Your Begging Child

Dear Heavenly Father,

Why is it that 95% of the time I come to you I am screaming out in sadness, need, and most unfortunately, anger? Why is it I am so foolish and immature that I turn to you only when I feel like my life is deteriorating? You are with me all the time, in happiness and in sadness. When I am successful and when I am a failure. But I only acknowledge you when I am at my blackest. I come to you and shriek at you when darkness stabs my heart. I look at you as a hateful God who does nothing but punish me for all my decisions. Punishing me for who I am. Why have you cursed me with this burden? Why am I filled to burst with a black emptiness? How can I even begin to understand my cross if I balance between a serious chemical imbalance and my sinful doubt filled flesh? I HAVE DEPRESSION. I AM ANXIOUS. I was born with this chemical imbalance. I was predisposed to it because of my genetics. And it’s not fair. And it’s not fair that I can be told that my depression is a sin. 

Well, Father, if there’s one thing I learned, it’s this:

Life’s not fair. But Jesus is. 

My Father. Abba. Daddy. You hold my hand and you give me Jesus. I whine to you like I whine to my earthly Daddy, and you have given me your Son to take this darkness from me. To take my burden from me. And you’ve helped me understand this sickness. You’ve helped me understand why some may be tempted with alcohol, with lying, with theft, but for me, I’ve been tempted with death. So for once, I want to come to you in this letter and say something that has been overused in every day language. Something I say to you only when things are good, but never when they are bad. It’s been bad lately, and I realized I need to say it.

Thank you.

Thank you for everything. My family. Shelter. Food. A free country.

But right now I need to say thank you for my cross that I bear. It is through this depression you brought me back to the meaning of the manger at Christmas, filled with your promise of life. It is through this anxiety you drove me to you to calm my fears. It is through these burdens I have been able to grow and understand people around me. Thank you. Every day is a trial. But you remind me that my depression and anxiety were given to me for a reason. These challenges are meant for me. But I don’t suffer alone. Thank you for suffering with me.

Your Child. 

Don’t forget about me. You promised you would always be there. Take this yoke, Lord. I am weak.

2 Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 

  

 

Rejection: Thou Shalt be Conquered

Anxiety can often inflict several emotions on someone. My two personal favorites are: Fear and Guilt. They make me feel so warm and cuddly inside (read: cold and vomity). Well, my anxiety seems to exasperate a common problem that many people seem to have: Rejection. I really don’t like it. Rejection and I? We ain’t friends.

Why don’t I like rejection? Because I am a perfectionist. In my high school years, I was a tad ludicrous (no, I was not the rapper, but I can throw down with the best… in my head). I took more involved electives that I knew would give me more homework because I thought it would be better for my future and more character building. It still makes me angry that I didn’t take Art. Ugh, I could be an artist right now and draw out all my negative emotions. I also was a health nut, worked out all the time, tried to eat healthy (never once ate a soft pretzel at lunch. Never.) took fish oil and a spoonful of flax seed every day and tried to take apple cider vinegar regularly. I made varsity volleyball as a sophomore and spent my summers running (and occasionally playing racquetball with my sister even though we had no idea what we were doing and I’m pretty sure I got a concussion once). Anyway, my point is- I took it to an extreme in high school. Yeah, I was lazy and got some bad grades once in a while, but if I failed it hit me incredibly hard (see “not making the elite choir and crying in a bathroom for hours because I couldn’t face rejection” as a reference).

Well, once I got to college I couldn’t take it anymore, some new medications were playing with my brain. I developed a new course of action: AKA what I have dubbed as “the lazy perfectionist”. I wouldn’t try at anything. If I couldn’t do it perfectly I wouldn’t do it at all. Thus, I had a less than stellar gpa in college, I hardly worked out and watched what I ate – oh hey freshman 15! – and building relationships with people, something I always took very seriously, was at the bottom of my to-do list. Not only that, but I couldn’t bear the thought of letting people down so I took on a persona of a disorganized individual who has no idea what is going on.

What does this have to do with anything? I will tell you, my friends. As those who have read this blog in the past may have realized, I haven’t posted in a while. Why? Because I was anticipating rejection. You see, I sent some blog posts into a couple websites to see if I could get them posted. And I have been sitting here waiting for the rejection to come. And while I waited for the rejection, writing seemed like the last thing I could do. I thought about getting rid of the blog in my preparation for rejection. I thought about eating my feelings in preparation for rejection. I thought about crying in my preparation for rejection. And of course, I thought about vomiting in my preparation for rejection. Well, yesterday I got my first rejection email. I knew it was coming but I was still sad and heartbroken and waited several hours to tell my Marine. And then I talked to my sister Catie, who likes to write. She too has tried getting published and has felt the sting of rejection letters.

Catie and I

(This is my sister whom I lovingly refer to as my Kitty Cat, she’s pretty good and stuff)

And she said something brilliant (I know, I was shocked too… kidding, Catie! Looooove you!)

You go ahead and be sad. I’ve cried over it before. Now I’ve just been hardened to it after what feels like hundreds of rejections. It’s not resilient, it’s forming thick scars after being whipped many times. You go ahead and hurt, just try hard to remember that it’s not a reflection of you or your abilities. (Which will be hard, I know) but it really isn’t. And don’t let it stop you from what you want to do. Please don’t.

We then continued on and bashed editors and publishers and stuff because that’s just what sisters do.

Sisters

(Sisters… Tralalalala Sisters…. we love each other and stuff… sisters)

Rejection is such a terrifying part of being a human. I’m a wife and I fear rejection from my husband, even though cognitively I know that my husband loves me and is committed to me completely. I’m a mommy and I fear that my daughter will reject me, even though that goes against the way God created our bond. I’m a human and I fear rejection from everything else that matters. But what I need to remember is this: the One who matters most will never reject me and continually invites me into His arms over and over again, even when I may reject Him. God. He will always hold me in His arms through my many earthly rejections. And with that knowledge in hand, I will get back into the boat and keep rowing into the storm of rejection until I find that undiscovered piece of land. Take that, editor who rejected me. You haven’t heard the last of me.

The First Movement

Today I was planning on writing a nice juicy blog post on juicing and the health benefits of that, and I still plan on writing that for you all, but something sparked my interest today on Facebook (shared by my Mommy and my sissy Anna) and it got my mind a-whirling. I really couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write a blog post about it. But as I began to write I realized I had A TON to say on this subject, so I’m making you a little promise… this blog post is going to be a researched and multi-part blog post, aka I am going to have several blog posts pertaining to this subject within the next week or so. Therefore, welcome all, to PART ONE.

What was the topic of this wonderful article I read? Piano and music for young children. It makes a point in saying that taking something like piano lessons at a young age can help emotional and behavioral maturity in young children, and goes on to explain the experiment used. Not only that, but it made the point in saying that music education in young children can provide the stability and tools to help cope with ADHD, depression, and anxiety.

My parents made me start taking piano lessons when I was in 2nd grade, I could never fully appreciate the fact that they were setting me up with a lifelong skill and hobby. It wasn’t until I was married and without a piano that I realized how much I loved playing. And then God was generous, as always, heard my prayers, and provided my husband and I with a free used piano. But then we moved and couldn’t take the piano with us. So now, it is sitting in my parents’s house less than half a mile away, looking a tad sad next to their beautiful piano but still part of the brotherhood of music makers.

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(This piano will always by my favorite piano… Always. No matter what. It’s my parent’s piano and it’s the piano I learned how to play on. 10 points to Gryffindor and a high five to whomever can name the hymn that the hymnal is open to.)

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(This is the well aged piano that God nicely plopped into our lap!)

So I’ve decided to add another ingredient to my little journey to heal my mind. Music. We play music in the house a lot, but it’s not the same as sitting down and playing an instrument, which for me is piano. So here is my next commitment: I’m going to make an effort to sit down and play the piano a couple times a week whenever I go over to my parents’. Here’s the thing, so many people say they have no natural musical talent, but everyone craves music. Those people who say they don’t like music are few and far between. Even as adults, we can benefit from daily exposure to music, which can shape and influence our moods. Want to take it a step further? Join your church choir, start adult piano lessons, or any instrument you’ve been interested in. Might it cost a little extra money? Yes, but you’ll be investing in a skill that could last you a lifetime and a hobby that can help shape your coping skills. Musical therapy can…. well you know what? I’ll talk about musical therapy in the next post…

I am not a doctor or physician, but I consulted both before starting my journey. If you need help consult the professionals immediately! I have no training. The professionals do and they are there to help! 

I’m also not a music expert, except I like music because it’s real purdy. 

Monterey Jack

So I’m having a bit of a rough evening (I wrote this about 2 days ago). My kitchen is disheveled. The meal I was cooking turned out like… well the words I would like to use to describe my black bean soup would not be very lady like. But the fact that my schedule for the day began to flounder that usually tends to mean that I am about to plummet. So my Marine told me that I had to write a blog post. And I could choose out of two topics what my blog post would be about. The two topics were 1. How I was struggling and could feel a potential beginning of an anxiety attack or 2. How I miss cheese. Obviously, I chose the latter.


(My love for cheese is as beautiful as this sunset…a picture I took on a mission trip to the beautiful island of St. Lucia)

You see, my vegan /gluten free/ sugar free diet is almost over. I have 5 more days. 5. The fact of the matter is I really don’t mind this diet. Like at all. (If you wanna know what my diet is and why I’m doing it, check it out here.)  But. Holy cow. I. MISS. CHEESE. When these 5 days are past I will continue with a gluten and sugar free diet. But I will start to add meat back in and enjoy it 1-2 times a week. But I have no idea how I am not going to sit down and devour a block of cheese. Now, I have to be honest, I have had cheese 3 times this past month. But boy, was the cheating worth it. Let’s compare me cheating by eating cheese to if I had cheated on a test in grade school and the teacher caught me. This is how I would have reacted to the teacher:

Teacher: Ruth! What are you doing? This is so unlike you!!!

Ruth: I needed those answers. They are vital for the blood running through my veins.

Teacher: That makes no sense. You know that because of your decision there are consequences.

Ruth: BRING ON THE CONSQUENCES.

Teacher: Are you talking back to me?

Ruth: Your silly consequences are futile against my love of cheating. I don’t care what you have to say. I’d do it 500 more times

Teacher: Let’s go to the principal’s office

Ruth: Should I continue to cheat on my test as we walk there?

I need cheese in my life. In fact the cheese is a part of my life. My Momma can attest to the fact that when I was little I would claim to be a mouse and sit and nibble on cheese, how simply and wonderfully psychotic of me. My husband told me I remind him of Monterey Jack from Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, hopefully it’s purely by love of cheese and not by my looks that reminds him of Monterey Jack. (Don’t know who that is? I would suggest you look him up) I love the cheese and the cheese loves me. Something doesn’t taste good? Throw some cheese on it. Need a snack. Cheese. Want something gooey? Obviously melted cheese. Toast? Cream Cheese. Dessert? Cheesecake. Halloween costume? Muenster Cheese. Bleeding? Cheese band-aid. Crying? Grilled Cheese sandwich. Country vacation? Cottage Cheese. Broken Foot? Cheese splint. It all just makes sense. Did I mention I grew up in Wisconsin? Our Christmas trees are made of cheese there. Cheese. It’s what’s for dinner.

I know this has nothing to do with depression and anxiety. Except for the fact that my evening feels a whole lot better. Oh. Add that to the list. Need an antidepressant? Cheese it up.

A Treatise on Depression…of Sorts

You wanna know the truth? Depression sucks. Anxiety too. They both just bite. You wanna know one of the main reasons for this? It’s not measurable. I can’t go in and get a blood test done that tells me my depressive levels have sky rocketed or that I my anxiety is off the charts. And because of this no one, not even the person suffering, can truly understand. You wanna know why I had anxiety as a child and never realized it until I was in my 20s? Because I thought it was normal to get these random waves of “unease” that would cause me to be physically ill. I thought it was normal to have to sit quietly and reassure myself that I was safe and nothing was going to happen. And because I thought it was normal, I never shared it with my parents or doctor. And because I thought it was normal, no one saw a trace of it in any tests run at the doctor’s office.

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(Psalm 31:15 is the passage that I have used as comfort since I first memorized it from my Memory Treasures in grade school. I debated sharing it because I hold this passage close to my heart and didn’t want to share something so personal… I then realized how foolish I was being since 1. God’s Word was never meant to be kept from others, it is meant to be shared 2. I’ve basically already thrown “personal” out the window with this blog)

Today, I know it isn’t normal. I know what a lot my triggers for anxiety are, and I generally know how to handle them. But it makes me sad that when I tell people of my issues I can’t give them tests results to show for it. I get the oddest reactions when I mention my struggles. Truthfully, more than anything, I find the reactions hilarious. When I was first dating my Marine and he asked what my medication was for, his reaction was priceless…. “ooooooooooooooohhhhhh…..” haha I still chuckle thinking about it… I wish I would have just looked at him and said “That’s right kid. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into *insert eyebrow wiggle* ”

But in reality the words for depression and anxiety are so vast in their meanings. Someone can say they are depressed and it can mean…

I’m really sad

Ugh things aren’t going my way

My doctor just diagnosed me with depression

I can’t get out of bed, I have no motivation

I have no emotions

I don’t want to live anymore

You aren’t wrong in any of those assumptions. The word depressed can really be used for all of those instances. So how do you react when someone says they are depressed? Well, it’s hard to say because who knows what they are talking about unless they explain further. So what’s the best response? Don’t ignore them or quickly change the subject. When in doubt, just tell them you are praying for them.

I have days where I wake up and I’m fine. And then I have days, like this past Sunday where I wake up and it’s horrible. And then there are days where it’s slowly building and I plummet. I can’t take a test and look at my depression and anxiety levels to make sure things are going ok. I by no means mean to downplay any disease or disorder where you can take a test and find out how you are doing, I only mean to impress upon people that with depression and anxiety, I can only know it’ll be horrible when I get to that point. And I have horrible thoughts. And I can’t escape my brain even though I want to. And I get irrationally angry at my husband. All of this is so not cool. Because I love my husband. Because I have an amazing life. Because my worth is in Christ, not in my daily actions.

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(Jesus is the light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome)

I am not a doctor or physician, but I consulted both before starting my journey. If you need help consult the professionals immediately! I have no training. The professionals do and they are there to help!