sheWRITES: On being depressed

When you’re aware of how good and kind God has been to you…

When you’ve recalled some of the amazing and kind things He’s done over the years…

When you’ve meditated on all the truths about Him and where you’re headed (Heaven)…

And you feel only the slightest twinges of joy and hope?

You’re depressed.

Being depressed sucks. Being depressed on meds sucks even more. Because hello? Meds? I’m putting crappy chemicals in my body and I’m still depressed?? Can we take the chemical crap out of the equation at least…?

I’ve always been fearful of “wrongness” with my body. Which, interestingly enough, is what perpetuates my willing (and therefore, stupid) ignorance of what’s in some of the food I eat. If I don’t know, I’m not as fearful. But if I KNOW…….anyway. 

The only time not knowing is fear-causing is when there’s unexplained pain.

Hey, guess what! When you’re putting crappy chemical things in your body, sometimes the awesome side effects include physical pain! It’s not actually awesome. I know sarcasm doesn’t translate well over text. You know, they made an exclamation point for excitement and enthusiasm — why isn’t there punctuation for sarcasm?

*sigh*

So today is a bad day. And for the sake of moderate authenticity, (moderate, because I’m only writing about this moderately…), here’s this post.

But I don’t want it to leave a bad taste in your mouth. See, cos posts sit frozen in time. But my body and my brain — even the crappy chemicals — do not. They move along, changing and flowing, being affected by the current of life and bodily function and doctor’s orders. You might be reading this a week from now and it will no longer be my present truth. Or heck, by the time this hits email inboxes, it may no longer be my present truth.

And THAT is my lifeline. “This too shall pass.” My mom used to say that to me ALL. THE. TIME. as a teenager and young adult. I didn’t know what it meant. Honest. I was so incredibly caught up in THIS MOMENT, it took me until I was 32 before I FINALLY observed for myself that

“This doesn’t stay.
a new This will come to play
to make you cry
or want to fly
but This One will be on its way.”

There are different flavors of depression. And there are flavors of happy in between. And God is always being good and kind. And I will see it. And joy will bubble and hope will flow.

Just not as much today.

And I will be okay. ❣

  

sheWRITES: “You have a gift; you should use it!”

  
But I don’t know how. 

I want to write. But I don’t know what to write about. 

I want to write. But I’m afraid of people reading it. 

I’m not ready to be vulnerable. But I’ll probably never be ready to be vulnerable. Isn’t that what vulnerable is? Not-readiness?

These are all my excuses for not writing. And there’s more. 

It’s too hard. I don’t want to use my brain. I don’t want to work at it. I want it to be fun and enjoyable. 

And I don’t know what to write about. 

*sigh* They’re all silly reasons for not writing. I’ve been alive for 34 years, so I surely have something to write about!! And what’s the point of writing if no one is going to read it?? As for being vulnerable…we covered that one. 

Really, I’m just ridiculous. So we’ll start with that. I’ll do the writing and you do the reading. 

Why I Am Ridiculous

  • A wasp looked directly at me once and now I’m terrified of them. They are evil and all of them are out to get me. >_> I sound as bad as my best friend and my boyfriend, who both insist that spiders jump on your face! (They really don’t. And also, all the wasps are out to get me.)
  • God has been so good and faithful to me these last three years (longer, actually, but I have been profoundly more aware of it these last three years) and I’m still a little scaredy-cat. Like He isn’t going to provide. Or protect. Then again…what if He doesn’t? (See?!? There I go!!)
  • My best friend yells at me all the time because I’m constantly saying things like, “I will never have short hair again!! Well, I suppose I could get cancer or something…” And I go on about why that would once again relegate me to short hair so she slaps me and says, “Don’t be ridiculous!!!” (See? Toldja I’m ridiculous. And you didn’t buh-lee-me.) I’m always going down the ridiculous negative paths. It’s like I’m constantly in prepare-for-the-worst mode. Hm. I suppose that’s just a really nice way of saying I’m anxious.
  • I almost never think of the world in terms of people loving me. Like…people loving me isn’t a real thing. *I* love people. But it doesn’t often occur to me that they love me too. It’s weird. And also ridiculous. When I stop and think, “Wait a minute. They LIKE me. They WANT to be around me!” I get all wowed out like I just discovered I could fly. It’s literally ridiculous.
  • Sometimes I spend way too much time on my hair. When it’s curly. Which is why I like it straight so much cos I can just get up and go. Straight hair doesn’t do anything. I love it! Curly hair is all, “Your mom!” And, “SIJ!” And, “Wanna look nice today or draw attention to your head? The former? Wait, I forget – which is former and which is latter? Oh I can’t hear you over the sound of my awesome curliness. We’ll go with drawing attention to your head.” And then I cry. Ha ha! Not really. But I DO finally realize that people are NOT going to be looking at my hair as hard as I’m looking at it in the mirror so I need to chill out and STOP BEING RIDICULOUS.

 
So there. That’s not all of my ridiculousness. I just needed something to write about and that was a start. Whew. 

sheWRITES is going to be a thing around here. Unpolished, unplanned, un……..I can’t think of a third one. *shrug* Anyway, complete with emotes, I’ll just sit down and write from the hip. The wrist? Whatever. It’s about time, I suppose, that I start moving in a more deliberate direction with putting words together. I’ll do the more polished stuff too. Cos you know. Everyone likes to look nice every once in a while, right? 

Right. Angsty curls be derned. ;)

Reflections: 52 Weeks Ago

Hope

Trickling

Down the drain of discouragement

The bane of encouragement

is Time

Passing

Leaving me behind

Bereaving me of my

Hope.
 

Death

Stalking

The desolate hallways of my heart

I wrestle it hard and fall apart

On rocks

Of Never

Cracked and broken, shattered

Everything that mattered

Gone.

 
Heart

Splitting

Under pressure of faith and doubt

I can’t do this without

The ones

Who stand

Like giant swaying evergreens

Blowing in the Perseverance breeze

For me.
 

God

Working

In the alleyways of pain & wounds

The valley place of shame will soon

be Doors

Opening

Into a garden blooming hope

And everyone will finally know

He is God. ♡

___
August 18, 2014

  

Reflections: crickets and messages from God

Prologue: I wrote this May 15, 2013, five days before my husband announced he was leaving. ❣

___

i found a cricket in the kids room. second cricket indoors this week. i love crickets. i interpret these ones in my house lately as God being gentle with me. if you know any of what’s happening in my life right now, then you know what i mean.

today, as i disengaged the numerous locks on the sliding door (bubby deflectors) to let the cricket out, i heard God in my spirit, “I want to show you something.”

but i wrote it off — i’m a romantic so it’s very easy for me to make those kind of things up and i don’t like the disappointment of finding out they aren’t true.

so i tossed the cricket outside. i heard his little head bonk and i desperately hoped he wasn’t hurt. silly, i know.

then i stepped outside. i couldn’t resist. it smelled like winter and i LOVE the smell of winter. i think that’s what i love so much about fall: the smell of winter in it. the woodsmoke, the crisp air, the stillness at night…i love winter. i love fall too, but only because it heralds winter.

however, i digress.

i peered at the sky (i wasn’t wearing my glasses); i think it’s neat that stars are the one thing you can look at without glasses and see them just about as clearly as you would with glasses on.

i noticed how quiet and still it was.
i saw a spider’s web up on one of the birdfeeders. ‘hm,’ i thought. ‘maybe that’s what God wanted me to see.’ i stepped closer…but there was nothing spectacular about it. just a web…with a spider in it. and who really wants to get closer to a spider?

so i looked around one last time, the bitterness rising. ‘i always think God wants to talk to me, so i wait and wait but nothing ever happens! and then i get mad because nothing happens! and all i want is for God to talk to me…’

i looked over at my bug parked in the lot. it’s license plate says “CR1CKET”. it wasn’t parked next to bear’s car like it usually is; someone else was parked there, instead. and it made me so sad. or no—rather, it made me remember that i *am* so sad, right now.

it looked so lonely, all black and bubbly-round, sitting there in the dark…by itself. and my melodramatic self said, ‘that’s me. all alone.’
but despite the melodrama, it was true.

i turned to look at the bush in front of me. it had lots of little green leaflets all over the place. (i don’t think leaflets was a word until just now. maybe?) all those leaflets just sitting there, not moving a bit. nothing was moving. it was so quiet, cold, and still.

and suddenly, a bird chirped. the sound of spring.

at that moment, i was jolted into realizing: it felt like winter, cold and still and quiet. but it wasn’t really winter. it was spring! new life! new leaflets! re-birth and birds! and i thought about how i almost forgot that it was spring, because winter felt so real…

then these words popped into my head: “behold, I am doing a new thing…”
and i thought, ‘hm. God had something to show me after all.’ and my heart beamed.
sometimes, i’m not making things up after all. those are my favorite times.

+++

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

  

Uneasy…

This. Is. Me.
I am drawing a lot of comfort from this blog and I would like to share it with y’all. She illustrates the condition of bipolar very well. Her blog is helpful to anyone who suffers from bipolar and to anyone who has a hard time understanding the bipolar person in their life. ❣

The Bipolar Codex

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Being Bipolar

 Most people who know me know that I suffer from bipolar disorder. Since it’s a difficult thing to accurately diagnose, it’s not clear if I’m cyclothymic (a mild form of bipolar) or rapid cycling bipolar II. Quite frankly, it doesn’t really matter because the same medications treat them all and the dosage depends on each body. Additionally, I have a pretty good grasp on my symptoms and that’s what really matters. Labels aren’t helpful if you don’t know their definitions. And if you know the definitions, the label is really only useful for condensing all those definitions into one word for the purpose of communicating them to others. ;)

As you are about to see, the condensing doesn’t do me any favors because I lay out the definitions in their entirety anyway. :P

For me, hypomanic (aka “happy”) episodes last around 4 days and sometimes less. Rarely do they last longer. There can be a very brief respite of “normal mood” before I start cycling into a depressive (aka “low”) episode. Unfortunately, those usually last 4 days or *more*. So my “bipolar self” is primarily depressed.

When I’m on medication, I experience “normal” or “even” the majority of the time and it’s lovely. I engage with my kids, I keep my house clean, I play and create occasionally, and I smile and laugh A LOT. Recently, I started experiencing “bleed through” while on medication. This is when symptoms start to overwhelm the medication. This phenomenon varies in degree for each individual. Thankfully, for me, it’s not a high degree. I would call it “moderate and uncomfortable.” **

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a pretty dark place. When I’m in those places for long enough, I start to question almost everything I believe in, and especially God. I read my Bible and I’m convinced that anything good I think I see in there is just me making things up. It’s like, somehow my brain just can’t accept any kind of happy reality as actually true.

Now I’m coming out of four days of a happy time. Sad things happened during that happy time so I wasn’t actually *happy* the entire time, but I was still clear-minded and able to focus. I was also able to think in a healthy manner and express myself rationally. There is no way to explain well how refreshing it is to be in that kind of place, after a long depressive episode. It’s like being terribly hot and grungy and dirty and bathing yourself in a clean, cool waterfall surrounded by chirping birds, lush vegetation, and sunshine.

Today, I am beginning a descent into another low episode. Contrary to the opinions of people who don’t suffer from this disorder, you can’t “snap out of it”. You can’t make yourself feel happier. Even when I control my thoughts (and that goes a very long way toward staying healthy; it is definitely worth doing for as long as your energy holds out), my body feels very low overall. Just…heavy and tired and…like Eeyore. ;)

What I’m taking with me into this descent is the following:
1. The depressive episodes END. They do not go on forever.
2. I regain my hold on reality during happy episodes and I am able to see clearly, once again, how God shows up in my life. This means that even when I am depressed, everything about Him is still true. It is so very difficult to hold onto this truth as a depressive episode drags on, but if I hold onto it as long as I can, I do believe I will be able to hold onto it a little longer into each depressive episode.

Being bipolar is a constant drain on energy resources. When I’m hypomanic, I have to guard against poor judgement, impulsive decisions, and superstitious-type thinking. When I’m depressed, I have to work hard to do simple things like changing out of my pajamas, cleaning house, honoring obligations to other people, and controlling my thoughts. The only time my mental energy gets a break is when I’m in between episodes, which rarely lasts more than a day.

This is my introductory post to bipolar. I would like to write more about it, to help people who suffer from the illness and to help people who DON’T suffer from it understand those who do.

The hardest part about being bipolar is when people don’t believe you’re experiencing what you say you’re experiencing. Healthy people take it for granted how easy it is for them to stay rational, with a clear grip on reality. My favorite analogy about bipolar is one I just heard in the last two weeks. When you can’t see clearly, you put on glasses. Bipolar is “not seeing clearly” and even though people around me are seeing clearly, it doesn’t help ME to see clearly. Medication is equivalent to glasses that help clear up poor vision. And this leads me to another important part of being bipolar: I MUST surround myself with people I TRUST who also see clearly. This way, when my vision suddenly gets warped, if I don’t catch it myself, I can trust the people who love me when they say, “Hey Fæ…you’re a little off…”

I will be writing future posts about how you can help someone who’s bipolar as well as tips for people who suffer from bipolar themselves. If you are bipolar or have experience with it and you would be interested in writing a guest post for my blog, please contact me.

I will leave my readers with this: PLEASE believe someone when they tell you how they are feeling and what they are thinking. It is not enough to simply say, “Well that’s not true so stop doing/feeling/thinking XYZ.” A more helpful response is, “I believe you, that you are doing/feeling/thinking this way.” And then proceed to figure out what is the best way to help them. Some people just need to be validated and that is enough to move on. (I am often one of those people who simply needs to hear, “That is a very scary feeling and I’m so sorry you feel that way. Please trust me when I tell you that it’s not reflecting reality.”) Some people need consistent therapy to change negative pathways in the brain. Some people need medication. And some people (MOST people) need some combination of those things.

Feel free to comment with your own experiences or with suggestions for things you’d like to see in future posts about bipolar. I would also be happy to answer questions in the comment section. :)

To be continued…

** For those of you who may be concerned about the bleed-through of symptoms that I mentioned, I am in the care of a doctor who is going to help remedy this issue for me soon. :)