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. 


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.


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.

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.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

To Beach? Sleep? Write?

Jireh is sleeping after just returning from a puppy sleep-over. She will sleep most of the day, as will Addy. As I type this, I am debating whether to head to the beach since I haven’t been in so long and I think the ocean would help my anxiety. Plus, I am afraid if I stay home while Jireh is zonked out, I will crawl back in bed myself. And what a wasted day that would be. I tell myself if I bring a notebook to the beach, I will write, thus be productive, yet the gas money and food… blah, blah, blah-  expenses! I am trying to put money aside to move to Tallahassee after my initial books start selling – after all, I can write anywhere! Since I consider Tallahassee my home, why not write from Tally?

Money, it all comes down to money. I am so much further from where I was, yet still struggle at the end of every month (I receive disability for depression/anxiety on the 3rd of every month) and have only survived by miracles and gifts from others. While I see God’s provision when this happens, I know I am to be a better steward. As a single woman without a family, I have been gifted by God with talents and treasures, sufficient enough to take care of myself. That goal has started burning within… yes, I see God provides a way when there is no way… now it is time I pay not only MY way, but help others as God as helped me.

Jireh is still sleeping. The sun is shining, the beach is calling… yet I am looking long term now. I want my life to be better tomorrow than it is today. I keep meditating on the following verse from 2 Timothy 2:15- Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

I must write myself out of poverty… don’t think I will be going to the beach today…. unless the call of coming back to bed is too tempting…

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I didn’t blog yesterday because I had nothing positive or profound to say. Actually, I was anxious all day, more anxious than I get at night even, and it lasted all day as I was alone with my thoughts. My thoughts are like muddy seaweed where there are occasional bright colors of green but you step through muck and never know how deep your step will be. The farther you walk, the deeper it gets and you are too enthralled by the environment to proceed with caution. My thoughts are like that… I wonder how I end up in some areas and, worse yet, how to get out!

So today, I am still in the muck, trying to figure out why God is blessing me – He provided me with a miracle again today… doing something only God can do. Trying to figure out how to make this world a better place with all the resources He has given me.  Trying to figure out how brain chemicals can make me depressed and anxious, knowing what I know about the Gospel. Why can’t my faith trump neurochemistry? I want to live glorifying God without preaching to people. I want people to see Christ in my life by things I do and say, and mental illness stops that. I don’t want to sleep when I could be writing and learning and growing… all this muck is confusing. Why can’t I just BE who God created me to be and throw aside the fleshly hindrances? I want my life to change, I want to walk in clear waters, knowing where I am going, avoiding all distractions. And merely, yet BOLDLY following Jesus.

And I am thinking of my upcoming birthday on the 24th – it’s a Friday. Do I throw my own party? I really don’t know if people would show up and that would make my birthday all the more depressing. See? There I go again – automatically going into a depression mode and I don’t want to do that. I want to be filled with JOY… I don’t want to be depressed anymore.

See why I don’t blog somedays?? I make no sense.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I want to just SLEEP today… not sure why. I’m not terribly depressed and I have a number of freelance pieces which I believe I can sell to magazines. Money is needed! I am ‘free’ until Wednesday morning when I have to go to work at church so I planned to sleep today, and write tomorrow. But Jireh has stomach problems so we have been going outside periodically.

I have a confession – I sleep to ‘escape’ life… some drink, some shop, I sleep. I have discovered if I pray and talk to God and remain totally still, remembering His promises from the Bible, I can fall asleep. It takes a lot of focus and willpower, but it usually works. So I sleep too much (trying to save gas money, not go anywhere, etc) and have energy to do what I need to do.

I know it’s not good. I keep telling myself I need to stop. Tomorrow I will stop, and tomorrow’s keep rolling by. Sleeping also prevents me from being lonely. Sleeping is my friend. Okay, so Jireh is sleeping and I am ending this entry in hopes I can sleep a couple hours to escape… THEN I will get to work.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Willow Creek Church

Last night, I was surprised at how peaceful I felt, and kept thanking God for giving me peace beyond understanding. I think my psychiatrist is right – my anxiety is more prominent than my depression. For those of you who don’t know my story, I faced homelessness and lost all my possessions and friends/family a little over a year ago. It was the cold of winter and I had no heat, no food, and a crazy landlord. At the suggestion of my mother, I stopped all medications cold turkey, which made me vomit nonstop for days, eventually leading to seizures… I was alone, seizing in this hole in the wall, certain death was occurring. I think I seriously was close to a nervous breakdown as I looked in the mirror and saw my face melting off, my hands looked like skin was dripping off my fingers… I felt like I was in the world of Salvador Dali paintings…cold, hungry, alone, praying death would hurry and take me…

But God had other plans. I went to the doctor and discovered the electrolytes in my brain were screwed up from going off meds and lack of nutrition… and the doctor confirmed I was indeed at death’s door. I kept asking if the skin was melting off my body for I saw a skeletal form when I looked at myself and she assured me I wasn’t seeing things clearly, that medication and food would make me better.

I lived by a fire station and every siren freaked me out as I figured the men in white coats were coming to take me to a state hospital. I knew what the definition of ‘crazy’ was and believed I was indeed crazy. I remember singing praise songs throughout the night (I didn’t sleep for days) because I didn’t know what else to do. I remember telling Jesus I only needed Him and I trusted His plan, but please… please, let me come home to heaven. He refused… He still had work for me to complete.

So I somehow (it’s a blur to me) was fed and medications were back in my system after several weeks. My brain chemistry began leveling out again and I slept 3 hours per night, then five, and I no longer looked skeletal. The coldness of winter disappeared after a friend bought me a heater. I took life an hour at a time and just focused on surviving.

Soon, I came home to an eviction notice on my door and when I called former friends and my church, they referred me to the homeless shelter. I asked my brother to let me live with him and he refused. My mother wouldn’t speak to me.

I was about to be homeless. I kept telling myself Jesus was homeless, but I couldn’t find comfort in that. I decided to buy a tent and live in the woods with my cat and dog since shelters wouldn’t take animals. Yes, my life had gotten that low.

Long story short, Rob told me about a great church- Willow Creek. I went and felt the Holy Spirit the very first time I attended. It is Presbyterian and I am not… yet I felt I belonged there and my life has improved ever since. That was a year ago… exactly a year ago.

I now live in the nicest place I’ve ever lived, I have heat, I have food… I am safe. God used Willow Creek to remove a chunk of my pride and get back on medications and talk to people, even make new friends. Thanks to Willow Creek, God has filled my pantry full of food, I no longer feel ‘crazy’, and have a publisher with 8 of 24 books being released in the Spring. I no longer take and take, but I serve… I give back… and I see ways my God-given gifts benefit others. During the week, I freak out, knowing I could easily face homelessness again… I think about how I am an ‘orphan’ without a family, and sometimes, the thoughts paralyze me. But this morning, I went to Willow Creek, and felt like I belonged. I looked at all the familiar faces, how so many individuals had impacted my life over the past year, and I smiled, knowing it was going to be okay. Thank God for Willow Creek. When those bad thoughts enter my mind, I think of the generosity and love I have felt from fellowshipping at that church… and it brings me peace. Peace beyond understanding.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Avoid Isolation

I definitely need people. The past 2 days have been dreadful, watching the clock, wanting the day to be over, only to realize the next day would be an exact replica of the present. What has happened to me? My whole life, I have been in conflict with my mom, so why am I allowing her email saying she was out of my life forever depress me so? Why was I so distraught at my relatives absence from my life? Just because it was in writing this time? And the loss of my best friend all at once?

The flaw is in me. I am the common denominator. There is something wrong with me, the blame is mine. I try to reach out to socialize and have burned so many bridges, I have few options. Isolation seems the only option. Then the bad thoughts, the self-loathing, the “who-I-was-once-was-was-such-a-better-person”, and the “I need to hide so people don’t witness my lack of faith” thoughts dominate me. I read the Psalms and beg God to help me, help me believe…

What has happened to me? I stay in bed, Jireh tries to get me to play, which only reminds me I am not even a good dog-mommy. Self-pity clouds my knowing I am a child of the most High God… no, I remember who I am, and that makes it worse, knowing I should be acting like a daughter of the most High God!

I texted a lady from Sunday school and invite her to Starbucks. She agrees, thank God. Someone to talk to. I tell her too much, tell her how my mom officially disowned me (again) and how I lost my best friend, and how Jireh has been mourning my ex-best friend’s dogs… and she says, “I just can’t imagine…’ and the look in her eyes comforts me somehow. Her understanding and words somehow reassure me this is life….this is the world we live in… it’s temporary, and we talk about other people’s life’s and their heartaches and serious. heart-breaking matters… things that leave you speechless… and I realize I need to press on, be thankful, be with people, avoid isolation, LIVE…. Get out there and LIVE… be with people. Everyone’s hurting… not just me, everyone is hurting… but we go on… we have no choice but to go on. Live every moment, with others. We need others. Life cannot be done in isolation.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August- Blah

Sometimes I consider stopping this blog, to keep writing a memoir and have it all out at once for fear of not glorifying God with my day-to-day life, but then I remember we are to glorify God in all we do… and my life is unfortunately marked by anxiety and depression, so I will find a way to glorify Him in this circumstance.

My only guess is I had such a wonderful couple of days, yesterday I was disappointed and discouraged when my ‘norm’ returned. I had plans with Karen but I canceled (only half due to my part, the other half was pest control), still, made sure I spoke on the phone with a few people (counting my bank!). Still, I was in bed for approximately 18 hours total.

I cannot allow myself to isolate.

The only comfort I found was listening to Psalms being read on iTunes. I focused, I believed, I knew the words to be true… and that is how I ended my day. I go back to the psychiatrist tomorrow and am hoping he will increase my antidepressant medication. I have to hang in there, for if all goes well. I will move back to Tallahassee in exactly one year. I have started saving my pennies. But first, I have to survive another year of holidays, including my birthday on August 24th.  I have yet to find ways to celebrate holidays alone (my relatives don’t even call). I will. It’ll get easier.