The Day I Felt Nothing

The Day I Felt Nothing

Hello Friends,

It was like any other day, secretely, unknowingly, holding on to hope that a person is capable of real change. I came to this realization when I found myself terribly upset when someone did what they are known for doing. Honestly, what kind of person would allow themselves to continue to get terribly upset at the fact that a leopard cannot change its spots? What kind of person would allow themselves to go into a mental coma simply because the sun is rising and setting as it should each day.

On this special day something miraculous happened. I was able to see the error in my ways. I was able to realize that no matter what I did, things that are meant to be will simply be. Whether I agree with how they are or not. A leopard will always have their spots, the IRS will always want their money, and the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.

As my eyes were opened, my heart slowly began stepping out of the woods covering her eyes from the glare. Asking herself, “Am I out?” She immediately feels lighter and safer. She feels the warm sun and its making her radiant, inside and out. She stretches out her arms and legs. She sits up straight realizing she has been hunched over for too long. She looks out in front of her towards the tall trees and the beautiful skyline. She sees everyone that has been calling her name, directing her out of the dark forest. She sees Jesus, family, friends, loved ones. She drops to her knees and apologizes for ever doubting his love and power. Now as she furthers into the unknown of her journey, she is set free. Happily tackling every obstacle like the warriors we are.

I was feeling good after this experience, but then there was something else I needed to do. A ritual I kind of developed since I was a teenager, I suppose. To be honest, I never thought about it until after I did it this last time. Although this particular night where the crickets were extra loud and the cool breeze was blowing around my hair, I went to the gas station and bought a pack of cigarettes. I was never a regular smoker. I guess someone you would call a social smoker. Anyway, the last time I had a cigarette was almost seven years ago when I became clean. I sat outside in my car, lit a cigarette, and started jamming to old school R&B. I listened to everyone from Switch to Keyshia Cole to Jeremih. Sang. Lit another one. Sang. Took a deep breath and I felt nothing. No pain. No guilt. No condemnation. No confusion. No jealousy. No curiosity. No death.

This beautiful women is not me, by the way! ☺️

There is absolutely nothing in this world like freedom. You guys! You have no idea how many times I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought this torture was going to last forever. I was fighting myself everyday. Literally battling with the world and the Word; trying to stick to the idea that there is an entity that claims to be The Creator of all AND on top of that loves me unconditionally?? Me?? But this….this moment, that day, me graduating college, homeschooling during a pandemic (and I’m not going to get into all of the things we had going on) and today, TODAY… my heart and I are walking hand in hand out of the forest.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” -Luke 19:10

Jesus is with me. He is with you. Every step I take in trusting him, the more I fell comfortable trusting him. Thank God he is not a liar nor manipulator like the real enemy. Once God helped me to realize that it is not our loved ones who intend on hurting us, but the influence of an evil entity, it helps recognizing that days like the day I felt nothing needs to happen more often. In saying that, not everything is Satan’s fault. God is more powerful and is calling all of us to do something with our existence to continue to spread the Message. It is our responsibility to either answer or not answer. And when we answer, we will become mentally and spiritually aware that we are free. Then we will be living and acting like the Princes and Princess’ we truly are. Not allowing ourselves to be feed table scrapes when we have banquet tables awaiting us.

Thank you so very much for allowing me to share my thoughts. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

P.S. I didn’t finish the cigarettes. After the two, I was cool as a breeze and threw the rest of the pack away. Weird ritual for closure, I guess. *shrugs*

Love Letter From Depression Part 2

Hello Ashley,

This is Depression. How are you? Well, don’t answer that. You know I really don’t care. You know what I do care about is why we haven’t been spending time together like we used to? I mean, I see you every once in a while. Every time I think we are going to get back together, you leave me for a guy name Jesus. Like, why? What does he have that I don’t?

You cannot deny it, Ashley. We were so good together. You loved me, I loved you. All we needed was each other. And then this Jesus character came along and told you that you would be better without me. I was shocked! I never thought you would see me for who I really am. I honestly thought we would be together forever.

Remember, we used to have the best times together. I miss your tears of loneliness and hopelessness. I miss how we used to stay in bed together for days, even weeks at a time. I miss how you used to put me ahead of your family. Now you act like you never had such a wonderful, miserable history. You used to tell me how I was the only consistent entity in your life. Now I feel like I am nothing to you.

It’s pretty obvious that whoever this Jesus is that he means more to you than I ever have. That’s how I know he’s powerful because I used to be your whole world. Now all of a sudden he is. I’m angry and hurt because now I know I’ve lost my best victim.

I will never let you go. I will always come back and visit to see if you’ll take me back, I will never stop loving you. But because I see that you are stronger than you have ever been, I’ll have to bring my A game.

Love,

Depression

Click here to read Love Letter from Depression Part One

New Life

Hey Friends,

For about 8 months now, I’ve noticed that I have begun giving less life into the mental and physical diagnosis. By giving life, I mean, I’ve stopped giving it so much attention. I thought I was spreading awareness by blogging about it day and night and making new Instagram and facebook post. But at some post, I had to not only bring awareness but bring solutions.

When you go into a doctors office and you are diagnosed with an illness that you’ve never heard of before, your next question is, “now what? What do I do next?” You’ve become aware of the illness, so how do you deal with it? What treatments are available to your recovery?

As a society, it is my opinion that we give too much life to bad situations that we are dealing with in our lives. Yes, we want people to know. Yes, we want them to be aware that there is an epidemic. We may even want empathy and compassion. But what about the people who are going through it themselves? I like to call them the “middle man”. The middle man is aware of the problem because they are dealing with it. But what do they do next?

I was following this young girls page on Instagram. She struggles with a few mental disorders. I couldn’t help but feel that she was attention seeking because her page was dedicated to bringing awareness to mental illness, but she never offered any solutions. She would post when she felt suicidal. She would post about all of the different therapy sessions she had to attend, but then there was one post that let me know that she had no intention of dedicating her life to getting better (from my perspective, anyway).

When I first started following her, I thought she was a middle man. That was a mistake.

When I would offer her encouraging words and advice on ways to live a happy life with mental illness, she immediately became offended. Here’s my theory on why:

Some people are addicted to their misery. Some people are addicted to the attention that they receive from their struggle. Some people are addicted to being the victim. So, we continue to give life to those struggles. We then create a non-stop cycle that becomes impossible to remove ourselves from.

I was in that cycle at one point. I had to learn to stop giving life to those situations and give life to solutions. For me, Jesus was THE solution for the illness’ I faced, amoungst ones that my therapist would suggest; taking a walk, eating healthier, plays games with my children, etc. Whenever I felt bad or became manic, He received more and more of my attention. I began giving life to His Word in my life.

We have the capability of manifesting the good and bad things that happen. I believe this is why negative people are always negative. I know someone who has nothing but negative things to talk about, every time I talk to her. No matter what is going on, good or bad, she’ll see the negative perspective; melancholy personality type.

If you find yourself in this cycle it will be hard to get out of, but it is possible. This is why Jesus says he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the way through your struggle. He is the truth through the enemies lies. He is the life that your heart desires.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. May God bless you and please remember to pray for one another.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” -John 14:6

October Theme: Can You Rush Forgiveness?

October Theme: Can You Rush Forgiveness?

Hey Friends,

Short answer. Hell no! Many of us would like to think that when we say sorry to someone we’ve hurt, that they should automatically forgive us. And not only automatically forgive, but forget it as well. Then, everything will magically go back to normal. I’m here to tell you, friends, that is not how it works.

I’ve known (let’s call her Jane) since I was a small child. Jane and I have known each other for a very, very long time. She is what I would call eclectic. She has her own way of thinking. She is very outspoken about how she feels with little to no regard on how it may make the other person feel. Most of the time it comes from a place of love, and other times I question if she finds joy in hurting people with her words. For the past couple of years, Jane and I haven’t been as close because I believe that she is suffering from a mental illness that causes her extreme outburst and delusions. And when I brought it to her attention, let’s just say she wasn’t happy about it.

So, I’ve been slowly detaching myself from Jane mainly because I’m unable to handle her “outburst” and I don’t think I’m the only one. I am noticing there are a few people in Janes life that feel the same way. Some people are doing what I am doing and slowly detaching themselves; only communicating with her every once in a while. Other people have abandoned her altogether. And sadly, other people only come around her when they need a favor or if she can provide a service to them.

One thing about Jane is that she expects people to forgive her right away after one of her outburst. Her outburst is what many would call indiscriminate expression. Indiscriminate Expression is when someone tells anybody and everybody exactly how they are feeling. It may feel good to Jane when she is verbally “letting off steam”, but this form of expression has the potential to destroy relationships; family, friends, and work.

I for one have been on the tail end of Janes indiscriminate expression and it has broken my heart so many times. I find myself reluctantly forgiving her because I know that she will do it again. But God says that we must forgive because “He [God] has forgiven us” (Matthew 6:14). Also, one thing I must remember is that God loves her just as much as He loves me and if you know God that way that I do, He is really big on loving one another (John 15:12).

Sometimes we don’t like to forgive because we feel like we are letting that person “off the hook” for the how they hurt us. But forgiving has more to do with us, than the other person. When we hold onto hate or hurt, it can rot us from the inside out. In Psalm, David explained that when he “refused to confess his sin, [his] body wasted away” (Psalm 32:3). Plus, it causes anger, frustration, and a number of other negative emotions. Then you may find yourself taking it out on other people that don’t deserve it. 

One day, I want Jane and all of the Janes of the world to know that when they hurt someone, do not put pressure on that person to forgive them right away. Just because you have moved on from it, doesn’t mean that person has. It is an unfair expectation. AND if you are a repeat offender, it may be possible that although you’ve said sorry, and that person has forgiven you, they may not want to have the same relationship with you as they did before. I love Jane and I will always love her. I have forgiven her for the hurt that she has caused me, but do I have any interest in rebuilding a relationship with her? Absolutely not!

God says that I have to forgive her, but nowhere does He say that I have to have the same relationship with her as I did before. God doesn’t want us to be doormats to other peoples abuse. Nor does He expect us to immediately forget the pain that was caused. God knows that forgiveness is a process for both parties.

So, if you have a Jane in your life, pray to God to help you forgive them so YOU can have peace of mind because malice and love for Jesus CANNOT coexist in the same heart. And if you are a Jane, pray to God to help guard your lips against any sinful words/actions and to help heal whatever is going on with you that is making you lash out.

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. -Psalm 141:3

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. Please read my related post Journey to Forgiving Yourself and Please Forgive Me. I pray you are having a wonderful start to your week. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. -1 John 1:9

Motivation Monday: What is Mania To You?

Motivation Monday: What is Mania To You?

Hey Friends,

In my last post, Sometimes We’re Not Who We Think We Are, I discussed how I was experiencing a manic episode. It was a proud moment because, since my diagnosis, this is the first time I’ve been able to recognize it and be proactive before I did something I would regret later.

Today, I would like to talk about how I got through it and signs that you may see in your loved ones that they may be struggling with the same illness. Most times, it’s more helpful if you are able to see the signs first and present them with it versus seeing the signs and not saying anything at all.

Related Post: She Must Be Crazy– How to Approach A Loved One Who May Have A Mental Illness

First, let me explain WHAT IS A MANIC EPISODE?

According to Psychology.org, a manic episode is a symptom of Bipolar Disorder in which one experiences “a mood state characterized by a period of at least one week.”

Signs of a Manic Episode

  1. “I’m Totally Fried, Man!”- Feeling wired, jumpy, and more upbeat than normal
  2. “Not So Sleeping” Beauty – You have a decreased need for sleep

3. “Natual Beer Goggles” – You have an exaggerated sense of well being; always in a euphoric state of mind. You feel untouchable

4. “Chatty Cathy” – You are extremely talkative about any and everything. You begin speaking really fast as if you are unable to get your words out fast enough

5. “You Said What Now?” – You are easily distracted. You are unable to stay on one topic or project at a time. You jumped from one thing to another without skipping a beat. 

6. “I’m Feelin’ Friskay” – Bluntly put…you feel the need to have sex all of the time; hypersexuality. 

 

Now, the above are just average symptoms. Some people experience all of them, some people experience only some of them. Just to give you an idea, below are the symptoms that I experience.

How did I recognize that I was manic?

  • I began coming up with “brilliant” ideas that are exaggerated and unreasonable to everyone else
  • I started to spend money on things that we didn’t need as a family (when normally I am a penny pincher).
  • I found myself talking really fast about any and everything. I also began shaking while talking (which is new).
  • I started taking on a bunch of new projects and assignments that in essence, started to become overwhelming. Once one project became overwhelming, I would quit it and start a new one.
  • I began thinking about things that would destroy my family; I began seeking attention from other people besides my husband (I didn’t act on any, thank you, Jesus).

There are so many ways that you can get through a manic episode because once it is over, you will experience a fall of deep depression. For me, I have to prepare myself and my family for it.

How Do I Get Through A Manic Episode?

  1. I inform my healthcare team – I immediately let my husband know what I was going through and the things I need him to do to support me through it. I involve him because truthfully, I need help with monitoring my behavior. A lot of times, I don’t remember things that I have said or done. So, open communications and complete transparency is necessary.
  2. I DO NOT make any major decision – I relinquish complete control to my husband. I communicate with other people who may ask me to make major decisions. I simply tell them that I am unable to decide at that time. Usually, people are understanding. Use your own decretion on whether or not you want to share why.
  3. I attend support groups in my area – It is important NOT to isolate yourself. When I isolate myself, I convince myself to do all kinds of unhealthy activities. It’s healthy to talk things out around people who understand so they can say, “yea, maybe that’s not such a good idea.”
  4. I prepare yourself for the “deep depression” fall – Everyone is different. For me, when I fall, I fall hard. I isolate. I withdraw. I stop eating. I stop living. Since I know this about myself I prepare by:
    1. Communicating with my husband about my needs
    2. Set five goals that I will meet per day no matter what. Even if it’s as simple as brushing my teeth and washing my face.
    3. Walk outside (even if it’s to the car and back)
    4. Not putting pressure on myself to get better.

Bipolar Disorder is real but extremely manageable. If you have it or if you a have a loved one who has it, know that your life isn’t over. I pray that this explanation helps. I will be praying for everyone who is struggling. Please email me at HarotianEssentials@yahoo.com if you have a prayer request for you or your loved one who is struggling or if you just want to talk or have questions.

Thank you for all your time. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

“You are not your illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle.” ~ Julian Seifter

 

**Pics and Gifs are borrowed from Google**

Mania, O How I Miss Thee?

Mania, O How I Miss Thee?

The other night, I was lying in bed and I suddenly began to have thoughts and memories of my longest manic episode. I’ve had flashbacks before, but this one was different. My window was open to allow the cool summer breeze create the most wonderful aroma throughout my bedroom. I could hear the birds singing to each other as if they were making love songs. And the crickets were chirping as if they knew exactly what I was thinking.

Before, I spoke about the crazy things that I did during Mania. How I’ve messed up friendships and put myself in dangerous situations. But there was a side of Mania that will always have my heart.

During a Manic episode, I felt on the top of the world. I’ve never felt more confident then I did during Mania. I had goals and I would stop at nothing to finish them. Since I stayed up 20-21 hours out of the day, I was able to accomplish things on my to-do list. I was funny, outgoing, and very likable.

I was able to make friends easily because I didn’t care what others thought about me. I loved every part of myself, no matter how crude or deranged I came across as being. I never doubted or regretted the choices that I made. I felt I was truly free.

Free from the prison of self-doubt and condemnation. Free from sadness and loneliness. Free from guilt and shame.

It was only until after a manic episode, I could see the destruction I had caused. During an episode, I had Bipolar goggles on; they gave me a warped point of view.

As I was lying in bed, missing Mania and how wonderful it used to feel. I began to realize something even more wonderful…

That my relationship with Jesus gives me the same freedom that Mania gave me. The only difference is with Jesus, I am truly FREE from self-doubt and condemnation (There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. -Romans 8:1).

I am truly FREE from sadness and loneliness (You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. -Col. 2:13)

I am truly FREE from guilt and shame (Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven. -Isa. 6:7).

Mania deceived me from the very beginning like Satan deceived Adam and Eve.

I have a new life. I am a new me. I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to be Manic to feel special or worthy. I am a child of God. He is my mania. He is my strength and my fortress. He is my Comforter and Healer. He is the great I Am.

Farewell Mania. We’ve had some good, crazy times, but it’s time to let you go.

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. I pray your day is going well and that you are finding the comfort of arms of our wonderful Abba Father.  Please remember to pray for one another.

“You are not your illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle.” ~ Julian Seifter

Days Like Today

Days Like Today

Good Day Friends,

Today is a good day. Although the sun is behind thick stratus clouds, the birds are chirping, the temperature is just right, and God was kind enough to wake us up this morning.

It’s days like today that I look forward to. Some call it the light at the end of the tunnel. Other’s call it the rainbow after a storm. I like to call it proof that God hears my prayers for peace and unconditional love. It’s days like today that I pray for when I’m in the midst of mental turmoil.

Image result for sunrise jpg

So now my mind is clear enough to take care of the things that I need to take care of; return phone calls, text messages, emails. Catch up with family members and friends to let them know I haven’t forgotten about them. And most importantly, come out of emotional and physical isolation from the world and my family.

I know some of you have commented that isolation is needed to gather your thoughts and recuperate from everyday life. Sorry if I was unclear, but in my last post, Isolation, I was speaking more about unhealthy isolation. Like, crawling under your blankets to hide from the world. Drawing your shades to not allow any kind of sunshine to illuminate my home. Not talking to anyone about anything for any reason, For example, the past couple of weeks, I’ve isolated myself from my family and friends, church, and sometimes even my kids. I’m speaking of the kind of isolation that makes you want to sleep for 22 hours out of the day so I don’t have to think about the dreads of life.

While studying my bible, God revealed to me in 1 Peter 5:9 that says

Stand firm against him [the devil], and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I’m not the only one going through this. A lot of times, I feel selfish for whining and crawling into a ball when it becomes overwhelming. I suppose that’s what separates those who struggle with mental illness and those who do not.

Today, I’ve decided to cut myself a break and enjoy the peace that God has granted me. I have come a long way and I will celebrate that by loving more on my kids and praise God every chance I get.

Oh, and I found out yesterday that I’ve gained 12 pounds since April (YAYYYY!!) and I found a therapist to see me asap. There are so many things to be grateful for.

Peace. Love. Happiness in Jesus.

Related image

 

**Pictures borrowed from google pics**

Isolation

Isolation

Experts say that isolating yourself isn’t healthy for your mind. In isolation, it is easy for your mind to deceive and betray you. Look at the prison system. It’s used as a form of punishment for a reason.

For me, isolation is my “go to” when my mind is completely exhausted from the hustle and bustle of mental wellness. I hear so many people tell me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of not being ok all of the time, but there is something in my brain that tells me that I should be embarrassed about not being ok.

Today, I logged back into social media to check a page that someone recommended to me. I ran across a picture that had a very inspirational post that said something like, “I am grateful for all of the blessing that God has given me.” 

My immediate feeling was guilt. Here I am, mind filled with “why can’t I move past this feeling of disparity”…I should be grateful for all of my wonderful blessings, right? So I must be a terrible person for not feeling grateful? Honestly, I didn’t want to blog this experience because I began to think that you guys would start to feel like, “Oh no…here’s another ‘whoa is me, I’m so sad’ post from Ashley again.” Truthfully, at some point, I want to look back at this journey and say, “Whoa, I really went through it. It was very real and very raw.” So that’s why I decided to blog how I am feeling today. Anyway, I digress.

Before I was approved for insurance, which was a very long battle, I had to find ways to get through my mental breakdowns. One way I dealt with it was I fixed my focus on God and began to attend church five to six days a week. It was a way I’ve coped to stay out of my own head. Now that I am insured, I kind of let it slip my mind that can afford to attend counseling. Like real, professional counseling. Big shocker right. Today’s emotions reminded me of that. Having everyday feelings of embarrassment, guilt, fear, despair, anger, and frustration is not and should not be apart of everyday life. It should not be a struggle to get through moment by moment every day. And currently, that is where my life is.

God is a huge part of my recovery, meds are another part, and now counseling has to be the final piece, right? At least I’m hoping.

So, while I am feeling embarrassed about not being ok, I seclude myself; put on a brave smile and say, “yea, I’m fine” when clearly I am not. Not responding to phone calls or text messages. And when I do respond it’s with short, quick answers.

I mean, if I’m tired of not being ok, then my loved ones must be tired of it too? This goes for mental and physical illness. Seeing that I have been struggling mentally, I do believe it is the cause of my current lupus flare; you know body aches and pain, migraine, muscle fatigue, etc.

Tomorrow’s goal is to find a counselor that takes my insurance so I can begin to heal and talk out some of the issues that I am having. For some reason, I thought by throwing myself into the church, I would find healing, but that was just another distraction.

Ah, yes, distractions. Those can be deceiving as well. We think we are ignoring the problem, solving the problem…when in fact we are just distracting ourselves from the problem. Although I love my church home, their not God. Make sense?

Ugh, I don’t know what I mean or what I want this post to be about. This post was more of a rant and not very well thought out. Just a bunch of thoughts put together like ingredients in a meat pie. You don’t know what a meat pie is? My point exactly!

Please pray for me as an I try to find someone to help me because I can’t live like this anymore. My family deserves better.

Peace. Love. Happiness in Jesus. Please remember to pray for one another.

 

**Image borrowed from google pics**

Well, At Least You’re Not…

Well, At Least You’re Not…

Hello Friends,

I really try not to tell you guys “what to” and “what not to” do. I mean, we are all adults and I don’t want to come off as someone who knows it all. Plus, there are a lot of blogs who say, “do this or don’t do this” and they come across very condescending. So, personally, I like to share what has worked for me, hoping that while sharing my experience, I can give you an idea on how to deal with your situation…advice, if you will.

But this post is different. I will absolutely say with certainty that when are talking to someone with a mental illness, there are just some things that you should not say. Not only will it sound insensitive, but it may very well drive them over the edge.

One thing not to say to someone with a mental illness is, “Well, at least you’re not…” (followed by a tragic event happening in the world). For example, if I say, “I can’t deal with life anymore” and then you say, “Well at least you’re not facing deportation and having your kids taken by the government.”  Although this statement may be true, it does not mean it is appropriate.

Why you ask? Well because mental illness is more about the personal hell that the individual is living in their own mind and less about their circumstances. If you have been connected to social media, then you will know that there has been an increase in suicides from very rich, influential people. Well, I guess you can say that it’s not just recently because some of the richest, most popular people were known to be the most depressed; Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Whitney Houston, and now Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade…either all died from suicide or drug overdoses.

Night time is the worst time of the day for me. When everything is silent, my thoughts are the loudest. If I am not asleep by 10 p.m. I become frustrated because then I know I will be extremely tired the next morning (whenever I fall asleep). And that alone is hard because my kids are early risers. So the more time that does by, the angrier I get, and the louder my thoughts get. Fear plays a large part in my insomnia because I fear for what awaits me in dreamland. My dreams have not been the best for the past few months. Honestly speaking, I’ve been having nightmares. To the point where I wake up screaming in my sleep.

My five year old woke me up with this afternoon because I was screaming while we tried to lie down for a nap. I have tried natural sleep aids, tea, tiring myself out during the day…nothing seems to work. My doctor prescribed Seroquel 50mg to help stabilize my mood, along with Depakote (yip-freaking-dee), fight depression, and help me sleep. But honestly, if I take one more pill for one more thing my head is going to explode. I am a freaking walking Walgreens. I’m sure in a 1,000 years after the apocalypse and they come across a sample of my feces, they’ll be shocked by the number of medication one person could have in their system. I’m sure my poop will be a living species of its own. Sheesh! It’ll be in a museum titled, “The 21st Century Creature Formed From Prescription Medication Epidemic”. Ugh!

I just want to scream, but then my kids are sleeping. So I’ll just let out a loud grunt, “GRRRRRRRRRR”.

Anyway, this is my personal hell. I may not have my kids being torn away from me, but it doesn’t make my struggle any less real or fragile than anyone else’s. So I don’t want to hear anyone’s crap. This is hard, dammit! I’m doing the best the I can with what I can. Take it or leave  take it.

Peace. Love. Happiness in Jesus.

Not Just Staying Alive

Not Just Staying Alive

Hello Friends,

Thank you to everyone who has left kind, encouraging words under my blogs. Like I’ve said before, there are not enough words in the universe to express my gratitude. Your words help my flame flicker when I feel it is about to go out.

This week was a hard week, but God showed his mercy and love the entire way through. I recognize that I am more blessed than most. I have supportive family members who understand my illness and try to help the best way they can.

I have a church family that I can call to gain spiritual counsel when I am feeling weary and mad at God, and I have you guys who inspire me to continue to write. It’s a miracle if I’ve ever seen one.

550-henry-ward-beecher-quote

It is truly my faith in God that keeps me grounded. This week my faith was tested. A few days ago, I found myself screaming at God, “What more do you want from me!” as I felt abandoned. I had faith that he would provide, but I was frustrated not knowing when he would while other hardships kept piling up; more and more things kept happening, pushing me to become more discouraged every second of every day. It was to the point where all I could pray was, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” because I didn’t know what else to say.

A lot of people have their opinion about taking medication for mental disorders. Some people believe say it is all in your head while others think that my depression is situational or circumstantial. I’m here to tell you it is not. I have been manic when things were perfect in my life. I have been 100% well when things have been falling apart. One thing that I have learned mistake, after mistake, after mistake, is that for me, having Bipolar Disorder I and Manic Depression has to managed with medication. It has to be.

My faith in Jesus is 1/3 of my treatment, medication is 1/3, and Christian counseling is the other 1/3.

I now see that bad things are going to happen in our lives, whether you are a Christian or not. God makes that perfectly clear in his word. When sin came, so did our desires for sin,  sin against ourselves and sin against other people. It’s human nature. And the Lord knows that I have sinned a lot! Everything that I do is centered around The Holy Trinity because it is the only way for me to live this life with the shame, guilt, and disappointment that Jesus says he died to take from me.

If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. -Hebrews 9:26 nlt

Otherwise, shame and guilt would consume me. I’ve done some jacked up stuff guys! Like, realllll jacked up! But knowing that he bore that shame for me at the cross gives me the courage to live my life with him walking alongside me because I have my children looking up to me; copying my every move, watching all of my decision, counting on me to provide for them and educate them.

I recently read a quote that says

Christ is not a resevoir but a spring. His life is continual, active and ever passing on with an outflow as necessary as its inflow. If we do not perpetually draw the fresh supply from the living Fountain, we shall either grow stangant or empty. It is, therefore, not so much a perpetual fullness as a perpetual filling/ -A.B. Simpson

Taking medication every day to ensure my mind has the correct chemical balance, and regularly going to each of my doctors and counseling appointments, I have to stay connected to Jesus. He is my lifeline. Otherwise, I would have ended my life a long time ago.

10y6jv

At one time, I felt so much shame as a mother, I thought of leaving them in the care of my family members would be better for them. But that was the enemy talking and that was before I knew how to give my shame to Jesus. It is still a daily battle, but with the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20), I will be called home by Jesus and not by my own hands.

1-john-4-16

Please love one another as God loves you. Pray for another as the Holy Spirit prays for you. And help one another as Jesus helps you. I love you all. Please stay safe out here. It doesn’t matter what part of the country you are in, there is always someone suffering. Stay blessed, family.

bef7b525fd13fbe3e03b9b4bd319b40e-piano-quotes-radiohead

 

*all images from google pics*

 

Being Eeyore At A Tigger Party

Being Eeyore At A Tigger Party

Hello Friends,

If you are unfamiliar, Eeyore is a character in the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A. A. Milne. He is well known for his gloomy, depressed personality. Truthfully speaking, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized why Eeyore was my favorite character out of all the others. I could relate. No matter what was going on, he was sad. The difference between Eeyore and I was that I felt the need to mask my sadness, even as a child.

I remember being told a few times throughout my life that “no one wanted to be around someone who was sad all of the time.” This forced me to put on such “mask” because I didn’t want to be shunned by society. Honestly, I love people. I love the energy that people provide, I love their smiles, I love helping them when they are in need, I love humanity as a whole. So, I did what I had to do to be a part of society. I hid. Hiding created anxiety because I didn’t want to be discovered. I didn’t want anyone; family, friends, co-workers, God…to see my sadness. I needed everyone to know I was ok, like everyone else. But let me tell you, once you suppress something long enough, it would eventually bubble to the surface. Trust me.

Recently, I’ve been faced with social anxiety. My sadness has reared it’s ugly head and I can no longer contain it with my own strength (if you guys haven’t been able to notice), thus causing extreme anxiety. Sadness is not something I can’t control, nor is it something that I voluntarily chose to have (like some would like to think). This is why it is called a “mental illness”.

My church started offering a social event called, Parents Connect. It’s a night where parents come together once a month, without their children, and socialize. I tried to attend the first event. I drove the twelve minutes to get there, grabbed my purse, stepped out of my car, checked the rearview mirror to see if I had anything on my face, walked to the door, and looked through the window like a creep. I suddenly felt the need to turn around and run (which I did, well more of a fast paced walked). My palms became sweaty, I began to shake and tremble. It was horrible. It was the beginning of a full-blown anxiety attack. I saw all of those parents who were well dressed, smiling, laughing, enjoying themselves. Honestly, I just felt like I wouldn’t fit in. So, I ran. Sat in my car for the next hour reading a book…in the church parking lot because I was too ashamed to come home and tell my husband that I couldn’t handle it.

How did Eeyore do it? How was he so sad all of the time, yet was able to have fun with Tigger and the rest of his friends during social events? If you are unfamiliar with Tigger, he is also a character in Winnie-the-Pooh. His personality was very exuberant, friendly, and energetic. The complete opposite of Eeyore. I believe the reason why Eeyore was able to be sad but still have friends was that he didn’t put on a mask. He didn’t have to suppress his sadness because that’s just who he was. He accepted it and his friends did too.

Which brings me to my next point, anxiety just isn’t anxiety. Anxiety is the result of a deeper, rooted issue. For me, my rooted issue is fear. Fear of being discovered. Fear of judgement. Fear of rejection. When I saw the other parents living it up like it was 1999, I was afraid. I was afraid that I would walk in like Eeyore at a Tigger party, except they would judge me or treat me like a leaper because “no one likes to be around a person who is sad all of the time.” So I ran and spent time with the only person I knew wouldn’t judge me; Jesus. If you thought I was going to say myself, that would have been a whole lie because I judge myself all of the time.

I’ve been feeling really anxious lately, but then God revealed to me it is due to fear. Once I thought about it, I couldn’t help but agree. I am truly afraid. I’m afraid all of the time. I’m afraid for my children’s future. I’m afraid of what people may say about my appearance or health. I’m afraid of certain family members and their judgement. I’m afraid of the choices I’ve made and the result of them. I’m afraid that I may never get better. Any of this sound familiar? If not, it wouldn’t surprise me that I’m the only crazy worrying about this kind of nonsense because let’s be honest, who cares what people think? Or better yet, why do I care? Because I’ve always cared. It’s been a driving factor in my life to do well and be in the “elite class” of humanity. And when I fall short, I am judged, thus creating fear. I wish I wasn’t like this. I pray every day for the Lord to take it away, but then if I don’t have it, will I still have the passion that I have for humanity as a whole? Ok, I think I’m going down a rabbit hole with this one.

Louie Giglio, a pastor at Passion City Church, wrote, “The antidote to fear is faith, and the soundtrack of faith is worship.” When we are feeling fearful or anxious, this is the time to draw closer to God.

We must remind ourselves that he is able by refocusing on him and his plan for our lives. Did you know that in the Bible, God tells us to “fear not” 366 times? That’s every day of the year including leap year. Fear and anxiety is not something we are supposed to carry.

It is easy to say, I will not let fear reign over me when it feels like my chest has an elephant sitting on it. I have to remind myself that God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 

I know his plans for me aren’t to walk around in fear, that’s what Satan wants. He is not of God of fear, but a God of mercy and righteousness. His gift of grace does not include fear, anxiety, depression, addiction, anger, hopelessness, rejection, nor judgment. Those are the enemies tricks and lies.

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. -Romans 3:21-24

Next time you feel anxious about anything, I recommend you to do two things: (1.) Find the root of the anxiety so whatever fruit you bear will be free of it (2.) Draw nearer to Jesus because he bore that fear and punishment for you on the cross. Give it to God!

Remember, as I stated Prayer Is The Best Medicine. Pray for yourself, pray for others, pray for those in need, which is everyone! We all need Jesus. I love you all and have a wonderful day.

Goodbye For Now

Goodbye For Now

Namaste Blogger Family,

Thank you all so much for reading my thoughts and staying with me throughout this journey, but I have to step away from social media for a while. For the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been doing well emotionally and social media intensifies what I’m feeling. So, I’ve decided to take a break and spend more time focusing on my family and my relationship with God.

I so badly wanted to have a successful blog 1. so I can monetize it and 2. because I wanted to help people realize that all isn’t lost when you are struggling with a mental and/or physical illness. Turns out, I am unable to accomplish neither task if my mental state is in the wrong space. And social media has a way of offering false hope and idols, allowing the enemy to further distract me from the ultimate goal; becoming a God-fearing mom for the children.

So I would like to say goodbye for now, but not for long. I will allow God (and health professionals) to let me know when it would be safe for me to return.

I have a post scheduled for later this afternoon and since I feel it is important, it will still get posted. Hopefully, you find comfort and hope in what I was lead to say.

I love you all dearly, and remember, pray for another as the Holy Spirit prays for you…love one another as our Abba Father loves you. God bless you each and every one of you.

 

Seeking God Part 5: Shame

Seeking God Part 5: Shame

Hey Friends,

Remember when I said I Suck At Maintaining Friendships, well I also meant online relationships as well. I apologize if many of you feel as though I don’t reciprocate the same love on your blogs as you do mine. I blog to release my feelings and share God’s words. So I apologize and will try to work on it. I truly love you all and are very proud of each and every one of you for doing what you love to do day in and day out.

Now that is out of the way, I want to share what happened to me tonight. Right now, I am currently reading a book by Christine Caine titled Unashamed. This is such a great read, especially if you are like me who has been carrying around the burden of shame since adolescent years.

While reading, it kind of ties into what happened tonight. So, as I was getting ready to head out to one of my classes at church, I looked for what seemed like an eternity for a shirt that didn’t show how skinny I am (current shame); anything too baggy or too tight would reveal an alarming skeleton frame. But, Eureka! I found a white shirt that I felt fit perfectly.

I get to my class, sit down next to my classmates, pull out my bible and notebook, look down only to see two large orange stains on the front of my shirt. Those stains led my eyes to a large brown stain on the left side of my shirt. My first thought was, “what the hell! This shirt was clean when I left the house 15 minutes ago.” After further inspection, it seems as though the stains were “sat-in” stains…meaning, even though I had washed it, those stains weren’t going anywhere.

Needless to say, I was embarrassed. I began to think about what other people would say to themselves when they noticed the stains. Would they think…“Oh, she’s dirty? She’s nasty? Why would she leave her house with a dirty shirt on?”

I would have never left the house in a shirt with stains all over it, for this exact reason…shame. Then I realized the lighting in my room and the lighting in my class are completely different. The lighting in my room made the shirt look nice, white, and clean. But the lighting in our classroom made my shirt look dingy with stains.

This made me think about my relationship with God. Before I began my journey, I felt like my life was nice, white, and clean. But then the more I sought God and the closer I became, the more He began to reveal that my life was just the opposite; gross, dingy, and stained. But he did this out of love to show me that the only way to “change my shirt” was through him.

Sitting in class, as embarrassed as I was, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to hear what God had to say to me. Since this week has been emotionally tough, I needed to hear hope. But God didn’t speak to me during this class…or at least I didn’t listen to what he had to say. The chatter in my head about the stain on my shirt (and other nonsense I have no control over) was too loud for me to hear anything God had to say to me. So he chose to speak to me through Christine Caine.

The more we draw closer to God, the more God shines a light on our shortcomings… it may make us feel ashamed, embarrassed, just as Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.” Genesis 3:7). 

When God shines his light on our shortcomings, it’s not to shame us, it’s to draw us closer to him. We were created to feel no shame. We were created in his image, his likeness (Genesis 1:27-28). Is God ashamed of us? No, quite the opposite. He made us “reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:28). 

As yourself, you would give that kind of authority to someone you were ashamed of? Would you kill your only Son for people you were ashamed of?

That is what’s so amazing about his love. God forgave Adam and Eve, even though they didn’t listen to the one and only rule he had given them; But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:16-17.

God still gave up the most precious gift he had, Jesus, so we didn’t have to feel shame, or guilt, or regret, or hate, or anxiety. He gave us his word as a guide and his promises that through him, we will see better days. Remember folks, the enemy has already been defeated on the cross…that battle has been won, through Jesus name. But I was told that even if you’ve cut the head off of a rattlesnake, his venom can still harm, or even kill you. Meaning, even though Satan was defeated on the cross, his “minions” are still working hard to turn you away from Jesus and shame has become one of best tactics.

When you walk into the brighter light and see of all of the stains in your life, don’t turn away from it. Don’t turn off of the light, but embrace it. God will tackle all of those stains one by one. Turn to Jesus when Satan throws another stain on your shirt because he is the only one that can get the stain out.

Love you all. Have a wonderful day. Please pray for Guatemala, each other, and anyone else you know who is suffering. The enemy is busy, but God is almighty. Blessed be, family.

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you…” Isaiah 54:4

 

I Would Like To Order The Early Bird Special, Please!

I Would Like To Order The Early Bird Special, Please!

Hello Friends,

I saw a video on Facebook this morning that I couldn’t stop thinking about. I don’t remember the creator of the video, so know that the information that I’m about to lay on you didn’t come from me. Then again, are any of our ideas original?

Let’s call him, “Mr. Monk”. He said that the most successful people in the world wake up extremely early. “Mr. Monk” said that he lived as a monk (thus the nickname) for three years, which forced him to wake up every morning at 4am to meditate and do whatever monks do. He even said that some monks would wake up as early as 2am. Yikes! “Mr. Monk” went on to use successful people, such as, Michelle Obama, who is working out by 4am.

Michelle Obama

Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m and begins working on his emails.

416x416

 

 

 

 

 

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns rises at 5:15 a.m. to email and work out.

520ursula20buns20-20ramin20talaie20corbis

…for examples. I’ve always wanted to be an early riser. I remember being a teenager and I would watch my younger cousin wake up 2 hours before she had to be at work at 10 a.m. just to get her day started. I was always the last minute sleeper. I would wait until, literally, the very last minute I had to wake up in order to get to work during the 7-minute window they gave us to be late without getting in trouble.

Later in life, I noticed that I used to sleep as a coping skill to get through moments in my life. If I was sad, I would sleep. If I were angry, I would sleep. If I didn’t want to be bothered, I would sleep. Starting as a child into adulthood, I slept to escape the realities of mental illness. If I was asleep, I didn’t have to do or think about anything.

I remember when I began down this road of Seeking God (click the link to catch up), I desired to be an early riser. Mental and physical illness prevented me from doing so. When my Lupus symptoms started to get under control, it was more so the mental hell that I was living in that kept me captive in the bed. I slept not to feel shame, guilt, and rejection.

Then one day, out of the blue, I woke up around 6 a.m. while the kids were still asleep and spent the next hour and 45-minutes with God, reading my bible and journaling. It was truly a miracle. My body wasn’t stiff and in pain. My chest wasn’t caved in from anxiety. There weren’t the normal sounds of grunting, ooohhs, and aaahhhs. I felt…regular.

This gave me hope that I can have more days like this again. Soon afterward, I fell into a Lupus flare, but it didn’t matter. I did it!

“Mr. Monk” asked, what would you do if you were deposited $86,400 into your bank account each day. The catch is at the end of the day that it would disappear. But the same $86,400 would reappear the next morning. What would you do? Would you spend it on yourself? Would you spend it on other people? Would you invest it? Would you leave it sitting there untouched completely? My answer was, “darn skippy I would spend it, then invest it, duh! Every last penny. Then, do it all over the next day.” 

Then he said, turn that same $86,400 into 86,400 seconds into your life account. What would you do then? What would you do? Would you spend it on yourself? Would you spend it on other people? Would you invest it? Would you leave it sitting there untouched completely? My answer completely changed.

I realized that God has been putting 86,400 seconds into my life account each day. Most days I use maybe 8,000 seconds, maybe!…other days I prefer to use none. When I fact, I could use most of it to help shape the world. Just as I would use the $86,400 to better the lives of my children and loved ones, I should use some of the 86,400 seconds from God to help better the lives of those same people (well most of it with the proper rest, of course).

Bringing awareness to God’s grace and salvation has become a goal of mine. Now that I know what is a stake, I can’t allow the seconds that God is gifting me to go unused any longer. I want to be able to be like most successful people in the world; wake up, do what needs to be done for the people who are defenseless to do it for themselves.

I no longer want to use sleep as an escape from reality. Now I’ve found more of a reason to do so. It’s funny how God will use non-believers to make a point and pull your attention back to the original plan of what he has designed you for. I’m not sure if “Mr. Monk” is a non-believer, but he definitely delivered a message from no one other than God.

I pray that each of you feels Gods unconditional love throughout the day. No matter your circumstances, you find peace in his glory, rest in his love, and comfort in knowing that you are a child of God.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…” -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

**Just a reminder, images and gif’s are not my own**

 

 

Foggy Days

Foggy Days

Hey Friends,

So, have you guys ever felt so busy or occupied that it is almost like you are in a fog? It seems for the past couple of days, I’ve been really occupied with my kids and maintaining a relationship with God, I haven’t been able to have time for anything else.

Lately, my mind has been reminded of heartbreaking moments in my life…relationships that have been lost in outer space (it seems). I’ve even been reminded by haunting dreams; people that I haven’t thought about in years have suddenly come up as if our relationship was obliterated yesterday.

I can’t help but to wonder, is this the trick of the enemy? Is it suppressed feelings that have stayed dormant for so long that they no longer can stay hidden in whatever God-forsaken area of my heart? Or is because of a recent heartbreak that opened the floodgate of hurt feelings that I’ve tried to ignore for years?

I’m not sure of the answers to any of these questions, so I’ve occupied my mind with two things that I know would bring joy to my heart; my children and God.

Fixing my focus on God’s love for us is vital to my mental and physical health. Simply put, when I feel good and I am able to “do good”. I’m able to be a good mother to my children, I’m able to take care of my household, and most importantly, I’m able to see past my own struggles and have hope for the future. And hope is so important when trying to overcome adversity.

I have hope in knowing that God has given the gift of grace and righteousness. I have hope because Jesus Christ died in order for us to live! When I meditate on that thought alone, I have no other choice but to worship and rejoice. Knowing that he has paid the price for my past, present, and future mishaps.

That being said, I don’t know where this feeling of heartbreak is coming from. I don’t know why, all of a sudden, I am hit with past and present foes, but I do know that I will not let them defeat me because Jesus’ death defeated them for me already. And it is a complete waste of time to spend anymore thought or energy on it.

So, Satan I say to you…

Image result for bye felicia meme

I pray that you are not allowing whatever demons haunting to no longer haunt you. I pray that you put on the armor of God each day that you wake up and fight as if your life depended on it because Jesus’ is fighting for you. I pray that you find comfort in God’s love for us and know that it is more than our mere human minds can comprehend. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Have a wonderful blessed start to your weekend. Sorry I missed Funny Friday…I will be more prepared next week. I love you with all of my heart.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” -1 Peter 5:6-7