Friday, January 28, 2011

Have You Gone Mental (84)

The past two days have been dark ones for me. The depression hitting hard and staying ... and staying ... and did I say staying? It felt as though I've been pursued by something that continued to bring depression to the forefront. I hate to think of it in this way, but it best descibes it. I've said earlier in the blog that I sometimes believe depression and anxiety have a mind of their own. The mind of depression certainly made its frighteninig move through my spirit the last 48 hours.

I have have been having very troubling urges toward suicide; like I have not had for months. The ideation lies beneath the surface regularly, but this time it was an urge toward full-blown suicide. Little lethality, but an urge.

I prayed "all day" as appropriate and then tonight I lit a candle. I sat before the candle in contemplation, I used "Savior as my "sacred mantra and sat in silent contrmlation. Having just finished this 45 minutes I can report the urges have been reduced.

I don't know if this sort of thing would work for others, but it was literally a "God send" for me today. Jesus was my companion through the contemplative exercise and I was rewarded with peace. This was my experience.

Typos and all ... God Bless You.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Have You Gone Mental? (83)

I think an effective way to face depression-anxiety is with gratefulness. I believe that anyone has human life can be grateful in some manner. I understand that, perhaps, by definition, mental illness does not induce gratefulness.

At my lowest point and now I could identify someone in my life that brought thankfulness/ gratefulness to mind. I have, at many times, listed people I am grateful for in terms of their consistent support and assistance during my past and current depression-anxiety. I could name many.

I also have had things and places that have brought a lightness to my life in some way. I like music both listening and playing. I enjoy water. Rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans come to mind. My faith community is stablizing to a great extent. In addition, I really enjoy lying on my back under a clear blue sky, look up and see the contrast of the stately evergreens in contrast to that sky. I enjoy sitting in the lot at Fort Vancouver and looking across the beautiful grounds. Sitting at Beaches on the Columbia brings a similar response as I gaze at the Columbia River and its beauty.

I am grateful for the people and places that grace my life. I am grateful for each and every person who supports me in prayer and good thoughts. The same feeling is present for places and things that have brought light to my life.

What would life be without gratefulness? For me it would not be worth living. This may be a bit extreme but the emphases may be difficult to overstate.

Typos and all ... Be grateful ... God bless you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Have You Gone Mental? (82)

Yesterday was a difficult day when I attended the memorial service for my friend. It caused an evaluation of my own life. He was praised through multiple testimonies and stories. Most all touched and resonated with me in some way.

This caused me to wonder, "what is a life "well lived?" How can a person with mental illness of any ilk to grow and change to the point that they are remembered in the ways my friend was.

All my life is full except a job. That doesn't take me where I want to be. Yes, profession plays a part, but there are so many ways to meke a life count for something. Going through depresion-anxiety I have often wondered if I would ever be "better" and become the person God so desparately wants me to be. I believe this trial will strengthen me in the long run. I am beginning to notice days when I feel pretty good along with the days that feel I am standing at the door of hell.

I will not give up on becoming a productive member of the human family. I will rise again whether it takes one year or five years. I found so many more at the memorial service yesterday who are praying for me and sending positive thoghts my way it way. It overwhelming. Thanks to God! I will one day return to a life that is less stressful and I will, by the grace of God, oversome the illness what has gripped me for over a year now.

So thank you Mary, Kit, Suzanne, and Chris for expressing your love and caring to me yesterday. You are precious. It is my dedication and the prayers of the people that will help me overcome this painful disease. I need the grace to "never give up." That is my prayer and commitment.

So many times, it is so painful thal I just want out. Many of you can identify with that feeling. So many times I wish I could be instantaneously healed or just "check out" through suicide, all these feelings have greatly decreased through my couneling and meditation.

That morbitity aside I want to live and live life to the "full". Thank you to all whose prayers and kindnesses have brought me this far. I love you in a special way.

Typose and all ... God Bless You

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Have You Gone Mental? (81)

Greetings all...

I'm still caught between reflection and grief over the death of my friend. My reflection? I will one day die. I am living now and need to be a positive influence in everyone's life I am providentially allowed to touch. Some may think I've had my chance. Counseling, mentoring, preaching, teaching, coaching and spiritual direction have taken the bulk of my career up until now. I hope to return to coaching and spiritual direction one day. They are wonderful and effective ways to reach individuals positively and see lives change. I absolutely love it when somoene comes up to me and tells me how I've affected their life in a positive way.

I am the product of many such people who reached out to me to mentor, coach, direct and counsel. There was Howard, Loren, David, Tom, Ken, John, Sonny, Peter, Ric, George, Peter, Erin, and many others. I am of all men most blessed. All these individuals had/have a positive affect on my life. I pray God will provide the opportunity of ministry for me as I move through my life. That is my goal.

My anxiety-depression? They go on apace. Up days down days, up part-time, down part-time, all over the place. Sometimes I'm calm sometimes I'm in breathtaking termoil. Suicidal ideation persists from time to time. Very few urges come, but thoughts remain. This is frustrating. I am becoming adept at breathing through these feelings and to redirect my thinking. These and many more techniques are finding themselves entering my life. Sometomes this is so difficult. Those of you in the same "boat" know.

I am keeping a daily numerical data card to help me. I'll share some of these interventon in one of my future blogs. For now, when you feel depressed or anxious, breathe deeply and follow your breath as it enters your nose. Feel it to again as you exhale. Remain mindful of your breach as you feel it enter and release. This will help center you and bring you clarity. Talk to yourself... "everything is going to be alright... this too will pass". Find a phrase that will serve you well as you exhale. Above all, dont give up... NEVER. ... EVER give up.

Typos and all ... God Bless You

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Have You Gone Mental (80)

I lost a friend today.
He went to his reward.
I'll miss his smile and his humor.
I'll miss his sarcastic joking.
I'll miss his honesty and integrity.
I'll miss his warm friendship and the
way he complimented me at every turn.
I lost him once in March when I lost my job -
we had worked together over 20 years.
Rest well my friend, Your life, your
profesionalism saved many from the "pit"
of their addiction; from personal demons.
Your life on this earth has ended - seems unfair.
I hope to see you again in that peaceful place.
But until that time I'll grieve ...
I lost a friend today.

Have You Gone Mental? (79)

I took my 83 year mother to her heart doctor yesterday. Its so difficult to see Mom age and becomne more feeble. In about 2 hours we were back home after a fair diagnosence by he doctor.

It was revealing to be present at this visit. Its was dificult for her as well. She douen't get around very well (walker cane, oxygen) when I am much advanced personally, physically.

I wss feeling fear and shame as I witnessed first-hand how uch she is suffering at this time.
I don't ow how long she will be with us, but I want to make her last yars pleasant as far as it is up to me.

Typos in all ... God Bless You

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Have You Gone Mental (78)

Well I couldn't have guessed this, but I have bronchitis again! I took a time to spend my time recuperating and didn't blog, but I couldn'thelp it.

I've been working on my anxiety-depression using a new method, which I believe I alluded to lately. Its called Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It is a very focused method (supposed to be more effective in a group) that I am beginning to learn about. I don't think I am still ready to join of group of people I don't know. The experience is still one think that puts me on the edge of a bad anxiety attack. This is difficult because I love people, I just can't stand to be around too many of them OR around a group of people I dont know.

I've been enjoying time with my kids on the phone and in person. It is somewhat energizing. Erin have kept in touch the most and my friends George and Peter have also been faithful in their encouragment in person and by telephone.

I passed by my former place of employment this week and remembered, tearfully, how much I missed that past of my life. This time of anxiety-depression has taught me to make my family and home the greatest joy. Work was taking its place.

Well there I am a little positive stuff and a little negative stuff. A little pain and a little pleasure.

Typos and All ... God Bless You.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Have You Gone Mental (77)

Greetings all...
I finally have all the paperwork into the Social Security Administration for them to consider my disability. You may be surprised at this but my depression and anxiety have overcome me so much that I have difficulty performing even menial tasks. Spending in crowds is frightening. Speaking in front of a group is impossible.
Clear thinking is a thing of the past.

As I'm mentioned several blogs ago, a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder has been considered for me. My depresssion is disabling I want to sleep "all the time". Fear strikes at a moment's notice and anxiety shifts into gear. At this point I get frenetic. I want to clean, and do laundry, dishes, etc.

I am working on using the techniques from DBT (Dialectical Behaviorlal Therapy). They have some merit. I can do some of them, but I am far from being able to respond to life as I used to. My Psychologist is orienting me to these methods of healing and I hope it helps.

Many of us feel helpless and hopeless at one time or another. I do not have the corner on this market. I know many of you suffer also and I think of you and remember you in prayers.

The key techniues I'm working on now is doing things with my body movement and/or my hands. Thanks to an old friend I can now go to the gym on a regular basis (My goal is 3 times a week). I like writing, but that keeps me too much "in my head". I play my piano from time to time. I do not do crafts, but nothing beats holding a piece of iron in my hands and curling, military pressing or bench pressing it. It is magical. This is supposed to help me ... Let It Be! Bench pressing is my thing... though I'll never surpass my record of 465 pounds when I was 44 years old. But I digress ...

The idea is to find an actiity that takes me "out of my head". In other words one that takes me out of needing to think and labor over conversation and contemplation.
These too are important, but I think too much and too seriously ... take myself very seriously which is one of my problems. I just need a break from thinking how ill I am in favor of something somewhat mindless to promote my healing. I am committed and resolute to find this healing.

I hope you've taken something from my rambling. Get out of your head!

Typos and all ... God Bless You.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hae You Gone Mental? (76)

My depession raised its ugly head over the weekend. It was real powerful. What did I do? I used some "DBT" techniques: following my breath deeply in and out and being mindful of each breath; I also used the method of obsserving and describing and my feelings of depession; finally I used the technique of distraction by getting involved an activity (such a playing wih my puppy and playing my piano.

These helped to some extent and I warded off self-desructive feelings, which has been an "old aqutaintance". It was hard work. I didn't want to do these things. I had to force myself. I just want to check out, recline in my chair and "veg" in front of T.V. My life may be taking a different course than it has been. Do these horrible thoughs happen to you?

Like I say, I am learning some DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy). Within this framework, I'm learning 17 skills which provide resistance to depression and anxiety. I hope with practice this will he consistantly helpful. I will know it helps when I have fewer feelings of wanting to die.

I am enthuiastic about this form of therapy to control my wandering thoughts that often lead my feelings in a negative direction. My psycholigist is very helpful in this method. I strongly recommend it. I found a workbook: "Depressed and Anxious: the Dialectical Behavior Workbook for overcoming Depression and Anxiety."

I know how difficult depresion and anxiety is ... from experience. I know how hard it is to improve. If you wish to officially follow my blog I will pray for you as you deal with this disorder.

Thanks for reading.

Typos and All ... God Bless You

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Have You Gone Mental (75)

The Holidays gave me much joy and a little pain. Having my kids and grandkids around was a joy. In addition I suffered the anxiety of being in close quarters with quite a few people. I had to check out for periods of time to my bedroom for short stints to calm my anxiety and then I could return to my loved ones. It was not them, it was me.

Another joy of the Christmas Season was taking a volunteer shift with my son ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at the Washougal Safeway as a service project through my Rotary club. Having Jeff with me helped to ward off some of the anxiety I had "doing my duty" there. It was difficult, but rewarding.

Unusual for a former preacher, I hate to ask for money. In addition strangers have not been my "longsuit" since the beginning of my illness. Jeff talked to me and kept my mind on wishing people Merry Christmas and thanking them for their gifts: nickles, dimes, quarters and many bills! After two hours we were finished and the next couple Rotarians came on. Jeff and I drove to Camas and had an ice cream cone. Ice creme has a soothing effect on me.

The days since have been up and down as usual. I am concentrating being thankful for the good and also the "bad". There is something to learn here and I am determined to do so.

I hope your Christmas Season was blessed as mine was.

Typos and all ... God Bless You