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Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 7.17.04 AMIt’s graduation season and that means that social media is abuzz with images of nicely dressed graduates and their families, all smiling for the camera … but we don’t show the images of doors slamming, threats made if marks don’t improve, or the student incapable of lifting their head after their face, their body, have been ridiculed on said social media, by one of their grad class.

We share our opinions on politics, saving the earth, and pipelines, yet fail to write our government officials of our concerns, drinking our smoothies and coffee in take out cups and driving petroleum-needy vehicles while using everyday products from make-up to purses to cameras to toothpaste … all made with petroleum.

We shower people with well wishes and greetings with we get notification of their birthday … even if we haven’t had any interaction since their last birthday.

We take images of our food, made at home or ordered in a restaurant that are picture perfect enough to create the mouth-watering effects that advertising companies aim for.

We post images of families, couples, besties all smiling and creating an image of joy, unity, health and perfection.

We document our travels, near and far, indications of our joy of life.

We post selfies of our smiling faces, alone, with friends, family, our pet.

We post quotes and images of people we agree with, yet fail to connect with people who love us … in real life.

We ‘like’ and comment on the posts of ‘friends’, yet find ourselves tongue-tied when we see those people in ‘real life’.

Though these public documentations of moments in our lives are lovely, in and of themselves, we all know that they are only a glimpse into a moment in time, not necessarily every moment in time.

These public posts are images but not necessarily reality.

This past week there were two famous people who died, at their own hands, driven by a mind that was (we presume) biochemically not healthy.

On my social media feeds I read quotes by individuals close to both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain which indicated that recent interactions with them left them with the impression that they were happy, in a good space …

more fake news.

That which is seen is not always true. 

There are invisible things, feelings, thoughts, which can seep into one’s mind and muddle the soul. Those who have experienced the reality of such darkness know that words do not help others understand … it is only being there, sitting in the smothering shadows  that brings true compassion. It is only in sitting in those dark shadows with the suffering, that wisdom and comes.

In the past number of months, during a season of heartache in our family (and that has affected our entire family), we have been blessed by numerous private interactions, messages, cards, prayers and more. These have kept us afloat. Though sometimes it has seemed that only our nose is on the surface, drowning has been prevented. These individuals have sat with us in the dark shadows, encouraged us with their private concern and care.

May we all be gentle with each other, may we all be kind. May we not just ask, “how are you?” but “how are you, really?” May we not presume that because they seem happy and healthy, that is reality. For we are all dealing with the struggles of life.

“Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

 

 

 

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“Depression is an ink that stains everything it touches
A black hole that swallows all that comes near”
-The Beaver (movie)

I do not personally know the truth or fallacy in the quote above. I do know that as I look back at times when I was sad, when I was feeling downcast those words are so true. Looking back on those periods in my life, I can see the stains that were left on those around me, even today.

It is easy to forget, or not even be aware, that we are part of a bigger world than just ourselves, and that things that happen to us, affect those around us. It is the relational evidence of the scientific fact that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So when we are overwhelmed with pain or sorrow or frustrations, we are not the only ones to feel the effects … all those closest to us feel our reactions, and then they, in turn, also respond.

As a mom (I cannot speak for dads) I am naturally predisposed to guilt. I can look over the well-intended mothering that I have done, and see errors that I made that will surely result in therapy for my kids in years to come. Yes, I have forced them to clean their plates, at times. Yes, I yelled at them more than once (a day). Yes, I sent them to their rooms to await discipline … and forgot them. Yes, I made them clean their rooms. Yes, they are all aware that that their not at all skinny parents have skinny dipped (that one may send them to therapy for longer and sooner than any other, if their faces turning green when they discovered this is any indicator).

There are certain periods in our life together, when I thought I was hiding my own disappointments and sadness with life’s circumstances so well, and as I look back, and look at changes in their lives, I am aware that too were stained by my sadness. It is such a guilt-ridden thing when I see those stains that they wear, because of me. My inability, at times, to manage and deal with events in my life better, have permanently stained my children …

I am coming full circle now, though. And I am looking to see purpose in suffering, I am looking to see good from bad. I am looking to see that something positive, not just negative, can come from those stains. And I am beginning to see it.

I see a daughter’s sensitivity to a friend who is being stained by sadness and illness in her home. I see a son’s expression of his friends need of God. I see a daughter’s desire to go to those in desperate pain and need, in a place I would not want to go, to show love and mercy. Those times of sorrow for me, that were permanently etched into the beings of my children, have altered their hearts. They have been able to take the stains that I have caused, and are wearing them as certificates of accomplishment and experience. And these stains are being used to reach out to others, more desperate than their mother ever was.

The redemptive way that God can take our pain, and mold it into something beautiful for others is something I do not expect to ever understand this side of heaven. But, I am thankful that the stains I may have caused, have not swallowed the futures of my children.

“God Himself will be among them,  and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes;

and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;

the first things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son (daughter).

Revelation 21:4-7

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According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com, the doldrums are, “a belt of calms and light winds between the northern and southern trade winds of the Atlantic and Pacific.” Years ago, when wind power was utilized for blowing the sails of the ships of the day, ending up in the doldrums could result in sailors being stranded for days, or even weeks, without enough wind to move their sails … possibly resulting in death.

Samuel Coleridge, in his famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, described this nautical region:

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”

The doldrums do not necessarily only have to do with a location in the ocean.

For many of us the doldrums might be related to the C. S. Lewis phrase, “always winter, but not never Christmas.”

In full force and with no doubt … the winter doldrums land. Oh, it is not immediate, it starts slowly with an increasing difficulty to get out of bed in the mornings. There is the appeal of bedtime, anytime after dinner. There is the recoiling whenever some new responsibility or activity or meeting is added to the calendar. There is a lack of excitement about just about anything.

Like the doldrums out in the waters, the winter doldrums back on land can be quite a time of thirsting for refreshment that is so needed, the sun. Our days are shorter, and for those of us living in the monsoon belt, the skies are so much darker. Our bodies are lacking from the natural infusion of Vitamin D from our solar buddy. In our weakened physical states we are more susceptible to the viruses and colds of the flu season. We are also more susceptible to feeling unmotivated, down in the dumps, sad.

It is believed that approximately 1 in 4 people suffer with some sort of Seasonal Affective Disorder/depression due to the doldrums of winter. It can start as early as October and last until into April. For many being intentional about taking vitamins, eating healthy and getting outdoor physical activity can make the season more bearable. For others a ‘sun lamp’ saves the day. For others still, medication might be needed.

For myself it was moving to the Pacific Northwest that introduced me to the winter doldrums. Each year is different, and is accompanied by one common thread … a heaviness of heart that descends upon me like the weight of one of those x-ray blankets that the dental office uses when filming ones mouth.

The doldrums are a period of moaning, groaning … of lamenting. Lamenting like the prophet of Jeremiah in his recording of his lamentations in the Bible. Even though he recorded miseries, weeping, desolation and destruction, right in the midst of the doldrums is his reason for hope:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Just before it, Jeremiah speaks of how his “soul is downcast within him” and just after he speaks of being alone, with his face buried in the dust.

May we all, while in the doldrums, or lamenting, be able to say, great is your faithfulness!

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I’ve got Karen Carpenter singing in my head, as I sit at a coffee shop, watching the rain fall, and looking at the depressing forecast for the week to come.

It is now mid-June and the monsoons continue, with little relief (aka. sunshine) in sight … literally.

I have yet to swim in our pool, get a suntan, or have the sun hide my darker (or lighter, as the case may be) roots. I have yet to wear shorts, a tank top or sunglasses. I wear only hoods, slickers and galoshes. And I am considering that Prozac might just be a big part of my near future.

Despite how it sounds (and looks) the weather is not all doom and gloom. This west coast winter weather in springtime does make it easier to keep the grass green and the plants watered. It makes the final days of working in a school, before summer break, far more bearable. It makes barbecuing less appealing, and using the slow cooker more appealing.

All that said, the first day of summer is this very week. The countdown is not down to days, but hours, and the calendar may just turn without any other outward signs of this seasonal change. Today, that reality is really getting me down.

Just a week ago the office administrator at our church had put the following on our church sign:

“Whoever it is that is still praying for rain,
STOP!”

I have to say, it was my favorite message board saying ever!

As I sit, enjoying my warm drink (a London Fog … could I choose a more appropriate cool and wet weather drink?), I noticed a small, sparrow-like, bird looking for edible treasures outside the window. For this small creature, the rain does not seem to hinder it’s daily routine. As a matter of fact, it is probably benefiting from the wet soil that draws the worms out of the ground, making it’s take-out meals more like delivery.

Out of nowhere an old, old (like over a hundred year old) song starts playing on the record player of my mind:

“Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

The words make me wonder, is this less appealing weather worthy of complaint? Why am I allowing something that is so out of my control, to control how I look at this day? Even when my complaint is of greater value than the reports of a meteorologist, there is always something to be thankful for, because there is always one who watches over, cares for and loves me.

“Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me”

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