Tag Archives: Christian

Jesus, please pray for us to the Father!

For those who believe

I have been thinking a lot of the fact that Jesus prays for us, not prayed. I often think of where Jesus said He prayed for Peter: Luke 22:32: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren

So, I am offering up a prayer, for those who believe, that Jesus pray to the Father, that our faith fail not! And you see also that as He restores us, He expects us to strengthen each other. There are many forms that that can take, and I am mindful of prayer, but also of more concrete things as well. Something to think about. And, Jesus prayed for all of us, including the world, in other spots in the Bible. What are your thoughts?

Isaiah 53:12
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors ; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Romans 8:34
Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died , yea rather , that is risen again , who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

John 17:
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Th’Abuse …

I don’t like talking about it, remembering it, thinking about it. I thought I was all done with all that. You know, years of therapy, lost time, ruined relationships, spotty employment… oh sure, the depression, the manias, hospitalizations, ok I was willing to say, yeah, that’s the reason. But, there were the years I spent in therapy recounting what happened…

And years unrecounting what happened.

To the point that I don’t honestly know what happened. And I suppose that is fine, if you close yourself into a hidey hole and you never talk to anyone or open your eyes…

Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen.

So anyway yeah, I am very sensitive to sex talk and four letter words, and it is nice that as a Christian I am not exposed to a lot of that.

But out in the real world, I am. And it triggers me.

Now who’s to say triggering is bad? If it makes you face your demons and heal, that’s good, right?

But if it makes you go backwards, is it so good?

Well, truth be told, I am not sure what is good for me sometimes. I do know I like stability.

But right now stability means I’m not able to work.

GREAT.

Not sure I will be able to, again. Well, I’m fine w/ that, if I can continue to write, and function – you know, take showers, talk to people …

SMH … that means “Shaking My Head” right?

Cuz that is what I’m doing. Shaking … mah … head….

Anyway I had to put that out there. Not sure what to do w/ it but thought it would be helpful to get it out before bedtime.

Hyeaaahhh…

Walking After Midnight Part II

The title of my blog, “Walking After Midnight,” may also refer to those of us with mental health issues. Our symptoms can separate us from the crowd, and leave us walking around in the dark, sometimes literally.

Many characters in the Bible felt the same despair that we feel. A few examples: “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” (Psalm 13:1). “My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?” (Psalm 6:3) “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!” (Habakkuk 1:2). We feel like we are walking in the dark, alone and with no help. Even when we know that there is help – friends, care providers, clergy, God – we feel judged, misunderstood, alone.

Your own experience may differ, but my symptoms come from depression, anxiety, mania, psychosis. All of these contribute to losses I have had in my life: Relationships, jobs, money, esteem. A place in society. Courage. Confidence. I could go on, ad infinitum. But boy is that depressing!

There is help, but sometimes it’s the wrong kind. People who have not experienced our own form of “madness” don’t get it. When we are suffering, it’s truly rare to find “Earth people” who say the right things. If you do have people in your life who know how to help, who love you – treasure them! If you don’t have anyone to support you – find someone! I heard recently that we should all have about five “go-to” people in our lives.

And don’t continue to expose your heart to those who don’t understand, to those who hurt you. Such people can make you feel small, or defective, every time you go to them. You deserve better than that. Value yourself, and go elsewhere.

Ultimately, in self defense, we must advocate for ourselves. We are responsible for our own recovery, for being as stable as we can be. Here are some of the ways.

  • Remember that shame has no place in regard to your mental illness. It’s not your fault! You’re not any less valuable than anyone on the planet. This is my greatest struggle in my mental health recovery. I don’t fully accept that I have a mental illness, and I am always sabotaging my own progress. 😦 I mean always!
  • Educate yourself when your symptoms are stable. That way you can gather information on who you are, and that you are not your illness! We are people – not our disease. But we can learn about that part of ourselves when we are well.
  • Gather a support network. Not just groups, but people. People that know you, who understand you. People who will advocate for you in a way that works for you. This includes care providers, family, friends, and others who suffer. And yes, support groups are very helpful.
  • Make a list of things that give you joy, and do them. Art? writing? dancing? It doesn’t have to serve a particular purpose, other than to make you happy.
  • Maybe you find love in your work. Work is not necessarily paid-for employment. Maybe it’s helping others, or volunteering in some other way. Can you give someone rides to their appointments? Water their fish? Maybe you’d like to visit a nursing home with your dog or cat. There are actual programs for those who want to do pet therapy with their beloved animals. Animals have been known to help prolong life, lower blood pressure, relieve depression, and more.
  • Don’t go off your medications.
  • Don’t go off your medications. But if you’re determined, do it with medical supervision. Also, enlist a trusted friend or two to monitor your progress. They will tell you the truth, when no one else will.
  • Think of things that make you feel rich, and do them. I like to walk around taking photographs of flowers, snow, foliage, or other things in nature. Do you like to go to the beach, or to the forest? Collect things?
  • Make a short list of goals for yourself. I am finding it helpful to make a very small list of things to accomplish. We’re not talking twelve. By small I mean realistic and do-able. It may be as simple as taking a shower, or cooking breakfast. Maybe writing for fifteen minutes, or making a phone call.
  • Ask for help! That’s a category in itself. Take advantage of the days when you’re feeling well to practice this! It seems to be the hardest skill for us! And don’t feel you’re burdening someone when you ask for help. People have said they feel helpless when I’m having symptoms. It can be a great joy for them to bless you! Don’t you love it when you can bless someone? It can be something small, like running an errand, or even doing your dishes. Lord knows that even an empty sink can be a source of happiness when we’re depressed or overwhelmed.
  • How about having a support person go with you when you do something anxiety provoking? Maybe it’s going to therapy, or taking a walk. Some things are impossible, but possible with a friend.
  • Build a spiritual life, a spiritual practice. And notice that it says “practice.” It is a daily thing.
  • Write! Draw! Sing! or find some way to express your feelings and thoughts. Even if you keep the results to yourself, or throw them away, it’s healing to get them outside of your head. I used to spend many hours as a child expressing my sorrow in songs to the Lord. Just thinking of that makes me sad, but even the tears are healing, as in this scripture: “… [W]e know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)
  • Make a safety plan specific to your own needs and symptoms. Keep it current as much as you can. Here is a template of one such safety plan (pdf).
  • Don’t be embarrassed when you need to have more intensive therapy. The hospital or day treatment program is just another tool. It is not a judgment.

Can you think of other ways to help yourself? Other thoughts about “Walking After Midnight”? I would love to write a part 2a, or a part 2b (or not 2b lol).

So. That is “Walking After Midnight,” Part II. Part III will follow, eventually. Maybe.  🙂

Ok, to those of you who are holding out…

Yes, you people who think we don’t notice …

You think you have nothing to say. You have had a few bad days. You want to have the time for it to all come out nice, or brilliant maybe, or thoughtful.

Yeah, you people.

You people who collect makeup, or maybe you are angry and afraid you will offend. Or maybe you think you always talk about the saaaame thing. It’s okay. Say it anyway. Say it if it won’t come out right. Say it if you don’t know what will come out. We miss you, and we care.

Link back to me, so I know you took this to heart! 🙂 You’re important to me!

I make all things new …

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  — Revelation 21:5

“New Post, New Post!” My Gmail inbox is full of new posts, many of them from others who are taking the “Blogging 101” course offered by WordPress. Through no small miracle of technology, we are finding each other and it’s exciting!

And if I don’t allow the guilt feelings to reign, I am happy. I am always happy when I obey the voice that says, “Write.”

What is the alternative?

Giving in to the guilt and fear and, I admit, laziness, that says, don’t write. You’re not good enough anyway. You won’t finish anyway …

But are we still talking about blogging here?

No, I’m talking about my dream, to write novels and get published and live happily ever after.

Yeah well, I’m just being honest here, lol.

Anyway, it’s my hope that by writing this blog it will help me toward that dream.

For one thing, I think that by writing this blog it will clear out the cobwebs and make room for me to write, without all those other voices in my head. For another, I hope that by writing here frequently it will keep the wheels greased, so to speak. And last but certainly not least, I will be sharing Christ with people – my walk with Him, and what He’s teaching me.

And, no small matter, I will be walking along with other dreamers, many of them bipolar like me. We will support one another through our highs and lows, and even the drudgery of “ok.”

And we will be made new, in a way, by fulfilling the dream that God put in us: “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” — Psalm 37:4. Not just granting my “wishes,” but putting them there in the first place.

I love it!  😀

 

(Now quit talking about it, and do it!)

 

 

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

Don Charisma


«If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.»

— Vincent Van Gogh


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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Keep Breathing!

 

With all the talk of suicide I thought I would submit this link and the lyrics to the song. Sometimes it is as simple as to Keep Breathing! 

 

You wait in darkness for answers that you can’t see
You know what you deserve
And you’re wondering why your life is
Not what you thought it should be

When the night breaks, your heart still aches
How can you face the day?

Just keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

When you feel like you’re dying, keep breathing
Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t let go
No, you’re not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t let go

When every moment is almost more than you can take
You’ve got to know some tomorrow will bring you a breakthrough
It’s the reason why you got to get through today
When the night’s gone you will be strong

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

With every breath you’re bringing hope
You’re letting go of all your doubts
When nothing is easy, you got to keep going
Even when you don’t know how
You don’t have to know how, no

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
And don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer, whoa

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
And don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

Keep breathing, don’t give up
No, you’re not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done yet

Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done

Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done

Keep Breathing!  by Kerrie Roberts

♪ ♫ Here come those tears, again … ♩ ♬

Yep, survived. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you know what I’m talkin’ about. And I have hardly told you ANYthing! (I’ll work on that).

It’s a sad commentary. But this year has been super hard for me. I have not grown, I don’t think; I’ve gone backwards. But that is a miracle. The treadmill was going backwards, and I didn’t fall off the end. And that, my friends, is victory. If that’s you, too, pat yourself on the back.

 

Happy New Year! May 2015 be a lit-tle easier on us, lol…

Approaching goodness (at least, that’s the title I started out with)

I’m doing a lot of reading of blogs, surfing around Facebook, nodding my head a lot, reblogging some … but in spite of all that, Christmas is still coming, lol…

I actually am feeling a kind of happy about it, which is unusual for me, because usually I am all about avoiding it, and dreading it.

Why?

Well, one reason is the lack of funds, but that’s not primary. When I can, I give my son some money, and give to the Christmas offering at church. Never could afford much more than that.

Well, that’s not true. I remember the first Christmas, as a kid with a paper route, when I was able to buy “something” for every of my then-9 siblings, for Mom, and for Dad. SO EXCITING! Maybe each item was under $5., but every gift was special, and thought through.

Over time, as I made more money, I was able to give more than a token gift. REAL exciting!

And then further along in time, as my illness has progressed, back to not being able to buy for anyone at all (I have bipolar, folks, which usually means depression and anxiety, which usually means, I am either between jobs, beginning one, or ending one. None of these phases lasts very long).

I can’t just blame the lack of gifting on the money. I went for five years not having contact with my family at all. My fault, the fault of the therapists, the fault, again, of the illness. [One of these days I will talk about “the fault of the therapists,” but not now. Not when I’ve digressed so well already].

So, uh, where were I?

Avoiding and dreading. Well, after the no contact thing, I started finding the whole Christmas thing very depressing. No family to sit around a table with, and a blatant refusal to enjoy it otherwise.

Why else did I avoid and dread it?

Well, there’s the depression thing. That.

That’s probably the biggest thing.

But wait, there is something even bigger than the depression. It’s the expectation that it will be depression. And even, the choice that it will be depressing.

How could that BE? Aren’t I just a victim of my illness?

Not quite. Really, I do have choices. Ok, not always, but sometimes.

Like, the last few years, I chose to attend a community dinner and bring along friends who don’t celebrate with THEIR families, for various and sundry reasons of their own.

It made me feel a part of, under the guise of being helpful to others.

I’m good at that last one.

So anyway, this year, I’m doing the same, the community dinner. Last year, my son came along, so that was really cool. Not sure what he is doing this year.

But anyway! I keep digressing!

What I want to say is, this year I am not just “supposed” to feel (here comes the list): Grateful, happy, excited, spiritual, close to the Lord, close to people …

I am actually feeling some of that!

And not in a manic-y scary sort of way. Just, kind of a normal feeling of happiness and anticipation.

WOW!

Oh did I fail to mention another reason I dread Christmas?

Yes I am undigressing a little, sorry.

I had a suicide attempt in December of 1985. Due to some of the reasons I listed above.

But I survived!

And every year I seemed to think I had to pay homage to the Anniversary of the Failed Suicide!

This year, nah, I don’t think I will do that.

I think I will be happy. And just allow that.

(and the other stuff on the list)

 

Run in the Right Direction

This video (click the word “video,” here) comes from a church in Hooksett, New Hampshire, called Emmanuel Baptist Church. I don’t go there but I’ve been there, and the message is so timely. How many of us are running in the wrong direction, away from God, or into things that will in no way help our situation? I don’t even need to name them – you know what they are. What is the right direction? You know what it is. I know you don’t want to hear it. Listen anyway.

Run in the right direction!

 

Here is a song that might help you find that direction:

Along the lines of “Don’t fix it” …

Just know that the holidays can really mess with your moods! Decide right now that you aren’t going to make any major decisions til they are over: Don’t move, don’t start a new job, don’t kill yourself, don’t drink, don’t sleep around, just focus on one day at a time, one holiday at a time. You will get through. And don’t worry about being weird, there are a lot of weirdos like you, like me, just surviving these days. They will pass!

And pretty soon after these tough times, the days on the calendar will progress, and spring will soon appear, in your heart and in your mind! Meanwile, find ways to survive, and thrive.

Now see, I’m not telling you to be grateful (you should be), I’m not telling you to lean on the Lord (you should be), just keep it simple!! And when you can, reach out and bless somebody!

Chorus:
One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

Did you know that Kris Kristofferson helped write this song? Check out some Wiki facts about “One Day At A Time” – and here are a couple of versions you might like:

One with Cristy Lane

and one with Lynda Randle

There now. You’ve gotten through a few more minutes!

Are you 100% sure …

… that if you died today, you would go to Heaven?

I know a lot of religions that say that you can never be sure! But can you imagine knowing that you are saved from Hell for all eternity? God says in His word:

 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. – 1 John 5:13

 It’s so exciting for me to know you’ve sought out this page! It means you’re willing to suspend your disbelief for just a few moments, and deal with who you are in the sight of God. Now that is courage! Take heart,

 

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage , and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait , I say, on the LORD. — Psalm 27:14

Now let’s dive in, and see what the Bible says about our spiritual condition:

 

We Have All Sinned

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

We are all sinners by nature and by choice. God sees all – our actions, thoughts, motives, and places we go. We all feel guilty and ashamed of things in our lives. 

We have a penalty for our sin

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23

Sin must be paid for. God says the payment is death. The Bible says that there are two deaths.

Physical Death God already knows the day we will die. We can’t avoid it – only prepare for it.

Spiritual Death When a soul dies unforgiven and pays for his own sins, he goes to Hell and then is cast into the lake of fire forever. Hell was not created for people, but for the Devil and demons. God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell.

A gift can’t be bought or earned. It can only be received. Forgiveness does not come through baptism, church, or good deeds. It only comes through receiving Jesus once and for all as a GIFT into our hearts by faith.

Yes, Jesus did die for everyone – but not every person is going to Heaven – only those who receive Jesus Christ. We can either receive or reject Him; there is no in between. No one is born with Him in their lives. He is a gentleman, and won’t come into our heart unless invited.

We can have the Saviour

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

God chose to let Jesus pay for our sin by taking our place on the cross. He was spat upon, whipped, beaten, and crucified. He loves you. He died, was buried, and arose after three days. He is in Heaven making room for you. If you were the only sinner in the world, Jesus would have died just for you. He loves you!

To be honest, most people have never had a definite time, place, and day to accept Jesus once and for all into their hearts. If this has ever happened to you, you would remember it! If you were to die unforgiven as you are, where does the Bible say you would go? Is that what you want?

You can be forgiven now.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Romans 10:13

If Jesus was willing to take you just as you are, wouldn’t you be willing to take Him, “just as He is”? Just ask Him now.

Right now, in your own words, pray and ask God to forgive you for being a sinner and to save you from Hell in Jesus’name.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. – 1 John 5:13 KJV

What a promise!

Please let me know about your decision to receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour so I can pray for you and help you from here!

Your relationship with God is actually the most important thing about you. That relationship will determine just about everything else in your life, even more than your education and occupation. Because your relationship with God must be right, you need to be in the right church to grow in Christ. Straight-from-the-Bible preaching is essential! It will instruct, guide, encourage, and challenge you to be all you can for the Lord! If you need help finding such a church, please send me a message and I will do what I can!

“Don’t Fix It” over the holidays…

There is a peace in just going with what works (the ole if it ain’t broke don’t fix it) – but of course the random thought occurs that maybe I could function better (read: WORK like a normal person) – if I just had my meds tweaked a little, if I just could have a little hypomania which gives me energy + confidence, if only if only … well, holidays can kick off a little wishful thinking + dysfunction so best not to even consider it til well after New Year’s. I will think about/talk about it more if need be then. Meanwhile – just enjoy being out of the hospital and not suffering the effects of dis-ease for at least a month, lol … xoxo and enjoy (in spite of ourselves, lol). God bless you!

Taken from a comment I wrote on another blog – (see my friend BP Nurse‘s blog, she’s great!)

Whosoever means Whooo-Soooo-Ever!

(This is from a 2011 blog that still applies.)

A friend of mine asked me today to remember her in prayer. Of course, I am always happy to do so, but she implies that God’s ear is more inclined

(or should I say, declined)

to hear my prayers.

Her request reminded me of a conversation I had with another friend, Donna, just yesterday. I’m pretty sure Donna won’t mind if I share it with you:

DDH: Good Morning, Friends! Hope each of you are happy and have a deep settled peace and joy within you today~~ if not, please allow me to pray for you, I am no one special, but any of us can go to God in prayer, the Word says He hears the sincere cries of our hearts – and that means ANY of us 🙂 ~ know that Jesus will fill the difficult places of your life with His peace, and yes, even with His joy~~ Blessings and love to each of you~~ ♥ 🙂

Here is my reply to Donna:

KCB: Love this! So many people ask me to pray for them, as if I have a special connection to God. Well, I do! But so does anyone who calls upon the Lord!

There are many many many verses that support what I said to her, including:

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I’m not special! But yet, you and I are both special to God! So SPEAK UP! God hears you!

 

Kneeeeee Mail!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to save things in my inbox to prompt me to remember stuff. Of course, it gets cumbersome after a while and I end up deleting the whole pile, wondering why I saved it in the first place.

One such email came from Dayspring.com, which is where I used to get and send a lot of email cards to friends – encouragement, birthday cards, and the like. Well, on a particularly stressful, sad day I received one with the subject line, “Your Worth Is Beyond Measure.”

Wow.

I received that on July 27, and it still gives me chills.

See, I have a friend who says that she lived with depression for most of her life. And the difference for her was discovering her value to God. “More than rubies!” She says.

And shortly before I got that email, she’d reminded me of that. “More than rubies!”

Only, I can’t seem to get that from my head to my heart.

And just writing that makes me cry.

So, I’ve kept the email, and as many emails as I’ve deleted, that one stays. Lord, help me to “get” that. I know You love me. But man… life is really hard sometimes.

My depression is more an energy thing, than a sadness thing. I am not “sad.” I’m frozen.

But, at times, yes I am sad.

Take this email:

Hello,

We’re the __________ a caring facility that provides specialized diagnosis and treatment services for children, adolescents and adults suffering from a wide range of psychiatric and addiction challenges. We’re contacting you regarding a challenging career opportunity for a very special, compassionate Registered Nurse who wants to work in our _______________ location where he or she can dramatically impact the lives of those in need.

Yes, I am an RN, and that advertisement came out of the blue to my inbox.

It made me sad.

I saved it until I could write this blog without tears.

Yea, nice try. (sniff)

You see, years ago, that ad would have been one to make me leap up with joy, and send off my resume without hesitation.

Today, not so much, because I know I can’t do that anymore.

There was a time I might have been able to.

But ironically my own “psychiatric and addiction challenge” makes it so I can’t accept “a challenging career.”

Even working in retail is too much of a challenge. (Not that retail is easy. No no no).

But I must remember: “My worth is greater than rubies.”

Sure. But it’s hard to believe that when you can’t “even” work.

But what I can do is enjoy my life.

So “they” say, lol.

Now I’ve been through many years of therapy, hospitalizations, outpatient programs, etc.

My greatest challenge is “accepting that I have a mental illness.”

I put that in quotes, because I can hear my therapist saying that to me (as he has, over and over and over. YUCK).

One of the things that all these programs recommend is to find those things that I enjoy, and do them. That’s supposed to help me enjoy my life.

Well, on a good day, a day when I thought to challenge myself (there’s that word again), I told myself, “enjoy your life!” and went to an arts and crafts store. Ironically, that’s the kind of retail store I last tried to work at, and failed.

Anyway, on that good day I signed up to take a crocheting class.

I am actually looking forward to it.

And trying to block my mind from the fact that “a challenging career opportunity for a very special, compassionate Registered Nurse” is not in my future.

But “Your Worth Is Beyond Measure.” That is something I could put my teeth around.

(Is that an expression? lol)

Well, in the immortal words of Elvis Presley: I need “Only Believe.” (Click the link)

I have to chuckle. Elvis, who died from drugs and alcohol, telling me to “Only Believe.”

But I think, even from the grave, it speaks to me.

One of the AA stories I used to hear is “How to become an old-timer,” a person with years and years of sobriety. They’d say, “Don’t Drink and Don’t Die.”

Pretty simple.

Meanwhile, as long as we have breath, there’s a chance (praise the Lord). So don’t drink. And don’t die.

It helps to send a knee mail, too. Because when I send a “knee mail” to God, praying on my knees, things happen.

Unfortunately, when I’m depressed, I forget. That’s when my friends kick in, and pray for me. Thank God! I’d never make it through without those prayers!

Mark 10:27 KJV

And Jesus looking upon them saith , With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

“A Christian Bipolar”: Say what?

I’ve been looking at the new title of my blog that refers to me as “A Christian Bipolar,” and I’m just not crazy about it. It fits, but I don’t like it. It sounds awkward, stilted. It fits .. but I don’t like it.

Well, let’s address the Christian part. I grew up Catholic, but when I was 13 and my parents divorced, we quit the church. I still tried a few times as an adult to go back, but it never really fit. (There’s that word again. Now I’m going to start talking about clothes, haha… but that’s a whole nother story).

Then in 2000 I met a lady who was a fellow employee at a nursing home. Pat was a CMT (Certified Med Tech) and I never understood how she could get all those meds into all those people and still be happy. But she was. One day, I asked her why, and she told me about the Lord Jesus Christ, and about this church where she went.

I didn’t go right away. But one day I was working at another facility (I was an agency nurse), and a lady and her 8 year old son came in to play music and sing to the patients. As I passed medications, they went room to room singing hymns. I kept trying to catch up with them; I really hungered to hear what they were singing. And by the time my shift was ended, I really really needed what they had, what Pat had, and what I didn’t. Now I don’t understand why I had this need. It had been building for a while, I guess, but this particular morning it felt really urgent.

The day that this mother and son came to the nursing home, it just happened to be a Sunday, and I just happened to have to drive by the church Pat had told me about. I’ve heard that referred to as a “God-Incidence” (as opposed to “coincidence”). Anyway, I got to the church between their early and late morning services.

It was like a party! There was rock-ish Christian music playing, and people were milling about drinking coffee and eating pastries. I felt at home right away, and began to go from person to person, asking after Pat. “Do you know Pat ___?” “Have you seen Pat ___?”

No one seemed to know her, but I knew in my heart that God had brought me to this place – literally, to this church, as well as spiritually. It was the perfect time.

The late morning service started, and people tucked their cups of coffee under their chairs and stood, facing the front. The music changed to a slower tempo. Some closed their eyes, and their bodies began to sway. I thought, hmm, this is different. The words to the song appeared on a screen in front, and people started singing. The words reached into my heart and ministered to my soul. It is hard to explain, but again, it was just what I needed, at the time that I needed it.

After a couple of songs, the pastor went up onto the stage and began to preach a message. An outline to the sermon appeared on the screen, along with different verses from the Bible.

I can’t say I remember what the sermon was that day, but I did start going to the church on a regular basis. I began to hear things like “Born Again,” and “Being Saved,” things about Jesus, and why He came, but I didn’t begin to understand until around Easter, when the pastor really addressed it. The scriptures spoke to my heart and convinced me that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. There is more here about that and it would be worth your while to read it. This was really the beginning of my Christian walk, and quite different from my Catholic background in a lot of ways. I’m not saying that if you’re Catholic you are on the wrong path, but I will say there are things I learned growing up that are not in the Bible. Say no more, say no more.

Since then, my chief aim in life has been to walk closer with the Lord and to be more like Him every day. I just have this extra “spice” of being bipolar that makes that really difficult sometimes.

Sounds like a very ordinary story, and really it is. I do know God brought me to that place and has accompanied me ever since – though there are places I truly wish He’d walked me around, instead of through. It’s worth it, though. I know where I am going when I die. The Bible says that “… the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.” (1 Samuel 12:22). Elsewhere, the Bible says, “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (Jeremiah 32:38) That gives me so much peace! To know I am His; to know He is mine.

Do read the page I referenced above, about salvation. You may not be ready now, but there may come a day when something happens that reminds you of “that place,” and you too need to go there, with some urgency in your heart. It is nice to know where to go, when you need to go Home, and never be alone again.

Like I said, it was not to my parents’ God I fled. It was to my own. I’ve never regretted it.

NANO NANO – no, not a Robin Williams reference…

November First begins what’s called “National Novel Writing Month.” I think it is 3 times that I have “won” – which means that I have challenged myself to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and made it! There are other years that I have made an attempt but for some reason – distraction, depression, distraction … yes I said it twice – have not been successful.

If you want more information go to http://www.nanowrimo.org.

This is really good for those of us whose internal editor is grossly overpaid. I think I am going to participate this year but I haven’t come up w/ a potential plot. I really haven’t tried yet. I think it would be fun to use my 27 year old as the main character. Who know? I might work out some conflicts that we have not discussed yet lol…

It’s interesting that I say I am so “into” writing but I still have difficulty writing this blog. Maybe if I write it as a “fictional” (wink wink nudge nudge) account I will be more active.

I appreciate everyone who has been following, making comments, and “liking” my blog so far!

Land of Confusion Part Deux

Maya God is not the author of confusion

 

This picture was the first thing I saw on my facebook this morning, so perhaps I am doing something right. The last line of my first blog was:

1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

So I kind of wonder if this is God’s way of confirming that I’m doing something right.

 

(Continuing from the description in part one)
This time the car veers sharply to the right, into a ditch, and halfway into a field. The car stalls out and will not start up again. Dust is flying around in front of the headlights, a la “Back to the Future,” like a mysterious fog. Or is that the engine smoking? I throw open the car door and leap out,.thinking the car might explode. Then, forgetting about the danger, I panic at the next thought. Wasn’t my son in the car? Did I just hit him? I throw myself to the ground, trying to see under the car. Where is he? Then I remember. He’s at work and his father is picking him up.

Relieved, and catching my breath, I notice there are lights on at the house across the street. It looks like there may be a party going on. I cross the road, hearing multiple voices, some of which are familiar to me. They’re waiting for me behind the house! It’s the marriage supper of the Lamb! I begin to run toward them, nearly falling on my face. I hear Todd, a man from the church I’d attended before. I hear the pastor of the church I now attend. I run behind the house, excited beyond belief. I am stunned when I reach the back patio and find that no one is there.

I go around to the front of the house and knock on the door. A man answers the door, and I beg to use the phone to call my son, a friend, anyone. While I am using his cell phone, he appears to be doing something. He seems rather nervous. I notice a strong smell of pot. It overwhelms me and I am afraid. I had never considered that I could be in danger by knocking on a stranger’s door. I thank the man for his help and leave quickly, thinking he could have a knife or something behind his back. I start back to the car and see that there is a police car and an ambulance parked behind it. I wonder why they are there. I begin to cry, relieved that once again I am safe from harm. As I ride to the hospital, the ambulance attendant’s voice alternates between Todd’s voice and the pastor’s. The attendant prays with me at my request, and I start crying afresh.

Hallucinations (experiencing things that are not real through the five senses) and delusions (holding beliefs that are not true) are often experienced in the manic phases of bipolar. You can see in the example above that I was hearing, seeing, and thinking things that seemed real to me at the time. During another episode, I believed that I was Mary, Jesus’ mother. God was speaking to me personally from out of the clouds. The clouds undulated and had colors, shapes, and very realistic human features. No one could have convinced me these things were not real.

After the car incident, I was in a psychiatric hospital for the better part of a month. The psychiatric hospital, to me, is a safe place that I know will bring me back to health. Whenever I’ve landed there, I’ve always known it was for my good. I don’t know why I have never fought it. I suppose it’s because by that point what’s going on with me is not fun. Besides, the staff is nice, the food is good, my needs are met, my medications are managed, and in short order I’m usually able to return home and care for myself. The hardest part, I think, is the long wait in the emergency room before one is transferred to the facility.

One area of patient care that can be neglected is spirituality. In the emergency room one time, I was (I think) acting in a safe manner, but really needing spiritual help. A chaplain was called, and I asked him to pray with me for a little while as I was waiting to be seen. The best he could come up with was a pat on the shoulder every few minutes and a “there, there.” I kept telling him, “No, I need you to pray with me, say a prayer.” I grew desperate and frustrated that he wouldn’t listen to me. How could a person wearing a priest’s collar in a religious facility not pray with someone who obviously needed it? I had the impression that he was afraid of me. He could not make eye contact at all. And I’m pretty sure I was not doing anything inappropriate that would give him pause.

There are different modalities of treatment used in the hospital once a person is admitted. Besides the locked door, medication, and adequately trained staff, there is an individualized treatment plan to meet the patient’s needs. I have a social worker who coordinates my therapies: group meetings, a psychiatrist who sees and evaluates me daily, different kinds of recreation, and occupational therapy. There is very little free time. Inevitably there is a patient or two with whom I can relate. There is nothing like a friend who knows what you are going through who can commiserate. Again, I have found that spiritual needs are not addressed. Other than that, the treatment provided helps me to develop skills I can use on the “outside.”

Funny, that term “on the outside” is reminiscent of prison vocabulary! And I suppose that is one reason some patients object to being put in the hospital. Some are admitted against their will, once it’s determined that they are a danger to themselves or others. Once there, a patient has few choices. They cannot leave the building unsupervised and without being approved to do so. The doors are locked, and if a person becomes violent, they are restrained and placed in a padded room. But all of the above is for their safety. They may react to these interventions with anger, yelling and even throwing things. That is the one thing that’s difficult for me when I’m in the hospital. I react very strongly to loud noises and anger, and some patients who are ill do act out angrily and I feel threatened. But the staff is trained to deal with that and can usually keep everyone safe.

There are patient advocates in most communities who actively work on passing legislation to protect patients’ rights. These rights must be respected whether a person is in the hospital, and/or when law enforcement becomes involved on the outside. I agree that patients should not be restrained or medicated unnecessarily, but there are times when this is necessary. This will protect them, other patients, and the staff, who have a right to be safe as well. In fact, I briefly worked as a nurse in a combination psychiatric and chemical dependency unit. I enjoyed it tremendously, but there were times that I felt very threatened. I also had to take care of people who were on the wrong side of the law, including pedophiles, and it really traumatized me sometimes. The final straw was the time I was standing between two patients who were about to come to blows. I tried to intervene by talking them out of it, and one punched the other in the nose, right above my head (yes, I am vertically challenged, lol).

There are times, I know, when law enforcement or staff overreacts to a person having symptoms of mental illness when they are a threat to themselves or others. Advanced training is continually enabling them to work with the mentally ill, to be more sensitive to our issues, and to better know how to help us. Certainly there is a lot more to learn, and the care of those with mental illness can be improved all the time.

 

In the next blog I will be talking a bit about the effect of psychiatric disorders on family and friends, and also about the importance of having support when you have a mental illness.

 

PS: This image was on my Facebook after I finished this blog entry. Doo doo doo doo …

 God is the author