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.

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**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**