Depression – Bed of Nails

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This is one of the best descriptions of what depression feels like I have read:

“In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come- not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul. So the decision-making of daily life involves not, as in normal affairs, shifting from one annoying situation to another less annoying- or from discomfort to relative comfort, or from boredom to activity- but moving from pain to pain. One does not abandon, even briefly, one’s bed of nails, but is attached to it wherever one goes. And this results in a striking experience- one which I have called, borrowing military terminology, the situation of the walking wounded. For in virtually any other serious sickness, a patient who felt similar devastation would by lying flat in bed, possibly sedated and hooked up to the tubes and wires of life-support systems, but at the very least in a posture of repose and in an isolated setting. His invalidism would be necessary, unquestioned and honorably attained. However, the sufferer from depression has no such option and therefore finds himself, like a walking casualty of war, thrust into the most intolerable social and family situations. There he must, despite the anguish devouring his brain, present a face approximating the one that is associated with ordinary events and companionship. He must try to utter small talk, and be responsive to questions, and knowingly nod and frown and, God help him, even smile. But it is a fierce trial attempting to speak a few simple words.”

William Styron, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madnesses

The Flashlight

I was going to add my thoughts to this, but I think it is powerful enough as is.

Right now, in our big world, on this globe we call earth, there are a lot of people wandering around in the dark. And guess what, those of us who call ourselves Christians, are the ones with the light. But sometimes we don’t use our flashlights in a very helpful or thoughtful manner. Instead of pointing the light on the pathway, on Jesus Christ who is the Way, we point the light in the eyes of people who are faltering along the way. We blind them with the light of criticism, especially what we think they are doing wrong. Just this week I read an article in a Christian newsletter which pointed out that in the last 20 years, the number of people who don’t identify as regular church attending individuals has not only increased but what’s more, the number who don’t want to be approached by Christians has increased as well. This got me to thinking, what if the only thing you ever heard from a Christian was how “bad” you were, what would your attitude be? Blinding someone with a flashlight not only keeps the “Way” from being seen, but it makes it impossible for your eyes to see well at all. Maybe this is why Jesus used the example of candlelight – a soft, diffuse light which provides beautiful illumination in the darkness. The author James Thurber observed that, “There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.” May we choose, in the darkness of this world, to be an illuminating candle pointing those we meet to “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Dorothy Valcarel, Transformation Garden

The Hammock of God’s Peace

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Empty is not as scary as he used to be

He visits often and oh how he used to plague me

I would search everywhere for something to fill the void

Frustration would enter, anxiety surrounded me, and I lost all joy

My thoughts became quite dark and I thought it was the end

Empty would tell me I had to “do” or “be” something important or I’d lose my best friend

 

These days a visit from Empty catapults me to my knees

I recall the verse where Jesus says “His grace is sufficient” for me (2 Cor: 12-9)

“Be still and know that I am God” are the Heavenly words that make Empty flee (Psalm 46:10)

I know that “He who began a good work” will complete it in me (Phillipians 1:6)

I can “cease striving” and rest in the hammock of God’s peace (Psalm 46:10)

What Changes Us: A Daddy or a Drill Sergeant?

This is a Father’s Day message. Yes, I know Father’s Day was months ago but this message, that I heard for the first time today, really really really touched my heart for many reasons. It’s not your typical “shape up, dad” message, but is a message that reveals the character of our Heavenly Father. You will want to have Kleenex handy.

Click here to access audio:

Pastor Jean Larroux III sermon – What Changes Us: A Daddy or a Drill Sergeant?

Random Insane Thoughts

Puffer Fish

Disintegration

It is amazing how quickly I can disintegrate and wind up in the pit. The disintegration can be triggered by a memory, a visit to my bank account online (oh crap (yes I’ve been known to say crap)..I forgot about that automatic debit!), a text, a phone call, or something posted on social media. It can lead to a panic attack, binge-fest, or a deep desire to find a cabin in the woods and become a hermit.

Anger

I’ve noticed something – I bloat up like a puffer fish when I get angry. For those of you who don’t think it’s possible for me to angry – think again. It happens, and when it does it’s not pretty. My problem is I usually hold it in for days, weeks, months, years…very unhealthy. I hold the angry thoughts in my mind where they mate and have little angry children thoughts – suddenly my mind is so full of thoughts that they start pushing on my skull and that not so pretty thing we call a migraine makes an entrance into my life. This is happening today…so anything I post today can be blamed on that. I’m so not in my right mind. My body bloats up too. I start feeling like the insane version of the Pillsbury Dough Boy and wish someone would poke my belly so hard that my “loving oven” would explode so I can breathe again. (Note: I didn’t even know that puffer fish existed until Finding Nemo)

Feelings

I just love how the world encourages me to bottle up my feelings – NOT. A history of bottling up my feelings is what led to my downfall…okay, one of the many things that led to my downfall. I guess it also led me to recovery, which is good. In recovery I finally feel safe enough to share how I am truly feeling deep, deep down inside. Plus, I get 3-5 minutes of UNINTERRUPTED time every week to do it…and even more than that if I’m in a step study. And guess what? My sharing buddies are discouraged from trying to “fix” me because we are reminded every week that we are not God and that God is the healer. It is glorious!

Expectations

I can’t live up to your expectations. Period. The End. Okay maybe not, because I need to share this quote: “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” Author Unknown

Tears

I used to hate tears. I thought they were wrong…until I came to terms with the fact that Jesus wept. Although I don’t often have cry-fests in public, I’ve learned to embrace the gift of tears and give them permission to flow. Why would I deny myself or anyone else the God-given gift of shedding tears?

Cubicle Life

I work in a cubicle. I like my little cubicle walls that surround me and keep my safe, but my cubicle has an opening where people poke their heads in and ask me questions ALL DAY LONG (okay, probably exaggerating here, but I’m an introvert so more than 5 times a day is too much…sad excuse I know). I shouldn’t complain, because that must mean I’m needed which keeps me employed, but I’m going to continue anyway just cause I have this platform where I can share and hopefully release some of the bloat (see Anger). I also get to enjoy the cubicle orchestra which includes humming, chomping, gossip, conference calls, hacking (as in coughing up a lung) and clanging spoons. Oh, and the fluorescent lighting adds to the orchestral ambiance. Please see Anger above –  I am in the early stages of a migraine – so you can only imagine. PS – I am very grateful for my job, today has just been one of those days.

Food

I gave up bread, pasta and sweets over a week ago. Just another reason for you to forgive me for this insane post…or not.  My body is screaming “What are you doing to me?”

Disclaimer: The lesson I am working on in our step study this week is Sanity. As you can probably see, God is really helping me get in touch with my insanity so I can delve deeply into that homework.

I am a ragamuffin…and He loves me

Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning helped me to glimpse (I say glimpse, because I will never fully comprehend it) God’s love and grace in amazing ways. Manning knew the depths of the pit intimately but discovered the depths of the father’s love in his suffering. He’s on my top ten list of people I want to meet in heaven.

The following video snippet comes from a longer, amazing sermon Manning preached. I’ve watched/listened to that sermon numerous times when I was either already deep in the pit, trying to crawl out of it, or if I just need a reminder of His love. So, in case you forget like I do, here you go:

Failings..and falling asleep in peace

I have come to the realization that in every area of my life I am failing in some way.

  • I fail to be the mother I always hoped I would be
  • I fail in the daughter, sister, aunt department
  • I fail daily in the faith arena
  • I am failing at keeping up with the demands in my job
  • I fail in my finances
  • Colossal fails occur in my relationships
  • I fail in keeping up with car maintenance
  • I fail at clutter-control
  • I fail in my words…and sometimes I even cuss
  • I fail at taking care of my temple…and boy, this really brought the tears last night as I looked in the mirror
  • I fail at honesty and vulnerability
  • I fail in worship
  • I fail to say no when I should
  • I’m failing to love those who have hurt me in the way I should

And the list goes on and on…

I talked to my best friend Jesus last night about all of these failings in a state of panic. You know what he told me? He gently said “It’s okay sweet girl, my grace is sufficient.” I know I shouldn’t argue with Jesus, but I said “But, I should be better.” He reminded me again “My grace is sufficient.” (I think I failed at punctuating this paragraph properly)

A few nights before that panicked conversation, with quivering lips and trembling hands, I prayed Psalm 139:23. Next to the prayer for patience, many people (count me in) try to avoid this prayer.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23

He answered my prayer. He searched my heart and showed me my anxious thoughts. What is amazing, though, is He didn’t tell me to buck up, to get my act together, to try to be better, to strive for perfection, to pray the Our Father 20 times, to just slap a smile on and pretend to be something I am not. He told me that He is enough. What He did for me (and everyone) on the cross is enough. I can crumble into His arms and He accepts me just as I am. He calls me His sweet girl.

The panic died down and I fell asleep in His comforting embrace. Thank you Jesus!