Tag Archive | dealing with depression

Fight ‘til the Light


At my weakest

Satan strikes

His voice taunting me

“Can’t get it right?”

“You’re such a bother!”

“That’s what you see!”

“Give up and let go!

“Set yourself free!”

Thinking is hard

I know one thing

Must pray, pray for me!

While I pray, my soul sings.

Still Satan taunts me

“You ruin everything!”

“They’d be better off without you.”

His words doubt brings.

So I lay here

Feverish nightmare

Praying, “God don’t let me.”

My heart laid bare.

My prayers are heard

The battle is won

Jesus steps up front

Satan is done.

Nonetheless I am weak

From the fever and fight

Sleep finally comes

I sleep on in Light.

        d.f.a.v. 9/13/13

Many people question whether or not Christians can be victims of depression, anxieties, phobias, and even thoughts of suicide. I am here to tell you, “Yes they can”! Depression and anxiety are two mental/emotional issues I’ve battled for a lifetime of 49 years. Thoughts of suicide periodically. These thoughts don’t erase my salvation. These diagnosis don’t wipe my name from the Book of Life. If not for the presence of Jesus in my heart I would have given up decades ago.

If you wrestle with any mental/emotional disorder or diagnosis and you are already a Christian I offer you this word of encouragement, “You are not alone in your struggle and DON’T GIVE UP!”

If you happen to be reading this and you are not a Christian I encourage you to think or rethink on that decision. Christians aren’t perfect and we don’t escape being human but we can always turn to God whose strength and grace is sufficient for all things.”

“…there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 N.I.V.)

Still fighting,

–Faye

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The Old Enemies

The author of this blog is not in any way a medical or mental health provider.

The experiences recounted below are one person’s story of dealing with depression and anxiety.

If you or a loved one suffer from any medical, mental, emotional or spiritual illness or disease you should seek immediate professional help.

 

Many famous and historical people have wrestled with my old enemy, depression. Abraham Lincoln, Charles Spurgeon, and Robin Williams are only a few. Many more of us common, everyday folks wrestle with it too, myself included.

Upon my initial diagnosis in the mid-1990’s I was resistant to medication. My whole life I had been taught that a Christian, a true Believer, could praise, worship, pray and work the blues away. I had been semi-successful with this approach for over a decade. Praising God did make me feel better. Worshiping God did lighten my emotional burdens. Praying did give me relief. Working was a wonderful escape. Yet there came a time when these alone were no longer enough. When the doctor first spoke the words aloud, “Clinical depression” I wanted to get up and run out of his office. The word “clinical” made it sound so ominous.

But as he explained what clinical depression was I could quiet my mind to hear the potential benefits of trying medication. Chief among those reasons was the realization that clinical depression, though named that I am sure for a very good reason, could also be labeled “chemical depression” for it is the lack of the chemicals in the brain balancing that causes depression. Looking at it from that viewpoint helped me agree to try an antidepressant.

Warned that the antidepressant would take up to two weeks to start really working I was prepared for two weeks of no changes. Then within a week I woke up and it was as if a fog had lifted from my life. My apartment seemed more real. Getting ready to go out was not a chore but a joy. Once outside I looked at the colors around me in awe, it seemed like ages since I’d last seen color. My life went from being wrapped in a black and white fog to Technicolor and it seemed to have happened overnight.

There were months when I couldn’t afford the medication. And there were stretches of time I didn’t need it. But I also became very good at recognizing when I did need it. Along the way, I’ve stopped being embarrassed by being clinically depressed. It doesn’t mean my faith in God is weak or non-existent. It is a fragility of my human body.

As a child who grew up in a traumatic life it is reasonable to learn that the serotonin in my brain’s chemicals would get used up. As phases of good and bad would come and go the levels would go up and down. Eventually down used up all I had and down is where I stayed even when things were good in my life.

When my health began to deteriorate around 2004 anxiety crept up on me like a slithering vine. Panic attacks followed. I once left a cart full of groceries in the middle of a Wal-Mart because I was unable to fight the panic attack and knew if I stayed I’d end up screaming and not be able to stop. This time when I sought help the doctor added an anti-anxiety medication to my anti-depressant. I learned to think ahead and if I knew a particularly difficult time was ahead I made sure my prescriptions for neither medication lapsed. Then I lost the insurance coverage that covered my therapist and my psychiatrist and was shuttled to a different set with unrealistic restrictions. Unable to afford to continue I kept the prescriptions active and halved my dosage to make it stretch as long as possible. But one night I took my last pills.

It wasn’t long until the insomnia struck and I would go days without sleep, sometimes catching a two or three hour nap. The panic attacks were back as well. I was blessed that having had my psychiatrist and medical doctor collaborate in my care for eight years my medical doctor prescribed both the medications for me.

I woke up Sunday morning with that awful fog gone. Colors were colors again. There was joy in Mudville* again. The praise and worship at church reached deeper. The pastor’s words didn’t seem to swim toward me and fail to reach me. I drew in a breath and it went all the way inside me, not seeming to fill just the slightest bit of my lungs.

Lessons of life have taught me not to forsake my quiet time with God. Not to forsake worshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ. And they have taught me not to deny myself access to the medication I need.

If you suffer with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, extreme phobias or any other mental disease/illness seeking help is grabbing hold of the lifeline being thrown to you. God heals, in my opinion, in four ways and one of those is through the knowledge He has allowed mankind to learn to create medications as well as other medical and scientific means to heal or help your life be more enjoyable. I am grateful.

-Faye

*Reference to the poem “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, 1888.

Oops! Jar

A few weeks ago my husband and I discussed some new family guidelines for our three member family. We were trying to find a way that would help all of us remember things to do to help us function sweeter together as a team. We came up with the Oops! Jar. After a family meeting where everyone got to have a say in the guidelines, reasons behind and solutions we implemented our plan.

Whenever one of us forgets to do something, like put dirty clothes in the laundry baskets or wipe the toothpaste off of the sink then we have to put a quarter into the Oops! Jar. Then when we go on a vacation we will use the funds to help pay for something we all want to do.

Since this is still “new” to us I won’t tell you how it’s working, although I will say we need a lot more quarters than usual around the house these days!

If I had an Oops! Jar for myself on this blog I would have quite a tidy sum of quarters jangling around inside. There are some “rules” of blogging I haven’t adhered to very well. So, although I won’t be depositing a physical quarter into fvbf’s
Oops! Jar
I will offer virtual ones to you my readers.

  • Sometimes I drop off the blogging field for days, even weeks at a time.
  • I am no computer whiz and when I had to purchase a new laptop unexpectedly with Windows 8 and upgraded Word products it threw me for quite a loop. Rather than deal with it, I’ve chosen to bury my head under the laptop and try to wish it to work like what I was familiar with.
  • No back-up! Yes, I know I should back-up my computer files and I was once regular at doing so but, I grew neglectful and when my old laptop crashed – yes, you got it, I lost work in process and that made me annoyed with myself so I just didn’t deal with it.
  • When I am blogging regularly I don’t post my blog before 9:00 a.m. like the “suggestive guidelines” tell me.
  • My writing will win me no grammar awards I am sure!
  • I’m sure there are others and ignorance isn’t bliss so for those I also offer an Oops! Jar contribution.

Now, with those Oops! Jar confessions accounted for here are some for the personal blogging guidelines God and I hammered out when I began to publish my blogs that I’ve violated too.

  • I’m not always willing to give my readers “the rest of the story”. Especially since I was forced into taking disability. As a Christian I have wanted to handle it better, allowing God to show grace through me, to forgive and to push on to the rest of my life. I have struggled in ways I have no words to describe these last six months. I have chosen to hide away at home on Sunday’s so I could avoid admitting to my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ that my faith is taking a beating, that I have been asking “Why?” of God and not trusting. Now there are some who may comment that I’ve been way more forthcoming than they have desire to know. I respect that opinion if it is yours.
  • I need to forgive my father and his role he played in leading to my having an amputation AGAIN. That is difficult for me to admit but I’ve allowed resentment and bitterness to interfere and become a stumbling block AGAIN. This is on me, not him, for I am the one who forgives, leaves it at Jesus’ feet and picks it up again.

Finally let me remind myself and you my readers that I am no formally educated person in theology, doctrine, religious beliefs. The views I offer are of a layperson who is a female, a mother, a wife, an amputee with complications, a wrestler with depression and anxiety, a want-to-be writer, artistic painting dabbler and a flawed human being with a relationship with Jesus Christ that is not always what it should be because I can’t “surrender all”. I want this blog to be “real” and sometimes gritty revealing honest emotions, faith struggles and life lessons. Here I hope people read “real” and by doing so, find God to be real as well.

For now it is way past posting time and my coffee grows cold. Until next time dear readers and friends!

Faye

…a time to laugh…

Before reading this please know that if you are dealing with depression, anxiety, grief and any number of other difficulties in life that seeking professional help is not only advisable it is most likely necessary.  I do not advocate EVER using tools such as laughter, praise and prayer alone to help ease the burdens of depression and other such illnesses.  There is NO SHAME in allowing God to use all His resources to help you.

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“…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes 3:4 (N.I.V.)

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”  Proverbs 15:30 (N.I.V.)

The dearest friend I could ever have and I have been separated by hundreds of miles since 1998.  During the times we have those “catch up conversations” it is a time of sharing the troubles of our lives but also the joys.  Those reunions are seasoned with love, enduring friendship, caring, understanding, compassion and a healthy sprinkling of laughter.  We giggle (yes, grown women can giggle) and that compassionate laughter of recognizing the challenges of our own growing up (yes, we are all still maturing) and our surviving.

We laugh at our reactions to the events that have occurred in our families.  (Oh the stories our families give us to share!) We laugh at what we were thinking at the time and how it seemed perfectly acceptable then, but which we have to acknowledge now, were impractical or way off base.

Yesterday as we hung up from just such a conversation I realized that one of the things I value and love most about Pattie and the friendship we share, is that we can be so honest with one another and laugh at ourselves through the eyes of the other.  We are both “serious” people (well, most of the time) but together we always manage to find reasons to laugh!

The laughter we shared yesterday was much-needed by me and I don’t have a doubt Pattie as well.  We are both in stages of our lives where our children are rapidly growing up, our husbands are knee-deep in their careers and we are transitioning ourselves into new stages of life, aging (oh the horror of that realization) and new self-realizations.

Laughter sometimes has to be sought in life.  If I allowed myself I could sit and drown in the tears I shed in mourning the loss of the woman I was…mourn the loss of my left leg, my job, my independence…and I confess there are days, sometimes stretches of days, that I do.  I sob.  I hide away.  I MOURN, I grieve and I wrestle with God over the losses, the changes, what I want, who I was and who I am becoming.  But, no matter how hard, I do try to find something positive, I try to allow Abba Father to nurture the flame of hope that my relationship with Him fuels.  Laughter is often a huge part of that.

My challenge to you today dear reader, no matter what you’re going through is to find some reason to laugh!

MC900434743If you need help rediscovering joy then –

  • Spend some time with young children as they play.
  • Call an old friend and catch-up, share your sorrows but try to find some joy to share as well.
  • Put on a CD you love with some upbeat music and dance!
  • Crank up the stereo in the house or car and sing to an audience of one!
  • Entice your child to share some karaoke minutes with you and laugh at both of you as you sing and dance together!
  • Look at some humorous stuff on the internet.
  • Pop in a funny DVD and lose yourself in the comedy.
  • Watch puppies play.
  • Pull out your child’s joke book, the one they read to you and you moan at the bad puns and weak punch lines and read it with the mindset of your child.
  • Sit down with someone for coffee who has a cheerful outlook on life and just bask in their being who they are for they are people we need in this world for just this purpose among others.

Yes, I know it’s hard!  Yes, for some of you I know what I’m asking seems impossible!  Believe me I KNOW!

  • I KNOW life can bring you to a place that you feel as if you are down for the count and just can’t get up again!
  • I KNOW depression, anxiety, fear and a multitude of other feelings and things can immobilize us!  I KNOW my friend, I know.
  • I KNOW depression’s heavy blanket can suffocate!
  • I KNOW addictions, any addiction, erodes your energy, it takes all of you to fight it.
  • I KNOW grief is overwhelming your soul!
  • I KNOW you hear that countdown and giving up would be easier, it would be a relief but DON’T GIVE UP!  Do this, it won’t make all the ugly go away, I know, but it will help your heart, your spirit to survive.
  • Trust me, I KNOW!  It’s not a magical phrase or giggle that will erase whatever it is you’re surviving but IT CAN HELP you cope!

MC900434743

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”  Proverbs 15:13 (N.I.V.)

-Faye

P.S. I know one more thing, someone is reading this today and tears are pooling in your eyes, grief is tearing at your soul and I want you to know, I pray for you even as I finish up typing this last sentence.  God bless!