Friday, December 31, 2010

Have You Gone Mental (74)

Greetings and Happy New Year to all. The last week have been a veritable whirlwind as we had about a "thousand" people at our house. I got to see my daughter and her partner and almost all of my grand children, all my kids except one and experience the most love ine place than in a long long time. Two of my daughters' families stayed in our home.

The chaos was not the best thing for me, but I tried to choose to be in the moment and continue to meditate on peace. The greatest chaos was caused by our dog Max and Beth's dog Lilly. Max is a male and Lilly a female... we thought they would get along famously... wrong. So we shuffled the dogs between running wild in our house, time in the cage (kennel) and time outside on the dog run. It was totally NOT what we expected, but the challenge continued.

This morning my meditation was on peace. I am longing for the peace of mind that comes from being present in the moment and keeping my thoughts free from catatrophizing. This is very hard for me. I wish for peace of mind, which is extremely illusive, peace for all my famliy and friends, and of course peace in our world.

We (Janet. Jeffrey,and I are taying in Bellingham for a few days, as we do every New Year. We attended a wonderful Jim Brickman concert last night which was both inspiring and very entertaining. Afterward we returned home to Jim (Jeffrey calls him Uncle Jimbo) and Solomae's home to watch the Huskies win over mighty Nebraska (the Dawgs were two touch down underdogs and "we" beat them 16 to 7. Jim recorded the game while we were at the concert and we averted our sight and hearing whenever we encountered a conversation about the game so we could watch in anticipation like the game was being played at 10:00 PM. What a total rush!

Now I wish and I hope this year will be better than the last for all of us. I hope to experience a "let up" in my depression and anxiety and I am trying to keep faith that I can return to a more productie life as time goes on. The last year has been horrendous.

Thanks for reading my journal again this morning. I truly appreciate your prayers and thoughts as the year progresses. I hope to "pay you back" in some way as I hold my friends and family in my prayer as 2011 begins and progresses.

Tyose and all ... God bless you.

Ter Soultender

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (73)

I have been suffering from bronchitis and then pneumonia over the last few weeks. It has been a lot of coughing, fever, productive coughs, sore ribs, etc. I've been on two different antibiotics, two different inhalers, three trips to the doctor and deep, deep depression. I began to ask myself a question I truly do not ask frequently: Why do I believe in a God who allows suffering? I am a Christian and believe that suffering comes from a couple of different reasons. This may be a failure to take care of myself physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally. In other words, it can be laid at our own feet. Other times we suffer due to forces outside ourselves that are not our fault. These reasons vary.

My daughter Erin shared with me a pamphet called Reasons to Beleive in a God who Allows Suffering. I want to list the reasons to believe from this little pamphlet from RBC Ministries. I will list them without comment to allow you to meditate on each one from your own perspective:

1) Suffering comes with the freedom to choose
2) Pain can warn us of danger
3) Suffering reveals what is in our hearts
4) Suffering takes us to the edge of eternity
5) Pain loosens our grip on this life
6) Suffering provides opportunity to trust God
7) God empathizes with us in our suffering
8) God's comfort is greater than our suffering
9) In times of suffering we find one another for support
10) God can turn suffering around for our good.

I hope some of these resonate with you as they have with me. While I may not buy the whole list, I find several that speak to me and call me forward to be a better person and to live authentically, acording to my faith.

Typos and all ... God Bless You

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Have You Gone Mental (72)

Its been sometime since I have blogged. Three of four of us in our family have been ill or in some way incapacitated. Generally illness: bronchitis, flu, throat infections pass in due time.

Janet tore her meniscus in her right knee about a month and a half ago during a trip to our daughter's house in Colfax. She had surgery Friday (three days ago). Friday night found her in moderate pain be cause we think that a third shot after surgery helped get her through the night after surgery (just a theory). Saturday found her in much worse pain. She is using a cane to go to the bathroom and other places around the house with my help, as needed. Today (Sunday) is a little better. She slept better last night and is getting the "Dr. House" method of cane utilization down to a science.

A blessing for us was her good friend Terri who came for the weekend to help. She did some hands on things with Janet, went to the store multiple times, and made us about five meals to keep us fed very well (like I need that). She has been a friend of Janet's for about 20 years. She was an angel. She went home this morning to her apartment in Seattle. Sue, Janet's sister, brought over a cassarole today which was very good. Her visit along with her Mom and her niece made her day more pleasant. Our kids at home have been helpful as well.

Adding lots of well-wishers on the telephone really brightened her days too. I was feeling bad about her pain but much better about the care she received and that I could be a part of that. The healing will continue and Janet and I will be spending the main part of each day together the next few days. She is really an amazing person. I know this type of blog is different, but I had to share with you that as helpful as Janet has been to me as I deal with my depression-anxiety, I get a chance to return at least part of the favor to her. She has done more for me that I've done for her, but it feels good and had a good affect on my depression (because I didn't feel worthless). My anxiety has been focused on her. She will get better and better, but my worry does not subside; and that's ok.

Well, that's been my life this weekend.

Typos and all ... God Bless You!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (71)

Today's entrée was mainly depression. I had a good day with Erin and her family but the undercurrent remained. My son is pretty sick today. He has a bad cold and fever and, as happens when he is this ill: high blood sugars and keytones in his urine.

I love Jeff to the extreme. When he hurts I hurt. Today was one of those days. I tried my best to act "normal" for the family. I began to feel flu-ish and have not felt good much of the day. But enough whining. I'd still like your prayers for my son Jeff.

I have felt the depression and frustration with it. I have tried to just let it happen and observe how I handle it... kind of like an outside observer. Sound weird? Well it kind of felt weird.

I continue to work on my spirituality this evening as I treat my son's keytones and high blood sugar. I test him again at 12:30 AM. I've been praying and meditating, holding my son foremost in my mind and asking God to send healing to his body. Before I give you the idea that I am a snake handling fundamentalist, let me say I do believe in prayer and sending God's healing energy to people. I do this for family and friends as well as people I see suffering anywhere I go.

I guess I need to hold myself up in prayer more often for my own depression-anxiety. I do this but need to concentrate more effectively. I hope to one day minimize the depression-anxiety cycle; those ups and downs that occur almost daily.

I feel like I should be a lot further in my healing sometimes. This feeling is shame based so I am continuing making it a habit to NOT give energy to it. Being imperfect, this is impossible, yet it is my goal. I set about to acknowledge my depression - anxiety, accept it is there, but not dwell on it. A verse from the Christian Apostle Paul says, "You'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best not the worst; the beautiful not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (The Epistle to the Philippians, Chapter 4)

This one of my favorite writings. My struggle is to bring it to pass in my own life. It is my goal and what I believe will be part of healing of my depression-anxiety. If you too suffer, it may be helpful to you.

You must be ready for an end to my ramblings for today. So, be kind to yourselves and those around you.

Typos and all ... God bless you!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (70)

Become totally empty.
Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,
Observe how endings become beginnings.
(From the 16th verse, Tao Te Ching)

This is kind of a departure for me. I have been reading the Tao Te Ching as part of my meditation practice. This part of one verse stuck out to me. This a recurring theme in my life and I trust in yours as well.

The verse asks that we become empty (which I take to mean receptive). It then commends us to allow our hearts to be at peace. This speaks to me of the personal responsibility I have to allow peace in my heart. Jesus gives us peace, and we need to allow it to occur by setting ourselves free or disengaging ourselves from the hustle and bustle of life for a time, taking several deep breaths and just being still. This is so hard for me. I am used to going 90 miles an hour. In this lengthy bout with depresssion-anxiety full speed is probably 10 but it sure feels like 90!I need to allow myself peace..."amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings".

The final phrase says to "observe how endings become beginnings". A lot ended for me when my current mental illness got the best of me about one year ago. I lost peace of mind, I lost my job which with it included several personal long-term professional relationships, a hearty income, and the most fulfilling job I have had in my life. I have lost the respect of some who have seen me suffer with deblitating depression and anxiety. Don't you notice that many who know little of our plight have the BEST advice: "You just gotta get up on that horse again"; "just have faith in God"; "just fake it till you make it" and so on, ad nauseum. Oh I wish that worked for me.

This illness has formed an ending for me. I do not know if I'll ever be the same again. There are emotional ups and downs, physical inadequacy, and lack of mental sharpness. This and the severe self flagellation: "You are one lazy so and so. Get up off your dead butt and get a job. Mind over matter is the key. Just do it. Get back in control of youtself and take your life back.

It has become obvious to me that I will not have my former life back. I can't do the work I have done for the past 30 years. In fact, unless one just gets himself in the zone, stops feeling his feelings and just keeps going and going there is no way to return to my former profession. I have fallen and I can't get up.

I know I am experiencing an ending that will spawn a wonderful beginning when the time is right. Whether I am disabled or full of life one day, there must be a new beginning. The old life is gone. Practically and professionally it has passed away.
In the terms of those who try to encourage me to move on, I can say: My horse is done gone, I have become unable or unwilling to fake anything anymore, and one of the only things I have not lost is my faith. Yes! I have a deep faith in God and mental illness. Did you think this was possible? I didn't used to not so many years ago. But over the years working with the chemically dependent and the mentally ill I have seen faith that is very deep and very sincere as the demons continued to attack and the battle raged on.

Endings become beginnings. It happens all the time. I have faith it will happen for me ... and if appropriate for you!

Typos and all ...God bless you!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Have You Gone Mental (69)


I had a good dose of depression today and instead of feeling my way through it, I pulled a method out of my bag of tricks: DISTRACTION0.

One must be careful when using this method. IT IS ADDICTIVE. It can become a habit without too much effort and could be harmful to our growth. In fact, sometimes this can become a knee-jerk reaction. As you know, it is more profitable to feel it and think our way and act our way through.

Distraction masks the feelings involved with depression. Here is what I did:
I woke up in anxiety, as usual, ate a light breakfast, took my morning medication and moseyed off to my favorite restaurant to sip a couple of Diet Pepsis while I read my current selection. This one is from Wayne Dyer. Although I am not a new-ager, I have enjoyed reading so far in "Change your Thoughts, Change your Life". This book is an effort on the part of Dr. Dyer to provide an essay on all 81 chapters of Lao Tsu's Tao de Ching and is quite interesting.

After my reading I left for an Eye Doctors appointment. I have Glaucoma. My eye pressure levels were excellent today. I picked up several medication samples and filled out paperwork to receive assistance from the Merck Corporation to obtain a particular eye drop (I take 3 eye drops multiple times each day). Shoot, I digress...

I then went to the bank, the post office, back to the bank (poor planning) and back home. I sat down for awhile and had lunch as I busied myself with some paperwork, which I often thought was only for middle managers (which I used to be but am not now). I then went to Janet's Orthopedic Physician appointment where we experienced the pre-op stage of surgery for next week on a "torn meniscus".

We then returned home where I turned on the TV and watched re-runs of Special Victims and NCIS. We began building Janet's Snowman Village. After a while Jeffrey asked for help on his Senior Career Research project (I can't believe he is a Senior!) which lasted from 8:30 until 10:30. I took a break and then began to blog. Law and Order LA is on TV now and I am kind of "wound up" after a busy day distracted from my depression.

I'll go to bed after an hour or so of TV. Did I make any headway on dealing with my Depression/Anxiety. Probably not. But today felt a heckuva lot better than most other days. This level of distraction is like being the "energizer Bunny": frenetic. non- stop and no need of batteries, only work, play, and a small slice of interaction.

I don't recommend this on a daily basis, but sometimes it just feels good to not feel so bad.

Typos and all ... God bless you.

P.S. I gave up on the Roman Numerals. I never was much good at them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Have You Gone Mental - 67

Too much of a good thing?
I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Wednesday, Thanksgiving eve, my daughter and daughter in law came over for a couple hours. I always enjoy this time, especially because they live so many miles away. Thanksgiving found me at my mother in law's home for dinner from about 3:00 to 7:00. The food was great and we had quite a few people over. Friday AM my wife and I did some "Black Fridaying" from 4:00 to about 9:00. At this point I came home for a nap before meeting my friend Peter for lunch at 11:30. I got home at one or so, watched some football and dozed in my chair. Saturday we had my brother and law and his wife over to watch the Huskies beat Cal 16-13 (I think that was the score). We then went out to Pizza with my brother and sister in laws and their spouses. My brother and law and his wife came over for pie before heading north to begin their journey home to Bellingham

These were all great times of fellowship, they were fun. I enjoyed each outing and time of being with those people and each night I would crash in my chair, totally exhausted.

The times were enjoyable to me but totally sapped me of my energy. It was too much of a good thing. I ended last night (Saturday) totally exhausted (physically. emotionally, and mentally in my recliner. I did a breathing exercise both during and after each time we were with someone, which helped a lot.

I use the words totally exhausted because the times of fellowship, as pleasant as they were, truly took almost all the emotional strength I could muster. This morning I will go to church. I have already meditated this morning and found some peace. I always look forward to attending our small church each week. We usually have 20 or 25 people in attendance to sing, spent time with one another, and hear some great teaching from Pastor Pete.

Although the weekend really took it out of me, it was not the people. This is important. I love all the people with whom I spent time. It was just having a day of depression-anxiety; due to my involvement in so many things, I was not able to "keep up emotionally". In other words, no fault lies at the feet of my family and "in-laws" I just took part in too much of a good thing. I am looking forward to today, watching football with my son and just relaxing. This will help me mellow out from the busy weekend. I with to extend a big thank you to those who invited me on their trips and to dinner. I love every moment of the time, took extra medication and tried to take care of myself in between.

I don't know if this characterizes your weekend, but I can tell you that my "no thanks button" was not working. However, I am thankful for all who love me and hope that next year will find me able to participate with a more relaxed demeanour.

Typos and all,,, God bless you.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (LXVIII)

Today is the day ... If you worship a personal God: Give Thanks

Today is the day ... If you don't believe in a personal God: Be grateful

Who are you are thankful/grateful for?
What are you thankful/grateful for?
Why are you thankful/grateful?

Set aside some time...even 5 minutes. Answer and act upon these questions.
Be thankful/grateful. Tell someone.

Give thanks with a grateful spirit, your soul will sing.

God bless you,


Monday, November 22, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (LXII)

Life throws things at us nearly everyday. It seems that once we feel we're doing ok and have come to some sort of balance, BAM! Its not the sound of "the other show dropping" as it is both shoes dropping at once. We often exit the episode feeling like a squished bug.

It seems like there is no way to avoid this because it happiness to everyone whether they suffer from depression-anxiety or not. Those who don't, seem to handle things much better. They can feel the feelings, assess what happened and the ramifications thereof. They then organize their thoughts in the face of the stress, make a strategy, execute the strategy and move on.

WOW! That sounds great! Why can't I do that? Those of us who deal daily with depression-anxiety have the will but lack the how to. No that isn't true. We seem to lack the strength to carry out the "how to".

Depression-anxiety strikes at and affects our thoughts, feelings and our ability to take action. Its like the old proverb says, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." We want so badly to face our tribulations head on and successfully drive them away from our lives. Our spirits are willing. We want to have the ability to overcome our problems with faith and resolve. Our flesh is week. Depression-anxiety lies at the core of our want to with a resounding "YOU CAN'T". This is where our learned interventions come into play. I have called this our "bag of tricks." Remember just because we may have a cute name for this supply of interventions, it is a cache of powerful steps we can take to restore equilibrium in our lives. This coupled with the ability to "allow" (calmly feel our feelings as an outside observer)is a great combination.

I like to think through my bag of tricks daily and especially my affirmations. This kind of builds a safety net for me for when the storms of life begin to blow and both shoes drop on top of me. It is important to develop affirmations that are very positive. The point is to strengthen our self-esteem and our "I can do it" attitude.

The Apostle Paul said in the New Testament, "Everyone is affected by difficult things but God is faithful and will not allow us to undergo any trouble that is beyond our ability to bare." Paul believed that God is watching out for us and though the trials of life come crashing down he will offer us his strength if we can manage to trust in him while we use our personal interventions to take care of ourselves.

The idea that God has a purpose for our lives becomes lost in the quagmire of depression-anxiety. In fact some of us may not believe it. I do believe it ( as a Christian)and even so I have forgotten this "a gillion times". I seem to come back to it as I practice my prayer and mediation nearly every day. I like to be able to say, "This is a hard day AND God is with me."

No matter what your faith tradition, if any, successful handling of the trials of life is not for the faint of heart. Call upon God, the Great Spirit, your higher power, your highest self, whatever it is for you and ask for the faith to move through the particular trial you are facing. Allow this power (God) the latitude to minister to you, give you wisdom and strength and walk with you through the trial at hand.

This is very difficult, but when the tribulations of life strike, remember to use your affirmations such as "I'm getting better every day" "This too shall pass" or whatever helps you and trust in God to bring you through.

Typos and all ... God bless you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (LXV)

As I've ventured down the rocky path I'm on, I have become more and more reflective about grief and loss in my life. Whereas there are several areas in which I've experienced this, I'll mention two..

ONE AREA is in the arena of friendship. Some of the best people in my life have chosen to move quite a distance from me. My daughter Erin (Seaside, OR); My daughter Kelly and son Jon (Moses Lake WA); My good friend Ric (Mukilteo, WA); and My good friend George (Goldendale, WA). Whereas these locations are all within "driving distance" and as close as my telephone these moves of supportive people in my life has been produced a great deal of grief.

There are several left who are still within an "arms length": One is my wife, without whom I would probably not still be walking around on this earth; Peter who one of my best friends just across the river in Portland. Brenda and Jim, are nearby and have encouraged me with their e-mails and two wonderful books they have shared. Then there is Suzanne and Marguerite who have also participated in my life and recovery by their prayers and kind words. This list comprises those with whom I have had signigicant contact over the past several months.

Its been nice to have telephone access to those who have moved, but it is not the slightest bit akin to being in their presence, sharing our lives and experiencing the warmth of a hug. This for me is loss. You may look at this list and exclaim, "geez you have some people who have had a profound effect on your life living nearby"! I would have to agree. Nevertheless every one of these people have their own special place in my life. Not having ready access to those who have moved has been difficult at times and unbearable at others. Maybe I want it all! I guess I do. I'm so grateful to God for each and every one of these individuals (near and far) without whose love and support I would be in very bad shape.

THE SECOND AREA is my work. As of about March 23rd 2010 I was let go from my job as a result of a Reduction in Force RIF. The job was the best I'd every had. It addressed each area of my training: mental health, chemical dependency, and pastoral care. I was the manager of the employee assistance program, the chemical dependency service, and the spiritual care service. This loss was and is very devastating, not only from a financial standpoint, but from a personal/professional one. If you've ever had (and lost) your dream job you know what I mean. This loss has not only been of money and profession, but the loss of the management team with whom I had become so close in the past 15 years. I think of these people often. I also think about my job and grieve the loss there (I guess I said that).

I suppose you may be thinking something along the way of the man who said, "I complained when I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet". I do have a wonderful cadre of people who care about me, AND the job is remains one of my deepest losses.

My life was a near "perfect package". It was as if I had it all. Now it is my task to work through my grief and my losses and try to make sense of my life. Which is no small task. It feels like I am trying to figure out who I am. I just don't know any more. I also wonder where I belong in the working world. What can I do on apart time level? I do NOT wish to return to "social services". Healthcare is not where I want to be. Every day I pray to God, "show me the way". The heavens are silent and the lack of God's voice is deafening. I love to work. I will not make the mistake of being so emotionally involved with my profession. The loss in this area sent me spiraling down to who knows where. Oh how I hope I've hit bottom!

Dependence on my job to define me is something I need to work on. I believe I need to work toward a profession that is fulfilling that does not define me as a person and from which I receive my self-esteem. This is a problem from which many of us suffer: over-involvement and/or co-dependency with our jobs, and becoming dependent on our jobs to produce self-esteem. I had a great deal of myself, too much of myself, wrapped up in my work.

So now I'm seeking answers, not as to "why" I sustained these loses, but to where I go from here. It is a balance I seek between those I love and a job that I love. I hope I can become a good husband and father, an "encourager" of my friends and a faithful hard working employee. I believe its what we all really want. I hope you have achieved it. Please pray that I can.

Typos and all . . . God bless you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (LXIV)

I've been fighting depression the past few days. No that isn't right. I'll try to explain what I mean. While going to war with the emotion I learned fighting is not the key. I am just learning that for me, feeling the feeling, contemplating the feeling, prayer/meditation, and allowing the feeling to run its course (which it always does for me sooner or later) deserves some attention.

Like I said, I am learning more about my disorders and how to deal with them as I go along. This is a departure for me. Instead of reaching into my bag of tricks I have tried not to fight the feeling but instead feel it. This can be very painful. Tears often come. Sadness is paramount; especially the contemplation step. Contemplating the depression as to its cause and its extent has helped me to follow my chosen path while allowing the feeling. This is very painful, but I've found it worth the effort. You may disagree.

So I am running my experiment. Do not fight, but allow...allow when empowered by the Spirit. I've come to the point that some of my methods have limited success in the long run. The method I am proposing is to be a self-observer. I am, in a way, learning to detach from the depression. I have found some success in living in this new way. I am realizing this is more art than science.

I have noticed that the depression "hangs around" waiting for me to pay attention to it in the old way of fighting. My experience is when I fight depression it deepens. This may just be the character of depression in my own life. I am learning that when I just allow, through mediation and prayer, the desperation is taken out of the feeling. This is my experience.

Maybe allowing could be part of the bag of tricks, but it is not aggressive. It is a more peaceful approach. Joy is the opposite of depression. That is the goal... joy.
I am learning that when I fight depression joy does not result. Joy is more the result of calm allowing and acceptance of the disorder in my life. Its not that I enjoy depression, lord no. I just think this allowing and acceptance of what comes into my life is the result of knowing that there is a reason this "depression" is visiting me. What that reason is may or may not be revealed to me. The reality is, I'm depressed now and that is what matters.

So I allow myself to feel the depression, contemplate/meditate on the depression, humbly pray for release from the depression, go about my business and let depression run its course. This is difficult, I have found, when depression runs four days as it has so far. I'm sticking with my new method and I'll keep you apprised of my success.

The peaceful approach may be the key to receiving the joy we all wish for.

Typos and all ... Let there be joy ... God bless you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (LXI)

My time at the beach last week was wonderful. There is nothing like a mixture of solitude and grandchildren to refresh you. My daughter's home is beautiful and affords a great view of the ocean on both levels of the home; nothing was present to obscure the view.

I've spoken about "tools" necessary for recovery but it seems like I've left one out... water. The ocean has a unique look and rhythm of its own, far different than a river, lake or stream. I love rivers, etc, AND I love the ocean. I grew up going to the "beach" every year for vacation with my family. I grew tired of this and came to the point where I dreaded every trip. In fact, I would go to the beach and never, never even go near water.

I guess I didn't know what I was missing; and didn't care. Over the years I have come to the point of loving to observe the waves flow toward the shore. I have also enjoyed looking out over the small waves to the large ones. The water rises out to sea to display the power and the fury of those waves and then abates as it reaches the shore to show the gentler side of its "personality".

This reminds me one of my anxiety attacks. Looking out to sea, one witnesses the sea in its tumult, angry and powerful. If one tried to walk, swim, or paddle out in this part of the ocean I can only imagine being tossed to and fro. I can imagine being submerged until I am gasping for air flailing and trying to get on top of the waves so I can ride them to calmer waters. The truth is, they ride me. They carry me along and finally throw me on the shore exhausted and injured. Then I am overjoyed to be out of the power of those waves and being able to take a breath and enjoy the gentleness of the water as it makes its way toward the dry sand.

If you suffer from depression-anxiety you know this feeling. You know what its like to feel the brunt of anxiety (which seems to have a mind of its own). You know the experience of the pounding heart, the increased pulse, the sweating, the shaking inside and out. You understand the fear and the terror of those times. You understand being this powerless. You know you need to reach into your bag of tricks and grasp a tool that will help you to the surface among the angry waves. You realize the harder you try to fight your way to the surface, the more difficult this terrible "ride" becomes.

Somewhere in the back of your mind you begin to realize that fighting is not the way to the surface and will not allow you to reach the top of the waves. You realize you need to let go; to surrender yourself to the mercy these waves and of God. You are thrown up to the surface and take a breath. You allow yourself to ride along and take a breath whenever you are able. As you submit to the flow of the water, over which you have no power, your mind begins to tell you, "every thing is going be ok"; you take another breath, then you hear: "this too shall pass". As your mind begins to feed you with these words of hope you find yourself in shallower and shallower waters until you, mercifully, are able to take breaths more frequently.

When you reach the shore the ability to breathe returns. The gentle movement of the water around you as you lie on the sand looking up into a partly sunny sky allows you to take deeper and deeper breaths. You feel the symptoms leaving your body as your breathing becomes more and more natural. The deep breathing is calming you, your positive self talk begins, and you start to feel safe, almost tranquil. This takes a significant period of time, but you begin to feel hopeful.

The remnants of the "attack" over time become a memory as you continue your deep breathing, self-talk and positive thoughts. You've been through the worst of it and have come out wounded but recovering.

I now love to walk along the shore feeling those gentle waves lap at my bare feet; I begin to draw peace from the waters that once tried to over come me. I whisper a prayer of thanks and continue to walk slowly on as my breathing becomes more natural and the power my mind takes over once again. This a feeling of relief and joy.

If you've had an "anxiety attack" you know the experience. The ocean, the waves, and finally the relief as you allow the angry power to move you toward shore as you submit to those waves.

Not knowing how to end this entry, I urge you to develop positive and effective self talk that will allow you to have hope instead of despair when these times come.

I now love the ocean as I sit in my daughter's living room,safe and warm, and cast my gaze to those angry waves and watch them dissipate into shallow water on the shore AND I am in awe and thankful.

Typos and all ... God bless you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (LXII)

I am sitting in my daughter's dining room looking over the cove just south of Seaside, Oregon. I've been watching surfers trying to catch the big one and there goes four more. There have been no "big ones" today, but still they wait for the wave that will carry them from the sea to the shore. Its out there somewhere, but not yet today. Still they try over and over again in hopes that big wave will come.

As I watch the surfers I think of myself. Sometimes I feel I, too, am waiting, for the "big one" that would come into my life and somehow put all the broken pieces of my life back together as as though the wave is my solution. Actually there is nothing more pathetic than a person trying to find something to carry them through life. Those of us dealing with depression-anxiety know this all too well.

One may think, what about God? Doesn't he say he'll carry us through life? No. He promises to be with us wherever we go, He is NOT a wave. He is one who works with us to heal our lives. He may introduce things into our lives that will lead us in one direction of another, but he does not treat us as robots and promise happiness and a ready rescue from all our problems.

What most uf us need is forgiveness. Not forgiveness from God, but from ourselves. Let us ask ourselves, "Have I ever done anything wrong? Have I ever done something against my own values? Have I ever beat myself up about it? (Say "Yes" here). Of course we have! In most cases it is far easier to gain absolution (forgiveness) from others than from ourselves.

God will not carry us through this one. God forgives and even forgets while we go about feeling that this horrible pain we feel is somehow related to God. God looks on, as I have been doing at the surfers; knowing that the big wave of healing is not coming today. Seas are pretty calm. we need ro remember that our problem lies within ourselves.

The difficulty is that holding on to our lack of self forgiveness prevents our healing. Until we forgive ourself, there will always be something in the way of recovery from depression-anxiety. And what do you think plays into these emotions more effectively other than lack of self-forgiveness, self-hate, or whatever you call it.

I know what its like to hurt many, many people.When I was 20+ years younger I created victims who have now become survivors; my former wife, and the three children I had at the time.What I did not only caused a divorce, but hurt many many beyond my family, even causing a few to lose their faith. I'm sorry and have been for over 20 years. God forgave me at the time. Then I spent ten more years beating myself up. In fact there are times when my depression is at its height the monster returns and I give into his wiles and get out the old night stick and begin flaggulating myself.

Beating one self up is an art. It often comes on the heels of feeling sorry for ourselves. It is pointless and harmful to us and others. If this is something that you do, you need to stop. I suspect it lies at the very bottom of our bag of tricks under everything else. Lack of self-forgivess takes us to a dark place where we wallow in negativity, depression and anxiety. It is a bad thing. Search your bag for this most dysfunctional of techniques whereby you affect your mood. It may be in there, believe it or not. Its right along side the thought "since I gave up hope I feel better." How do these negative things get into our bag of tricks? Well, we may misplace them or more frequently, hold onto them so we can feel the full force of our depression-anxiety. They make it "hurt so good". The song writer was not referring to this of course, but somehow it creeps in. In these cases, watch your thoughts and your laanguage. Some itmes depression-anxiety don't feel like it should. Beating yourself up makes it hurt so good.

Hurting yourself does nothing positive for you or anyone near you. How much Better to grow in grace and self-forgiveness. This way you will not only help yourself, but others.

Typos, Roman Numerals and all. . .God bless you.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (LXI)

Good Morning all. My last post is still stuck in the cue at blogspot and will not publish for some reason. I will continue to work on this and try to get it out asap. I need you to knowe that I am not real computer literate. I've been able to hold my own for years, but evidently I need some help!

I had a good night last night spending time with my wife and her best friend at Buffalo Wild Wings. Stimulating conversation and much love. I am grateful for times like this. When I returned home I had what I call an anxiety attack. I could not explain it other than I was in a crowded place with a lot of people. Within an hour I was able to calm myself down for the most part. I believe I need to make myself do these things to try to desentize myself from agoraphobic tendencies that have been with me from the beginning of this bout with depession-anxiety. By the way I am looking forward to 3 days with my daughter and son in law next week. This will be kind of a retreat filled with reading, journalling exercizing and prayer. I'll have a private place in thier beautiful home.

I returned my car to the bank yesterday. My financial situation prevented me from keeping it. We have a couple of beaeters to deive. My wife has a cute litle Toyota Paseo (1991) and I have a kind of "beat looking" Subaru legacy wagon (1965). As many of you know I am still unemployed and we are living on my wife's salary which does not allow a car payment. It was difficult and illustrated to me how far I have fallen as a result of illness. After this incident of taking the car, I shed a few tears. I cried not because losing the car. Its just a car. I had a "loser attack". I've concluded now that I am not a loser. I am sick with a serious mental illness and cannot work. Bankruptcy was the option we were counseled to pursue. It is embarrassing and humiliating. Those of you who have gone bankrupt can identify with me. I take no pleasure in going backrupt. I'll spare you of the net gains and losses in this processes except to say I've learned to view possesions as temporary and with lower value than I used to. Going from my "good" salary and my wifes salary to one salary has been financially devestating. The "loser reflex" is something that is an unneccessary. Things are what they are and I have no control over them at this time.

Well I'll continue to work on my failing computer to get my last blog to publish.
Thank you for your loving words, thoughts and prayers.

Typos and all. . . God bless you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Have You Gone Mental? (LX)

I have now just finished my sixth day of significant depression. I've became too depressed to write, kind of immobilized for a couple of days, although I truly enjoy it. This blog has become a journal, of sorts, that has traced my steps on my road to recovery.

I must admit that I have not felt like I was getting better for the past six days. As I begin my day at 5:00 AM I can feel the intensity of my depression beginning to subside. Why? I find myself at this early hour looking forward to a day in which there will be a few positive things.

I think, actually my "resurgence" began yesterday at lunch with my good friend Peter. He is the one person with whom I can talk about the feared topics: religion and politics. Our talks don't change the world, but they are very uplifting. Am I still depressed, yes. The difference is in the intensity. Up until yesterday I would say (on a scale of 1-10) I was about a 2. Throughout the day I increased significantly to a 6.

I also saw my therapist in the late afternoon yesterday. Seeing my therapist does not necesarily make me feel any better. In my sessions we take our picks and shovels and "dig' into my life in order to "mine" the material that will hopefully lead to a higher degree of recovery. I am, at this time, struggling to define "who I am". It has been difficult because I have come to the point to which I don't even understand
what "who I am" is! I have defined myself in terms of my occupation: manager, counselor, etc. This is how one writer defines my life: a human "doing" rather than a human being. I don't like cute little sayings like this, but it does seem to describe where I have lived the past several years. That is my journey at this point, as depressing as this hard work is. I hope that God will take mercy on me so I can solve this dilemma.

I began my day, yesterday, at 7:00 AM at my Rotary Club. The crowd is a bit anxiety producing, but I enjoy this meeting I now attend weekly. My club does a tremendous amount of community service from which my disorder has discouraged me from participating in. I have not served since late last year. Outwardly I am a RINO (Rotarian in name only). My club, knowing what is going on, has been patient with me.

After seeing this in "print" I realize why my day was better yesterday: Rotary, lunch with Peter, and a visit with my psychologist. I was involved in three activities which I could positively anticipate. This phenomenon seems to be helpful, temporarily at least, to my having a better day than usual. I appreciate such activities in my life. Mostly I do not positively anticipate the day.

I need, often, to reach into my "bag of tricks" and meditate, use distraction, exercise, make contact with members of my support team, and writing. These "tricks" seem to lighten my load a little, so I feel a bit better for a while after my use of these skills.

I don't know where my life and recovery is heading. I feel I should be a lot better than I am. I have described my progress as three steps forward and two steps back. I can attend some gatherings, which I could not do for months. I do so with a signifant level of anxiety but force myself, "acting as if". I can last about an hour before I feel like I need to "run for my life".

Well that's it. I've had a few victories and several losses. Life as usual. I can usually tell how I am doing, in some respect, by my ablity to write this blog. It usually puts me at a 4 or 5 which is a welcome relief from the difficult days at a 2 or 3. Having finished my 50th blog, I will continue to write this jounal and trace my steps through my process.

Typos and all . . . God bless you.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (LVIIII)

As you can see, I'm not very good with Roman numerals. Is that right? Anyway this is my 59th entry cataloging my journey in the midst of depression-anxiety.

Wow. Its been a rough week and its only Wednesday 12:40 AM. Have you ever just wanted to die? Sunday, Monday and Tuesday have been such days in which I wanted to give up. I'm not sure I have been suicidal... just weary of the battle. I've been inconsolable for the most part. I've been guilty of putting a "happy" face on a sad soul.

Many of us are good at "faces". When I say this I mean we can look and act like everything is ok when we are virtually dying inside; on the edge of tears. This is the best description of the last three days. I have no explanation. I haven't had any particular stressors bad enough to bury me in the depths of despair.

I took a walk Tuesday afternoon. A prayer walk. I said the Lord's prayer, I said the "Soul of Christ" Prayer. I made the request of being a person of whom negativity is relaced by Love, depression is replaced by joy, anxiety is replaced by peace, fear is replaced by faith, and desperation is replaced by hope.

These are the qualities I crave. I've experienced their polar opposites: negativity, depression, anxiety, fear, and desperation.

I think I have probably said enough for this time. I find myself exhausted but unable to sleep. I am planning to go to prayer for a while and then go to bed. I hold out hope that my rising will bring about restoring a measure of well-being. I plan to review my journey through my journal and expect God to fill my spirit with a fresh revealing of his presence.

Typos and all . . . God bless you

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (LIX)

Depression has been my lot the past couple of days. This time it went deep ... dark thoughts. I was feeling like a loser. I have been hopeless and helpless, or so it seems. I had 8 hours of sleep last night after finishing my evening reading "A little book on prayer" Brenda and Jim. My sleep was pretty peaceful, except for a weird dream or two.

Has depression ever hit you like that? Has the darkness of your thinking ever said, "I don't want to do this anymore?" Well Im afraid that's what its been like, even on the Lord's day. I did something I love when I took my son out to breaakfast this morning, it felt good to be out, pretending I had ther money to do it. Then guilt set in.

Church gave me a lot of encouragement this morning. Singing and listening to my Pastor was good for me. I talked to Janet for a bit (she is still in Colfax visiting our new grandchild and helping Beth with her two little boys and the baby. It was hard for her to focus, but I knew (and had agreed)her helping there was paramount and there was no good place for her to talk. She gave some encouraging words, and once again I was encouraged.

I am now home. Kind of numb. Depression is underlying. Football is on thanks to Jeffrey. It gets monotonous after a while but it is mindless enough and rarely distracts me, so I will set about to finish that little book. Considering I have my class tonight at church I'll make it through again and hopefully spiritually strive.

Oh Lord, protect me from those "darkest of thoughts."

Typos and all ... God bless you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (LVIII)

I've been feeling some pretty signifiant anxiety today, It is not tied to a specific event or anticipation of anything. It is a sense of dread, if I had to name it. I don't remember this serious of an episode since the earliest days of this depression-anxiety "jag" Ive been on.

I've reached into my bag of tricks and used a couple of the ones marked "anxiety". It was a half-hearted effort I'm afraid. I've taken an extra dose of my anti-anxity medication. I've talked to a couple of members of my support team. It felt good to talk to them at the time, but as soon as the visit was over (within 1/2 hour) the feeling remained.

This is how some anxiety episdes are, aren't they. We can't put our finger on their origin or why they seem so strong and drawn out. That is the "hell" of it. Actually either emotion (depression-anxiety) can virtually "body slam" us with no, or very little, warning.

I need to say, I hate this. It feels like waiting for the other shoe to drop, but the first one hasn't dropped yet! This time it feels like I am emotionally anticipating "something"; its actually not like something has happened and I'm waiting for something else to happen. It is like this sometimes for me. I cannot gain clarity on what is going on. Like I said, this has happened before. Still I wish I could put a finger on it.

The strange thing about anxiety is that one of its properties is that many times we CAN'T put our finger on its origin. I have often imagined that there is a little guy in my head who is standing at the controls of my emotions. Like a one-armed bandit in Vegas this little dude just pulls the handle, the emotions scramble, three sevens appear on the screen and the bells begin to ring and the lights begin to flash for this evil little guy. The result is that I begin to experience in this case) anxiety.

You're never going to read my blog again are you? You're probably answering the title of the blog, "yes, you HAVE gone mental!"

This is an illustration for me... a way to think about my emotional upset. I really don't believe in the evil little guy in my head, really I don't! I do think of Saint Paul's words: Taking every thought capive to Jesus." This is probably meaningless to many of you and I still can't totally wrap my mind around it. I think it is saying that it is God will, for our own good, that we capture our thoughts, by answering them before they turn to difficult and harmful emtions.

This assumes our emotions are the result of our thoughts. If so I would say that this includes our "unconscious" thoughts, as well as our conscious thoughts.
I think I believe this. The theory is that our thoughts result in our in feelings and our feelings bring about our behavior.

If this the case, the affirmation pocket of our bag of tricks should become our first acivity when we feel depression-anxiety coming on. If so, that is where my self-soothing intervention fell short. I did the deep breathing (body) but neglected speaking the affirmations to myself (mind). Would this hve prevented or lessened my anxiety and sense of dread? Maybe. I don't know, but its worth a try next time or even now.

This may work. I'm glad we had this talk!

Typo and all . . . God bless you.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hae you gone Mental (LVI)

Things take on a different hue when things in our lives change. For me, at least, routine is important at this time in my life. I feel like I'm compulsive or ob- sessive or something like that. I depend on things being as they are to reduce my susceptibility to depression-anxiety. I'm speaking, now, of relationship proximity. Even though the "change" may be positive for me and the other person I find myself fearful and unsure of the outcome at times..

Janet drove to Colfax, Washington to visit our daughter and meet our new grandchild. Beth needs a little help already having two small boys in her home. Blake goes to school all day but Phoenix (not nearly kindergarted age) is a little pistol and demands a lot of attention and TLC. Janet is splitting her time between TLC and loving up on the new girl in the house.

I remember a time when having my wife gone for more than a few hours at a time kept me totally immobilized...depression and anxiety deepened and I was, generally, a basket case, sitting in my chair with my blanket watching TV and using my newly developing bag of tricks. Although I can feel the basket hovering over my little bald head it has not dropped yet and I do not expect it to. Whereas there are many other things that may "basketize me" for periods of time, this almost childlike dependence on my wife has dissipated tremendously ov er the past 10 months.

I can still feel the absence, though. She has been a true rock in my recovery and has loaned me some of her strength to make it as far as I have. We all probably have people in our lives like this; a spouse, a partner, a sister, brother, or friend. When there is not ready personal access to them anxiety sets in. We have become dependent (over-dependent?) on them. Don't get me wrong. The state of our recovery cannot be measured by our dimished need for people. That is, in part, what got us into this mess... not having a true confidant with whom to share our deepest thought and feelings on a regular basis. I know I isolated myself and this, added to brain chemistry, circumstances, and who knows what else plunged me into this hellish abyss.

My advice? I don't give advice. I don't tell people what to do. This I know. The person with whom we share everything is necessary to our lives and recovery from depression-anxiety. When they go away (even seven hours away) and the time away is going to be "lengthy" (only six days)our equilibrium can be set on its ear. Look at me, she has only been gone since I wished her a safe trip at 5:30 this morning and I feel something is missing ... her presence and wisdom. This is different than a statement of puppy love, it speaks of a relationship that has become more important over the last 10 months than ever before. It is a lifeline for me and I hope to her.

Although she will be back Monday night I will talk daily to her and probably access the others on my support team to try (in vain) to take up the slack. The boys are here, Mom is here. Although there is no lack of things to do as a distraction, nothing takes the place of our primary support person when we need them.

I need also to say that having this time apart is a good for her in many ways and good for me in one: learning to live in a positive, healthy manner without ready physical access to my prime supporter. There is sense in which I feel like a child learning to walk. This a good first step for me. I know all will be fine and she will return happy and refreshed from a different atmosphere and from being an upclose and personal grandma to the three kids. I am glad for her and glad for the growth it will stimulate in me.

Please don't think of this as something pathetic in your life. This is real life stuff we experience and grow from. Thanks for reading.

Tpos and all . . . God bless you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (LV)

Drama. We've all been caught up in it from time to time. He said, she said. "Did you hear..." "What if?" and so on.

Those of us in recovery from depression-anxiety should stay away from drama. Much drama runs along the LINE of truth but tend to slip over the divide fairly easily if it will make the story more sumptuous. What we need to know is this: DRAMA IS A DISTRACTION THAT IS DANGEROUS for us.

There was a man who lived about 2,000 years ago who said, "Let your yes be yes and your no be no". In otherwords, set boundaries... be clear... Avoid drama like the plague because that is exactly what it is. It drains us of energy and sidetracks our recovery. Drama stimulates our depression and anxiety like nothing else when we get involved with it.

The best way to avoid drama is to stay away from involvement in gossip. Set this boundary firmly: "I will not talk about any one else." When they come with a good "did you hear?", say, "I dont want to hear this". The dramatic is scintellating (sp?), it can draw us in very easily. After all, if we get involved, won't we will be able to help the people involved? Very unlikely.

Picture yourself standing on a table. A Drama Queen or a Drama King enters the room with a juicy tidbit. You'd like to help them out of the "quagmire". You reach down to help them up out of the "quicksand". You begin to pull with all your might. What happens? They drag you down off the table with minimal energy. Try it in reality ... the person below ALWAYS pulls the person above down. You then enter the quicksand, too! The relative emotions: You suffer immediate depression and anxiety as a result of your involvement. They become more and more excited because they have aquired another person as a partner in their dramatic interlude. For the recovering person this is unhealthy and stupid (sorry).

Gossip and talking about people is the lowest form of communication. It does nothing but bring harm to the person who is the subject of the talk. That is its bottom line objective. Once again, keep this boundary firm and clear. "I will talk TO someone about a problem that may affect me, but I will NOT talk about a person in any negative manner.

The principle of avoidance as a strategy from our bag of tricks is a pretty good one when needed. Avoidance should be engagement in a healthy activity such as listening to music, yard work, reading, time with a healthy friend, and the like. It is NOT some drama that draws its strength from half truths or lies and is fueled by the negative (and hurt) feelings of others.

Can you hear this? It takes a degree of maturity to leave these things alone. As my theology professor said, "A WORD to the WISE is sufficient".

I'll let a man with a low IQ but tremendous wisdom (Forrest Gump) finish tonight's blog...

"That's all I have to say about that."

Typos and all . . . God Bless you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (LIV)

It is Sunday, "the Lords Day". As a Christian this is the day when I take 1 1/2 hours to worship and to learn more about my life as a believer. This in addition to daily medication/contemplation.

This is an important time of meeting with my faith community to engage in fellowship, gain support, give support, receieve teaching from the Bible, and plan outreach to their community. This has become a very important part of my recovery.

One does not have to attend Church to be a Christian. The disturbing thing is that many of those who spurn "church" in order to call themselves "spiritual may not take the time each week in a community experience that brings them "closer" to God. The concept of church from the beginning has been an opportunity to gather with those of like faith to discuss higher power, experience fellowship, and plan outreach to their commnity.

Spitiuality is a popular concept these days. Christians believe that spirituality grows out a community experience. Spiritual experience is based on a commuity of "believers". It was never meant to be an individual, isolative entity that substitutes for a true spiritual experience.

Many among my Christian friends stand alone and do not gather with others on a regular basis to discuss their common faith. They believe church is unnecessary, this puts them in the company of those who reject the teaching of Jesus Christ.

My thought is spirituality cannot (in the long haul) exist apart from being involved in a "faith community". Spirituality recognizes a relationship with the spirit; and is an important CHRISTIAN beief. Those who say "I am spiritual" mean that they are not a part of any organized religion. In fact is it also an excuse to avoid going to church. Like I said, one does not need to attend church or follow any religion to be a Christian OR spiritual. The other side states that the Bible is full of contridictions and so Christinity is fallable. Christinity IS fallable (just like every religion) AND they believe that the Bible is the resource for faith and practice of our faith.

It is alarming to me the number of "Christians" who reject church as a valuable part of their lives. Attending church has been a mainstay for me for many years. Not just showing up, but being an encouragment to others and receiving help from others in my life, as I mentioned. The key of spirituality is being present to others. Somtimes the key to spiituality is to place service above self.

Christians are called to place faith in Jesus so we can be spiritual as part of a faith commuity. If one searches the pages of he Bible, one will be hard pressed to find a Chritian who is isolaed from a faith community.

Those who are separate from a faith ommmuity usually do not want to be a part of orginaed "religion", have been hurt by someone who is part of a faith community, and/or do not want to be held to any Christtian beliefs, and downright laziness.

On this Lord's day, re-consider the importance of a healthy faith community for your
"home base". This will provide a foundation of your spiritually. One can be spiritual and be part of a faith community. I would ask you to consider it whether you call yourself a Chrisian or not. Research and try out some faith commuitiuies. I prefer the small faith commuity. We have but 15 to 20 poeple who connect with one another each week. We pay our Pastor a small salary, pay rent in a store front business office building and say: we feature "hurch, but not as you remember it. We even hestate to call ourselves a church and prefer to refer to ourseves as the Fresh Faith Commity"

This IS an advertisement. NOT for the Fresh Faith Commuinty, but for you to consider becoming involved in a faith commuity whatever that may be. This will provide teaching, fellowship, and the constant opportunity to connect with others.

This works well for me. It is a positive thing to do and add to your bag of tricks. Give it a try!

Typos and all . . . God Bless you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (LIII)

There are a variety of emotions involved as one tries to heal from any mental illness. When depression-anxiety is the disorder from which we suffer there are several. For example: Depresson, Shame, Anger, Fear, Agitation, Self-Harm urges, Anxiety, and Guilt. You may view this as the "short list".

How do you approach these difficult emotions? What skills can we bring into play? One is a form of meditation called "following your breath". Concentrate on your breath as you breathe in and out. Let noises and distortions go without concentrating on them. Do not force things out of your mind, just "allow" them to come and go as you follow your breathe.

Another is called "self-observance". When we experience an emotion like those listed above we can feel it and name it. Eg. "I'm feeling depessed now, I feel sad and like I need to eat something (eg.) to make myself feel better.) Think about how depression affects you, such as "when I"m depressed I feel self-destructive, or hopeless, or helpless (whatever fits). OBSERVE yourself.

A third skill is "acceptance and allowing". Our feelings are neither good or bad, they just "are". What gives them their character is what we do with them. What do you do when you feel anger? Do you want to hurt some in some way? Do you want to talk the problem out? Do you wish to think about it during a "time out" and then return to the conversation later (delay your response)? Which response is most like you? First accept and allow: I'm mad, angry, pissed off, irritated, furious. What should I do? The best answer is "DELAY your response. It is rarely profitable to just react. This usually turns the outcome to the negative side. I think of reaction as impulsive and immediate. I think of response as thought out and taking time to cool down. In most cases response is key in handling difficult emotions.

A fourth and final skill I'[d like to discuss is called "Self-Soothing". This skill involves thinking about what healthy activity or thinking will help me feel better. For me it is, usually, one of the following: 1) Following my breath; 2) Taking a Walk; 3) Calling a Friend; 4) Involving myself in a hobby (weightlifting, reading) or 5) Writing feelings in my journal.These are my top five self-soothing behaviors. You may have others.

It is important to have a game plan in mind for when difficult emotions come up for us. Its good to have a few to choose from. I'm glad I have developed several, including the five mentioned above. I wanted to share these with you to encourage you on your road to recovery from depression-anxiety. Discover what works for you.

I hope your weekend began on a good note tonight. Thanks for reading.

Typos and all ... God bless you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Have you gone Mental (LII)

Have you ever felt like you do not contribute to your household? I often believe that about myself. Depression and anxiety close in and "withdrawing" is often the effect. It seems like I just want to curl up in my easy chair or engage in frenetic activity (cleaning, eating, etc.)around the house to try to self-medicate.

I hate the negative, self-deprecating feelings that arise so often. I know, in my head, that I make some contribution in my house work and being there emotionally for my son. The fact that I am not able to work now is often where my negative self-talk arises. I come from a household with a very strong work ethic. No matter how sick my Father was, he never missed a day of work. "I'll feel the same whether I stay home or go to work, so I'll go to work." This often kept me in a sea of guilt and shame whenever I missed work. It is amplified now that I am not engaged in gainful employment. I wonder what my Dad would say about it. I think, outwardly, he would be compassionate but inwardly wonder why I don't get up off my lazy a** and find a job.
I often wonder that myself when my mind runs amuck.

There are many ways to contribute to one's household that I needed to remember. My therapist called upon me to site several in my session with her today:

1. My presence in the home provides comfort and constancy to my children.
2. My mental illness has given my family the experience of supporting someone.
3. I do laundry, dishes, and cleaning.
4. I do little things for and encourage my wife in her work.
5. I model working toward healing as I use my bag of tricks to address my illness

That's about all I came up with, but it is "something"? What does your list look like, as you suffer from depression and anxiety? I am one who really gets down on himself and very easily. I need to almost fight to remember to use only positive talk. Sometimes I am successful. other times ...

Its difficult to believe in myself when I get this way. It kind of becomes a vicious circle. When I do not believe in myself, I feel like a slug (or worse) I then isolate myself from my support team and as a result I have another bout of not beleiving in myself. I don't know how well I've stated this, but I hope you get the idea. Believing in yourself and your potential is one of the basic skills you (I) need to practice.

Its really difficult because I know all this stuff. I worked as a counselor for over 25 years. In fact it is downright embarrassing to admit that I do much better helping others than I do helping myself. (Yes, people tell me that is normal.) I guess I don't want to be normal. I want to get well and get my life back but seem powerless to do so. I know this matches with the stories you tell about your experience.

I often wonder when I'll really get better and FEEL like I'm getting better. I get extremely depressed over this issue. Depression and anxiety are always with me, but it truly flares when I can look back on nearly 10 months of dealing with my illness and still can't see much progress. My wife is my greatest "reality checker" and can point out several areas in which I have improved. One is being able to drive myself. I went several months when due to my anxiety I needed to always ride "shotgun". Another example is being able to go to public places for short times and not have my anxiety keep me home. These are major. In terms of public places, I am always anxiety ridden but have chosen to act differently much of the time. I guess its one reason I keep my anti-anxiety medicine handy.

So there has been progress; I guess. I'm trying to believe this. Even though my disorders are always with me I am acting against them to try to grow in these areas.
Being a closet introvert probably doesn't help. Additionally in terms of driving I need to write down "where I'm going and why I am going there" in order to get errands done. I wonder how long this will go on. I ask your prayers for me. Sign on as a follower of my blog and I'll pray for you; whether or not you have depression-anxiety.

Typos and all . . . God bless you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (LI)

Today a miracle happened. A beautiful baby girl was born to my daughter and son in law. These are the best times of our lives as adults; seeing the miracle of new birth. This "miracle" is my sixth grandchild! I meditated on this and prayed for each member in the newly enlarged family.

Having done that, after a few hours I began to think about birth in terms of recovery. Birth is an event. To recover,a process. Viewing recovery as re-birth is more to the point. Over days, months, and even years our poor choices, social learning, and genes brought us to where we are now. I, like many of you, suffer from depression-anxiety. This three fold cause comprises the birth of the recovering person. Our disorders are affecting us to the point it causes problems in one or more of the following: family, economy, social environment, employment, spiritually, and general well-being. This forms a life that cries out to be changed. This change is called re-birth.

Re-birth changes us from one kind of person into another from the inside out. It involves thoughts and actions we all know ... a decision to change and improve one's life. It involves the effort to support this change. It involves the assistance of a strong support syetem and some power beyond yourself (mine is Jesus Christ), and professional help. We can commit ourselves to these methods of improvement and practice them, but we are fallable.

My Christian faith involves being re-born to as a way to commit ourselves to God. Saint Paul wrote, "If anyone believes in Christ they are a new creation. Old things have passed away. New things have come." Even if these words do not describe your faith experience you can see their relevance to the recovery experience.

Being born again mentally and emotionally has similar properties. We examine ourselves ... our lives, and see depression-anxiety. We wish to rid ourselves of the power these have over us. We make a decision to work on ourselves and make a choice to take action. This is the beginning of our rebirth, our recovery.

Most of our recovery is in fits and starts. Some days we do well, feel our feelings and use our techniques to great advantage. We feel good and good about ourselves. However, many days, most days, are different. It is a struggle from beginning to end. Perhaps we use some other techniques and perhaps they have little or no effect on how we feel. Life for us with mental illness can be a true roller coaster.

Even so, we have experienced the re-birth. We have envisioned what a life without serious problems with depression-ansiety would be like and decided to develop that life. There are very good times and there are very bad times. We revel in the first and dread the second.

Remember, when the depression takes you down hard and when the anxiety penetrates your very soul. Remember when you feel serious physical symptoms in terms of a panic or anxiety attack, you have been born again... you are on the path of recovery. To make our way through these "attacks" you need to REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE! You have experienced the rebirth! Your decision was clear and sincere. The potential of recovery lies within you. At the risk of sounding like a New Age proponent (I am not) I need to state that often, what you say is what you get. Our recovery needs to be attended at every turn with positive self talk. Such examples we have already considered:

1) I am getting better
2) My depression in dimishing in its effect on me
3) My anxiety isn't as powerful as it used to be
4) I am getting stronger
5) My episodes of pain are getting less painful
6) This too will pass
7) Everything is going to be alright

This positive self-talk. No matter how difficult the day, is necessary to our recovery. We need to gain a vision of our recovery as being strong and in progress. The more positive the better.

It is a good thing to be re-born into recovery. It comprises a promise to ourselves that we work our tails off to keep. So keep working through the good times. Keep working through the pain. Work on yourself faithfully, consistently, and positively. We CAN recover. Recovery does not mean we will never again experience depression-anxiety again. It means that we have worked on our techniques to the point that we know what works and what doesn't. Recovery is living without fear of these emotions that are our present monsters so they don't so negatively affect each and every area of our lives.

Typos and all . . . God bless you.

Have you gone Mental? (L)

There is something very beautiful and a certain strength in the soul of a person in recovery. I think people who are trying to recover from depression-anxiety struggle with this issue at times. We forget through all our pain how much we are blessed and how thankful we should be. A short sentence by Saint Paul comes to mind "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God." This speaks to every one. The problem for us is, "how can I be thankful for the disorders I face?"

This is beauty and this is paradox. In EVERTHING give thanks? Have you gone mental???
The beautiful soul is the one who, on some level, experiences and expresses gratitude even when times are the most difficult. Its so hard to truly be thankful when depression and anxiety attack us. What is there to be thankful about? Lets be clear. Saint Paul's exhortation is not a call to be thankful FOR depression-anxiety. His emphasis is being thankful IN THE MIDST OF depession-anxiety.

Someone said, whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Its hard to "hang in there" for us who have depression-anxiety. When the winds of our illness blow the hardest we can experience gratitude and thus be strengthened. My daughter lives on the Oregon Coast. I mean RIGHT on the coast. Her front window looks directly out on the Pacific Ocean. You could walk out her back door and the first thing you encounter after trudging through the sand is the Ocean.

I am often in awe of the trees that stand on the shore directly facing the winds of the Pacific Coast to the south of her home. They stand there year after year facing the pummeling of the onshore winds of the ocean. When you stand on the sand and look back upon the trees on the hillside you can see several trees whose roots are exposed where the wind has eroded the earth and sand. These roots run deep and they run wide. You see this wherever strong winds blow. The more tumultuous the weather the deeper and wider the roots will grow. Its not that these trees cannot fall; they do. The point is, in nature, where there is opposition there will be evidence of strength.

When a tree that regularly faces wind topples over, you will see the depth and breadth of the root system. These trees rarely just snap off, they "fall" and the root system remains for the most part, in tact. The roots remain attached to the trunk. Most of us have observed this. The roots won't let go of the tree.

When we face the winds of depression-anxiety we use all the resources at our disposal to stand in the face of the storm. Then the winds die down, there is a break in the clouds, and the sun comes out. It is then that we assess the damage. As we do, we can feel our relative strength and revel in the wonder that is recovery. We have withstood another storm.

As I have stated so many times, sometimes the problem is depression and sometimes it is anxiety. Whichever disorder that dominates could be the wind. We have withstood the wind before. It is difficult to do so. The strength of depression or anxiety when they arrive together test the mettle of our souls. When both come at once (adding the rain to the wind)the metaphor is striking. On the Pacific Coast, the wind AND the rain many times comprise the storm. When depression and anxiety "hit us" all at once, We bend, but we rarely break. Our roots run deep and wide. We are grateful.

Give thanks in the midst of all things. When depression comes on, give thanks. When anxiety attacks, give thanks. When they both come at the same time give thanks. Thank God for the grace he gives you. Thank him for the strength. Thank him for the mercy he shows us that what we face isn't worse. Thank him for the peace of mind that expresses itself when the clouds part, the winds subside, and the sun shines upon you. Whatever does not kill us makes us stronger. We are not victimes. We are survivors. There is beauty in the soul of a survivor that grows out of determination, guts, and focused effort to recover. This effort includes what I have referred to as our "bag of tricks."

I want to say that the phrase "bag of tricks" is not meant to trivialize the many tools available to us to assist in our recovery. Just the opposite. These tricks... these methods and techniques keep us upright in the face of what we experience day after day. they allow us to bend but not break. We need to sharpen these tools so they are most effective when we need them.

I speak of exercise and healthy eating. I speak of reading and study. I speak of positive self talk and prayer. I speak of meditation and contemplation. I speak of accessing our support system daily. I speak of the power of positive outlook. I speak of getting consistent sleep combined with times of rest and solitutde. These are the roots of our recovery. They grow deep and wide surrounding the "tap root" of our spirituality.

So give thanks IN all things for this is the will of God. It will keep you focused on the task at hand and prepare you for the wind and rain that inevitably comes into our lives. Sometimes we experience sunshine and a gentle breeze. We do well to sharpen our tools during these times. The sharpening of these tools in prepation for the assult of wind and rain, will prepare us with a skillful use of them and an accompanying attitude of gratitude. We need to be so familiar with our tools that we can carry them with us wherever we go. One of these tools, let us not forget, is gratitude.

Let there be thanks!

Typos and all . . . God bless you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (XLVIIII)

In less than 15 minutes I experience another milestone. I will be 58 years old on October 18th. The excitement of birthdays has long ago left my life, however they are a good time to reflect. This has an eventful year as I was buried in the quicksand of depression-anxiety. It has been difficult to try to function in the manner to which I've become accustomed while sinking slowly but surely in this quagmire.

Maybe some of you have felt the same way. In my case I see this as a "lost year".
I lost my job and lost my sanity, if you will. I felt at times like I could overcome this and then felt like I'd rather die and that my famliy would be much better off without me. What keeps me from following through on my suicidal ideation? My initial reaction is my family. Suicide is the ultimate selfish response to a difficult life. I was nearly that selfish this past year. My next response to the question is God. I believe God has a hand in my life and that He would not be pleased by my dying at my own hand.

There have been days and nights so dark and painful I despaired of life and felt it unbearable. These strengthened by the lack of hope that I would never, ever, get better. My wife and friends encouraged and bouyed my up in these times. The professionals that attended me brought me around to re-considering my psychic "death wish". I know my problem is not unique. I am not much different from anyone else. My problems are no more difficult; my trails no more severe.

I have seen many, I dare say hundreds over the years who had similar problems to mine and not even considered the path of suicide. Does this make we weak? I have been depressed so long I have lost track of what it is to feel "normal", to feel like life is fruitful and fulfilling on some level. My family and a small group of friends continue to try to convince me of this gently and tenderly. I am not now actively suicidal. It just hangs in the darker recesses of my mind; hanging in the closet of my awareness as a pair of slacks or a shirt. It is a choice I can make among all the others.

When I try to pull happiness off its hanger it will almost not budge. It is nearly immovable. Whereas time with my wife, children and grand children are wonderful for the time, when the time is over I find myself at the door to my closet to see what else I have to wear. I look and see love, joy, peace, faith, and hope. I love to be able to reach in and put those on. I can wear them for an hour or two, or even a half a day and then I feel them slipping off my soul and returning to the closet as options for another time..

You see, in this closet is also negativity, depression, anxiety, fear, and despair. These come off thir hangers much more easily. I sincerely have fashioned my bag of tricks to be able to employ them to be successful in my quest to "wear" the more positive of the clothing for my soul.... temporarily.

The effort goes on and with all the attendant discouragement but also great determination. I believe that this year, my 58th will prove to be one in which I make great progress in my journey toward mental health. I will continue to seek to wear the positive clothing for my soul and seek spiritually the presence and power of God. When October 2011 arrives I hope to be a different person. Generally positive, joyful, and enjoying peace of mind. I ame hopeful that faith will take the place of fear and hope will overcome despair.

None of us know what the next day will bring, much less the next year. I just want my family, friends, God and my readers to know that this is my goal. I want to become healthy enough to work at least part time. In my optimistic moments I can almost see it on the horizon.

Every day I thank God for my life occasionally through smling eyes and more often gritted teeth. I live and pray for freedom of my soul and spirit as so many of us do.
So now I wlll set forth on another year's journey hoping against hope that it will be the year that I notice genuine healing in my soul, spirit, and my life in general.

Happy birthday to me.

Typos and all . . .God bless you

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (XLVIII)

I went to the movie Toy Story 3 today. It was as good or better than the last two. The theme of this story was that Andy was going to college and wasn't going to be around to play with his toys any longer. Actually he had them stored in a treasure chest in his room. He put Woody the Cowboy in the box he reserved for his college room nick nacks and put the rest of the toys in a box to be stored in the attic. Well the attic stuff got accidently taken to the curb with the garbage by Andy's mother and the show was on.

Woody was the only toy kept by this young man going to college. Woody rescued the rest of the toys from the curb-side trash. As the story moved on, there were twists and turns that resulted in all the toys ending up in the possession of a little girl. Andy dropped them off and visited with the girl about how important the toys were to him. He had the most dificult time parting with Woody, but upon the girl's promise that she would take good care of him, handed him over.

There is a time to move on; a time to put away childish things. Relationally speaking, those of us who have depession-anxiety have care-takers. We may have those individuals in our lives who almost baby us. They make sure we are well taken care of and try to shield us from the difficult situations and cirsumstances of life. These people are precious, faithful, and in some cases wonderful to us. In other cases they are controlling, on again, off again (flaky), and horrible for our healing.

Moving on means taking some time to sort who stays with us, and who we need to "kick to the curb". This is the most important assignment we have as we move toward healing from our disorders.

We need to take some time to discern: Who are those precious souls that build our faith and self-concept; and who are those from whom we need to move on?" I know I've spent a lot of time and energy talking about our boundaries (how close to get to others). This is very important work. At times we may find certain individuals from either catagory from whom we need to move on.

The point is we have different boundaries with different people. Some we trust with our lives and our deepest, darkest, secrets. Most we trust to a lesser extent. When we're in recovery from depression-anxiety, we need to occasionally look at our "support team" and those who wish to be part of it. We, from time to time, will need to begin limiting our time with certain people because we've outgrown them. The key test of a person you need to "drop like a bad habit" is that you feel worse when you're in their presence. They just plain bring you down. They may try to control you, and you leave them feeling worse than when you began the conversation.

When we move on we do so carefully and methodically. We consider if we are progressing in our healing and who enhances our recovery. We also consider those who bring us down. Like I've said before, the first group is made up of assets. The second group is just half of that" (From my Old Pappy).

We need to take care of yourself
1) whom should I trust enough to let into my life?
2) how far should I let each one of them in?
3) whom should I now begin to move away (to move on)?

Moving on is a natural part of recovery and life in general. We need to learn how to limit our time with certain people and even stop seeing certain people because they are toxic to our lives. We have the resources within to discern this. We have the raw strength within us to recover. We need to surround ourselves with healthy people and continue to use the helpful techniques we have been talking about in this group of blogs.

Like Andy in Toy Story 3, our life and experience of our circumstances presents us with opportunities to move on into deeper and deeper recovery. Value those who support you, move away from those who don't support you because they are probably willing but are genuinely not able to do so. Such a person can be a parent or a friend but they are unable to understand the seriousness of your disorder. They are not good for you!

Take care of yourself. While many people in our lives may be willing and even voice willingness to support us they may not have the skills to do so. Some do and some don't. Keep those that do close to you. Keep those who don't at an emotional distance. It is a process we go through in which we learn what is the best for us, and what isn't.

This special discernment can move us forward to the "college of recovery"; taking those who are valuable with us and leaving those who are unable to truly support us behind, at least emotionally.

This sounds cold and even harsh. However, It echos the question of Jesus to the diabled man by the Pool of Saloam, "do you want to get well?" Taking this kind of action in our lives demonstrates that we really want to get well . . . and learn to heal from depresion-anxiety.

Typos and all ... God bless you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (XLVII)

To negotiate the rough waters of depression-anxiety one must have a degree of courage. Anxiety will haunt you while depression taunts you. Sometimes they take turns. Other times they come together. I've written about many things we may want to have in our bag of tricks. Thinks such as a strong support system, healthy diet, daily exercise, development of positive affirmations, positive self-talk, writing in a journal and others. All these have uses at different times in our lives.

I asked one of my "care givers" if I was always going to be like this. I've heard that there is no real "cure" for depression or anxiety. If we are prone to these disorders we will struggle with them to one degree or another throughout our lives. As for my life to as I close my 57th year on this planet, I can attest to this; having suffered with both since I was a teenager. I had a terrible two year period in the late 80's in which I was so affected that I just plain wanted to die. My situation was a lot different then. I had lost my wife, my family and my job, due to my own lack of integrity and stupidity. I had a small support sustem, but most of them just wanted to fix me, or create me in their in their own image; not let me heal.

During this horrible time one person told me that if I didn't reconcile with my wife there is no way I could really be a Christian. I was a minister at the time of this path of pain, guilt, and shame. Even so, I did not reconcile. The individuals who saw me as a non-Christian treated me like a second class citizen and were trying their best with ineffective tactics to attract me to come back among the faithful. I never returned. I became embittered against those self appointed agents of God and the evangelical church in general. It took years for that bitterness to wear off! I never denounced God. I loved God but couldn't stand his kids. I am now involved in a very small church in Portland where we practice love, acceptance and forgiveness. What a freeing experience!

Maybe this story strikes a chord in your heart. Have your disorders led you into unhealthy behavior or negative relationships? If your like me, and I know I am, the answer is yes. It is interesting how the battle lines form. One side are the people of solemn truth who will guilt and shame you into following what they think is right. The other side are the people of the lie. They are the ones who cheer you on to justify and continue in your unhealthy behavior.

There must be a middle ground. There must be a place to which we can go to maintain our integrity and a quality life. When looking at two extremes, the best we can do is to learn to govern our lives from the middle. I do this by taking a break, emotionally, from trying to please either side. I do this by entering a season of solitude. I know from experience that this takes tremendous courage. To take time to be alone is difficult. Its important to take time to read inspirational literature, such as the Bible and other books that speak to you. It is important to pray to God and meditate on the truth that comes to your mind. I found it important to sit in silence each day, listening for the voice. I found it important to take time to reflect with no one else around.

This very difficult. I'd advise you to only undertake this course if you believe you are safe from self-harm and have a strong support system: a person or persons you can call if the going gets too rough. Silence and solitude are not much heralded in our culture, but I have found little else that gives me peace of mind more times than not. What do you say to the individuals who belong to one group or the other, as described above? Tell them you are taking a break for a week or so to sort things out. Part of this break will be your "retreat". When you receive resistance you will know whom to avoid in your life. You may not be able to trust them to truly be a supporter. When you receive a persons' "blessing" on your plan, you will know who you may be able to trust as a supporter.

Healthy relationships are those that recognize the needs and boundaries of others and allow them the space to do what they need to do. You may get lonely and that's ok. Take time for yourself. Go and do things that bring you peace and joy. Walk by the river or the ocean, hike in the hills, go visit one of the flower gardens in your area. We have two or three of these (probably more) in the Portland area. Lie down on green grass looking up to a clear blue sky and notice how green trees contrast with the blue above. I love this one. Look to beauty to heal you. God can be recognized and approached, for example, in nature. Find your peace and you will begin to feel what healing feels like. It feels good to get this glimpse of the healed life. It gives us a goal to aspire to. Once we taste peace (we Christians may say "taste the kindness of the Lord", you will develop a love for it. Your personal retreat may be a day or two or even a week. Take a break in a way only you know how... the kind of break that will best minister to you . . . calm your soul and spirit. Start small, an afternoon or morning for example, and work your way up to more time.

If this sounds too good to be true, you may be a great candidate to build this wonderful activity into your life. I like to take a day or two each quarter to be alone. Even in my ongoing depression-anxiety this feels like it is helpful, at least at the time. My point is that we need to develop a break ... or like Richard Dreyfus told Bill Murray in the movie "What about Bob": "You need to take a vacation from your problems!" A planned retreat can be just that if you have the time, the support, the safety, and the courage.

The prophet said, "Be strong and of good courage for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Its hard for a former preacher to leave out a fiting text or two.) Pardon me.

Typos and all ... God bless you!

Have you gone Mental? (XLVI)

Its 3:18 as I begin this morning. I woke up at 2:45 and haven't been able to go back sleep. I am wide awake. I wonder if the medication has something to do with this messed-up sleeping pattern. I take a medication at night that is supposed to be sedating, go to sleep by 11:00 and then wake up between 2:30 and 4:00 AM. At about 8:00 AM I go back to sleep for 2 to 3 hours. Then I get up and get on with my day.

As I think about this I surmise it may be my anxiety waking me up. Things are changing with our financial situation now. Maybe this is something that figures into the equation. Today I laid in bed for about ten minutes, got up took a shower and shaved. I hoped the shower would help with the warm water running on my body. Not today.

I took my handful of pills and came to the computer to write. I learned in treatment that trouble sleeping is a common phenomenah among many suffering with deprssion-anxiety as well as bi-polar disorder. I am trying to learn abour bi-polar because I evidentially have "it". Ths has been discussed with my psychologist and my psychiatric nurse practioner. (I wondered where those highs and lows were coming from!)

It seems I DO have "bi-polar depression and hypo-mania, the depresson can make me go very low into the darkness; where suicidal ideation is present. When my mood improves, it usualy manifests itself with some degree of anxiety which is part of what I am experiencing so far. A hypo-manic episode is where I anter a state which lowers my mania to a more managable level (hypo means low).

This hypo-manic episode is made up of several feelings: znxiety, irritability, increased appetite and a desire to frenetically clean the house (dishes, decluttering, vacuuming, and doing laundry.) Whereas my wife loves this, she also realizes it is part of my illness. I've pitched in for my fair share throughout our marriage, but this is different somehow. Its almost like a sense of urgency overcomes me. When we used to have some money (when I was employed) I think spending was the main symptom instead of the desperate neeed to clean the house. I still have urge to spend but no money to spend which is at one frustrating and empowering.

I also have, and this is troubling, a strong desire to please my wife. Whereas there is nothing wrong with this in general, I feel this motivation in my hypo-manic state. I love my wife and would do anything for her, but what I'm doing now is a bit over board. Its like I'm driven in this direction. She enjoys this for the most part, but sometmes my "help" at times can be irritating to her.

We are pretty different people. I like to do what needs to be done, right away. She, in the majority of instances, waits until the laat minute to start. This tendency of hers seems to have changed since she started back to school. Procrastination doesn't work when one is taking a lab science two evenings a week as English Composion 2 at 7:00 AM before going to her job for the day. She studies the magority of the time at home in the evening; for which I support her heartily. I am so proud of her. Since I am driven to help, this works out fine. Except when I put her cell phone in her purse and place it on on the dining room table. She goes to get her stuff in the moening and, lo and behold, it isn't there because I reorganized her life! This is one example.

She laughs it off now, compared to the beginning of this pleasing activity. And seems to enjoy me helping her to her car by carrying her book bag and other things. I feel like Mr. Intrusive at times and hope, for her stake, not to become any more driven to help than I alreay am.

This has been going on for months now and she is geting used to it and just lets me do these things along with her exortation to sit down and rest. Right now it seems this is not an option; its like I need to keep moving.

Well, its 4:45 AM and I'm going to go back to bed and try to catch a few winks before I get up at 5:30 and get the kids up and off to school.

I aplogize for blabbering on about this, but it is what I'm experienmcing at this time. I know someone out there is experiening the same thing as you suffer with depession-anxiety or bo-polar disorder among other things. This is fairly raw stuff fpr me. Its akin to when new skin (scab) is being removed from a wound. It seems like this is where I've been last few weeks. I may need some sort of sleeping pill if it continues. However I do not to want to take even one more pill. I am trying to titrate off one depression medication and replace it with another which may be helping me to some extent.

Well, I've gone on much more than planned. I thought writing about it would be healing for me and be an encouragement to others who are experiencing the same thing. I would encourage you that "this too will pass". Or s the old Gospel song says, "Let it be, Oh Lord, Let be."

Typos and all ...God bless you!