Saturday, August 27, 2016

In His Strength - My Journey Through Depression

Life alone and all that comes with living is a balancing act. Raising children, house cleaning, shopping, work, and many other chores that we add to our list of  must do's, no wonder our mental health is out of balance. Now, add a serious mental illness of any degree to the equation, and you will no doubt tip the scales and see no signs of balance. With any type of emotional hardship, balancing your everyday life can be a struggle and seem impossible, Guess what my dear friend, you can do it.
Webster explains Balance as, the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall, the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling, a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.
You may find your left foot on one side of the scale in right position, and your right foot positioned lower than your left. You are holding on. Oh yeah! You are doing good at this balancing thing until the unknown shakes your core. You rock back and forth trying to hold your position, shaky and off balance, crash land you go. Your mental space is rocking and sounding the alarm. Your cute little scale is about to explode, let it. Sometimes we need to fall down so that we can get up, regroup, and readjust.  Look at gymnastics. Not one of those talented tumblers were experts when they first hit the matt. They had to tumble and fall. They got bruised and broke a few bones. They had to flip, flop, and not land on both feet, twisting an ankle, now that is some unbalance. OUCH! My point is, with anything we are faced with in our lives, we must be willing to go through the fire, we must be consistent and diligent at understanding and working towards the balance we need to get through our journey.

Since my diagnosis of clinical depression and anxiety, I have learned valuable lessons.  I have read various books that have given me valuable tools in understanding this journey. I am a firm believer that with anything that impacts our lives and the ability to be healthy and whole, we must do the work, we must find and use the resources that apply to us individually.  No one person suffers the same. No one person heals in the same manner.  Each of us are unique and in our healing we need to be specific and on purpose so that we can live the authentic and healthy life that God intended.  This journey has brought me closer to a loving and compassionate God, and His grace is truly sufficient in all situations. 
Exercise is a good way to help calm the onset of depression and anxiety naturally. Increasing your heart rate and getting a good sweat in, getting those endorphins elevated can help. I take walks and listen to some soothing music. We should be achieving 10,000 steps in our day. Hint! Hint! Get active. I silence my surroundings as best I can. Being an introvert this is easy for me. I know for those of you who have children to raise this may be a tuff one, but I encourage you to put into practice some quiet time for the little darlings and yourself. 

My brothers and sisters, you will win. You have the power to overcome. Take a step back from convincing yourself that you must do everything, you really don’t, and besides, the world will not come to an end. Eating a balance meal is helpful as well. Cutting out sugar and caffeine can be a life changer. I have not mastered that yet. LOL As I sip my cup of coffee and stare at the chocolate chip cookies on my desk. Pray for me.

Be Blessed 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Decisions – My Journey Through Depression

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a clean and neat person. Well, not as of late. I absolutely cannot bring myself to empty the dishwasher and load up the few dishes that have sat in my sink, in dishwater for the past few days, well going on 4 days. I have emptied the dish water and refilled the sink with clean soapy water, but I have not had the desire to complete the dish washing process.  Judge me if you will, unless you have faced this horrible illness, you really have no idea what a depressive will face on a day-to-day basis.  To some, making a decision is like chopping off your own hand and watching it bleed.  I can get dramatic.

I have talked with other woman to learn that they too face this battle.  Tasks as small as emptying a dishwasher and reloading it, come on, really? Yes, absolutely. I find myself looking around and saying to myself, I need to do that and this, oh and that. I start out on a good groove of hitting every room in my two-bedroom apartment. I swipe at the bathroom (no it is not horrendous), I adjust the kitchen (it is summer time so I am not cooking), my bedroom is my cave, so no, making the bed is not an option, and don’t even look in my closet, you will get lost. The living room is picture perfect, I am never in there unless there is company, and Lord knows, I don’t want company. Introverts cringe at the sound of someone knocking on the door. I look at my phone, I look out my window to see if there is a car I know, the benefits of living on the parking lot side of the apartments.  Did I miss a call? Did they call first? Ignore. Silence. Go away. As a matter of fact, run for your life.

I have had to really force myself to even take a shower and brush my teeth. I dreaded going to the grocery store for sustenance. Thank God for working outside of the home, there is now no choice in those decisions.  I worked from home for a year and let me tell you, the last few months are a blur. I hardly left my house. Rise at 5:30 am, coffee in hand walking into the home office. I did not have to get dressed, but just in case I had a system issue, I partially dressed. I hardly left my house during the winter time and trust me, it was not hard to do.  When the depression slammed me into the wall, I was working from home and if it had not been for one my favorite ladies and supervisor’s being at her desk at that particular time, I don’t know what I would have done. I was mentally in the ceiling, in the corner like a spider creating a web for it's prey. Yes, I was a mess, tears, and full blown panic attack. But God saw fit to have the right person in the right place, at the right time. This lady has been a prayer warrior and encourager. She has seen me in tears and has witnessed my joyful goofy moments.  Thank you Diane, words can not express  how thankful I am for you, you will not know how much you helped me on that dreadful day. Your prayers, your kind words,  your calm in the middle of storms, and your encouragement was and is absolutely the light of Christ.

I don’t pretend that all is well, because it is not. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, I don’t. I will tell you that I am learning so much more about myself and mental illness though this journey. I could care less of what others may say or think due to sharing my story. It is my story and if I can help to encourage one person, that is a win-win. It doesn’t matter what degree of darkness a person faces in mental illness. Mental illness does not mean that you are defective or damaged. It does not mean that you have somehow crossed over into the abyss of insanity floating around in a pitch black sky, alone. You are not doomed to live a life of uncertainty with pills and doctors invading your mental space. No, quite the opposite. It means that you have lived a life with a mask and it is now time for you to allow that mask to fall and crack into a million pieces.  It means you have internalized major events to keep from addressing them. It also means that the serotonin in your brain is either depleted or on overload, you can’t sleep and leaving your house is like World War II, or you are sleeping too much to avoid life all together. It means that your emotions are not yours to control and any word or look will cause the tears to overflow like a beautiful water fall, nonstop.

It is time for you to release and let go. It is time for you to acknowledge just how beautiful and handsome (can’t leave my brothers out) you are. That you have gifts waiting for someone to cherish. You have a heart of forgiveness to unleash onto all that need it or don’t. Remember, acknowledgement and forgiveness is for you and you alone. Forgiveness ushers in freedom, peace, and love of you just for you.

My brothers and sisters, you are not alone. I cannot say that enough. Do the work. Get clarity. Get grounded. God did not give us a spirit of fear, He gave us dominion and authority. We will go through trials. We are in spiritual warfare first and then it is physical. Fight the good fight of faith. God is right there with you, lean on Him. You are in preparation for a great testimony. 

Please excuse the more than double spaces on this post, Blogger won the fight.

Be Blessed

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Riding The Roller Coaster - My Journey Through Depression

Depression for me is like a roller coaster ride. It moves slowly at first and then, whoosh, down it goes and then faster it goes up the track. It twists and turns and back down and then up faster and faster. It loops and curves and then, it stops. The depressive moments come out of the blue, literally and take hold just as fast as a roller coaster moving along it’s track.  I don’t play with roller coasters and they don’t appreciate me. I don’t care for amusement parks only due to the mass congestion of people. I do like the exhibits and some of the food, but I have not been to our yearly fair in over 30 years. That is a set up for a major anxiety attack.  Can you relate?

Since April 6, 2016, my journey with depression and anxiety has been eye opening and down-right traumatic. The sadness, the dread, the idea that if I have to talk to anyone or go anywhere makes me want to revert back into my cave.  Don’t get me wrong, I talk all day working in a call center, which I have been doing for many years.  I do smile and laugh with my co-workers and speak to people who pass by. I have the ability to encourage others, but I cannot encourage myself. I cannot seem to come out of that dark abyss once I am there. I would rather be left alone to my own thoughts and creations or the lack.  The desire to cry chokes me. The urge to scream ushers in rage. The shear dread of anxiety makes me want to run as fast as the speed of light. Yeah, well I have not been given that super power, yet. Sometimes a menial task is overwhelming.  It’s not as if I zoned out and lost touch with reality, no, it is that I am exhausted mentally and physically.  Sleep is a curse word because I don’t do that task well and being a hyper insomniac does not help. The narcotics don’t help unless I want to double or triple up and possibly over dose, nawww not doing that, awake I stay.

My life for the past few months have been mentally turned upside. I no longer feel like myself and what I am feeling is causing me to question myself on a daily basis.  I have become more reserved than what is normal for me. To be honest I would like to disappear, but hey, that super power has missed me too. Abracadabra! LOL. I have been told that talking about mental illness is scary.  I hear others say, I don’t want anyone in my business, or I don’t want to be labeled as crazy, I am not talking to a shrink. Well, you know what is scarier? Losing control of your emotions in public. Driving and having an anxiety attack. Being paralyzed by some unrealistic fear. Feeling as if you are alone and not one person loves or understands you. Not being able to get out of your bed or leave the house. Thoughts of and planning to commit suicide. Now that should be scary and not taken lightly. I have had most of these feelings. So, who cares about a label? Who cares what anyone has to say? That has never been one of my issues, and at this point in my life I don’t care.  So I will advocate and be the poster child for mental illness if need be. I will use my experience as a catalyst to helping others speak out, one voice at a time. Silence does not heal. Being afraid does not heal. Trying to ignore the issues will not make them go away.

Through this journey, I have increased my leaning on God and His word. Today, August 8, 2016 as I write this post, I am praising God for allowing me to see my 54th birthday. I am grateful to know that I serve an all knowing, all seeing, and everywhere God. If it was not for prayer, scripture and the Holy Spirit, I would crumble.  I cannot express enough how important you are to the Almighty. H

My brothers and sisters, are you suffering or do you know someone who is suffering?  Take action. We are capable of doing great things and balancing mental illness is no different. There is nothing we cannot do, if we really want to. Many will make excuses, many will not do the work or take the steps, keep speaking out and being transparent. GET HELP! I take medication and meet with a mental health specialist. I Let me tell you, it is one of the best things I could have done and I don’t regret it.  The only cage that can hold you hostage is the cage that you allow to hold you hostage. Take the steps. Do the work.

Be Blessed