three surgeries

Three of my friends are going to have surgeries in the next month.  Two of them are my age and it’s quite sobering.  Have we really gotten old enough that health is no longer something we can take for granted?  I provide care to sick people all the time.  It’s my job, my vocation, my calling.  Lately, I have had to care for my friends as well.  I’m grateful to be the one providing support rather than needing the support.  I am grateful I can be helpful to those who are in need.  I wish my friends weren’t sick.  I wish God would heal them completely.  I hope they wake up from surgery and recover without complications.  One of my friend has a brain tumor.  I’m saddened, deeply.  Why?  God, why?  There are no answers, at least none that I can discern.  But I know this.  God is with us.  In sickness and in health, just as newly weds vow to each other, God is with us in sickness and in health.

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new job new meaning

Getting used to my new job didn’t take long.  To my delight, before my three month review, evaluation where my supervisor can recommend to terminate me or to keep me, I was offered more hours so that instead of part time, I am full time equivalent.  Do we live in order to work?  It would seem that working enables us to live!  Far from making me less energized, work gives my life more meaning and gets me up and out of bed out of the house and into the world.  Into the world where my mere presence and gifts and talents God has given me comfort and encourage others.  Even where prayer is concerned, of course I pray far more for others and with others than I do on my own, my humble prayers, words of my heart bring peace and strength to those who need it.  I wasn’t sure chaplaincy was my gig.  Well, I still don’t know whether it is my only gig in life to be pursued.  I do know that it is what gets me going from one day to the next knowing that somehow God is working through me to bring comfort to God’s people.

hmmm wait a minute

i don’t really know why. i thought when i started working that i had to appear all put together. but in these blogs i had been completely honest and at times maybe even too honest? but i realized after reading a blog from a member of our church that there can be no anonymity to my story because it isn’t mine to keep private but testimony to God’s working and healing in my life. when i look back on the posts i have written, it’s such a relief that i don’t feel the way i used to feel. i had been too depressed to have hope or to think things could be any different. but God showed me the impossible was possible. i haven’t been hospitalized in about a year which is the longest stretch of time i have gone since getting depressed in 2002! praise the Lord!

i wonder if things i wrote and will be writing are age appropriate for youth group members…but then i realize as far back as i can remember i was unhappy…help didn’t come soon enough…hope was all too far out of reach…and if i could have known when i was younger that i didn’t have to feel that way, that God could and would help me, my life would have been totally different…and i think over time this blog will be helpful to those who are struggling with depression, despair, hopelessness, etc. so i’m not deleting any posts i wrote.

when i was in high school, a close friend of mine died before reaching age 16. she ran away from home and possibly took her own life. would she have been too young to read posts i have written where i am writing from place of pain and suffering that she would have identified with? if she could read any one of my posts and find hope that her life might be different if she could just hold on, i mean, if i would bring her back through anything i could do i would. but i can’t bring her back to life. but maybe other people who are feeling hopeless and lost might find encouragement that as badly depressed as i was that i am no longer feeling that way. i didn’t think i would live to see this day…but slowly but surely, God healed me.

my dad always said when i recover that i would be able to help others who are suffering as i had suffered. every time i heard that, i couldn’t believe that day would ever come. but now it has. and so here’s hoping and praying that any of the things i wrote gives hope rather than discouragement to others who feel lost, hopeless, depressed, suicidal… it’s something of a miracle actually. so i can only think God healed me. about a year and a half ago, my psychiatrist had lost hope that i could get better. she thought ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) was the only hope i had left. i didn’t believe her then and i certainly don’t believe her now. the only hope i had was in God, not ECT. maybe for some people ECT is what will improve their chronic depression. but for me, it wasn’t.

so anyway, long story short, blogs on this site have been written with honesty that might reveal emotions and thoughts that may be shocking. it’s all true. i lived through it. and i’m here. i made it to the other side. and when i couldn’t make it on my own, i had help from others, prayers, encouragements, hospital visits, phone calls, e-mails… thank you.

be still my soul

“be still my soul: the Lord is on your side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to your God to order and provide, in every change he faithful will remain. be still my soul: your best, your heav’nly friend, thru thorny ways, leads to a joyful end.”

i was having a hard time last week in the midst of DTR (defining the relationship) with my bf. so my bible study group leader sent me words of a hymn to find some peace in the words of the hymn. and wow what an encouragement and comfort the hymn has been to me. i don’t want it to be the case that through thorny ways i will be brought to a joyful end. but i think that is what is happening. and i am thankful, for the Lord is on my side. things may or may not turn out the way i want them to. but i know that God will order and provide for all my needs. it’s just hard for to take a blow in the heart.

roller coaster ride of my life

my last post was written on a good day.  i was able to get out and was motivated to get some work done.  but there is no smooth sailing in my life with depression.  past two weekends, i mostly stayed in my room and stayed inside the apartment (with the exception of last saturday night when i went out to dinner with a friend).  i’ve been having somewhat regular problem with sleeping at night.  for instance, this past week, for three straight nights i didn’t sleep at night at all.  in the morning, say around 8 or 9 am, i tried to get about an hour or two of sleep.  this past weekend, i stopped corresponding with friends and family through phone and e-mail.  i talked to one of my sisters a few times during the course of the weekend since we live together.

i just came back from therapy.  i find that i look forward to my therapy sessions.  my therapist makes sure i know that he is my advocate.  he listens and sympathizes but also challenges me to think about things i hadn’t thought of before and he also helps me to take a step back to get a different perspective.  my old therapist was great but i didn’t look forward to therapy sessions with her in the way that i do with my current therapist.

most of the time, especially if we were able to talk about things that matter to me, i end up feeling sad after therapy.  and today was one of those sessions.  i whole heartedly agree that my life is pretty good.  things could have turned out a lot worse.  but as for things in my life that had a negative effect on me, i have to see those things for what they are and not deny them or dismiss the significance of their effect on my life.  to see how something had a positive or negative effect on my life, i have to see the consequence of how something affected me.  i’d much rather not acknowledge that i am the way i am, that my life is the way it is, because of something that happend and how it affected me and how i responded to it.  it’s painful to see the connections and to accept the facts as they are.  when i do, i feel angry in some ways.  why did something happen to me when it did?  why?  why couldn’t have things have been different?   but then i remember that things could have been worse too and they are not.  i also feel sad when i see and accept that one thing affected another when the end product of the two things that are connected is my life as it is.

as i wrote to some friends, i realize after the accidental overdose, that God is standing in my way of successfully bringing an end to my existence here on earth.  when you realize your opponent is so powerful, wouldn’t you rather just accept the fact and be on their side?  i feel something like that.  if i can’t successfully end my life because God won’t let me, then instead of continuing to fight against what God wants (since the possibility of getting what i want is slim), i could just accept that success of getting things my way is unlikely to happen so i might as well join God’s side.  i mean, i could spend the rest of my life putting in time and effort to come up with a plan that would guarantee that i would suceed.  but if the evidence of the failure i had every time i attempted to end my life means anything, chances are i’m not going to suceed in the future.  so if i fold my cards now, i could save myself from spending more time and effort in something that isn’t going to be brought to completion.

i tried this before and idt didn’t work so well.  by joining God’s side, i accept that God has blessed me with my life with all the talents and circumstances that make me who i am.  practically speaking, i need to live instead of just waiting to die.  so i guess it’ll take a while for me to live the life God wants me to live.  in the mean time i have to accept that my life is a roller coaster rid:   some days, i am playing my best game and on others, i can’t even get out of bed or change out of my pjs.

i thought about things that contribute to the way i am now.  and those things are mostly painful things that didn’t make me feel good in the past and they certainly don’t make me feel good now.  but i have to face the factors that played a major role in shaping who i am today.  i’m afraid that if i talk about things in the past that it will be like waking up the ghosts who had been sleeping.  they might wake up, violently destroy things in the present, and all of it might be too overwhelming.  i know i need to face the ghosts but i just wan to say, this is really hard!  i’d rather sleep, maybe for eternity.  isn’t enough that things in the past that were painful will be painful again if they are given life in the present?  when someone says, ooh it hurts my arm when i move it this way.  don’t we then give this kind of response: well, don’t move your are that way if it causes you pain!  and in such exchange i am tempted to asy, well, then don’t do what causes you pain, you idiot!  but at the moment, i need to be an idiot and put my arm in the way that causes me to feel pain, so to speak.  all this thinking and writing is making me tired.  time for bed, i say!

blessing in suffering

God is good and i am amazed at the way God works in our lives.  i was so sad about my old psychiatrist not wanting to be my (primary) therapist.  i was so consumed in the sadness all i could see was sadness and all i could feel was sadness.  i couldn’t take the sadness anymore and wanted it to just stop.  that was back in july.  since then the relationship between me and my psychiatrist started to deteriorate to the point i couldn’t stand it anymore.  then i felt angry, incredibly angry at things she would say and imply.  so i stopped talking to her.  and i told her i didn’t want her to be my doctor.  i stopped being her patient.

sometimes in the unexpected turn of events that confront us and even when it seems to us that nothing good could come of it, sometimes we find that the outcome that seemed so terrible is actually a blessing in disguise, that we got what we wanted and that infact we got more than what we wanted and asked for!

my new psychologist, one who i might not have met if my old psychiatrist was still my therapist, he is great!  he is thoughtful, sympathetic, understanding, and he thinks things through.  my old psychiatrist and i would kind of meander our way through the session and acted in response to whatever seemed to upset me that week.  my new therapist and i, in just our first session, we are paying attention to what’s going on and being flexible but at the same time looking ahead and keeping the big picture in mind as well.

i didn’t know back in july what i know now.  i didn’t know that instead of my old psychiatrist who was losing patience and confidence that i would really ever get better, i would get to work with someone who is fully committed to supporting me and figuring out with me how i can improve the quality of my life, not just stay alive at whatever cost.

i am starting to have hope.  i am starting to believe.  maybe the rest of my life, however short or long, won’t feel like i’m kept painfully alive to prevent sadness of others and maybe being alive won’t be so painful after all.  maybe.  maybe.  🙂

gift

since i can’t write at the moment, i’ve been generating all kinds of ideas for what i can do in case i have to drop out of school. yes – it would be really unfortunate to have finished your course work and not graduate because you can’t turn in a thesis. i really love theology/philosophy of religion. i think i even have theological/philosophical talent! so why can’t i write a paper when i’ve written so many papers in my life already?

i must say that i was feeling really horrible over the weekend and earlier today. and then when i started taking ativan which my doctor called into a pharmacy (okay she faxed it in b/c the law requires it), i feel infinitely better! infinitely and a bout a gazillion galaxies better! i always think to myself, after i take a medicine that works to relieve the emotional/physical pain and suffering, why didn’t i take the medicine earlier? like why did i refuse meds the first time i had a depression episode? i could have been so much more productive and felt so much better!

if you have a medicine that works for you (for physical or mental illness), take it! it’s a gift from god!

i didn’t think about medicine as god’s grace being extended to me. if i had thought of things that way, and took meds earlier, i think i would be a different person right now.