Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Call Me SLOW


Just call me Slow.

And watch me shake my head in wonder at God's great patience with me. *sheepish grin*

Last Friday I got annoyed.
I was trying to get some things done. And I got interrupted.
Need I say more?

But I didn't want to be rude, so I continued the conversation - making quick plans for Saturday; contemplating how those plans might interfere with the things I wanted to get done Saturday. All the while thinking, I have other things to do right now...

And then it occured to me.

I think it was the still small voice speaking to my heart which got my attention.

It went something like this: Karen, darling, do you suppose I might have better plans for your time tomorrow? Even now? Do you suppose I might be planning to use you to bless this person? Will you trust Me?

I just stood there, shaking my head. Wondering when I will ever get past my selfish, self-centered nature that always thinks of 'me' and 'my agenda' first. *sigh*
But I'm learning not to beat myself up with negative thinking, so I moved past those thoughts and smiled at God. I do trust Him. And I was confident He was up to something good.

Sure enough, the next day I picked up my friend and we had a delightful time together. It was a beautiful day. She really needed to 'get out of the house', and I was able to help her do it.
I was able to get the other things done which I needed to do Saturday. Yes. God took care of all the details. Just like He always does. I should have known He would.


Call me Slow.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Could It Be My Fault?

Last week Joshua asked me when I would be home from work Friday.
I think he asked me Tuesday.
And Wednesday.
And Thursday.
He wanted to go fishing Friday and wondered if I could take him. Each time, I told him I thought I'd be home by 4:00. And, yes. I would take him to Lake Lansing.

Fast-forward to Friday at about 3:40 p.m.

I had put in a full day at work, stopped at Sam's Club to pick up a few items and was now running into Meijer to pick up one more thing before going home.
And my cell phone rang.
I knew it was Joshua, because my phone announces who's calling - and I thought, Really? But I tried to sound polite when I answered the call.
"Hi, Mom. It's Josh."
I thought, I know! But I said, "Yes?"
"Are you on your way home?"
I thought, Yes. But first I'm doing some shopping. Because when I get out of work, I'm really not finished working. Noooooo. The work is just beginning. I know, I know. You want me to take you fishing. But it isn't 4:00 yet. Will you give me a break? I'm working on getting home! But I said, "I'm running into Meijer quick. I'll be home in a little bit."
He said, "OK." But I'm pretty sure he was thinking, Hurry. I want to go fishing!

As I walked into the store I marveled at Joshua's display of impatience. I mean, calling me at 4:15 would have been understandable, but 3:40? Really??? C'mon, Joshua. Relax!
Then I got to thinking about my own struggle with patience. God and I are working on it, but patience is definitely NOT my strong suit. And I started wondering, Is there an 'impatience gene'? Did I pass that on to my son? Could this whole thing be my fault?

Yeah, yeah. I know. It's our sin nature.
But God used the moment of reflection to get me off my high horse, and to remind me I'm just as needy for His grace as my son is needy for mine!


Monday, August 29, 2011



Friday, August 26, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

A good life doesn't mean the absence of bad things.

I interviewed a 95-year-old woman this week at Edgewood. She's the next Resident of the Week and I was getting ready to write her story. As we talked she said over and over, "I had a good life." And I believed her. M spoke of a wonderful husband, lovely daughters, and a childhood in which she had everything she needed. A good life, indeed.
However, M also told me of a troubled relationship with her father. Of feeling like she wasn't able to live up to her fullest potential. And of the murder of one of her young daughters!
Still, she would repeat, "I had a good life."
At the end of our interview I asked M how her claim of a good life could match up to all the bad things through which she went. "How do you view the hard times?" I asked. She replied by saying the bad moments shaped her; made her stronger. And she didn't focus on the bad. M said she tried to remember how good the good was so the bad didn't drown it out.
She held to her conclusion, "I had a good life."

And I believe her. Just as peace is not the absence of trouble, so A good life doesn't mean the absence of bad things.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

One of the Benefits...

...of having a four-year-old around.

Besides the extra noise, unending questions, and increased demand for one's time, there is pure joy in having our guest this week.

Wednesday afternoon M was playing with Matthew in the basement while I was making dinner. Matthew brought her upstairs with a sad look on her face. He told me she'd hurt her leg, and then she let a few tears fall. I picked her up, hugged her, gave her a kiss, and asked where she was hurting. She gave a general indication of somewhere on her left leg and I looked at it and rubbed it gently. Then I looked into her eyes and said, "Do you know what the good news is? You're going to be just fine!"
M repeated, "I'm going to be just fine?"
I nodded, and she got down out of my arms and ran back downstairs to play.

As I marveled over her 'quick recovery' it occurred to me how often I'm just like that with God. Are you? How many times do we get scared, think we're hurt, and run to Him? And all we really need is for God to hold us and tell us we're going to be OK.

I love His big, strong arms. I love that I'm safe when He holds me.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time for a Laugh

So, that friend I mentioned who just got married? We're babysitting her four-year-old at night while they're on their honeymoon. (Another member of our Small Group is watching her during the day while I'm at work.)
Let me tell you, I have forgotten what it's like to have a little one at home! Questions, questions, questions. And a constant need for supervision. She's adorable, though, so it's worth it. *wink*
HOWEVER, it does not leave much time for blogging. *ahem*
But I do have time to laugh. And I hope you'll enjoy this little cartoon as much as I did. I can so relate! LOL


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Only GOD

Six years ago, Joshua was in the second grade. I went into his classroom weekly to volunteer. And I spent much of my time praying while I was there. Mostly for Joshua's teacher and one little boy, C.
C was a 'trouble child'. Frequently acting out, and rarely doing what he was supposed to be doing. Often, Mrs. T would walk past me as I sat filing papers or filling Thursday Folders and she would say under her breath, "I hope you're praying right now!" And I would give her a reassuring smile. I was praying.
I remember when the end of that school year came and I wasn't sure when I would see C again. I remember praying for him, wondering what was going to become of him. I remember feeling very sad for that little boy.

We moved four years ago. And honestly? I haven't thought much about the old school - or the kids there - in the past four years. So you can imagine my surprise when I came home from the Women of Faith conference Saturday night to find C sitting on the couch in my house!
I knew we were having guests spending the night. I just didn't know C was going to be one of them.
See, friends of ours from our Small Group were getting married on Sunday. Both of them have been married before and have children - and the groom and all the boys were staying at our house. I had not met all of the bride's children before, and Saturday night I learned that C is her son!
Over the course of the past four years, C's mom came to Christ and Sunday she married a Christian man.
And C?
Has become a delightful young man.
He was so polite to me. And interacted beautifully with his mom and step-dad, and brothers and sisters, and step-brothers and step-sister, too. C was glad to become re-acquainted with my son and said he'd like to come to our house for Small Group, too. His new step-dad said he could do that if he came to church on Sunday morning, too. C agreed.

Six years ago I wondered what was going to come of that boy.
Today I see God at work in the lives of the people around him. And I believe He's working in C's heart, too.
Six years ago, I was afraid for that little boy.
Today I am reminded that God is in control. That He's always been in control.
I need not be afraid.
Of anything.

Only GOD could work out the details of a circumstance, and weave the lives of people the way He has done in this situation. Only GOD can be trusted to care for us perfectly. Only GOD knows how to work all things for good. Only GOD.
And I trust HIM!


Monday, August 22, 2011


The passage to which I refer in the video is all in Mark. It doesn't start in Matthew.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

Naps aren't always that important.

I remember when my children were small, and nap time was sacred.
We're invited to go with you to the movies? Yea! Oh, it's at 2:00? That's nap time. Sorry. We can't make it.
Oh, I'd love to join you for coffee and cookies! At 2:30? Nuts. Can't do it. The kids need their naps.
Really? I won $1,000??!! I have to pick it up at 3:00? I'm going to have to decline. Can't miss nap time, you know!

So last week when I found out that one of our residents was taking a nap, I was in a quandry.
We had musical guests coming in - who had a reputation of being very good - and I had told C I'd make sure she was there to hear them. But just as the entertainers arrived and I asked B if he'd seen C lately, I wondered if I should keep my word, or not. B said she had gone to take a nap after lunch; that she was quite tired. And, like I said, naps to me are sacred. I wondered, Would it be unkind for me to wake her up? But I looked at my watch and reasoned she had probably slept long enough. I was going to get her!

If I was at work right now, I'd post the picture I took of C as she enjoyed the music. (It's on my work computer...) You'll have to believe me when I say, she had a wonderful time. And I was so glad to see her smiling.
But the real joy came after the performance was over. With tears in her eyes, C said to me, "Thanks so much for coming to get me for this!"
About five minutes later - when I saw her again - she repeated her thankfulness.
And I? Was thankful I didn't let a nap keep me from inviting C to the show. (She was awake when I went to get her!) Though I know naps are valuable, necessary even, C's enthusiasm about being at the performance that day convinced me, Naps aren't always that important.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm Outta Here

I cannot begin to explain how excited I am today. Though, I imagine most of you will understand.

I am leaving tonight to attend the Women of Faith conference in Indianapolis tomorrow and Saturday. Hopping on a bus with a bunch of other women, and gettin' away. Oh, yeah!!!!
It's been two years since I've been to one of these conferences and I am so glad to be able to attend this year.

On top of that, it was much easier for me to prepare to go away this time because, well, because I'm making my hubby and kids work a little harder. Usually when I go away for an extended period of time I make all their dinners before I leave, so they can just pop them in the oven. But not this time.
No sir!
It's time to stop babying them.
There is one casserole in the freezer from a double-batch I made recently, but they're going to have to make their own dinner the other two nights. Oh, I've left the recipes and bought all the ingredients, but THEY have to put it together.

This is a big step for me, friends.

Kinda like letting go a bit.

Letting go of control.

Acknowledging that maybe they don't NEED me for EVERYTHING.

But it's also a step toward freedom. Because, honestly, the biggest reason I always made dinners in the past is because I felt guilty for leaving them. Like I wasn't fulfilling my duties if I left them without something good to eat. And I am learning to step away from feeling guilty for taking care of me.

Ah, yes. This is going to be a good weekend. Thank You, Jesus!
Don't worry though, I won't leave you hanging. My Lessons From the Edge post is all set to go for tomorrow. Not out of guilt, mind you. Rather because I'm still a creature of habit, and I couldn't leave Friday without an entry. *wink*


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Answered Prayer

OK, so last week I was on Facebook and I saw that one of my friends was having a bad day. I think she put it something like, "I've had a horrible, rotten, terrible day. I need a hug. And chocolate..."
That night I was praying for some Facebook friends (She was one of them.) and I mentioned, "Is it weird for me to ask God to give you chocolate?" Yes, I was being a little silly. But I kinda wanted to ask Him to give it to her.

Well, the next morning I was praying for Facebook friends again. (It's this thing I do. When friends' names and pictures appear on the left side of my page, I pray for them. Then I tag them in a post to let 'em know I've prayed.) Anyway, this same friend was on my sidebar and I prayed for her. This time I really DID ask God to give her chocolate. Or something special to let her know He was caring for her. As if I need to give God a back-up plan...
And that afternoon her post said she'd had a great day. Her son wrote her a nice note and left her a box of chocolates.
I smiled HUGELY and squeaked, "God, You did it! You really gave her chocolate!!!"
My heart was delighted that He had done such a sweet thing for her. *Totally intended that pun.* Because it demonstrated that God really does care about the small things.
He isn't only concerned about abolishing hunger and establishing world peace.
He doesn't only listen to us when we ask for 'important' things.
God won't ignore us when we come to Him with ordinary concerns.
He cares about every.little.thing.

Even chocolate for a friend!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

But I Wanted it NOW

Have you ever had a moment when you thought God might have been speaking to you through the very words which were coming out of your own mouth?

That's what happened to me Friday night.

Joshua and I went to the store to get some fishing things he wanted, and then we were going to visit the pet store to buy him a hamster. (Because he NEEDS more creatures. *eye roll*) The 'get some fishing things' part went well, but it took quite a while. Such that, when we left the store it was past 9 o'clock. Which is the time the pet store closed.
Joshua was upset, because he really wanted that hamster. And he asked if we could drive past a different pet store, 'just to see' if it might still be open.
It wasn't.
Joshua had tears in his eyes and was obviously frustrated. Stores closing at 9 o'clock was "STUPID". He stomped on the floor of the van. And began ranting. In the calmest voice I could find, I said, "Joshua, it's OK. You'll be able to get a hamster tomorrow. It really isn't that long to wait."
Joshua slammed has fist on the seat and grumbled, "But I wanted it now!"
And there those words were again. Joshua, it's OK. You'll be able to get a hamster tomorrow. It really isn't that long to wait.
My reasoning seemed very rational to me, and I was hoping Joshua would understand. I was hoping he would give up the anger and disappointment soon, and just be glad for the new fishing stuff he'd gotten.
I mean, really.
He was going to have to wait 14 or 15 hours.
NOT such a big deal!

That's when it happened. When God used my words to speak to me.
I considered the many times I have wanted something. An answer to prayer. Direction for a decision. End to pain. Healing. Time alone.
I've had to wait for those things. The wait seemed like an eternity to me.

But I wanted it NOW!

I realized during those times God was likely looking at me, speaking quietly to my heart, Karen, it's OK. You'll have that desire soon. It really isn't that long to wait. But I was so busy pounding my fists and grumbling - I simply couldn't hear Him.
Something else happened in that moment, too. Suddenly, I had a little more compassion for Joshua's disposition. *wink*


Monday, August 15, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

Perseverance pays.

Tuesday marked my one year anniversary as the Activities Director at Edgewood.

And it gave me pause to reflect a bit.

I love my job. I've loved it since the beginning. In spite of that affinity, however, I have said frequently, "I love my job, but I hate working!"
Doing my best at work AND at home has been overwhelming to me. There have been many moments through the past year in which I've wondered if I'm doing the right thing. When I've wondered if I should quit my job and stay home full-time again. I just didn't think I could do it all. Yeah. I KNOW I can't do it all!
But one form of encouragement or another would come along, and I always chose to stay.
Through ups and downs (And with the help of my new best friend! *wink*) God has helped me transition back into the work-world. There's something significant about making it through a year, I think. Because there will be no more 'new' things at work. That is, now I've been through all the 'biggies' - like Grandparents' Day, and Christmas, and the Ladies' Tea, and the Yard Sale.
Now I know what to expect.
And that gives me a certain level of comfort.
Hey, I'm a recoverING control-freak, not a recoverED one.

So as I reflect on all the times I wanted to quit, I recognize how thankful I am - now that I persevered. Quitting may have seemed like the easier thing to do at the time, but now I (and hopefully the residents!) will reap the benefits of sticking to it.

Are you in a hard place? Thinking about quitting? I hope you'll think again. Because, perseverance pays.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Feeding the Addiction, er, Fish

7:00 pm - ish: I walked in the door from work, and Joshua asked me to take him fishing. I declined.
7:15 - ish: Joshua started looking on the internet for bait he could make to attract particular kinds of fish.
Asked if we had particular ingredients. Sorry - no creamed corn.
He wondered if I'd drive him to the store to get some.
Uh, No.
7:30 - ish: Joshua started making one bait recipe.
8:30 - ish: Still wanting the creamed corn, Joshua biked to 7-Eleven to see if they had some. (He'd tried calling, but they didn't answer the phone...)
8:45 - ish: Joshua called, asking what kind of corn he needed.
9:00 - ish: Joshua called again. 7-Eleven only had sweet corn. Joshua and his friend were going to ride to Meijer for the creamed corn. I started to object but he convinced me it would be OK. Alright. Be careful!
9:30 - ish: Joshua called again. They had the corn, but now something was wrong with one of the bikes. And they needed to be picked up.
What could I say to that???
So at 9:45 I was in the van - with two boys and two bikes - wondering if it would have been better to have simply gone to the store two and a half hours earlier and gotten the corn. Then I could at least be getting ready for bed at 9:45, rather than rescuing boys.

Which action feeds the addiction more? Giving in right away? Or coming to the rescue?
*sigh* What's a mom to do?


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OK, God. I Hear You.

Some days I think God must look at me and simply shake His head. Karen, do we need to go over this again?
Oh, how thankful I am for His patience with me.

It was Friday night. Brian had a big test at work and was going to go out with some classmates after work to unwind for 'a while'. He called me to remind me of his plans. Of course, I'd forgotten. So I set into making dinner, not knowing if he'd be home to eat it, or not.
As I was getting everything ready, I started to run through my list of It isn't Fair.
*It isn't fair that Brian gets to go out after work tonight.
*It isn't fair that I have to come home every day after work and make dinner.
*It isn't fair that I tend to people's needs all day and have to come home and do it all over again.
*It isn't fair that it's so easy for Brian to go out and have fun.
*It just isn't fair. (pouty face)

Right about then, I turned to look at the time. The oven said, 11:11.
I wasn't making dinner that late. Our oven is just messed up.

As you may recall, 11:11 is my prayer cue for Brian. And as I looked at those bright green numbers on the oven, I was sure I heard God loud and clear. My dear child, please stop your whining. I may have a very good reason for your husband to be out tonight. I may want him to develop some relationships for My glory. I may want him to speak of Me to one of his co-workers tonight. Please don't whine about what you think is unfair. It would delight Me if you would pray for him, instead.

So I did.

And God changed my heart!


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

That Counts for Something, Right?

Have I told you before about Joshua's addiction to affinity for fishing?
Early on in the summer he stated his goal was to go fishing every single day. He's come close to meeting that goal.
So last Wednesday night he was out fishing with his friend when my phone rang. It was Joshua. Telling me he'd just lost a pole. He'd had it leaning up along the railing and a fish got it and started swimming before Joshua had a chance to grab hold of the pole.
Too bad, I thought, but what do you want me to do about it? It would take me 15 minutes to get to the lake, and even if I was there, I couldn't imagine what I could do to get the pole back.
No worries. Joshua wasn't asking me to come fix the problem. He was disappointed and it seemed he just needed to tell me about it. How sweet.

I understand it stinks to lose something, but I didn't quite get why this should be such a big deal. The boy has several fishing poles! Ah, but this one was his favorite. And the next day he did want me to help him retrieve it.
His sister and girlfriend were mocking Joshua for thinking he could get the pole back, but he said he at least wanted to try.
So we drove to Lake Lansing. And walked out to the dock. Joshua cast a line out with a large hook and sinkers on it, hoping to snag his *favorite* pole.

No luck.

I could tell he was very hopeful about finding the pole, so I suggested maybe we could rent a paddle boat to go out and look in the lake for it. Joshua replied, "But, Mom, that costs $4 or $5." He knows how cheap I am! "Would you spend that?" I reminded him that a new fishing pole would be a lot more...And I went to rent the boat.

Out on the lake, we paddled and we looked, and Joshua cast out his line a time, or two. But we didn't see the run-away pole.
With a sad tone in his voice, Joshua mumbled, "Let's just go."

As we walked back to the van, Joshua told me why the lost pole was so good. And why the ones he has left don't quite measure up. I knew he was disappointed but I kept wondering, We tried. I rented that little boat for you so we could make a bigger effort. We tried to find it. That counts for something, right?
I was really hoping his disappointment over not finding the pole wouldn't overshadow the effort I'd made to help. I was hoping he would recognize my love in this small act of service. I was hoping it would count for something.

And when we were driving home Joshua began telling me the things he'd learned from this little episode. Then he said, "Thanks for taking me to look for the pole."

Ahhhhhh! It counted!


Monday, August 08, 2011

Friday, August 05, 2011

Who Gets the Glory?

Skipping Lessons From the Edge this week, because I realized I wanted to do one more post about the anxiety/depression issue.

At my most recent doctor visit, Dr. Handelsman wrote in my file: Complete remission. She said, "I love being able to write that!"
I love being at a place in my recovery where she's able to write it.
I am so thankful to God for all He's brought me through, and for where He still intends to take me.

And I want to be certain that point is very clear.

To be sure, I think the world of Dr. Handelsman. She's terrific.
In all honesty, I have called fluoxetine 'my new best friend'.
Without question, I am indebted to Dr. Bourne for the things I learned in The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.
But they don't get the glory for the statement, Complete remission.

No sir!

All glory to GOD!!!

HE, alone, is my Healer and my Deliverer. HE is the Lifter of my head. HE fills me with joy and gives me hope.
The doctors, the medicine, the rational thinking - they're all tools God uses. But HE is the one who worked it all together and brought me to where I am today. So while I have high regard for His tools, I give all my praise to HIM!


Thursday, August 04, 2011

*Whew!* This is Better

If you missed parts one and two of this post, go here and here to read them.

One of my co-workers was a major factor in getting me to seek this help. She has struggled with depression, herself, and takes meds for it. Guess she saw quite a bit of herself in me... And I remember her saying, "If this is what you need, you'll know it. You'll finally feel normal again!"
I have since informed her she was wrong. I told her, "I don't feel 'normal'. I have never felt this good before!" *wink*


For as long as I can remember, I have simply thought negatively about myself. If something went wrong, I figured it must be my fault. If someone did something better than me, I reasoned I wasn't good enough. And if I didn't measure up in a certain area, I took it as proof that I was sub-standard.
I wasn't unhappy all the time. I enjoyed much of my life. But when it came to thinking about myself, well, it usually wasn't a pretty picture.

As I read the book my doctor recommended, I gained understanding about myself - about why I am like I am. I learned practical things to do in order to produce rational thoughts. And, though I don't fully understand how it works, it seems like the medicine I'm taking helped me slow down - gave me time to think rationally, rather than falling into my regular pattern of immediately condemning myself.
I remember when Brian first noticed a difference. He commented, "I said something yesterday, and as soon as it came out of my mouth I regretted it. I knew it was going to make you start crying. But you didn't even respond!" Honestly, I couldn't recall what he'd said.
Contrary to that example with Brian, I still hear what people say. I still realize I am not perfect. I still don't clean my house from floor to ceiling every week. The difference is, I've learned to think rationally, and now I don't comdemn myself for those things.
I talk to myself a little more now. Like when I realized on the way to work one day that I'd forgotten the gas card, and wouldn't be able to fill up on the way home. I said out loud, "That's OK, Karen!" I do that a lot, actually. Reminding myself that little short comings, and things forgotten, are not going to bring the world to a sudden end. Kinda like I'm living in one big perspective check. LOL
But I like it this way. I feel better about myself. Feel like I finally have control over my emotions. And I'm able to function so much better - at work and at home. (Crying uncontrollably takes a lot of time, you know! *wink*)

So, that's my story. Well, kinda abridged, but you got the important parts.
I welcome your comments or questions. But, realizing someone may not be comfortable with the public nature of commenting, I want to invite you also to email me. My hope in sharing my story is that someone who is suffering alone may be encouraged to open up and get help. If you want to continue the conversation privately, I would be happy to receive your email.
I had a couple requests to share the title of the book I read. It is The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J Bourne, PhD. To be honest, there were parts of the book I laughed at. Brought back memories of Saturday Night Live and the guy who looked in the mirror saying how much he liked himself. And there were parts that I had to gloss over because they were way too self-centered for me. (Yes, even me. LOL) But to be able to glean truth and wisdom, even common sense, was a huge blessing. Especially the parts about faulty thinking.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

I Know I Need Help, But...

So, it was settled. I was struggling with depression and anxiety.

Now what?

My doctor recommended trying an antidepressant, and some counseling.

I knew I needed help. I wanted help. But, honestly? I wasn't so sure about taking the meds.
I don't have a problem with medicine, itself. I just didn't want to admit I needed it. I mean, I'd have to go to the pharmacy to get my preseciptions filled. And I used to work there. Those people know me. And they know what fluoxetine is. When I went to pick up my presecription, they would know I was struggling with depression.
And I didn't want them to know that.
I felt embarrased.

But I so desperately wanted to feel better.

So I agreed to the plan.
And my husband filled the prescription for me the first time. (Love him!)

"Mental Illness" isn't covered by our insurance, so counseling was going to be a financial hardship. But my doctor had an idea. She recommended a book for me, which she said had everything in it we'd be covering in counseling. I was overwhelmed with the size of the book, but she assured me I could skip parts of it. *whew!*
Amazon came to the rescue. I got the book really cheap, and started reading.

So, I was reluctant to admit my struggle. And I was reluctant to get the help I needed. But I did it.

And, wow, am I ever glad I did! I'll tell you what happened in tomorrow's post.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Who? Me? No. I'm NOT Depressed.

Last March I told you I had been struggling with anxiety and depression. I also said I intended to share my journey with you. And in a recent conversation with a friend, I was reminded and encouraged to do just that.
So, for the next three days I plan to give you an overview of where I've been, and where I am. My hope is to open up a conversation with anyone who needs to talk. Perhaps you are, or know, someone who is suffering silently and you need to know you aren't alone. I want to give you that assurance.

So, we begin.

Honestly, the anxiety thing didn't surprise me so much. It's in my family. I know I'm a high-strung person. No major revelation there.
But, to be told I also had signs of depression came as quite a shock to me.
I've heard people who suffer with depression describe themselves as 'unable to get off the couch for days.' Or thinking their life had no meaning, no purpose. And those things didn't describe me.
True, there were times in the midst of my uncontrollable crying spells when I wondered, Is THIS depression? But I would quickly excuse it as PMS, or my pathetic inability to deal with life. To say I was dealing with a very real thing called depression almost seemed like an excuse to me. Somehow I determined in my mind that I should be able to pick myself up and move on, or at least pray myself out of my moods.
I now understand such a way of reasoning was fueled by my depression - my propensity toward negative thoughts.

Seems kinda crazy. The very thing with which I was struggling was working against me to try to convince me I wasn't struggling with it. *Geesh* What a mess I am. *wink*

In fact, I almost cancelled my doctor's appointment. Because as the time drew nearer I really thought it was just going to be a waste of time and money. But through the encouragement of some very dear people in my life, I kept that appointment.
And God used my doctor to reveal truth to me: This struggle to cope with things, my tendency toward uncontrollable crying, my bent toward thinking negatively about myself - it wasn't just something in my head. It was a very real thing.
It was called 'depression'.

And God was going to help me through it.


Monday, August 01, 2011