Love Potion Number NI – YE – YI – E – Yine … 18 Replies “They (the writing prompts) all sound great, but very interested in 9 and 28.” #9 Reads: “I have more depression since I started blogging – is it the reading or the writing?” # 28 Reads: “My mother worked on a Fisherman knit sweater for my stepfather – a gesture of love.” ******** First, #9. “I have more depression since I started blogging – is it the reading or the writing?” Somehow this question reminds me of a verse in the Bible out of John Chapter 9 that asks, regarding a blind man, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Ah, Dear Reader, you are most likely saying: “K, you will use any excuse to post something from the Bible.” True. Anyway, about the depression and the blogging, I am not sure which came first. I do know it is not my sin that causes depression! Certainly sin can aggravate it, even trigger it sometimes. But depression is a physical, medical condition. In my case, it is just one aspect of my bipolar disorder. I did kind of wonder, after I had started my blog and written for a while, was the blogging responsible? Or even the reading of other people’s blogs? The material I was reading was heavily laced with stories about the challenge of mental illness, and many of the writers were filled with discouragement and sorrow. Then too were the posts written by people who did not follow my Christian faith. Were these writings bothering me? The main reason I started blogging was that I was angry that I was unable to be “out there” with my bipolar. Pretty much my entire social and work life has to do with the church. I do have a few good friends with whom I can be more genuine, but I was frustrated; it was almost like I had to be two different people. The Bible itself was not shaming me (although at times my interpretation was). But most of the people I go to church with do not talk about mental illness, and don’t encourage me to, either. So I was feeling bottled up about that, and decided to talk about it. Blogging was a no-brainer. Where else can you bear your soul in such a way? However, much of what I was writing had to do with bringing up the past. I have tried really hard to work through those issues, in therapy and in groups, but I had gotten to the point where I had decided, “Enough!” I didn’t want to be there anymore. It was holding me back and I needed to focus on the present, and my goals. But was it really healthy to bury all that, and not deal with issues and memories as they came up? Surely dredging through these memories as I wrote was aggravating my depression. And what about the stuff I was reading? There are a lot of people in my blogosphere who are struggling with their mental illness right now – some are in absolute agony. Was it wise to read about that? And many are bringing up issues I had decided to put to bed. Was this causing my depression? Ultimately, were they reminding me what an awful thing it is to have bipolar disorder? And what about the difference in lifestyle? There are people I’m reading who are ok with drinking, with sex outside of marriage, and other things that I know are sin for me. Things that had caused me to have Godly sorrow, and had to let go of in my life. Was reading about these things prompting me to long for my old life? Or reminding me of the guilt? I was torn. If this was the case, should I let go of the blogging, or at least stop reading other people’s blogs? Then I noticed that the depression started to lift, the more I wrote. It seemed that writing and processing these thoughts and feelings was giving me some freedom. I had been stifling myself, and it had been causing me distress. As it is with lancing a boil, there is pain, there is redness, there is infection, but afterward, there is healing. Sometimes slow healing, but healing nonetheless. What about the reading of other people’s blogs? Was this harmful? At first, it was totally triggering. But two things began to happen. I received affirmation and support from those I met. I could be real. And also, I was able to give the same back to them, something which gave me great joy. I’m not saying I am out of the woods yet. And even when I am, that doesn’t mean I am going to stop writing. Writing is something that early on God gave me as a means of expressing myself, explaining myself, and giving of myself. Sharing my faith, sharing my love, sharing my struggles. Writing is something I have tossed on and off like a loose garment, but it is part of my identity. And I’m learning that denying parts of myself is not a healthy thing. So, sorry folks. I am going to keep on keeping on, and being what I am. I’m a writah, and I am heah. My style and my purpose may evolve as I continue, as I return to my true self, and gain knowledge – and support. Thank you guys for being here, for your support, and for being on the journey with me. Keep writing! *************** # 28: “My mother worked on a Fisherman knit sweater for my stepfather – a gesture of love.” This is a cute story, and one I mentioned I think in a comment somewhere. My mother had recently remarried, and wanted to give something of herself to her new husband, Mr. B. She was a very busy woman who balanced raising her remaining five children, and attending college for her teaching degree, Now she had to add spending time with new husband. It was a tough act. She enjoyed doing all three, but time away from one area of her life obviously caused it to suffer. She managed well, and by the way, achieved a magna cum laude with her degree when she graduated from college. She never did anything half way. Christmas was coming soon, and she wanted to give him, not just a material object or two, but a piece of herself, a token of how she truly felt about him. She was not much of a crafts person, but she did basically know how to knit. So she decided to knit him a nice soft fisherman knit sweater. This was not an easy task. First off, she had to work on the sweater when her husband was not around. Second of all, a fisherman knit sweater is not something you can mindlessly do while watching TV and chewing gum. It takes a great deal of concentration, counting and changing stitches, approximating the size, and, for Mom, keeping all her supplies hidden when her husband was around. It’s a wonder she didn’t poke our eyes out with those knitting needles. When one has five children at home, some of them at that nagging, needy age, concentration and time are costly commodities. As Christmas came nearer and nearer, she realized she wasn’t going to finish her project. Putting all else on a back burner, she was making great progress, but it was just not going to be done in time. And so, with a great deal of disappointment, she wrapped the sweater, knitting needles and all, with a note and great care, and placed it under the tree. Come Christmas morning, Mr. B. unwrapped her gift, puzzlement written across his face. But, a smile, a kiss, and a thank you were her reward, and her joy was almost complete. I don’t know how much longer it took for her to finish the project. Obviously, it was done with much less urgency, but soon he was wearing the sweater at every opportunity. He, wearing it with pride, and her, wearing her handsome husband on her arm.