Category Archives: Christian

The Pahty’s ovahh…

Well I am safely back home from the Jubilee! I drove myself up and back, 690 miles round trip, which is a really big deal for me. But I just felt like God really wanted me to go (and at the very least, I wanted to go).

It strikes me at these things that very soon someday we will be having a “pahty” much like the Jubilee. Holy music, holy people, holy scripture, and, most of all, our Holy King, King Jesus! It will be the norm to feel at home, rather than feeling like we’re the exception to every rule, the odd ball out. And the shouting from the pulpit will be “HALLELUJAH!” not admonition.

Because sometimes at these meetings things get loud. We are reminded where we’re falling short. There’s a little pounding on the dais for emphasis (okay, sometimes a LOT!)

Will there even BE a podium in Heaven?

I personally can’t wait for every day to be a meeting, a gathering of like-minded souls, smiles all around, instant friendship and understanding!

Yep, that’s what I like about these meetings! I was sad to leave. But now that I’m home I get to go to another meeting – a prayer meeting at my own home church — a gathering of like-minded souls, smiles all around, instant friendship and understanding!

Now to choose between a nap and a shower ….  no time for both!

We’re havin’ a pahty …

I was able at the last minute to go to the Emerald Coast Jubilee in Milton Florida, near Pensacola. It’s a close to 6 Hour drive, or at least the way I drove it, LOL. I left yesterday, about 8 AM, and arrived at 2:30. Had a little talk with God on the way up, and he revealed to me something that will make a big difference  for me in my Christian walk. Lo and behold last night the preacher hit on much of what God had revealed to me. I love it when I ask God to show me something, and he does. Even though it’s not very pleasant (the information that I received about myself. Not pretty).But hallelujah that God has changed my heart, and is continuing to do so!

Artificial Christian  — The Hope Filled Addict

I’m cheating tonight, mostly because of a busy (but fulfilling) day, cold weather, a large supper, fun with a friend, the emotional release of undecorating the tree and forcing it out the door, and polishing off with some “really good meds” (sknxxx) – yeah, I can’t really come up with anything cohesive. I thought this would be a good read for those who, like me, want to be a true Christian and not an actress. The author belongs to a Bible-based support group called Reformers Unanimous, to which I also belong. It’s good. I’ll explain more later (unless I already did, in which case I will reblog myself, lol!)

 

Please Lord don’t let this be me. Keep me from judging people, remind me that is your job. Don’t let me be a prayer girl in public but not get on my knees in my home. If I’m ever able to do good for your name, please let that be only for you to shine, […]

via Artificial Christian  — The Hope Filled Addict

In all thy ways …

January 3. I was reading Proverbs 3 today (I aim to read the Proverb that corresponds to the day each day. For example, today being the 3rd, I read Proverbs 3).

I had only read the first two verses and became instantly discouraged:

“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.”

It wasn’t the “forget not my law” that tripped me up. It was the length of days and long life that I objected to. I am all for the peace part of it, but not so much the other. I started to pray:

Lord, the days are long enough. Why would I want to add to them? And long life? I just want to come Home to you. [As someone with a long history of depression and suicidality, living longer just does not appeal to me]. I’m tired, I’m always messing up, and I just don’t feel like I am getting – or giving – much out of life. So this year, help me to want to prolong the days and live a long life, so that I will have more time to serve You. I know you have work for me to do, give me the courage to do it. Show me what to do, give me the oomph to do it!

I kept reading. There is so much richness in this chapter, I thought to myself. Verse 5 was very familiar to me:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

I nodded. Yep, I get that. I’d mess up a lot less if I gave that verse a little more heed.

Then verse 6 popped up, and it was one of those “aha” moments, as in, “Aha, I’ve never seen that verse before.”

But you know I have. I just never noticed it before. This is one way that God speaks to me. He brings the text alive as I am reading, and I may have seen it a hundred times, but the hundred and first time, God nudges me to pay attention: “Hey, Kat. This here is for you. Sit with this for a while.” It said:

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

In all my ways? Do I do that? And what does that mean, “acknowledge”?

Websters 1828 Dictionary says it is “To own or notice with particular regard.” So do I do that in all of my ways? Do I own or notice God with particular regard in my:

  • Family relationships
  • Work
  • Leisure
  • Driving
  • Church activities
  • Friendships
  • Service
  • Handling of money
  • Care of myself physically
  • Care of myself emotionally
  • Care of myself spiritually

In what ways could I improve?

To me, to acknowledge God means that I don’t just forge ahead with my life. I must “bring God along” in all my ways (paths). And I must also acknowledge that He is the author and the giver of it all. Kinda like at Christmas when you would rip into a present, and Mom would make me stop and acknowledge the giver. I didn’t even realize there was a giver, half the time. I was just so eager to get, get, get!

The verse says that if I do acknowledge God in all my ways, He will direct my paths. It is like what we were learning tonight in the lesson at church about David. He would ask God: Should I go here? or maybe here? Should I do battle with this people, or should I not? We also see plenty of examples in David’s life where he would fail to ask direction, fail to acknowledge God, and fail in his life. It was that simple for him.

Shouldn’t it be that simple for me?

Dear Day of Off

Dear Day of Off,
I have been looking forward to you all week, but here I am, not as thrilled as I was, because suddenly you have become a Day of Obligation. Oh sure, I have a Meeting of Friends scheduled for 12 noon, but I also have a number of chores and errands that need to be accomplished.
And a visit to an Office of Government.
Really?
It all started when I woke up.
First of all, I had planned to Sleep In, which, in case you did not know this, means, “not getting up at the usual (or earlier) time.” Did you not realize this? Of course, you and Bladder colluded on this matter and I am quite Put Out.
Next, there is this matter of Clothes Not Washed. Now, I realize that you and I have a deal, that I will keep up on the laundry, enabling me to have said Day of Off available for Other Things. So explain to me where these Clothes Not Washed came from?? And where goeth these Other Things? I have Books awaiting perusal! I have friends awaiting phone calls! I have windows awaiting the Staring of Out!
But instead? Bladder, as previously discussed. Then, the Surrender to Coffee (required regardless of Day).
And Clothes Not Washed, which took precedence. Because of another phenomenon which I call, CRS: Can’t Remember Stuff. Yes, I have come to forget essential things (including the washing of uniforms), and even with a List, I forget the List. Hence, the 12th Commandment: Thou shalt do the Thing, whilst one is thinking the Thing. (The 11th Commandment being, Thy mother worketh not here: Clean Up After Thyself.)
So I am breaking cardinal rule number 1: Thou shalt do nothing before coffee. And here I am, doing something before coffee!
There is also this matter of Vacuuming, Dusting, General Cleaning, and the like. Answer me this: Why have you not kept up these things as much as you have Clothes Not Washed? Why have you eaten up my day with such foolishness? Don’t you know I have other things I would like to have done with my Day of Off? Leisurely Bible reading, perhaps? Correspondence? Extending Meeting with Friends? Daydreaming?
(SMH)
(Which stands for, Shaking My Head)

Do Wha Diddy Diddy Dumb Diddy Doo …

Well there’s an eye catching little title. Nothing to do with this post.

Except for that first word, “do.”

And perhaps, the “Wha.”.

(Leave it to me to get something obscure from a song lyric).

The “do” and the “wha” refers to the “do what?” of my life.  Because so often I’m questioning what I do or don’t do. Am I doing right? And if I’m doing right, am I doing right?

Let me explain. And I’d better hurry up, before I lose you. One of my primary issues is keeping boundaries. And it’s not just the fact that people can take advantage of me. I volunteer myself and my resources. Nobody asked! It’s “What do YOU need?” versus “What do I need?” Then, when everybody’s happy, and I do mean ev.er.y.body, then  I’ll sit down and do my stuff. Complaining all the while, don’tcha know. But to do otherwise, to ignore someone’s need, to leave someone unsatisfied, feels very selfish, and just plain wrong. Sound familiar? (Cough: Martha)

This hurts me. Because after a while I’m feeling disjointed, disoriented, disorganized, and dissatisfied. It’s feeling like life is out of control. My laundry is weeks overdue, I haven’t made that phone call or done my writing, and I’m neglecting my job search and exploration. But maybe that’s the point. In seeing to someone else’s needs, I get to put off the things I need to do, or face, or feel. But that only works for so long. Soon I am in dire straits, and worse, blaming you.

So what is my business? How do I know? What is my responsibility, to you, or to me?

To know this, it starts with prayer. A common prayer of mine is the prayer Paul prayed at the time he was converted to Christianity (and isn’t that putting it mildly?). Having persecuted Jesus and His followers,, and having just condoned the stoning of Stephen, Paul (as Saul) meets Jesus on the road to Damascus.

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord,what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (Acts 9:6)

Simple, huh? Just ask God, and He will lead.

So why don’t I do it? Why don’t I make a habit of taking the time, first thing in the morning, to ask what He’d like me to do during my day? Why don’t I pause, before I say “yes,” or volunteer myself? It only takes a moment. Is it because I think I know better what’s best? Is it because I enjoy that adrenaline rush that says “Ooh, what have I gotten myself into?” “It sure has gotten hot in here.” Or, “Where’s the fire extinguisher?”

But there are concrete things He’s asked of me. I don’t need to pause and wait to be told; it’s in the Book. I can pray for others, one of the finest things that can be done for another human being. I can study and meditate upon God’s word. I can serve in my local church. I can spend time with other people the Lord has given me. And I can do my laundry.

Ok, perhaps that last was my mother talking. But you get the gist. There are many things I don’t make time for, and end up a mess. And if you’re like me, you’re spending time recuperating from time with others as much as you’re actually spending time with them (see: introvert). Maybe more. So you still don’t get things done.

It doesn’t mean I can’t drop everything in the event of an emergency, but it does mean that God has specific tasks for me. He has helped me, through a long history of anxiety, depression, and bipolar illness, to figure out what I need to do to take care of myself. He has helped me to know when it’s time to take steps forward in my recovery, and when I’ve taken on too much. He’s given me specific people, family and friends who know me well. They can see if I am “off,” they can give me that refreshing of the spirit that only a true friend can give, and it is mutual, I hope. If I’m neglecting all of that, or ignoring red flags, a lot of sour notes will ensue. And it’s not just me on the piano, or the Mexican food I just ate.

This is not to mention the fact that if my “good deeds” do proceed from my flesh, and not from the Spirit’s call, it’s not worth a whole lot. I am thoughtful of the following scripture in Romans 8:5-8:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

There is a whole lot in that there little portion of scripture! Among other things, it makes me evaluate things: Is my motive selfish, even when I appear to be focused on others? Am I looking to be comfortable, to be honored, to be liked? Am I trying, in my flesh, to make others happy? Maybe God’s intent is for that person to seek their own solution, or to sit with their own discomfort. Or, more than likely, for them to turn to Him, rather than to this friend who wants to make “aw better.” Sometimes, making it easier on someone else is not making it easier. It’s not just the two-year-old who needs to know they can do it themselves. And sometimes the attempt to “mother” someone does more harm than good. After all, “mother” and “smother” are pretty close.

Of course, there is such a thing as analyzing something to death. Sometimes I am procrastinating. Sometimes I am “enabling.”

But sometimes, I’m just loving.

And isn’t that what Christ has begged for us to do all along? As it is written:

And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 2 John 5:

 

 

♪♫ Here come those tears again

(5/31/15) (Completed 1/7/16)(Procrastinate much?)

Here come those tears again … Well, hopefully not too many tears.

See, I’m trying the food and fitness thing again. So far so good, 4 lb, which I suppose is better than nothing (do my clothes fit better? can I breathe better? Neh…)

And of course, being Spring, my thoughts have turned to romance …

***

OK – that is as far as I got back in May, for both this post and for the fitness thing…

And the romance, for that matter.

Now here it is January and I started the fitness thing again back in December.

Now for the waah:

  1. Do I have to do this again??
    Yes, the doctor put me on a diet. And not just a diet. A low carb diet. Dang! Doesn’t he know it doesn’t work, that you are just going to cheat and end up even fatter? Doesn’t he know it is bad for the body? and worst of all, doesn’t he know that this often swings me into hypomania? But (here’s the re-BUT-tal… now I see where that word come from!) I have been doing it for over a month, not perfectly of course, and it is going pretty well. WITH exercise!
  2. I had such a horrible craving for cake last nite!
    What prompted it? Seeing a picture of birthday cake.
    I used to buy a whole cake at the grocery store and almost flaunt it as I plopped it down at the register. I figured if I looked happy they would think I was buying it for a birthday boy or girl.
    So why don’t I just have one piece? Ah, in theory that would be great! Except for that mildly addictive (and that’s putting it mildly) personality of mine.
  3. I was going to do housework but have an overwhelming urge to nap. Which would be fine except …
  4. The maintenance people have a generator going right outside my door, the volume of which overrides the white noise of the fan I would generally have going while I sleep.
  5. I’m still not going to do housework.
    So there. Cuz you know once I start, I will keep going til it’s all done (Remember that “mildly” thing?) I just don’t want to do all that. Even though that sense of pride and accomplishment would be so good. Nope, nuh uh. Not going to.
  6. I have to pee again, dang it!
  7. I’m sure there is a seven because I felt so whiny when I started this post.
  8. But at least I did accomplish something!

Whosover will …

For God so loved what was going to remain of the world in 2015, what the United States would become, the people who murder and rape and steal, the “foreigners” who migrate to our fair country; God, knowing full well what we would become in our own hearts, gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. So if you think you have done too much to be forgiven, or that it is too late, or that someone couldn’t possibly hear the Gospel from your lips, think again. Yes, I have kind of (!) paraphrased, but I hope that you know what I’m trying to say. God loved YOU a long long time before you were even conceived. Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Just some thoughts I was having.

I have thoughts a lot! But I talk myself out of writing them for stupid reasons…

Same as with writing my fiction; I wrote 450 words this morning, words I actually like. Why don’t I do that more often?

Ok berating yourself does not work so let’s not do it.

So, I hope all are well and all is well. Why not tell me how you are in the comments? I do care! xo

Remind me to talk to you about my doctor’s visit. No it isn’t fatal. Well, it can be if neglected. Ok, I will spoil the surprise. In not so many words he said I was fat. Ok, those are my words but whatever. (Again: berating yourself does not work).

♪♫I’m goin’ to Jackson(ville)♪♫

That’s right. Leg One of my journey. Actually, leg two, but who’s counting.

Leg One was exploring via the internet:
I. Apartment rental sites,

A. Apartment Subsidy Sites

B. Regular apartment sites.

C. Roommate sites.

D. Can’t make the durn format format.

II. Churches.

A. Friend ‘A”s church

B. Friend “B’s” church.

C. Other churches.

III.Geography of Jacksonville sites

A. Blogs

B. Wiki

C. Educational sites

D. TMI sites.

E. Medical care

F. That does not go under “Geography,” start over!

G. No.

IV. History of Jacksonville sites.

A. I never did like history.

V. “Meet ups” sites

A. Writers.

VI. “Warnings for those moving to Jacksonville” sites.

A. Sinkholes

B. Weather

C. Unsavory characters.

VII. Speaking of warnings:

A. Bugs

B. Snakes.

LEG II:
A. I thought you said this was Leg 1.

B. Whatever.

A. Actually going there next month (um, you don’t really get the concept of an outline do you)

  1. Friend 1
  2. Friend 2
  3. Potential roommate
  4. Apartment hunting
  5. Food and amusement.
  6. Beach(es)
  7. B. Can’t make format behave.
  8. a. Whatever.
  9. Oh, the plane, the plane
  10. Weather
  11. a. Erika

B. Leg III

  1. Packing
  2. Staying w/ a friend hereup North.
  3. You didn’t know “hereup” was a word.
  4. Whereabouts and Howabouts unknown, but sometime mid November.
  5. OH – telling friends and leaving friends. That should be a little higher up.
  6. And so should praying for God’s will.
  7. “We got married in a fever…” lyrics stuck in head. Yeah, remember title? Hopefully your head will take over the lyrics so I can get rid of them!
  8. Oh and by the way, change can bring on symptoms of bipolar.

Imprisoned – part two

I guess I am still on the Paul and Silas idea – or God is – because I was led to the following scripture this morning:

Psalm 107:13-16 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

I wonder sometimes, when God breaks the chains, if we stand there unbelieving. Instead of just shaking our arms and legs, and watching the chains fall away, we shake our heads, like this horse, and calmly chew our oats. Or trail mix, or whatever the case may be. God has freed us! We aren’t even tied loosely, and lookit us!

Speakin da which – I am considering a major move. I suppose it’s part geographical cure, and yes, I know, we take ourselves with us (wry grin). But is there always something wrong with that?

Seriously, I have my reasons, one of which is to escape these stupid Maine winters, I think 56 years of them is enough to know I don’t like them. I don’t need one more!

But I have other reasons …(quirks left eyebrow) (if it was capable of quirking).

Anyyyway… stay tuned …

(Thank you B is for Blessed for the scripture!)

Paul and Silas were imprisoned … are you?

I get so frustrated sometimes, don’t you, by the way mental illness affects your life? I think about the impact it has on my work and relationships. My future plans. My physical health. Even my housework is affected! But that doesn’t bother me as much. But those other things – I do feel imprisoned sometimes!

I was reading in the Bible today in Acts 16, where Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison. Verse 25 shows us, however, that Paul and Silas were anything but thrown by their imprisonment. If anything, they were joyful, for “at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

As I read this I thought, what am I but in prison? My bipolar and depression and anxiety lock me up soundly sometimes! The last thing I ever do is sing praises when I feel that way. Oh I will sing praises in church, and when I am thankful about something good, but do I truly praise God in all of my circumstances? And that made me think of another verse that makes me cringe. Ephesisans 5:20 says to give “thanks always for all things.” That’s even harder to swallow! How can I give thanks, when I’m all balled up, and feeling anything but thankful?

My experience today speaks to the wisdom of reading the Bible over and over. Because I’ve read that verse about Paul and Silas probably a hundred times. But I’d never really connected the fact that I am indeed imprisoned by my mental illness and its symptoms. Essentially all I ever do is moan about it. It never occurred to me to sing praises. And it’s not just a verse for everyone else; it’s for me.

But it’s also important not to just do it for the reward. Paul and Silas didn’t know that God was going to free them. They sang because that was what was in their hearts. The reason I need to do it is because God says so! Because it will please Him! And because I truly am thankful, despite my illness!

I can picture the ways I can give praise while I am in my bonds. I can smile more. I can learn to be calm, more grateful. I can exercise discipline in thanking God every day, and show my gratitude. I can be softer and gentler, and “act as if” I was thankful, until it was true. This is a skill I was taught in AA; and I can certainly apply it here.

I know people in my church who are like the above. You know they have a happy heart, despite their many challenges. Maybe I ought to hang out with them more; I already know how to be miserable!

Of course, I know it can benefit others, to hear me praise, and pray, in the midst of my woe. I know it helps me to be around it. And again, this will please God.

This doesn’t mean faking how things really are. I’ve done enough faking. That’s not what this is. This means a heart change. And guess Who can change my heart?

Not I! The Bible calls for us to pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) This means to come to God and confess sin, and ask Him to change this heart. I love Ezekiel 36:26, where God promises: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

Hm, a stony heart. Sounds like a heart that can be stubborn.

But a heart of flesh?

That is what I want!

♪♫Good morning, Star Shine

♪♫the K says hello …

Hope you are all doing well. I haven’t written in a while, so I thought I’d say ♪♫hello! Life is hard lately. I started doing the food/fitness thing, went to a nutritionist and she said 1100 kcal and see you in 4-6 weeks! Yeah right. Has she not heard that there is such a thing as low metabolism when you starve someone? ♪♫hello!! “Ok, enough of the hellos already,” I can hear you from here! O-tay!

Anyway – it is tough. The diet/fitness. The anxiety! The sexual abuse maybe/maybe not thing. The depression-bipolar-anxiety thing. Yes I said anxiety already. Sigh-YUH! (and again).

So, I am not writing, and I don’t know if the not writing is helping or not. I do plan to do Nano Camp in July.

So, yeah. I’ve wanted to blog. And I miss you guys. I also had to stop most of my blogging friend notifications, so I am depending upon the Reader when I read. It is not the same as an email saying so-and-so posted. Definitely not. Did I tell you I miss you? But I was getting to be a worse mess than I am, and something had to go, call it a diagnostic test, in a way.

The meds are out of whack, I am pretty sure. I’m thinking about a second opinion. I’ve had a number of adjustments, and it is just not working. I am not hospital or partial-hospital bad, but almost.

I am also having difficulty regarding some of my ministries at church. One of them was bringing some people to choir practice and/or early to church. High maintenance people, emotionally, and I am the sponge. That had to go, even though it doesn’t “make sense,” after all, I’m going that way, right? Well, tough! It is hurting me and my sanity! Did I tell you how impossibly hard it is for me to say no? But I have to. I am going insane. That’s just one “minor” thing.

Did I tell you what is right? God goes with me wherever I go, whether I feel Him with me or not, see Psalm 139. Also, I have not drank or drugged or done anything self-destructive, except for talking to myself not-nicely, and I am working on that. Also, and this is not minor at all, I have some a-may-zing friends IRL (in real life)! It is so, so important in this mental health and spiritual journey. Get some!

What else. Did I tell you I miss you, and “here”? I miss writing, and sorting things out in my mind, and reading some of your blogs, and just hanging out. I may have to rethink this. But not today. Today, I am just “here.” That’s enough!

Well, I will just leave this at “that,” I’ve got things to do and people to see (a nice one. She helps). Ta, ta, and all that. LOVE AND PRAYERS for any of you reading this. xo and ttyl!

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not a single act, but a habit.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not a single act, but a habit.”

— Aristotle

(This is what I’m trying to do w/ my food and fitness. The hard part is continuing it after summer is over! Every. Single. Year. Sigh… kb)

Don Charisma


«We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not a single act, but a habit.»

— Aristotle


DonCharisma.com-logo-4Charisma quotes are sponsored by DonCharisma.com – you dream it we built it … because – “anything is possible with Charisma”



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Just so’s you know…

I am doing a lot better today! It is a little miracle. I’ll take it!

Yesterday I felt so anxious and overwhelmed, hypomanic, and scared!

Today I feel normal. I went to an AA meeting, went for a walk (it was beautiful out!), and now I’m home. Eating a good lunch, gonna do dishes, then I have church (prayer meeting) tonight.

No panic, a little anxiety, no hypomania. Thank You God! I had a lot of people praying for me and I truly believe that helps!

Thanks all for listening to me yesterday! I will keep you posted.

♪♫ Hi Anxiety

For the past week, I have been experiencing a feeling of being chased. You know, that heart-in-your-throat, can’t-get-away kind of feeling that is sometimes associated with anxiety.

After that? I started having difficulty abstaining from a number of behaviors that I avoid very easily as a Christian, but not so much as someone whose medications are out of whack. Swearing, impatience, starting and not finishing blog entries … stuff like that. Oh, and barely refraining from throwing one’s phone through one’s television. Fantasizing about imbibing certain anesthetizing fluids and acting out shamelessly. Wanting to jump into my car right after payday, because, after all, I’m totally messing up, so why shouldn’t I? To go cross country and get all the bad behavior over with, because there’s no point trying to restrain myself. That, my dears, is hypomania.

It is the state of mind in which one knows better than to attempt installing one’s printer, if one wants not to destroy it, or to become totally undone. Just yesterday I was trying to synch my “my fitness pal” to my “map my walk,” and between my phone and my computer, I just about imploded. I did have an incredible melt down, the likes of which I have been working toward all week, all month, maybe all year. Honestly! Why can’t the… ok we won’t go there…

So I had a call in to my doctor’s nurse yesterday, and she called me back. Late, I might add. But I had forgotten to turn my ringer on. By the time I realized she had called, she was already leaving a message.

That’s one thing cell phones lack, that regular phones with answering machines don’t. A regular phone could be snatched up mid-message with an awkward “Hello? Hello?” But at least you could catch the person who was calling. With cell phones, you end up playing telephone tag for hours, sometimes days, and most times they call you back when they’re darn good and ready. See? “Darn.” I have a little self control.

But back to the phone call. That was about the time the phone almost lost its life. But of course, when I realized I could not throw it and get away with it, and there wasn’t a punching bag or a human nearby, yeah…  Instead of being angry, I dissolved into tears.

So then I couldn’t immediately call her back. It was pointless to even try. It’s very hard to convey one’s feelings and needs when one is sobbing. Well, on second thought, I could have communicated quite a lot that way, but not what I wanted to. After all, I do have a little self respect.

So today, I believe it was even before I opened my eyes, I was thinking the F word, which then caused me to start crying. Oh, it’s gonna be a fabulous day, I thought. I’m sorry, God, and please help me.

And then I started flagellating myself for saying sorry all the time but not changing anything. Yah. That kind of day.

One verse in the Bible says that out of the heart the mouth speaks. So this whole thing makes me feel like so much less of a Christian. I’m not even telling you about how I was trying not to shake the walls of the apartments on other side of mine with my hollering. Add consideration to self respect. I reeeeally am trying not to lose it.

For those of you who then want to say “Such thoughts, such speech and behavior would not occur to someone who truly knows and loves the Lord.” Well I’m glad it’s like that for you, truly. And maybe I’m not a Christian. Maybe I am just faking it. Putting on a big front. I guess I could use prayer instead of your judgment.

Oh, the joys of hypomania. I would love to take full advantage, and start cleaning my place, and doing whatever else needs doing, but I seem to have bypassed that stage of efficiency entirely, and progressed to the stage of irritability and ineptitude, and the unable-to-do-a-thing-right stage. Ohhhkay, see that run on sentence? Another symptom of hypomania. When it gets real bad, I don’t even use commas.

Anyway, had I not bypassed that efficiency stage, I’d be having this conversation with you in an apartment that was minus the dirty dishes and bags full of laundry. It would be pristine, sparkling. And I’d be a little less unhappy about this whole thing.

So there you have it. This is the quandary of the Christian who has bipolar disorder. Oh yes, the manic aspect and the depressive aspect are equally self-condemning, never mind concerning what other Christians might think. Is it any wonder that we hide ourselves from those Christians who don’t understand?

And yes I am tersely speaking with as much clarity and control as I possibly can. Who wouldn’t when other words want to fly out of one’s fingers?

So pray for me. Pray for proper medication management, and that I cause as little damage to myself and others, and things, as possible. In the meantime, I am fantasizing about being admitted to the hospital. Or of having it suggested to me, and replying with a long string of obscenities.

♪♫ Hi Anxiety …

Great Expectations?

Happy Sunday!

I came across a quote this morning that I really liked:

“Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows.”

– Michael Landon 

I like that quote, don’t you?

Speaking of “do it now,” my bucket list is real simple: Get through the day, and go to Paris. That’s not asking much, right?

This morning as I was cooking up some scrambled eggs, I noticed that I was also cooking the lid of the plastic (!!!) container I use for butter!

Sadness! Quickly I grabbed the lid and moved the pan of eggs, then checked to see if any of the melted plastic had adhered to the pan.

Nope. Thank You God! Yes, that was a prayer of thanksgiving, because, had it melted onto the pan, I’d have been more sad. 😦

The lid of the butter thing was quickly repaired (the hole covered with a piece of shipping tape), and put back in the fridge. I did not say it was well repaired. Just repaired. Anyway …

I also want to share another thought I read this morning from La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin

Noooo I have not taken up drinking wine, but I do like reading the different accounts of his travels, and looking at his photos.

His quote today:

It doesn’t matter how tatty your wings are… If you can fly… FLY!

The word “tatty” makes me think of the word “tattered,” or “damaged.” Check out the page and you’ll see the tattered butterfly that goes with the quote. Funnily enough, there is a French phrase, “Quelle dommage,” which sounds like the word “damage,” and can mean “What a shame!” or “What a pity!” But way down on the list of translations is the phrase, “How damaged!” So, let’s say that it means that… ok? And let’s fly!

Don’t mind me. It’s morning, which means, before noon, which means (speaking of flying) flight of ideas! It means you’ve got to expect a little less. Not only is it morning! Worse, it’s before 7 a.m! So you really need to expect less!

So, let’s fly! We may have tattered wings, as in the photo, but we can fly!

(Looks at the clock). No, really, let’s fly! It’s time for church!

(Flies off, flapping wings …)

* Michael Landon quote from Ritu at BUT I SMILE ANYWAY — Thank you Ritu!]

One more thing!

Grr! One more thing and I’m just gonna lose it! Jesus, Your Word says to cast my burdens at Your feet? Well, I’m casting them! Here ya go! Take them!

I watch as You pick them up carefully. “Ok, Kat,” You say. “Just remember. These are Mine, not yours. You gave them to Me, and you can’t have them back. Not unless I give them to you.”

How could this be, Lord? Shouldn’t I be able to handle them? These things I’m trying to do? Those people who need my help? But they’re so heavy on my shoulders, my neck! Ugh, what do I do?

“Keep putting them at my feet,” You say, “and all those things you have to do. I’ll carry them for you. I’ll tell you when to help Me. But you must give them to me first.”

And what about my mind, Lord! It’s making me crazy! First I think I’m fine, and then I’m not! What am I supposed to do?

“Place it all at My feet.”

But Lord, I can’t even do that! I get out of bed and my mind is already racing!

“Put everything at my feet. And spend a little time with Me.”

How, Lord? And how can You love me? I’m a mess.

“I love that mess. Now come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

That’s all I want, Lord.

“I know. So be still, and know that I am God. Cast your cares upon me, Kat, for I care for you.”

That’s all I want. Lord. But I’m supposed to be more like You, not this train wreck. And if I’m supposed to be like You, doesn’t that mean I need to give? I feel so overwhelmed. But how can I say no to those who need me?

“Even Moses had to learn say no. Remember, I was here for a specific purpose. I said, “I must work the works of him that sent me.” Why did God send you, Kat? So read My Word. Be still. And most of all, cast your care upon Me.”

“And while you’re at it, Kat, cast My care upon Me, too.”

References: Matthew 11:28, Psalm 46:10, 1 Peter 5:7, John 9:4

By His Grace

When I started this journey of recovery from alcoholism and mental illness, I was 25. I hit bottom, hard, and had a suicide attempt, after 3 months of so called sobriety, or what some people refer to as a “dry drunk.”
I had 3 beers that night, as I recall, the ole “liquid courage,” and then I used razor blades to cut both wrists. Each time I stopped bleeding, I would cut again, and again, until I passed out.
But at the last moment, I said “God, I don’t really want to die. But I don’t want to live. Please help me. I don’t want to go to Hell.”
That was quite a prayer, a desperate one, and one He answered almost before I’d finished saying it. But my Christian growth has proceeded more slowly than I would have hoped. I have been able to maintain my sobriety since that night, December 21, 1985. That is a huge feat. But my mental illness has been dogged in its pursuit of my soul. Even today I am facing those demons of memory and fear in regard to my history of sexual and other abuse.
Whose fault is it? And why, God? Those questions are not so important today. What matters is my relationship with Jesus Christ, and how I live from here on out, daily.
Soon after writing my blog post, Th’Abuse, yesterday, I heard echoes of reminder: “You faced this before, but not with Me. You will face this again, more layers of the onion, but this time, it’s different. You will face it with Me.”
And it’s true. I don’t have to face it alone this time. My suicide attempt was thirty years ago. Fifteen years after that, I asked Jesus to save my soul, and by the grace of Jesus Christ, He did.
My relationship with Him has grown slowly, oh, so much more slowly than I’ve wanted, but He has never moved. I have, but never Him. His promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
And so, this is my prayer today, as I embark still further upon this journey. Feel free to use it to help you on your own path. Psalm 143 reads:

Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.

And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.

Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.

Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.

10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

11 Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

And amen.

♪♫ Life now is sweet …

Hi Kids!

Some of my friends will announce at the beginning of a post, “Trigger Warning!” when they’re about to write about something like suicide, or PTSD triggers, or the like.

Well I’d like to announce, “Scripture Warning!” Although, there aren’t many, and they aren’t too heavy, for those who are leery of that type of thing.

I have 3 (maybe four) blog posts on the fire that I am waiting to write, and I’m feeling a little pressure! The more serious ones I like to have a block of time to write, and to really concentrate. (I don’t want you to think I’m a total nimwit when I finally write them).

One has to do with the Secret Santa post I reblogged recently.

Another (maybe two posts) is to finish the After Midnight series, in which I talk about the origin of the title of this blog.

Then there is another “serious” (It’s all relative) post, but I forget what it was. It’s written down somewhere. I think. Give me a break! I woke up rudely at 4:30 a.m. with a charlie horse (capital C?) 😦 I am not all there yet!

So, to catch you up. I have had 2 very sweet days! Saturday I think I might have mentioned – hanging out with my son, great weather, doing some work for the church, going to coffee w/ a few friends, then a family birthday party. It was awesome!

Sunday a little pressure. It is always busy on Sunday, but I really enjoyed it: A couple of church services, seeing my son again, a sweet little nap, great weather again. I tell ya it’s been a while since I’ve had 2 really good days in a row. And I really like it!

Today will be busy, but I plan to try not to complain, and just to love it.

This is a sure plan for disaster, right? I mean, if I do wind up having three good days in a row – well, we all know that that must mean I’m manic. HAHAHA!

Anyway, I hope you all have a really good day! Here is the song (lyrics and video) that is referenced in the title. It’s the first song that was running through my head so far – and how I feel at the mo. I think we sang it at church yesterday. The youtube video plays a little stuffier version of the song than I would like, but you get the gist. God is good!

Here are two verses of scripture that the song is based upon. And pardon the formatting! I can’t seem to fix it:

Psalm 116:6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Would you like to be saved today? Here’s how! Check out A Love Beyond All Limits! There is no better day than today to be saved!

And if no one has told you yet today that they love you, let me be the first!
Saved Saved

  1. I’ve found a Friend, who is all to me,
    His love is ever true;
    I love to tell how He lifted me
    And what His grace can do for you.

    • Refrain:
      Saved by His pow’r divine,
      Saved to new life sublime!
      Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
      For I’m saved, saved, saved!
  2. He saves me from every sin and harm,
    Secures my soul each day;
    I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm;
    I know He’ll guide me all the way.
  3. When poor and needy and all alone,
    In love He said to me,
    “Come unto Me and I’ll lead you home,
    To live with Me eternally.”

“What does the Bible say about Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression?

This post is quite good. It addresses the legitimate medical AND spiritual concerns that need to be addressed when helping a person who has bipolar illness. I agree with the Bible about sin and holiness. But the person with bipolar and other mental illnesses needs proper medical supervision and treatment. Going without that is extremely dangerous.

THE WALL: a blog of Baptist Voice Ministries

Note: as with many psychological issues, there are often both a physical and spiritual aspect of manic depression / bipolar disorder. While we believe psychologists often miss the true spiritual nature of the sickness, we strongly encourage anyone suffering with a mental illness to seek medical attention and counseling.

Answer:“Bipolar disorder” is a name that first appeared in 1957 for a severe mental illness. Before that, the same illness was called “manic depressive illness” or “manic depression,” though that name only dates back to 1921. Neither term appears in the Bible, but the Bible teaches us a number of lessons we can apply to bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by severe mood fluctuations. These fluctuations go far beyond simply being “happy” or “sad.” The “manic” symptoms can include feelings of extreme euphoria, marked increase in risk-taking, racing thoughts, forced speech, and increased energy. The…

View original post 444 more words

♪♫ I need Thee every hour ♪♫

This is not going to be a preachy thing. I just want you to know that I do need God all the time! I may have my issues, but not with God. And “I need Thee every hour” is not just a song. I really do need Him.

Yet, I don’t always realize it. I step out in faith in myself – and I don’t always do so hot.

But when I lean on God, and pray that I will walk more closely with Him – when I remember to pray for my friends instead of just trying to help them all by myself – I am more sane. I am more free!

But when I forget to pray, or when I think it won’t really matter – when I forget to read the Bible and find the peace that comes from God – I’m a mess. Ok, I mean more of a mess that I already am, lol. I truly know that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Jesus. He gives me pause. He gives me peace. He gave me eternal Life! Yes, as the scripture says, He gives me rest. Psalm 23 is not a funeral psalm. It’s a song for us, the living!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

There are many verses that remind me of His peace. One of my favorites is Isaiah 26:3: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

That’s not the only reference to peace in the Bible; there are 400 more, according to the concordance! And that is only regarding the word peace. I wonder how many more in regard to the concept of peace!

And why should I seek peace in the Bible?

Because the Bible is the living Word, not just a printed word! It has been my experience that when I seek God’s hand, or His peace, I can find it in His Word.

But doesn’t the devil hate when I do that! Doesn’t he distract me and whisper at me that there are other, more important things to do.

But as a child of God – I have every right to hear from Him! Personally!

Ok, I said I would not preach. I lied. I didn’t mean to lie, but I lied. Forgive me.

Anyway – here are the lyrics to the song, and below that, a you tube video of the song, done by Fernando Ortego. If you continue to listen, there are many other songs that follow. More peace!

1. I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.
Refrain:
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

2. I need thee every hour; stay thou nearby;
temptations lose their power when thou art nigh.
(Refrain)

3. I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
(Refrain)

4. I need thee every hour; teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises in me fulfill.
(Refrain)

5. I need thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.
(Refrain)

The song is based upon Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

Something which I sometimes have a habit of doing, but it is so easy to get out of that. Like I said, to lean only upon myself.

Doesn’t work.

(If you would like more history behind the song, go to: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/i/n/e/ineedteh.htm … )

So Rich Full and Free

Yesterday in my partial hospital program we saw a video that accompanied a workshop done by Mary Ellen Copeland (author of The Depression Workbook: a Guide for living with Depression and Manic Depression).

One of the things I responded to was that she said her program was geared to people “whose lives are not as rich and full as they want it to be.” I cried.

That would be me. That is what I am looking for and what depression/bipolar steals from me. I know some believe that the Lord, the Bible, and church ought to provide that all on their own, but I believe God has also trained up ad provided people who know mental illness and have compassion for them.

It is my dream that the church will seek to provide more of that compassion and understanding.

One organization that admittedly I don’t know much about is helping toward that.  It is called the Mental Health Grace Alliance and is training people in the church to help those with a mental illness. 🙂 I’m interested to see what they are able to accomplish. They are not in my area and if I was well enough I would work toward that. That’s the problem with these kinds of issues – can we be strong and capable for long enough to fight for ourselves and one another! I am grateful to those who can, and do!

Ok, enough for this morning, I can’t believe I am functioning enough to write this early in the day, lol…

I Don’t Wanna, Talk About It, Part II

Part of the reason I don’t wanna talk about it is I have awful laryngitis.

But also I am doing the censoring thing; I am depressed and I don’t wanna talk about it.  I really don’t want to hear myself whiiiiine … oh my gosh! Enough!

I have been thinking the last few days what I wanted to blog about and there are plenty of ideas but I don’t have the energy to write anything.

Sorry I haven’t been replying to your posts very much!

I don’t wanna … talk about it

One Ringy Dingy

Two Ringy Dingy

Is this the party to whom I am speaking?

Snort…

But seriously. Phones are not funny! I ree-hee-hee-lee cringe when I get a phone call. Do you? I heard someone say recently that that is a form of social anxiety. I wonder. When I get on the phone I feel trapped. If I have my druthers (and guess what, I do! lol) I won’t answer it. But being the good and polite girl that I am, eventually I will call them back.

But I hate it!

I do have a brother from down South who calls me daily and I (sigh) answer. But not if he calls more than once! Nonono! I have my limits haha.

I used to talk for hours to my girlfriends when I was growing up. And a boy?? Oh boy! Hours and hours!

But now I see that caller ID and I just talk to that thing, turn it upside down so I can’t see it, but I won’t answer it! Oh no! Not until I’m good and ready!

What is your “favorite” “phobia” (I don’t know what to call it)

I guess I might just ought to do them: 31 Days of Bipolar

There is a trend going around the blog circuits of those with bipolar called “31 Days of Bipolar.” This is a good test of my mettle lol… Since I am struggling with being 100% honest about my illness, but concerned about who might be reading my posts.

Anyway I am going to start with Day 5 because I can, lol… and because I already answered it on a friend’s page lol…

however I have not really read the questions … So I am shooting in the dark a little bit here.

***

I was not diagnosed Bipolar *I (see definition at bottom of page) til 2003. I began therapy for codependency and alcoholism in 1985. I still don’t have my bipolar self-care down…. 🙂 I could, but I am lazy/stubborn/too hedonistic … and don’t have a dog lol…

I do have a therapist because my …

… shrink is only 15 min for med management. My therapist is great for helping me focus on my treatment plan, dealing with struggles (most commonly boundaries), shame, acceptance of my diagnosis (I like to reach “over my head” and then get into crisis because of denial that I have a mental illness) (can I hear an “amen”?)

Medication: seems stable, am on lamictal, trileptal, and abilify.

Love: Oh! I didn’t even notice this category when I first read! I definitely isolate, but that is due to my tendency to be an introvert. So I really have to work at this one. It is just too stressful to have too many relationships with people. I typically keep people at a distance. I have a BFF who lives right upstairs from me – have known her for almost 25 years. Church (not many that I trust with my “stuff”). Family wise, I alienated myself from most of them while I was in early recovery and there is still some angst about that, although it’s better than it was. Love from my therapist haha although yes he is good with boundaries. We both are. No hugs, Although occasionally he will get me a present. For example, this Christmas he got me a book of poetry, in which he highlighted 2 poems as specific to what we’re working on. I can’t remember what they were and I can’t find the book right away! But when I do I’ll publish them here. Lots of love from internet friends I’ve made since probably 2001 (Met on a site for people who were affected by 911). I tend to be a helper-bee. As a nurse it is a natural tendency for me (graduated in 1981; not working right now). I don’t really ask other people for help and support, which is often common of people with mental illness. My greatest love is Jesus – it has passed the point of a fad. And I’m sure you have read some that I have written about Him.

Dogs: as I said I don’t have one. I do love cats and have had them but I am not a great mommy so I don’t right now.

Calm: I do boring stuff, keeps the anxiety low. Pretty moderate social phobia/anxiety, history of anxiety disorder. I don’t deal with it very well, I have had a number of jobs and when they don’t work I don’t work.I also avoid drama and I avoid romance.

Routine: as I said I do boring stuff. I am recovering from my son living w/ me in a very small apt. (efficiency) so I am indulging in sleeping late when my body will let me. But my best sleep routine is getting up around 6 am and bed at 10 or 11 am. haha. Maybe sometimes. But what I meant was pm.

Sleep: as regular as possible, see above. I have taken to going to bed around 10 with a book until my meds including benadryl knock me out.

Diet: very bad. I do take vitamins but that is probably as good as it gets right now.

Exercise: not much

Writing: off and on although lately much more frequent, this blog, comments on other blogs, and also working on my novel (although not as much as I would theoretically like to).

Reading: Have 4 books going but try to keep to one at a time, read a lot online of a great variety of things/articles.

Light (ie “blue light,”) Never really thought about it although I recently read that computer/ phone light is not a good idea at bedtime (can trigger insomnia) I haven’t had mania since ’10 so I’m not too worried, meds seem to cover me pretty well.

****

Definitions: There are no good and concise definitions but here is a fair explanation. I was not aware of Bipolar III and IV but here ’tis. I also was not aware that these were also defined my length of episodes but whatever lol…

1. Bipolar I Disorder—defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks.

  • 2. Bipolar II Disorder—defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
  • 3. Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS)—diagnosed when symptoms of the illness exist but do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.
  • 4. Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia—a mild form of bipolar disorder. People with cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania as well as mild depression for at least 2 years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.

So anyway, that’s #5 and I may or may not do the other 30 questions lol…

Help!

Whoever would have thought Johnny Cash would have a song like this? But actually the guy I consider “The King Of Country” is a really deep guy. This song shows that really we need help with pretty much everything.

Here are the things that I need help with

1. Not ending a sentence with a preposition (haha)

Ok let’s start over. These are things with which I need help:

1. Saying no

2. Deciding whom I should help, and to what degree!(Those two things cause me no end of frustration!!!)

3. How to deal with anger, anxiety, and depression.

4. Pressing on even when it feels like I am getting nowhere.

5. Even taking my meds! Although with resignation I take them.

6. Asking people for help

7. Not spending all my money (besides on bills) at the beginning of the month

8. Keeping a positive attitude

9. Investing in the future – my health, my education, my daily tasks

10. Asking God for help with all these things and more.

It’s funny because when I was listening to the song I thought of several things so maybe I will try again while listening:

1. To walk another mile

2. Smiling

3. “Taking it” (life) for one more day

4. Asking God to be with me

5. Releasing the chains that bind me

6. Following God’s plan

7. Being humble

8. Praying

9. Doing all of the above with God’s wisdom, not my own

Maybe, dear Reader, it seems like I do most of these things, but really, some of the things I write are actually me being a cheerleader for myself. For example if I say it is necessary to read the Bible, I’m reminding myself, read your Bible. I may say, ask for help, but I am the worst at it lol… Maybe I suggest you pray about things, but honestly I need to make myself do those things.

Annnnnyway, I really like this song. It made me tearful, because I forget that God will help me with the simplest things, if I ask. And sometimes He will when I don’t, lol…

THANK YOU to http://addictionplace.net/ — I like his blogs. He is just an ordinary guy trying to stay sober and help other people to do the same. He’s not a religious nut like me (lol) just straightforward about his recovery. Here is what it says about his “About” page:

Addiction Place is a place to research and learn about mental health and addiction.

I’m a father, husband, brother and a son who lives a successful life with Bipolar and Addiction Disorder. I’ve been a special education teacher for 13 years and a high school baseball coach for 6 of those years.

Twelve years ago, I went to Hazelden Treatment Center for the first time to face my alcohol addition.

After a year and a half, I relapsed and 6 years later, I was back in rehab at La Hacienda Treatment Center.

I have now been in active recovery for almost 4 years and I aspire to be an addiction counselor and a writer.

Addiction Place has a website called Self Help Survival Store.

Procrastinations are a must …

Well, I thought I should veer off talking about bipolar and religion and just talk about something that most people enjoy discussing:

Now what would that be?

One thing I have noticed is that blogging has become just one more thing to distract me from working on my novel!

Meh – let’s just look at a pretty picture and call it good. I have other more pressing procrastinations to do today – I am even going to do some housework! (She says). Now that is desperation!

Mental Health: Promoting Good Stuart-Ship

Feel like giving up? Nothing’s working? Believe it or not, we’re still accomplishing something, even if the results are not what we want. Thomas A. Edison said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

He also said that “many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

How about Babe Ruth? “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

Even the Bible says, “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). And in Galatians 6:9, “… let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

I don’t know about you, but bipolar makes me weary. Trying to take good care of myself, and trying to do what God says. Meanwhile, ignoring the self-destructive part of myself. Those messages I collected growing up, and the ones I’ve created myself.

There’s this song that we sing at church:

Every work for Jesus will be blest,
But He asks from everyone his best.
Our talents may be few, these may be small,
But unto Him is due our best, our all.

My best? Oh Lord. I’d look around that church, with all those perfect people, and think, I don’t know that my best is worth all that much. But later, I realized, that’s not what the song is saying! The song says our talents may be small. Our best may not be what we think it “should” be. But God knows when we’re doing our best, regardless of what those stupid voices tell me! Besides – were those people really perfect? Most likely not.

Part of doing our best is taking care of what God has given us, what He calls “being a good steward.” Hm, even in regard to my health. Remember the slogan? “I eat right, I exercise and I take Geritol every day.” Ok, I’m dating myself. Well, I do go on a health kick now and then, but it only lasts so long. Exercise? Even the Chariots of Fire song drives me crazy. And Rocky, you can run up those steps all by yourself. I ain’t goin’.

Ok, how about hygiene? You know, shower, brush teeth, etc.

Not so easy sometimes, is it?

Contrary to popular belief, that’s not laziness. Where would somebody get that idea? If anything, that’s self-loathing at its worst. But at that point, we don’t even have the energy to hate ourselves.

How about taking care of our immediate environment? Making sure my place is not condemned? Generally, I do dishes before they get moldy, and I take out the trash before Stuart Little makes it his home. Ahh, you say. That’s where the Stuart Little reference comes in. Well, forgive the groaner, but even emptying the trash is good Stuart-ship.

Ok, I hear crickets chirping. I’ll just pretend you didn’t get the joke, and carry on.

Let’s move on to money. The Bible says that “… the love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). Not that money itself is evil. In either case, I’m not a very good Stuart of it. Right now I have about $20. until the end of the month. True, those of us on disability are not living in the lap of luxury, but I get enough. I just don’t handle it well. So that $20. pretty much removes all possibility of overeating, overspending, and even over-helping. Besides, I’ve pretty much ruined my credit, so there goes that.

So what else? The Bible says that “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But I can’t seem to to hold a job for very long. Well what is up with that! Doesn’t the Bible also say “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”? (Philippians 4:13) I must be a total failure! I mean, I won’t brush my teeth, I won’t go to work, what good am I?

Well, that’s what the voice in my head says. And that’s what you might say, if you don’t have experience with this thing.

Ok, you can’t brush your teeth? You can’t work? You can’t clean your toilet? What about breathing, then? Let’s start with the breathing. I know, I’ve already talked about breathing in another blogBut let’s say, theoretically, that you still have to breathe after all this time. So breathe already. Ok, now did you eat today? And, can you call someone today? Maybe it’s to be encouraged. But what about to encourage them? Maybe you can volunteer at church while you’re not able to work. Or you can take someone shopping. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. That, and don’t kill yourself today. That is sometimes necessary to add!

Speaking of “today,” I learned early on in my mental health recovery that alcohol and “recreational” drugs are not my friend. Especially where mood stabilization is concerned. So, one day at a time, I stay sober. So far, I have stayed sober for 10,623 days, but who’s counting? That, my friends, has to be the grace of God. On my own I wouldn’t put two days together!

Now, let’s flip it. How is my Stuart-ship when I’m in manic mode? No, not mood. Mode. Everyone pretty much has an idea of what depression is, but what of mania? Psych Central, a website with information about mental illness, defines it thusly: “A Manic Episode is defined by a distinct period during which there is an abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood…” (See: http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-manic-episode/000629.)

Some of us even experience a side of psychosis with our heaping helping of mania: “Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, typically including delusions (false ideas about what is taking place or who one is) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things which aren’t there).”(See: http://psychcentral.com/lib/bipolar-disorder-with-psychotic-features/0001292.)

So what happens to my Stuart-ship when I’m revved up like I’ve mainlined caffeine, or even cocaine? What about when I’m seeing things? How can I possibly take care of what is mine?

Well, early on, during a phase of hypomania, my motives are good. When I start feeling that surge of happiness and energy, I think, “Yay! Time to make up for all I haven’t done for the past eight months!” Suddenly I’m cleaning, writing, doing, helping, coming up with brilliant ideas, why, it feels just marvelous! And it’s pretty well organized, in my head, anyway, and in most of my actions. It’s not particularly bizarre, except …

… then things start becoming confusing. My friends, and even some of the people outside of my circle, begin to see some disorganization in my activity. I begin to get reckless and impulsive, fresh, and maybe a bit aggressive. And no, I don’t have any clever jokes about that one. Because at this stage it is no longer funny – or fun. I don’t have time to shower. I don’t have a need for sleep, or eating. Yeah! You know I’m off when I don’t eat! I don’t have time to clean up after myself.

And then there’s that elevated sense of myself. Thinking I can do things that really, I have no business doing. After a certain point those things include driving, or taking care of patients. I’m telling people off. Walking into traffic expecting cars to understand that I’m on my way to something important. I begin acting out in ways that will make me cringe later on. Yeah. Those little things. Those things God has given me? Including modesty and humility? Self-control? Pretty much gone. As to stewardship? We are at a very basic level at this point. We are at survival mode and not much more. Since God has gotten hold of my life, or since I’ve gotten better hold of Him, I don’t get as bad as I used to. I might have to say, “yet.”

Where was I again?

Oh yes. Failure. Weariness. Lack of Stuart-ship. And the cycle repeats itself.

So how do I maintain that stability, that “meet me in the middle”-ness?

Well, let’s just throw our hat in the ring and say it: What about medication?

Oo (flinch), don’t say medication and Christian in the same sentence. Yipe!

I have to say it, though. It’s the rare bird who has bipolar and can manage without medications. If you can, God bless you, and that’s wonderful! I mean that.

Personally? I did the two year experiment without meds. I did pretty well for about a year and a half. But toward the end of that period, I was manic, and I didn’t even know how bad off I was. How dangerous.

So, medication. Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t using it to get high. We are using it just to function. It’s not fun, by any means. But it is hard to find the right mix. It’s especially frustrating if you have found what works for you, and then it stops working. Again, and again. But that is part of the illness, I think.

And so, regardless of medication, we still struggle. Don’t we?

So how do we not grow weary? This thing called bipolar is not just a sometime thing. It takes continuous daily vigilance, and sometimes, despite that, we still experience the highs and lows.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure cannot manage it under my own power! Now here is something profound. I need Jesus! And I dare say you need Him, too! Isn’t it worth considering, when nothing else is working? I’m not saying life is a bowl of cupcakes. But it is better. I have strength, and I have faith, that I didn’t have before. It could be coincidence, but I have not been in the psych hospital since I started taking Him seriously, back in ’06. So what is the deal? Check out the link above, which will take you to another blog page.

God’s intention? That I become more like Jesus. No no no, not like that (manic). More like Jesus as He was when He walked here on Earth, and then to continue to grow: in my spirit, and in my life. Jesus did not want to be “all that” when He was here on Earth,”Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.” (Philippians 2:5-6). 

Jesus was humble. During His time on Earth, Jesus served. He was not “up there,” like the God He really was. He was not “down there,” sitting on the floor feeling sorry for Himself. And please, don’t think I am judging anyone here because trust me, I have spent my time on the floor. And the ceiling. And I imagine I will again.

So can I just aim for that? Not too high, not too low?

Humble, by the way, does not mean groveling. Humble means, not thinking too much of myself. And, not thinking of myself too much. There is a difference.

So how do I aim there?

One way is by reading God’s word. It’s there that I learn how to be like Jesus, which includes being in prayer, and thinking on God’s word. That’s right, Jesus did that! Even He! In fact, He fought temptation by quoting scripture to combat the devil. Even He! Shouldn’t we?

And serving. Didn’t Jesus serve when He was here on Earth? “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

It is of note that Jesus did allow others to minister to Him, as well. There’s the woman with the alabaster box who anointed Jesus with precious oils. There’s John, who baptized Jesus in the Jordan river. Even in death, people served Him, like the rich man who donated his own tomb, and then those who prepared His body for burial. Why do you suppose He allowed that?

I think it was because He knew it was a blessing to be the giver. Doesn’t it bless you when you can give yourself to others, or when you serve the Lord? So let people help you and show that they care. This will bless them, as well as you. I mean, really, can we do all this by ourselves? God will not leave us nor forsake us. Isn’t part of His provision the people He’s given to us? People who help us to see ourselves? (YIPE!) What about our doctors and pastors and other providers? Yet, as people with bipolar, our number one problem is an inability to ask for help! We wait until our pants are on fire, and even then, we wait.

And what about Jesus Himself? Why do I wait to ask Him for help and direction? The one who answers me when I call, from wherever I happen to be? I think a big part of my problem is that little word, “I.” All by myself, I’m a mess! I freely admit it! But I am proud, very proud. I’m like the two year old who says, “Me do it. Me do myself.” And what can you do as a parent but let them do it.

And then they have the meltdown, and finally, you can help them! But why do we wait til then!

Jesus said that “… with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27). Now what “things” is He talking about? Sometimes, it is doing those stupid dishes. But I know that He has better things in mind. Given my history with Him, much better things!

So. ♫ ♪ Take, good, care of your-self ♪♫ … (I care about you).

And don’t forget the breathing part.

♪♫ There goes my baby …

Good morning friends and fiends, I’m off to church, a little weirdly colored: Purple and black, w/ bright green accessories lol. Got to have some color to wake me up.

A GREAT quote one of you wonderful bloggers posted recently, wish I could credit you (feel free to out yourself in the comments below)

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Have a wonniful day…