What? Do you have any idea how hard it is to have your student loans forgiven? Am I THAT disabled? I WANT to pay back my student loans. I WANT to work again. I can push through my anxiety and depression…and my thoughts alternated to thinking I had to show up to volunteer at church, and how anxious I was, and how I wanted to stay in bed, and my heart began racing and I was sweating and… I worked myself up into a pitiful mess just thinking about leaving my home! It was ridiculous. If I wasn’t in my body, I would think I was overreacting, but I was there and it was real.

I did the one thing that always calms me – I went to Jesus and asked Him to let me release my past and my future to Him… help me focus completely on glorifying Him today, this very moment, and leave the future to Him. Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you and Take captive every thought and make it obedient to him.

I don’t know what’s going to happen… and that is okay, because God does… and God is in control.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Excellent Article on Depression

You must read this blog entry on depression by HalfwaybetweentheGutter. It is expertly, magnificently written for both the depressed and the one who loves/likes the depressed. It not only identifies confusing misunderstandings, in a unique way, it tries to explain them and does a pretty good job. If you are in a depression, you will feel comfort in knowing someone understands. You will see you are not crazy. You have an illness - it's not your fault. It may barely impact your life, or it may paralyze you and steal all that you have worked for. But it reinforces the truth about depression.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Keep Hanging On!


Good morning! How are we doing today? If you got out of bed, brushed your teeth, took a shower, even left your house… let me congratulate you if you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety! Each of those things are HUGE, and in a world that makes such acts seem ‘mundane’ and normal, they are monumental tasks when in a funk.

If you are reading this from bed, unable to open the curtains and just want to curl up and wither away, hang on. I know it hurts. I know there are no words to comfort you or make you excited to even consider enjoy life, just take it one minute at a time. Maybe all you can do today is stay in bed… celebrate surviving, celebrate not hurting yourself. Celebrate tomorrow you have another chance, tomorrow you may wake up and have some energy and motivation. But hang on. Don’t give up.

You are still on this earth because God isn’t finished with you. He has a purpose for you being here. I know you may not care and may even be mad at God… that’s okay – He is big enough to handle your anger. You see, He knows what you are going through, He sees you struggling. He sees you persevering, and you will be rewarded for hanging on. Revelation 2:2 says, “I know your deeds, your hard work, your perseverance…” and verse 7 continues, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”  In other words, you fighting and persevering today will result in being rewarded in paradise! Don’t judge by the world’s standards, when in a depression, brushing your teeth is overcoming. Leaving the house is persevering. Not ending your life is being a conqueror! God sees it even if no one else does… and He is all that matters. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Forgiveness and Making Amends Despite Your Pride


I’ve decided this blog is going to be directed toward those who are suffering and struggling due to mental illness, disabilities, LIFE. We all struggle sometimes, right? So the purpose of this blog is now to encourage you to hang on, to keep going, even if it’s just one more day.., one more hour, whatever it takes to HOLD ON! You can read previous entries and see I have been there. I have given up many times, and God always picks me back up and makes me keep going, saying, “You haven’t finished your work yet!”. I get mad and bitter and rebellious – I end friendships out of pride and vow to keep to myself, knowing I can only trust God and I don’t need people… but you know, when I calm down and quietly listen to God, He reminds me He created us for relationships. We were never meant to do life alone, and certainly were not meant to walk through life without God!

(I’m learning a lot about true friendships while writing a Bible Study on Job.) God is showing me how I punish people in my life for experiences I have had in the past. Do you do that? Have you been hurt so deeply that you build a wall around your heart and vow no one will ever get in again? Do you write people off when you feel yourself getting too close to them and fear they will hurt you?

Can I tell you that you are allowing the past to hurt your present and future? Bitterness and pride are our enemies. Sometimes we hurt people who have been nothing but gracious to us because of what someone did to us in the past.

People are precious. People are God’s children, and He loves each of us the same. I am learning the importance of loving and accepting people the way Jesus loves and accepts me. I’ve been a hypocrite with my anger, judging, and pride. If you are reading this from my link on Facebook and wondering why I ‘friended’ you again, this is for you. I am sorry and I was wrong. Even if I never said or did anything to you, I apologize for defriending you. Friends, even Facebook friends, are treasures, and I realize that now.

So to those who are hurting,… don’t go through this alone. Someone emailed me, reaching out and telling me my post about ”God’s Got This” really helped them. Know that I appreciate you taking the time to email me, and I am praying you continue to find strength in Him… He will carry you through, and sometimes, He uses people around us to help ease our travels. Don’t shut people out. Accept them and love them as God loves and accepts you. Make amends. Kick away your pride. Make a new beginning. I don’t know about you, but the way I treat Jesus,  He should’ve written me off a long time ago… but He didn’t because He has unconditional love for me. Don’t you want to be like Jesus?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Other Depression Blogs

I will add blogs on depression as I find them... it is so helpful reading entries of people who actually UNDERSTAND depression!
Halfway Between the Gutters and Stars - easy on the eyes.... not sure if it is current. I just found it and am looking forward to exploring it.
The Stranger With My Face- great writing
Everyone Has A Story - A Blunt, Christian Writer... I like her.
Quit the Cure - The Journey to Quit Antidepressants
KStruggles - a Fellow Survivor
Bipolar Muse - Beautifully Artistic and Informative
But She's Crazy - As she describes,"A memoir of moods, madness, and making it through".
Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights - I love her poetry.
Patient Anonymous- LOTS of writing!

Excellent Article on Suicide

Here is an excellent article on suicide:  It gives a fresh perspective on suicide is not about 'giving up' because one does not want to live, it is more about the inability to bear living. Living hurts sometimes. I mean it physically hurts. I know as I wake up to the all familiar feeling of having such physical and emotional turmoil, and wondering how I would survive the day. Having to socially interact with others is both frightening and dreadful due to the level of irritability and sensitivity. History proves this is when I tend to offend people and damage friendships. When talking about feelings proves not only ineffective, but more damaging, that is when the silence begins... keeping thoughts and feelings to oneself. My mission is to reach out to these people and be the listener and counselor they need. Merely listening can save a person's life.

Well, That Didn't Last Long

See link on Life with Clinical Depression. And pray for me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hope in Suffering!


I have to share – I feel better today! For the first time in weeks,  I feel HOPE! I’ve been thinking a lot about Viktor Frankl, who was a psychotherapist that wrote The Man’s Search For Meaning. He was a hostage in a concentration camp (which is what the book is about). He wrote things like, “If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”

He also wrote the following:
We who lived, in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.

I want to find and demonstrate meaning in my suffering. To be honest, the past few weeks. I have been mourning my friends and family…accepting I have no close friends for the first time in my life. I have felt my joy draining from me. I have felt the cavity where my heart resides ache like never before. I have cried out to God, begging him for relief.

And for whatever reason, I feel relief. Not only relief, I feel HOPE. If it takes days filled with nothing but pouring over Scripture,  praying and fasting… if that is what it takes to keep this HOPE, to keep this momentum, I will commit to it. I don’t want to give up. God has given me soooo much to share with others, I don’t want depression and anxiety to keep me from doing so. I feel HOPE! And according to Lamentations 3:25, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him.’

No matter what your situation, find HOPE in the Lord! Be determined to make your suffering worth it. Learn from your suffering. Listen in your suffering… do not suffer in vain.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Forget the Former Things...


It has been a week since I started my new medication. Let's just say I am putting more faith in God's Word - Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Isaiah 43:18-19

Forgetting the former things is easier said than done. Yet, it is also positive aspiration to have. The people, places, events in your life were there during a season for a reason. Some people, few people, stay. The others leave for various reasons. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past… Learn from the past. Do things differently to prevent repeating the same painful mistakes. But don’t dwell on the past.

I know it’s not easy. My heart is still aching unlike ever before. I feel like there is a tumor in my entire chest cavity. I have to fight memories of recent times in effort to avoid pain, bitterness, anger, depression and anxiety. I am only surviving by the promise in the verse – He is doing a new thing! Oh, I hope He hurries…

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Christians Surviving Depressions and Anxiety


When in a deep depression and/or severe anxiety, find whatever brings you even the least sense of peace and hold on to it as if your life depended on it, because it just might. Christians will tell you to just pray about it or ‘where is your faith’, tell them to go read the Book of Job, which includes such passages as those in Job 3: “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest … What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

DO NOT LET ANYONE convince you that you are less of a Christian because of your mental illness. At the same time, try, try, TRY to hold on to Jesus. I find when I am in my deepest pits, I obsessively study the Bible. because I know my faith is the one thing I can trust. Jesus is the one person who will never hurt me.

This morning, the 5th day of taking Prozac, I am disappointed I don’t feel better than I do (even though medications take 6-8 weeks to take full effect), but since Gods’ Word brings me comfort, I repeatedly read the Amplified Version of Psalms 1:2, and I am BELIEVING better days are coming… Hang on... and believe with me.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Inpatient Treatment Facilities


There’s something to be said about a quality inpatient psychiatric hospital- in fact, there is MUCH to be said. If you are debating whether to check yourself in or facing involuntary admission by your doctor, I hope this article will bring a bit of comfort and lessen your anxiety. Mind you, psychiatric hospitals vary greatly in the experience and environment (mainly, due to insurance), but when you find a good one, like Tallahassee Memorial Psychiatric Center, it can change your life.

  1. You are removed from the stressors, anxiety, and triggers, which were making life so difficult. Yes, they are ‘still out there’, but you don’t have to think about them. You find distractors and even healthy replacements for the people, places, and things that were so consuming. It’s like a mental and emotional vacation.
  2. You gain a new perspective. Meeting new people who accept you for the crazy things you say, who not only refrain from freaking out with “I don’t know what to do/say”, but actually take your hand and listen when you talk about how crappy life is, so much so that you want to die… having people listen to you is incredibly affirming and liberating. And you realize you are not a freak. You realize maybe you just outgrew the people you’ve been socializing with, and it is time to make new friends.
  3. You do meet new friends. You learn the world is crammed with people, and the little social circle from whom you were trying so desperately to gain acceptance is only one minute part of society. You learn hurtful words were said not out of personal attacks, but out of misunderstandings resulting in miscommunications. You find people who get it, people who understand.
  4. You are understood and celebrated. Celebrated for the effort it takes to make it through the day… celebrated for such mundane things as showering, grooming, even smiling. People understand how paralyzing and debilitating depression and anxiety can be. Rather than placing unrealistic expectations on you, you are nurtured to get better… not just to the person you were, but to the best person you can be.
  5. You are safe. Safe from the hurtful actions of ‘friends and family’. Perhaps more importantly, safe from yourself – the thoughts of killing yourself. Without means to ‘carry out the thoughts’, soon, the desires lessen. And you have people with whom to talk about such feelings. People who not only listen and understand, but people who have been suicidal too… and survived. People like me.

Mental hospitals have a bad rap because some only pump you with drugs to keep you compliant while they collect your insurance money until your benefits run out, at which point, they discharge you being more screwed up they when you arrived. Research, do you homework. Finding the right Psychiatric Facility can change your life. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Celebrating Independence


To All The Lonely People

Another holiday has arrived. Holidays; when loneliness stings the most. After 43 years of literally having more friends than I wanted, I now make Casey Anthony look like Miss Popularity. If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, I am sure you have difficulty with relationships as well. Up until my medication was switched a month or so ago, I was socially fulfilled. But I went off antidepressants and realized I needed to make some changes in my life. I did, and I am… and while I have no regrets, the loneliness is stifling. But before you stop reading, thinking this is too bleak of an entry to continue reading, let me continue on an optimistic tone.

Like much of life, it helps to focus on the positive. I couldn’t do this without my faith. In fact, I have tried to start a blog with less of a Christian base… I can’t do it because I can’t imagine living without Christ. If you are not Christian and read my blog, thank you. My prayer is you will see the difference Christ can make in one’s life. But back to the positive things about being alone… and even lonely.

  1. You are free to do what you want, when you want. A married mom pointed this out to me – I have no husband in whom to report, no children to consider before myself, etc.  I could’ve married, have been engaged, thought I was pregnant, etc… but I wanted more for my life. Never have I regretted not choosing marriage and/or children because I have different goals and dreams. At the same time, I can’t feel sorry for myself because I have no children on Mother’s Day or husband on Valentine’s Day. We pick our choices; we live with the consequences.
  2. You are only accountable to God. This is similar to the prior entry, except on a more practical level. I’m not a planner – I do things on the spur of the moment. When others are involved, living this way and./or canceling plans with someone at the last moment is just rude. I make my own schedule, which is pretty convenient as a writer.
  3. You experience life in a fuller sense. Without the distraction of having to attend to the social needs of those around you, you actually get to engage your senses. I went to the Chicago Museum of Art several years ago and spend 45 minutes staring at the first painting! I was so entranced by the strokes and colors and wonders of what Monet was thinking, feeling, and portraying, I literally forgot where I was. That isn’t permissible when entertaining company.
  4. God loves you… alone. Yes, God created us for fellowship. God ordered in the early pages of His Word to be fruitful and multiply. Yet He understands when we are frustrated with the world and long to be alone. In fact, His Word tells us “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” (Psalm 146:3). He wants us to trust in HIM, the ONLY perfect One who can meet all our needs without fault.
  5. Finally, unlike people, God ALWAYS understands. We are imperfect people who are mean, ungrateful, selfish, vile, etc. That is why relationships are so hard- two or more imperfect people together are bound to encounter disharmony at some point! When we are alone, we can be true to ourselves. This is silly yet true: I have been friends with a guy who has been a nonconforming loner like me. That mere fact created a kindred spirit between us. He recently joined Facebook and, selfishly, I feel our bond has been broken, at least ripped. I see him evolving into a social person, (more to this but will refrain from discriminating details) and I already feel it altering our friendship. I have few friends on Facebook because I do not accept friend requests from people I do not like and trust. BECAUSE I AM A NONCOMFORMIST, I never ‘just go with the flow’… a.k.a. I need to work on being a better Christian because I say what I feel and I try to stand up for justice. In other words, while I pride myself in being true to myself, iI am a hypocrite; my friend is the loving Christian Jesus commands us to be. But while others judge me and condemn me, God understands my sinfulness. He knows I am working on trying to be more like Jesus.

So on this Independence Day holiday, if you are alone, CELEBRATE!! And the great thing about being alone, is YOU CAN CELEBRATE HOWEVER YOU’D LIKE!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Questions about Depression and Medication



Someone asked me about 'normal' depression versus major depression, especially those requiring medication. Here is my response:

I wanted to comment about you saying therapists say just stop being depressed! I'd get a new therapist QUICKLY. Sounds like a burned-out therapist to me! A legend in the psychology field (Irvin Yalom speaking of Karen Horney) once said, "the human being has an inbuilt propensity toward self-realization. If obstacles are removed, the individual will develop into a mature, fully realized adult, just as an acorn will develop into an oak tree." The task of the therapist is to remove obstacles blocking the patient's path. So first, identify the obstacles to being the person the patient aspires to be, then work on ways to remove those obstacles. Sometimes the obstacles are deeply rooted, like incest, abandonment, etc. When THAT happens, the brain literally forms differently, causing malfunctioning neuropathways and messed up neurotransmitters. Patients usually have lifetime mental illness, requiring medication to regulate (or normalize) the neurotransmitters, along with counseling to form healthy thinking patterns.

Then there is situational depression which occurs after a death, divorce, or other 'situation' - hence the name, This usually is treated by counseling without the need for medication. If the depression lasts longer than 6 months, the patient needs to  be evaluated for possible dysthymia (which is a low-grade depression where the patient feels sad and blah, but it doesn't interfere with major life functioning, where medication may or may not be used.

What I have is the first - Major Clinical Depression, Recurrent is the official diagnosis. My childhood events have messed up my brain. People may not believe this - I don't want to believe it, but our brains are formed the first 20 years of life. Without the right environment, brains are messed up. That is what causes addictive personalities, alcoholics, child molesters, etc. People grow up to be what they were exposed to. 

Hope that answers your questions. Remember, you cannot just 'snap out of a clinical depression'. Why would people willingly be depressed?