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.

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