Wednesday, December 25, 2013

the most wonderful time of the year


it has been another blessed christmas. i love this time of year. the time it gives me to reflect on the birth of jesus christ. his birth was miraculous and i am so grateful he came. in church on sunday there was a talk given about keeping christ in christmas. it really struck me how important that was. in all of my simplifying was i making sure to keep the savior in my sight? i hope so. i love this little video about the meaning of christmas. i hope you'll take a few minutes and watch it.




i believe in jesus christ. that he came and lived a perfect life. that he died for the pains, sadnesses, and sins of every person who has and will ever walk this earth. i believe in the power he has to make people whole. i love this next video. the song touches my heart and the story of the savior's life lifts me and brings me hope.





finally, along with all of my blessings, i recognize the great blessings of family, friends, and health. i used to work with the older of the two boys in this video and i know their family. they are courageous and faith-filled. my life has been made better because of knowing them.

merry christmas :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

sad - das

das - that's sad spelled backwards. sad spelled backwards doesn't spell happy. i have been so sad these past few weeks. i can hardly take how sad i have been.

go there with me. just for a moment. to feel the pain.

imagine something sad. the death of a loved one//the loss of something of value. let that feeling - that sadness - sit in your chest. it starts out small, but as you think on it, begin to think of all the following consequences because of your loved one dying or loosing that thing of value. (you will never see her again, you will never hold his hand, you will never hear her sing off key to her favorite songs, you will never see him read the morning newspaper, you will never hold that thing, you will never feel that thing = none of it again.) 

and suddenly this small space in your chest has grown and is tighter. you are fighting tears now. one makes it past the timid guards and trickles down your face, caressing your cheek. your limbs don't feel attached anymore. they tingle and feel foreign. they weigh you down. you head feels light, like a balloon filled with helium ready to take flight with the slightest breeze.

the only real sensation is the strangling in your chest - the fear, anger, sadness - that pulls on you like an unwanted anchor, leaving you hopelessly at sea.

motivation to move is gone - to leave your bed is to move a mountain or run 1,000 miles. it is impossible. you may have to go to the bathroom. but if you can move yourself just right the knocking sensation goes away. and no thought is given to eating.

now you are properly sad. my kind of sad. the sad i wake up to. the sad i go to sleep to. here i have given you a reason to be sad. i - well, i have no reason to be sad. 

that's why they call it depression.

i found myself flung on susan's sofa sobbing yesterday evening. "i can't do it anymore. i just can't. i'm so sad. all the time. please, oh please god, why!" and as tears and drool and sobs and words came out susan sat there and patiently, peacefully listened - responding, "what has happened to cause you so much suffering?"

we worked through a series of steps. focus on breath - focus on pain in body - breathe into pain in body - relax - and then she said the following while i breathed ::: may i be peaceful, may i be happy, may i be free from inner and outer harm, may i come to know freedom from suffering, may i care for myself with joy.

today i am ok. though still stunned by the amount of sadness i feel.

especially this time of year, may i be peaceful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

afressed

new word : afressed.

definition : the state of being afraid and depressed.

that's what i am. afressed. i'm so afraid and scared of the future. maybe i'm feeling the weight of the new year and wondering what it holds for me - because seriously i was not planning on having the year i had this year - so i think a little fear towards the coming year fits the facts.

and i've been depressed today. i hate that word. it even sounds down in the dumps. i kept having anxiety attacks throughout the night and my stomach was bothering me. which just puts me in a bad mood. and then the depression took over during the day. i didn't leave my bed except to work and deliver a few christmas cards and mail the rest. 

but anxiety for most of the night and depression for most of the day? what's the point of even existing? it's such a lonely feeling. 

there is a fear : a deep fear : that i keep crushing and pushing aside : which i finally voiced today to my cousin l. i knew i could trust her with it. it killed me to even text it. because it is the final strand of 'my plan' - the way i had things going in my life. and i feel so hesistent towards it that i am interpreting that to mean a giant wrecking ball is there just waiting to have at it. i don't want to give it up - and yet i don't feel passionate about it anymore. mostly, i feel confused.

i'm afressed. and alone in my afressed-ness. it's a hard night.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

the grinch

i.love.this.christmas.story.!

it has to be my all time favorite. one of my aunts loves the grinch too and has dedicated her christmas tree to grinch ornaments! i have some of my own grinch ornaments that made it onto my tree last year and will in coming years make it onto my christmas tree again.

why do i love the grinch so much? because of what he learned. he learned that christmas is more than presents. it's more than things in stores. it's more than what you can buy. christmas is a place in your heart, and if you are careful, you can carry it with you all year long.

every year the leaders in my church put on a christmas devotional. in 2010 one of the leaders spoke about the grinch and i loved what he said. i hope you take the time to watch it.


this year i'm saying no to a lot. and letting myself 'off the hook' for things i normally wouldn't. and i have found that i still have friends, i still have those who care about me, and all my needs are met.

there are still stresseors of course but if i can just focus on the savior, my christmas will be so much better. i couldn't believe it when i saw yesterday that there are only 17 days left until christmas! it made me so sad. our tree wasn't even up at that point. i want to savor every second of this season. enjoy it. love it.

i won't lie - all of the family time and together-ness can be too much for me and i have/do shut down. but there is a magic that fills the air this time of year. i think it's because the earth is graced with an added measure of god's love for us as we celebrate the birth of his son.

i'm thankful for his son, for this season, for the lights, the smells, the food, the warmth, and the joy it brings.

merry christmas!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

new time

i can't believe it's december. and the 5th at that. time is moving so rapidly. i want to hold it and yet i wish it away in the same moment. i heard it somewhere - movie, book, person - to hold the note would ruin the tune. and that's so true of time. to hold it would ruin the process of life.

i'm at a much calmer place in my day thanks to a few people, namely s, my cousin l, and of course susan. i have also prayed and am listening to one direction's (that's right i'm a fan :) new cd. so all of these things combined have helped me come down from what was a high risk place.

i don't think people who haven't experienced depression/anxiety - self-harm/suicide thoughts understand what it means to be 'high risk.' but the people i mentioned above get it. and i'm beyond thankful that they do. because when i'm standing on the cliff of sanity ready to take the plunge into the unknown and un-cared for they are there to pick up the broken pieces and validate them together. 

someone in my life has thoughtlessly said some things lately that have angered and hurt me. i have learned from susan that my anger 'fits the facts' and helps me return to this problem behavior and look at it. we also got all of the christmas decorations down tonight. and memories returned. memories of a different time. i can't say better because looking back i see now how sad i really was. but back to when i had my apartment and had it all decorated and ready for the holiday season. it made me so happy.

and those memories became haunting. i was not prepared for how powerful they were going to be. how sad they would make me. i texted s and l. s recommended i call susan. i respect s and her opinion. so i did. and l suggested we face time :) susan called me back and said a few things : sometimes people can be plain old mean ; i have what many people want this time of year (many people she works with) ... a family that loves me - and i have a place to go for the holidays ; 20 years from now (i'm so glad she gave me 20 years to put things into perspective) i'll look back on this time with my family and be grateful for it.

those things got me back on track. and though i still don't feel 100% i've taken my night meds so i'll be out soon and this day will be over. this time will pass and new time will come. and i will do something different with that new time.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

my letter to god



Dear Heavenly Father,

Hello. It’s me. I’m sitting in my room. Overwhelmed by emotions and feelings of sadness and gratitude and pain. I am hurt. I want to say “You have hurt my feelings” but that would be rude. In essence I feel abandon in my trials yet I see your hand and influence everywhere I turn. Monday I walked into Susan’s office wanting to cause my death or serious injury through a car accident. Friday I walked in her doors a woman on a high : I had been in a car accident and had lived. It was a miracle. I do not use that term lightly. Becca and I should not have walked away with a few bruises and sorenesses. We should have had broken bones or be dead. I realized with Susan on Friday that I was a woman who wanted to live. To have my family and my career and my health and live my life. I wanted it all. The angels you sent were amazing. Their faces are locked in my memory. Their names I may never know. Her car saved our lives. And I wasn’t driving and didn’t have an episode behind the wheel. A tender mercy. A true sign that you are watching out for me. I cannot and will not ever deny that that car accident was a direct message from you that I am not to die in a car accident. Then the post-traumatic stress set in. Restless nights and terror filled dreams and I walked into Susan’s office Monday a fearful woman. Unsure of the reality of the OUTPOURING of love from so many sources – you being one of the first. But people have come from every direction with notes and flowers and cards and hearts and cake and prayers and songs and concern and hugs and relief and gratitude that we are alive. This I have found most challenging to accept. There is a disconnect between my ability to accept others love me. I have never been good at this. I have never felt worthy of love. From anyone. I have brushed off your love so often and taken my parents’ love lightly. I did not realize the depth of the love my sisters and brother have for me. And the people. I can name so many who before I did not realize. Before I wore dark, dark sunglasses and though I shone with love and gave to others I did not receive. Now those glasses are off and I feel blinded and overwhelmed by the amount of loving acceptance so many people are offering. For the first time in my life I am realizing that I matter and that if I weren’t here – if I died accidentally or on purpose – it would affect many, many people. Susan said to pray. To use my strong faith to ask for help in accepting the love that you are offering me and the love that the people are offering me. To really accept it and feel it in my heart. To let it become a part of me. God, I don’t understand your ways. I don’t understand your plan for me. To me, it looks like we are repeating things. That we are quite literally going in circles. Three years ago this month the seizures started and now I’m having episodes again of a similar but different variety. My stomach is killing me. Waking me up two and three times a night. I’ve gained all the weight I lost since the surgery last year. I can’t get my shrink to call me back and I’m not stable on my meds. I’m having another ultrasound done – and yet again it’s not for a baby, it’s just for my parts and pieces. My face is so ugly, covered in acne which I’m sure goes back to the incredible amount of stress I’m feeling, that I can hardly stand to look at myself in the mirror. I want to work and be normal and fully functional but it’s not happening in any time frame I have imagined. I have little money. My toe hurts. Another miracle : you got me through 14 shots in the toe without having an episode. I’m so tired of doctors and medicines and pain. You’ve pushed me so far – I would venture to say too far – and yet you promise me complete healing. Well, when? Because I can’t keep going on like this. I promise you I can’t. I look fine on the outside but inside I’m dying. And we both know night time is worse for me – tonight, why didn’t the car accident take me? And release me from this painful world? When will you release me from this bondaged body? And I have made a decision : anxiety – I would take anxiety over depression and suicidal thoughts and all of that. It was a hard decision, but that’s what I would pick. So let me pick. And take the other away. I beg of you. And take the episodes and you can leave the stomach stuff – ulcers, gallbladder, throwing up, what have you. Can we compromise? Or is all of this for my greater good? At the end of each day I see and recognize your hand in my life. I will not deny that. I do love you. And I know with your help as I let your love in I’ll feel how much you love me.

Love,

Rachel

Friday, November 8, 2013

accidents happen

yesterday my sister, b, and i were in a car accident. we were going north in her (mercifully) new toyota camery when an older ford pickup came at us going east. he t-boned us - we hit his passenger side with the front of our car. it was very traumatic for b as i am still having the seizure type episodes and had one right after the crash. she pulled me from the car and onto the grass and many many strangers (well, actually angels) stopped to help and assist and call 911. we were blessed by god's great mercy in so many ways. b's right leg is bruised and banged pretty bad and she's sore all over. my back and stomach hurt pretty bad and i'm sore from where the seat belt pulled me back but that's it. we literally walked away from what could have been a life changing event. i won't comment on the other driver. i have little to no compassion for him and his personal choices which affected his ability to make good driving decisions. maybe in a few weeks i'll be able to feel differently. he is ok too.



b and i were both taken by ambulance to the hospital and got checked out. we both got cat scans and were deemed a-ok. we were given medicine to help with the pain as days 2 and 3 are the worst - and this being day 2 i believe that! we high fived each other at 4 am this morning as we each took our pain meds :)



i believe in miracles. and i believe in a god of miracles. and i believe i witnessed a miracle yesterday. i saw my counselor today and she asked me what i learned from this experience : well, i learned that i want to live. that i want to keep going. yes, my life is hard. and yes, i want to give up some days, but really and truly i want to have my own family, i want to be married, i want my career back, i want my life back, i want to LIVE. i am here on this earth, in allen texas, living with my family, for a reason. i have a purpose. i have a great work to do in my life. i am a worth-full individual. i wish i could have recorded our session. it was very therapeutic and helpful. i saw how much good this accident did. god is the author and finisher of time. he will decide when my work on this earth is over and it's time for me to come home. until then, i will stay and live each day.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

grateful

i like when people post on facebook everyday what they are grateful for. this year i thought i'd do it on my blog. i'll just update this everyday or every few days with what i am grateful for as the month goes on.



1 - today i am grateful for walks. i am enjoying the cooler weather here in tx and the *finally* changing leaves. it is nice to feel the breeze and sunshine (though as we all know, not too much) on my skin as i walk around the neighborhood.

2 - today i am grateful for my friends. i have been blessed with kind, loving, caring friends who would do anything for me. i love texting a all of my sarcastic comments :) i love texting s and having her text back "i would love to read a one page journal entry on that." i love texting c about her life and my life and how we are each handling the ups and downs. there are other a's, s's, j's, l's, c's, k, m, e, and on and on in my life who support - love - encourage and uplift me. i am grateful for them.

3 - today i am grateful for a girl named blanca. in my service calling at church her calling is to assist/support/help me and she does an AMAZING job! i'm so grateful for her help today.

4 - today i am grateful for prayer. i know god hears and answers my prayers. both big and small. he showed me that again today. so grateful.

5 - today i am grateful for the sweet grandma who let me go in front of her in line at dollar tree. i had 3 things and she had a cart full and she kindly let me go first as we were the only two in line. what a doll.

6 - today i am grateful for A!!!!! it was her birthday and i had such a FABULOUS time celebrating with her! i got to watch her open her gift from me, we went to lunch at our fav restaurant, then we had a private partaaay dancing and laughing until we were both in tears of joy :) it was a wonderful way to spend my day.

7 -  today i am GRATEFUL for airbags, angels, paramedics, policemen, doctors, nurses, medicines, family, friends, prayer, and the many tender mercies from a loving Heavenly Father.

8 - today i am grateful for my therapist susan and how she helped me process the car wreck // aftermath.

9 - today i am grateful for my friend amanda who took my pictures for my christmas card! she did a wonderful job and made the experience fun :)

10 - today i am grateful for church and for the comfort the services bring me.

11 - today i am grateful for facetime and that i got to ft with s and see her.

12 - today i am grateful for the baileys, the gardners, and the lisonbees and that they decorated our front door with hearts and cards and posters of love and get better! it brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart and humility to my soul the amazing outpouring of love so many people have shown b and i through this time.

13 - today i am grateful for powerful prayers.

14 - today i am grateful for my dbt group therapy class.

15 - today i am grateful for the technician who did the ultrasound of my abdomen. she was a god-send and an answer to many prayers. we talked about trusting god and his timing; how god puts us where he wants us to be; how life doesn't always go the way we planned and that's usually to bring us to god; and how god directs each life. at the end i gave her a big hug and thanked her for making my day.

16 - today i am grateful for gatorade, goldfish, and zofran. i have had an upset stomach all day and those three things have really helped me get through the day. bless the makers of them!

17 - today i am grateful for my nieces! they are a joy and a blessing to me. they make me smile and lift me up when i'm sad. their moms are incredible friends of mine and i am thankful to have them in my life.

18 - today i am grateful for the emotion 'anger' and its function to get me to look at my problems instead of avoid them (this is what i learned in my counseling session today). i am grateful that i can feel angry - that i have that right when it fits the facts - and that it's ok to be angry at times.

19 - today i am grateful for the scripture 'oh god where art thou? and where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?' and grateful for this talk that was an answer to my unspoken prayer. it healed my soul.

20 - today i am grateful for doctors who don't forget about me after i walk out of their office; doctors who coordinate care and talk about me and care about me and my health so that i can get better.

21 - today i am grateful for the lady i lived with while i was on my mission, m, and ALL she did/does for me. i am in az visiting her at her house and already she has done so much to make me feel at home and comfortable.

22 - today i am grateful for meds. so so grateful for them and that they can get me through anxious moments and will hopefully soon lift me from this depression.

23 - today i am grateful for delicious hazelnut nutella cake and my amazing aunt l who lives in az who i get to visit with :)

24 - today i am grateful for facetime and my amazing cousins l, j, and m.

25 - today i am grateful for airplanes and that they make it possible for me to visit those i love.

26 - today i am grateful for pain medication and naps!

27 - today i am grateful for big toes - because seriously when they are broken - like both of mine are right now - or better expressed - 'out of order' - it makes life very difficult. so to all the big toes out there - thank you for all you do!
 
28 - today i am grateful for turkey and the first thanksgiving and the great abundance of food, love, family, and friends in my life.

29 - today i am grateful for fresh flowers and delicious mexican food.

30 - today i am grateful for beautiful red nails :)

and that wraps up 30 days of thanks. what a wonderful way to spend each day - reflecting in how grateful i am for all of god's tender mercies big and small.

today and always, i am so blessed.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

bummed

disclaimer : my meds are still not correct and so let's all just take a step back and realize that what i'm about to write may or may not be very reality based. it feels like my reality but it may not actually be my reality.

i'm sad. that's no surprise. i've been sad for weeks - trending down-ward. and it's gotten worse with bad med changes and seizures and other upsets i've been feeling. but another great sadness that happens this time of year is the sadness of seeing so many of my friends with their families doing family activities like going to the pumpkin patch and on hay rides, dressing up in family costumes (that will in their teen years most surely embarrass their children :), and doing things together for the first time really and seeing it through a child's eye. maybe that's what i'm mourning tonight. the innocence of seeing this time of year with a child. 



i'm also missing my apartment like crazy. i miss decorating it and having a space and place all to myself. i miss my style and my choices and my routine. truth : i even miss cleaning it. there was no one there to judge me or correct me or tell me what to do and when. it was just me.

and soon - oh so very soon - will come the anniversary date (i hate that it's become so but it has) of when i returned home from my service mission trip. and there are too many emotions that accompany that. 


so tonight, ya, i'm bummed.

wishing i could hold a sleeping baby and snuggle a little piece of heaven.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

seizures

my head is killing me. it's a different kind of pain than a migraine or even a headache - it's the pain of withdraw. i saw my shrink thursday and told him i didn't think one of the meds i was taking was working, so now i'm weaning off of it and it's killing me. he also took away another med and added two new ones. that's all fine and dandy but it was a lot for my body to take - and i've been feeling for weeks the feeling of a seizure. it's a hard feeling to describe but it pulls at my body, it's like i'm trying to separate from myself and i feel dizzy and light headed - even a little nauseous. 

friday after work i was home standing by the stairs. i told my dad i wasn't doing well. my mom was walking down the stairs and asked if i was ok - and i just stared straight ahead and i felt it, my eyes starting to cross, the room starting to bend, my body going limp and i collapsed on the floor. hitting my head pretty hard on the wood floor and having a 3-4 minute seizure.

i came out of it ok. i was just so tired. which has always been my complaint when i come out of seizures. i'm so tired. it's like it drains everything from me. i had another one on the couch and then fell asleep into a seizure like sleep - it was very strange. i called my dr and left a message on his emergency line but he didn't call back. soooooo what do you do? i stopped taking one of the new meds that i just don't like/trust.

i had one maybe two i couldn't really tell seizures today. and have felt off all day. like something just needs to click into place. but i don't know what that is. there is a missing piece but i am no shrink and don't have the schooling to know what it is. i really want to go back to dr q. i trust him a lot more than my current shrink.

i feel in my body but not. like if the skin weren't there i'd float out and away. i know my parents are really worried. and i've told s and a. i called susan so she knows and is in the loop. i think i'm doing all the right things i just don't know why it's not easy and why there has to be this relapse or at least what feels like a relapse. 

i'm just really tired and confused. upset and wanting dr q back and in charge. guess i'll just have to wait until monday and see what it brings. 
prayers appreciated.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

*warning*

i was texting with s the other night.

describing to her a situation that had left me feeling forced into something.

i was upset and anxious over it.

her reply was simple :

"ah yes, i get that. if pushed we do not do well."

that is a sentence of gold.

i do not do well when i am pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed.

if i'm hesitant enough times when you ask me something, i'm politely saying no.

i don't want to hurt your feelings.

so take the ____ing hint and back off!

there is a reason why i only let two people push me : one is god and one is my therapist.

both are highly skilled and trained at working with people and in particular me.

when they say something i respond and i trust their pushing.

but you - no, i don't trust you - so leave me alone.

back off.

leave me be.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"believe in miracles"

tonight, i'm sitting quietly in my room. the house is full of sleeping people. my window is open and a gentle breeze is blowing. i am calm and at peace. which is where i need to be to write about such a difficult subject.

depression. more specifically my depression. when i wrote my christmas post last year i talked a bit about my faith. it is a huge part of who i am and what makes me me. i will again return to my 'roots' by referring to my beliefs in reference to a talk i heard this past weekend in a conference my church held. you can learn more about what i believe here.

this talk was given by a man named jeffrey holland. he spoke about mdd - or simply depression. i have taken quotes from his talk that really struck me which are in blue and written my response to them in red.

These afflictions (mental and emotional) are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor. if i had a nickle for every time a therapist told me this exact thing i'd be rich! especially in the beginning. i was told over and over - would you blame someone who has diabetes for needing insulin? then why are you upset with yourself for needing medication? there is something chemically off in the brain and it is ok - good even - to get the help you need. it took me a year to become comfortable with the idea of needing medication and allowing myself to say, my mental illness is real. it is real. and i need real help for it. it is not something i make up for attention or because i'm bored. i do not need to feel ashamed of it or hide it. it is a part of me. and you don't need to feel ashamed either. we all have struggles.

Today I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person’s ability to function fully, a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and think more positively. he was transitioning from speaking of mental illness in general to specifically depression. i love the words he uses - crater in the mind. if i could smile my blues away, i would. if i could walk out into the sun and have it lift my burdens - and if you've been a reader of mine for long you know how much i dislike the sun - i would. if there were a way to 'get over' depression on my own, don't you think i would've done it? but it's not something that goes away with a smile and a pat on the shoulder. it wears you down, wears you out, and leaves you lifeless. then you have to get up and do something. there have been days where i have - and i almost use the word literally here literally - literally seen the world in grey. there were no colors. i slept all night and most of the day and walking up the stairs was more than i could handle. i wouldn't go to the bathroom - it was too much work. i was so sad. i didn't shower. this was after my visit to the hospital. the depression became a cloud.

Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. i love this! never lose faith that god loves me. he is there. he is real. he cares about me. he knows me. and while he may not have caused this depression - he allowed it for his greater purposes. some purposes i know - most i don't. but it's ok. i'll try to patiently wait.

Try not to be overwhelmed with the size of your task. Don’t assume you can fix everything, but fix what you can. If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient. Dozens of times in the scriptures, the Lord commands someone to “stand still” or “be still”—and wait. i have often written about my apartment on here. it was 'my place my space' and i named it 'the quiet place.' in my room i had the scripture psalm 46:10 "be still and know that i am god" in vinyl letters on my wall. i saw it every day. it was a constant reminder to be still and let god work in my life. lately i have been overwhelmed with getting better and learning dbt and doing all the dbt skills and using them all every day and getting back to work and on and on it circles in my head. the task seems more like tasks and they feel impossible. but i rest in his words "be patient - stand still - wait." these are things i can do while doing my best one day at a time. how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time.

stephanie clark neilson - is an incredible woman who he talked about. check out her blog : nienie

 Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it! Trust in God. i can honestly say - looking another person in the eyes - that there was a time in my life when i wanted to end my life. it was a dark time. i was mercifully blessed with friends (a and s in particular) and family and a dr who recognized that i wasn't myself or well and got me the help i needed. but when someone says to me in all seriousness 'i want to take my life' my first instinct is now not to convince them otherwise but to hear them out. to listen. ask questions. give advice. empathize. i've been there. i know how rough and real that feeling is.

Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. i think out of all he said this gives me the most hope. i know jesus can heal me. my favorite story in the bible is when jesus heals the woman who had the 'issue of blood' for many years. he says to her 'thy faith hath made thee whole.' to have those words spoken to me by the savior would be amazing. i know he has the power to heal my broken mind. i just have to wait for his timing. there is a moving video of this biblical account here.

the whole talk was wonderful and if you're interested in hearing it or reading it just click on this

here are a few final thoughts.

s always tells me that my future is bright. she tells me to believe in brighter days. there are days where i don't. but most days i can see the brighter future she is talking about. a future where not every day is laced with sadness. there is light at the end of my dark tunnel and it's the light of christ.

in writing all of this tonight i have exposed one of my greatest weaknesses : my depression. but i have to say that as i have written it has come clearly to my mind that it is also one of my greatest strengths. it is funny how god does that - turns our hardest things into our greatest victories. i'm not ashamed of my depression. it's hard and challenging and i don't love it but it's part of me and my journey. so i'll walk in my peace and beauty believing in better days ahead and trusting in god.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

hoot hoot




i don't know when it started - or who started it - but somewhere along the line i became in love with owl decor. i think my sister b gave me my first owl decoration that i put in my apartment. and it was probably s who then told me how wise owls are and how fit it was that i had an owl in my place because i was becoming so wise and learning so much in my life. let's see, that would've been a year and a half ago. and from then on it snowballed. 




i got an owl picture for my bathroom. it tied the whole room in beautifully. i got little owl figurines for my bookcase and table. then of course the holidays rolled around and the owl decor got wonderfully out of control! halloween brought out so much and thanksgiving and yes, even christmas. i have an owl pillow and key chain and owl plates. i love to buy my 'nieces' (my friends'/cousin's babies) onsies covered in owls.


if s were here what more would she say about owls? that they do represent wisdom. that i am wise. even now at this point in my life. even at this moment - tonight - when i feel so down. i am wise to get help and wise to learn dbt skills and use them.

(i even had owl cupcakes for my birthday :)




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

feeling down

yes.

that's how i'm feeling tonight. i hesitate to say sad because i'm more feeling down. having a bout of the blues. i woke up feeling down and with a headache. work was ok. it is hard to feel down and be happy and participate in activities with the girls i work with. but they love me flaws and all and i love them. 

i have noticed little ticks all over my body. my eye. my arm. my leg. little skin twitches. i think some of my vitamin levels are off - my vitamin d levels are usually low when i go in for a physical and i haven't been to one in 2 or 3 years :/ and i'm wondering if my vitamin b is low - so i scheduled a physical with my dr. well not my dr - she's booked until december! but a dr in the practice. i hope she's as good as my dr. and acne - ugh. it just won't go away. creams scrubs pills - doesn't matter. it's here to stay.

there has been a noticeable increase in crying spells in my world. mostly to do with choir. yes, i know, i thought i'd made my peace with it too but i haven't. i did a lot of soul searching and dbt wise mind thinking and decided right now isn't the time for me to be in this choir. so i quit it. but i don't feel relief - or failure. i feel confused. what a strange feeling.

i don't feel like a wind up doll. that would be too much work to try and wind myself up. i feel like a sluggish me with a dreary dark rain cloud looming overhead. it just follows me around. i asked susan if she thinks i'll always be and feel this way. she said she really doesn't think so. i want to put so much hope and faith and trust in that. but i'm too tired to do that.




this song has been going through my mind. it's a confusing song. and it's kind of how i feel - and we'll never be royals - it don't run in our blood ...


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

give yourself credit where credit is due

i'm blessed to have amazing friends.

who are there for me when i'm struggling.

i'm sitting in my rocking chair. the chair s and i should've bought when instead we got abby :) live and learn.




i haven't sat in this chair since it was in my apartment. memories.

i have been crying - crying - crying. and it is because (i realized after talking to my friend, st) growing - growing - growing hurts. what do babies do when they are growing new teeth? they cry. what do i do when i am growing new dbt skills? i cry.

my life has changed recently. from mostly recovery to living. living is participating in life again - with a part time job, an activity in the community (choir) and a service calling in my church. these three things together have rocked my little sail boat and have turned my world upside down and inside out. i have cried for weeks. in fact, my eyes are tearing up now just thinking about things.



i fear failure. and one day i'm going to do a post on all of the *wonderful* things i have failed at in my life. because as susan and i have talked about, it is really through our failures that we find out greatest successes. but today is not that day.

failure is still something i fear. in any and all forms. failure to do a good job at work. failure to have enough food at the church function. failure to hit all the right notes at choir practice. any and all failures are tragedies to me. i'm working on it, but it's a s l o w process.

so today, i have been thinking about quitting the choir. the thought of singing the difficult pieces, memorizing the music, performing at the high standards they have, etc, has to me been like a perfectionist on steroids. i have been going out of my mind with all of the "what if" scenarios on how they discover that i just don't belong.

i did my first dbt skill - a pros and cons list. and came up with a good number of both but the cons were more convincing. i showed my list to susan and she said, "i think you need to do a check the facts." enter sigh. i say, "you think i should stay in the choir!" she replies, "i'm not going to say anything but i think you've already done the hard part and now you're in." hmmm. so i cry.



all the way home. and i cry in my room. and i hurt. my chest feels like it's breaking in two. the pain is indescribable and unbearable. "i HURT!" i say/pray/yell to god. more tears. tissues. sobs. pitiful. anger. i WON'T do any stupid, f*ing, dbt skills! i won't feel better! i won't i won't i won't! tears. streaming down my face. finally. a small flicker of acceptance. do one mindfulness practice. 

breathe. focus on breath. breathe. focus on breath and hands. breathe. focus on breath, hands, and sounds. breathe. well enough to do a work task. calm enough. 

still calm. i'm amazed at this point. a thought. call st. she's in the choir. she's your good friend. she'll give it to you straight and she can help. i call and am met with compassion, love, acceptance, facts, understanding. "you have the talent to be in this choir. you deserve to be in this choir. it all boils down to what you want. what to you want? i am worried about memorizing the music too. look at you using your skills! what would susan say to you? what skills would she want you to use? you are doing a great job using your skills. you are practicing them and it's hard in the beginning but give yourself credit where credit is due. give yourself a standing ovation! things are choppy in the beginning but you practice them and soon they will become smooth. isn't that the goal? and what you're doing right now will help these skills become second nature to you."

and all the while a gentle thought - from god - 'you know i sent her to you, just for you, just in this moment, to help you, and all of these things are the things i want you to hear, know, believe.'

her use of the word choppy brought up the image of a boat. here i am sailing again. and yes, i'm in the boat and the water is choppy. i'm feeling the effects of rough seas. i'm sea sick. i've been on the waters for 6 months now and hell, i just want off the boat. but i'm learning to sail. i'm learning to sail to smooth waters. and i have to sail in the rough first before i can get out to smooth. 


i'm so grateful for her. for her insights. for her love. for her compassion. for her caring. she's right. 



Monday, September 9, 2013

50 first dates

i have watched the ending to the movie 50 first dates over 10 times in the past 2 days. i just can't help myself. to me it is so romantic.

and then it hit me. it's more than romantic to me. it's hope-filled. this man falls in love with this woman who has lost her short term memory and wakes up every morning not remembering him. if he could fall in love with a woman with such a big physical difficulty, don't you/i think someone could fall in love with me - someone who has mental health difficulties?

i know it's just a movie - but in real life, people aren't perfect. i was at lunch with my uncle in ca and he said that you just find someone who's oddities are what you can put up with.



i know that my life is and has been going according to god's plan for me. it hasn't been what i've wanted. by my age i thought (and had planned) to be a certified speech therapist, be married and have one maybe two kids. but these other paths he's been having me go on have been much to my benefit. i could not have handled the pressure of graduate school and a mental health disorder. or been able to take care of a husband and kids. 

as much as i want to have kids and be married at this time in my life, i know it's my time to be patient, learn and really know the dbt skills and apply them to my life, and then later i'll be blessed with the things my heart yearns for. it's hard to watch friends and family have what i want - but they are kind enough to share their babies, so it all works out in the end :)


and i guess what i'll take away from my movie watching is that there is 
the possibility of love for the imperfect.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

f.i.n.e.

tonight, i'm fine.

f-rustrated. i-rritated. n-eurotic. e-xhausted.

and being in such a mood i probably shouldn't write much. or maybe because i'm in that mood i should write more. well whatever the right answer is, i'm not going to write.

just leave you with this funny - very dbt - video by cookie monster on self-regulation.

xo


Thursday, August 15, 2013

opposite action

here i am. sitting in bed in my grandparents' home on trip 2 this month. and when the dust settles from all the trips i will write a good long post - with pictures - about highlights from each trip and how i feel i handled potentially anxiety provoking situations in a skillful way .... kind of like i did with my girls' trip but now with a more dbt tone.

tonight, though, i want to focus on a specific situation that happened today and how i feel i handled it. it happened later in the day. about 6 in the evening. the feelings and emotions that led up to this one word had been slowly building all day. i was very tired, hungry for good food (fruits and veggies instead of the sugar i'd had all day), and was anxious about my perceptions of myself and how others think of me. (free advice : it's never productive to think about what others are thinking about you .... it . just . isn't . )

and here's the word that hit me : UGLY. once it hit i was thrashed with thoughts : "you are so ugly" "you are so fat" "look at that acne" "your face is so red and discolored" "no one will like you" "you are disgusting and revolting" "how do people stand looking at you" and on and on it went with UGLY cycling over and over.



i felt ill. i could feel myself slipping. wanting to hurt myself so badly. to stop the onset of pain. to maybe in prove that i was as ugly as i felt. depression has been leering in the corners of the room i've been staying in. i know the medication has been keeping it at bay - and i know with no doubt in my mind, that god has been my strength and is literally pulling me through situations i could not do on my own - but i began to feel depression rising as well as anxiety and fear. 

then a thought occurred to me. susan has taught me a skill to use - opposite action. it's where you act in opposition to how you are feeling. you do not suppress your feelings, rather you channel them into a different action that has a more positive tone to it. it's a hard one. because when you're angry, depressed, sad, or in my case, feeling ugly, the opposite of all of those seem a little too 'peppy.' but i thought 'what the hell' and decided i would do something to make myself feel pretty.

i did it mindfully. meaning i was in the moment and aware of my actions. i was purposefully choosing to change my ugly self feelings into pretty self feelings and the best way i thought i could do that was by getting a hair cut. (it was also nice that it needed to be done :) there was a rise, rise, rise of anxiety before it was my turn but i talked myself through it and all turned out well. my hair feels great and i felt better.



i was not out of the woods yet as i was left with a lingering feeling of anxiety. so i took some ativan and then participated in a movie night with my cousin and aunt. i have to say, i was very proud of myself. and am glad i had this learning opportunity that turned out well for me. as s and i say HOOHAA! :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

dear self, i'm sorry

i get stressed and distressed when there is too much movement in my life. it seems that lately there has been not enough movement (physically, as in things to do) and now there is too much. in the month of august i will have gone on three separate trips. to some this would be wonderful - and i'm not necessarily complaining - i'm just stating how difficult it is for me to be in movement and constant un-sure-ness // away from regular therapist visits and other stabilizing things in my life.

also, these are trips to see family - so they are emotionally toned. it is not like i'm kicking back on a beach or cruise ship. i'm surrounded by people i love, which adds a heightened level of emotion to it all. and honestly that scares me. i am having a hard time seeing past these next two trips and what life will look like then. 

so - i am unsure. and feeling vulnerable. which has nothing to do with tonight's post, but i thought i'd give you a little check in to let you know where i'm writing from.

since i went to the hospital in march, i have only had one instance of self injury. this is a huge accomplishment for me. i have really had to monitor myself and not act on urges/impulses and i have been successful many times. 

because i am in a different therapy, there is a specific protocol that has to be followed when an instance of self injury occurs. me and susan go through events leading up to 'the event' and then discuss interventions i could have used. and - hardest of all - i have to make it up to myself // apologize to myself. i have never had to do this before. never had to factor me into the equation. i have always been allowed to hurt me without thinking about how it hurt me. not this time. 

so my idea to say 'sorry self' was to get myself a nice pedicure. susan liked and approved of the idea and added to it that i put anti-scaring cream on my wounds. now this caught me off guard and i have to say that i had a hard time processing this. the scars are there for a reason. they are proof that there was pain. to myself and to others. to have them disappear would - to me - feel like there was no pain to begin with. but after some deep thinking, i know this is not true. i bought the - dang expensive - anti-scaring cream but have not been able to put it on yet. maybe one day. until then, i feel i have made it up to myself and i continue to try each day to be successful in not injuring myself.