I began this blog exactly one year ago today. And so it is only fitting to explain why, as I turned “29” again this past week, I am going to continue posting. It is fitting to explain what I have learned this past year as I have posted almost every week.
I recently had a blessed experience to walk for one hour with a woman who is deeply in the hole of depression and anxiety. As we sat on a log overlooking a stream and I shared some of my experiences with her and she with me, I once again learned that God didn’t take away my 12-year journey through depression at year one or seven or eleven for a very specific reason. He knew that a longer journey for me would mean I would be able to not just succor those who are in the depths of depression and anxiety, but he would be able to use me to help these people learn skills and be guided to resources where they can find lasting healing, not bandaid cures.
And so I turned 29 again this week because it’s a reminder to me that I have a message to share, hope to impart, and tools and skills to build and bless. It’s a reminder to me that there is a God above who knows you and me–and He needs each of us to bless one another.
We need one another. This mortal period of life is so quickly over–even though it does not feel like it when fighting depression and anxiety. My invitation is to reach out. Search out the resources I provide on this blog. Find something comparable in your corner of this great universe. Make an appointment to talk to me. I will continue to post, perhaps for years to come, because I have a message and depression and anxiety are real–very real.
There is hope. The battle is worth it. You CAN prevail. It matters that you do!
I have written about this before here but it bears repeating. Search it out. If you would like a free sample, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, Ted Talk by Julia Rucklidge. It’s worth your time!
Creation is a very interesting reality. Every human being is constantly in a state of creation–for better or for worse. I began to really realize this in 2011. Since then, I have learned a great deal about the power I hold in creating the life I want.
Some people have figured out that this power to create brings opportunities and a life of freedom and joy. Others are naysayers and want nothing to do with the idea. They like being victims of their circumstances, their illness, their depression, their anxiety…
I have practiced the principles of this article many, many times and I can tell you that it continues to make a tremendous difference in my life. I invite you to do the same. Overcoming depression and anxiety happens one step at a time. This step is very important.
You get to decide whether you are a victim to depression and/or anxiety or if you are going to do something to overcome it–to break through. The choice is yours. No one can force you to decide there is another option. You have to choose it.
So, what are you choosing? It matters!
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Yesterday was a dark day for me. I was triggered by something by husband said and I spiraled. I allowed the darkness to swirl around me for the entire day. My mind was pummeled by disparaging thoughts about myself. I know who the source of such thoughts is. I know they aren’t true. But when darkness envelopes, it can be challenging to know they aren’t true, let alone be willing to do something about it.
I dare say that if you are struggling with depression or anxiety, you have experienced more than one such day of darkness and hopelessness. It’s real. So very real. The question then becomes, “What do I do about it?” or “Is there really something that can be done about it? It will just come back.”
The difference between yesterday and five years ago–when I was fighting the demons without any understanding about how to do it– was that I knew to immediately switch the voices in my head. I was actually surprised at how quickly I could do it, even though I was fighting the urge to just give in–and it was a big urge!
One message I heard myself say was, “I’m a bad person.” And because I have practiced the mentoring tools I mentor with, hundreds of times, and incorporate what my mentors have taught me, the response was immediate: “I am a magnificent person!”
Now lest you think this is nice for me but won’t work for you, I ask, “Who is telling you that?” Overcoming depression and anxiety doesn’t just magically happen by repeating some nice phrases. It comes through healing the brain and the mind. They go hand in hand. One without the other does not create lasting healing.
What I felt yesterday was not a result of depression or anxiety hanging on. It was a result of living in a fallen world. Five years ago this darkness that I describe would have gone on for days and days, being compounded from years of feeling it and not knowing what to do about it. Because my mind and brain have been healed, I could wake up this morning and feel very different–because the darkness was gone. I fought it–I didn’t offer a prayer and expect it to go away because I had faith it would. I offered a prayer of “what should I do?” and then I DID it.
The darkness is real. What will you do the next time you feel it? How long will it plague you?
I recently found an article that is extremely insightful. Sometimes we believe that trauma is only something that is very traumatic–like the death of a loved one, a car accident, getting seriously hurt, etc… In fact, trauma can be anything that sends our nervous system into survival mode. (see below for more on trauma)
During a traumatic event, the nervous system goes into survival mode (the sympathetic nervous system) and sometimes has difficulty reverting back into its normal, relaxed mode again (the parasympathetic nervous system). If the nervous system stays in survival mode, stress hormones such as cortisol are constantly released, causing an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar, which can in turn reduce the immune system’s ability to heal. Physical symptoms start to manifest when the body is in constant distress. (Psychology Today, Susanne Babbel, Ph.D, MFT, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/somatic-psychology/201004/the-connections-between-emotional-stress-trauma-and-physical-pain?&utm_source=simp)
This article provides some great info into how unresolved trauma in the nervous system can create chronic pain and other illnesses. My own experience in mentoring others has shown this to be true time and time again.
Getting to the root of depression and anxiety means acknowledging trauma and bidding it farewell–not wallowing in it, not reliving it, but bidding it farewell. How would it feel to no longer be triggered by your trauma, to no longer relive it, to no longer “go into orbit” because of its effects?
Let me help you learn how to leave survival mode and move into healing. It matters!
(For more information on trauma, click this link.)
I believe that one of the toughest challenges with depression and anxiety can come to the spouses of those who are suffering. Sometimes it just becomes too much. I’ve heard it referred to as “caretaker fatigue.” And rightly so. Countless marriages continue to be challenged because one spouse is dealing with emotional difficulties that often do not make sense to the “normal” spouse.
In my own marriage there were two things that pulled us through…a deep commitment to one another and a deep commitment to God. I doubted my doubts before I doubted my faith.
You may not think you have any faith. You may not believe in a Higher Power. If you are the “normal” spouse, you may be ready to throw in the towel, to call it quits. Please don’t. Your spouse needs you. He or she needs you to believe in them–in who they are at their very best.
I invite you to see your spouse for who they really are–beneath the depression, the anxiety–You can’t change them and how they react to this illness, but you CAN change YOU and how YOU react.
Hold fast to KINDNESS (click to listen). It matters!