Tag Archives: Depression

Parhelions and Prayer.

Parhelion
par·he·li·on
noun
  1. a bright spot in the sky appearing on either side of the sun, formed by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals high in the earth’s atmosphere.

Have you ever noticed that when you are having a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month (hence no recent blog posts) the things that make you the happiest, the activities that bring joy, the places that bring contentment, that they are the things that you tend to ignore and reject?

Sitting in a lump on the couch do you find yourself staring at your yoga mat or your running shoes and knowing that getting use out of either of those physical activities will boost your energy and help you shuck off the cloak of moodiness that you have bundled yourself in? Falling out of bed every morning do you pass up the Bible sitting on your nightstand to instead hurriedly get ready for the day, because you hit the snooze button five too many? Do you stare idly at IWasteSoMuchTime.com and hope to get some satisfaction out of the cleverness that others have created instead of going over to your blog and expressing your own wit and wisdom?

Okay, so maybe those are scenes pulled directly from my life, but maybe there are some scenarios of your own that you are thinking of now. I know that they days where I work out are better than the days that I don’t. I know that the days that start in my Bible and in prayer are more joyous and meaningful than the empty days when I go without. I know that the days where I write and blog and create and think are better than the days where I mindlessly par-ooze the internet.

I know all of these things, yet it is hard to convince myself to do them. The ‘blah’ in me has settled in and wants to make a home. The ‘brokenness’ in me is enjoying the lazy, sulking and it is doing all it can to convince me to accept this new blasé way of living.

But enough is enough, and eventually we have to start digging ourselves out. The last few days has found me back in prayer and back to my bible. Today I learned a valuable lesson about prayer and actively seeking.

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More Than A Mile.

“When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,” – Shakespeare, Sonnet 29

“No, you do NOT understand.” she snaps at his attempt at comfort. She is right, he has not walked a mile in her heels, but at a loss for words he had tried to soothe her anguish with the words “I understand.” For he did know something about pain and loneliness. He had experienced his version of it. Her exact feelings and circumstances? No, those he did not truly understand.

I once had a job that did not allow its employees to say “I understand.” Why? To avoid the situation above, to avoid a stressed customers snapped reply of “No you do NOT understand.” We were allowed to say “That situation can be frustrating.” “That is upsetting.” and other empathy statements, but we were to never “understand”. When a friend comes to us with a problem we empathize, we recall a similar situation, and we can feel similar hurts, but we do not truly understand. Every situation, every set of feelings, is going to be unique to the person who feels them.

That is why when we hurt, when we are upset, when we are depressed, when we are struggling, it is also easy to feel so terribly alone.

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I Wouldn’t Change A Thing. Part II.

I Wouldn’t Change A Thing. Part I.

I was a brightly colored girl of 6, whose daddy would buy her colorful presents for her birthday and for “just because.” My white sneakers with the colorful butterflies all over them were my favorites. As I grew older and bigger I sadly outgrew them just as I outgrew my pink bike with the streamers. I remember the time when I came home from a trip with my mom and my siblings to step out of the van and turn to see my first 10 speed bike, it bright purple waiting for me. A surprise. I hugged my dad as I admired the paint job of my new and simply awesome bike. I still have the light switch plate with the purple and yellow butterflies on it that he gave to me once, just because. And hanging with my jewelry is a turquoise necklace he once bought for me while on a mission project. It is not all about the presents he gave me, it was his presence that made life colorful and special as well.

I was the smiling girl of 10. Who looked just like her mother. Her mother who baked cookies and brownies and bars and cakes. Her baking was always the best, being flavored with all of her love (cheesy but true!). She sang “it’s bubbling, it’s bubbling, it’s bubbling in my soul” when anything was boiling on the stove.  My husband had to call her to get her biscuits and gravy recipe when we got married. She had spoiled me with my favorite birthday breakfast for too many years. I still expect biscuits and gravy in the morning and angel food cake with ice cream and strawberries in the evening, candles are optional.

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I Wouldn’t Change A Thing.

Little Me

I was a brightly colored girl of 6. The one who loved her Pocahontas Barbie doll. You know, the one with the deerskin dress that had the hidden leaves, the colorful leaves that would show up when you took her out in the sun. It was hard not to lose her blue, iconic necklace. It was hard not to lose patience while trying to brush the tangles and leaves out of her hair. Painting with the colors of the wind sure left a lot of tangles.

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Better For The Breaking

Kintsukuroi

I am who I am, because I was who I was

There are no regrets, the what if’s left behind.

I am pressing on, dancing after the rain.

Without the dark clouds, there would be no silver lining.

I gave up before, now I gave it all up

At that church, I dropped my darkness to the floor.

I hung up my hurt, my pain on the cross

The scars on my wrist, are now faded and gone.

I am still broken, but now I am better for the breaking.


There is a reason. There is a rhyme.

Plans

Last Thursday morning I woke up early to the morning sun shinning through the walls of my tent. I had a morning prayer and then laid there for a while. In part to open my ears to God’s voice and in part to relax yet as I heard no one else stirring in our campground.

When I did hear stirring I got up and put on my running gear. We, two of the women leaders and I, went for a nice 2 mile jog. We got back, slightly sweaty and hot, stretched out and got ready for breakfast. It was going to be another wonderful day filled with fellowship and music here at the Sonshine festival. I was enjoying getting to know the youth group that I was helping to watch over.

Fast forward a couple of hours. I am sitting alone, leaning up against a tree. Crying. I had been crying for at least an hour and I could not stop. I was feeling like a high school girl again. Left out and forgotten. Why could I not seem to cement together a friendship, why was I always the person on the outskirts. Most of these feelings were completely unfounded. A demon or two had managed to find me here, tap me on the shoulder, and whisper in my ear. My friends were trying to get a hold of me, even though I told them I wanted some space. I did not want anyone to see that I had been crying. I tried and tried and tried to shake these feelings. I prayed, I talked to James on the phone (he would be arriving at the festival tonight) and I asked God why I just could not feel better right now. Well, He knew why.

I eventually pulled myself together and headed back to the group. Despite that little upset, the day went wonderfully from there. We watched more bands and I learned some new games with the youth group.

Evening came and we gathered at the tarps by the main stage. After a bit the main female youth leader, who is also one of my closest friends up here, came over and sat by me. One of the girls in the youth group is struggling greatly with depression and cutting, I knew this, it was part of the reason I gave my testimony in church a few weeks back. It was something I struggle with as well. Anyway, the youth leader had noticed the girl seemed to be struggle today. With all the spiritual and emotional stuff going on around her, I am sure her spirit was trying to break free and feel the joy of the day and I am sure her darkness was trying to drag her down. The youth leader told her that she knew she could come talk to me, but this youth was worried that I was fine, that I now had it all together and wouldn’t understand anymore. Ha. So the youth leader asked if I would watch for an opportunity to talk to her and see if I could connect and help. I said sure.

As LeCrae, a rapper that one of my friends was excited for, was ready to take the stage a bunch of us went to head to the front. Only one youth group kid remained, the one who was struggling. I stopped and asked her why. She had wanted to head back to the campground to grab something she had left behind and was waiting for a time to ask the female youth leader to go back with her. I said, oh you could probably go ask her now, and as she got up to ask I turned and continued heading up to the stage, not really thinking.

WHACK. Spiritual two by four to the head. Oh, Oh yea. . . um that probably was my opportunity wasn’t it God? Oops. I turned around and caught them just in time and I offered to take her, since the female youth leader had already walked three other kids to the camper and back this evening.

The youth and I gabbed all the way to the camper. I really didn’t know how to start this conversation. I am not sure if she even knows that I know about her depression. I just kept the conversation going hoping to find an opening. On the way back she quietly asks, “Were you scared when you gave your testimony?” Here goes. I talked about my thoughts on giving my testimony and the conversation went into more of my struggles and how I feel when I am depressed. “That’s how I feel too!” She actually seemed to have a little excitement in her voice.

I did not try to help today. I did not try to tell her what to do to feel better. We just talked about what we feel and what we think and she was comforted to know that she was not alone. That these problems were not just her own, but that for once she had found someone who could relate with her. I told her I had broken down earlier that day and that even though I haven’t cut in over six years I still struggle with depression. I told her it gets better. Some days I can manage it better.

I am the way I am for a reason. I am broken. I am perfect.


I Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart.

Where?

I looked up from the couch as the lock clicked and I watched my husband come in, just home from work. One hand was still holding our apartment keys and in the other he had carefully balanced two bottles of Mt. Dew and a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. My favorites. Now those who really know me would read that paragraph and shudder, because they know me and what this picture means. So let me shift the picture for you.

Down in my heart.

I am sitting on the couch in my  sweat pants and a t-shirt with cut off sleeves. I have an Xbox controller in one hand and the other is eating semi-sweet chocolate chips straight out of the bag. I had been doing this for the past hour and a half and today was supposed to be my uber productive day. The room that I was hoping to clean today, wasn’t. The dishes that were supposed to be washed, still dirty. The blog posts that should have been written, blankness.

Where?

James sat down and I put my head in his lap so I could start crying. In doing this we found that I had dropped some of my chocolaty morsels and I now had two melted chocolate chips on my butt and one melted to my calf. I was a disgraceful picture.

Down in my heart.

Depression had worked its way into what otherwise would have been a perfect day. But that is what it is. When I tell some people that I suffer from depression they just think that when things go wrong I get really, really sad. No, that is sadness. When things go wrong I do get sad, that is normal. Depression is when every thing is going right, and all I want to do is lay down and cry.

I got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart.

You can take all your top 10 lists that tell me how to be productive, how to be happy, how to have a better self-image, how to have a cleaner house. You can take all of your advice and all of your kind words. You can take all of that and keep it for another day. I will not be able to use it today. I can read the happiest quote while looking at a picture of the cutest puppy and my heart will not stir. If anything I will probably start crying because the world looks so bleak.

Where?

I do not cut anymore, but the idea behind lingers with me. Toward the end of the day I am lying in bed, upset again. I had tried to write a post but it seemed all wrong, totally forced. I failed again today. James comes in as he hears me tossing around on the bed. I am restless. He holds me as I rant. My feelings get all mixed up inside. I do not want to do anything. It is 10:00 pm and I have not even had supper yet, I should be starving. But I do not want to do anything. I do not want to get up and have supper. Yet lying in this bed is actually still doing something, and I do not want to stay here either. But getting up is definitely doing something. I tell James all of this in a mumble of sentences. I tell him, “All I know is that I have a headache and all I want to do is hit my head against the wall repeatedly.” He stares at me strangely, “How is that supposed to help your headache.” And I watch his eyes sadden as I say, “Because at least then I will hurt on the outside, and that is much better than hurting on the inside.”

Down in my heart to stay.

We pray then. I do not want to, which is a good sign that we should. We pray for healing and for joy and for peace. We pray for Depression, Doubt, and Worry to leave me. We pray, and I feel slightly better. James says there is a look of hope in my eyes. I get up, eat some supper, start filling out important dates in my new daily planner, and I look up a couple of the 5k races my friend and I have been talking about. Depression still lingers over me, but I can manage for now at least.

Now for my favorite verse.

I have the Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Blessed-Redeemer-Way-Down-In-The-Depths-Of-My-Heart. (quick breath) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. (breathe!) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. . .

To stay.

"I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.

“I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.