Blue Christianity

No, I’m not talking about being a Republican or Democrat. I’m talking about being one of those seemingly rare people….A Christian who suffers from depression.  It is possible to be a sold out, living for Jesus, I’ve got the Joy Joy Joy, Christ follower who suffers from depression.

It really is.  And you know what?  It stinks.  And it stinks even worse when other Christians try to help.  I know that they are only speaking out of love, but if you have never suffered from depression, don’t try to tell people who do how to improve their attitude….it doesn’t help.

Some of the advice I have gotten over the years from well-meaning friends and family (Christian and not) that just don’t help:

 

You have Jesus, so start thanking Him and you will feel better.  Other versions of this are “you’re not thankful enough”, or “be thankful for what you have”, or “make  a list of things you’re thankful for and just start praising Him”.  Yes.  Wonderful.  I have Jesus so my eternal life is not in question. And I do thank Him every day for things I have – including random things like my dishwasher and washing machine.  And I am incredibly, unbelievably blessed.  I truly am.  I have an amazing husband, wonderful children, a huge home, clothes on my back, and a gigantic pantry and freezer filled with food.  I took (or will take) a hot shower this morning, and then stay home teaching my kids.  And even though I spent several minutes this morning thanking Him for all of these things, I’m still down in the dumps.

Spend time in the Word, it will make you feel better. Yeah, think again.  The second or third thing I do everyday (after starting a load of laundry and getting my coffee) is to open my Bible and read it for a solid 45 minutes or so.  There are days I spend up to an hour and a half just reading God’s Word.  And I still want to go back to bed and put the covers over my head.

Start serving. Or, “stop being selfish”, or “that’s a very selfish way to think”.  Yes, I know. I freely admit that thinking suicidal thoughts or wallowing in depression is selfish.  Serving people does help.  But sometimes, it doesn’t.  After all, I do serve in my church.  But there are times that I just don’t have the energy to get out of bed, let alone go work in the nursery, holding someone else’s bundle of joy.  And do you REALLY want ME in charge of rocking that baby to sleep if I can’t stop crying myself??????? I will also (gulp) freely admit to having suicidal thoughts.  And I don’t act on them.  I know full well I have children, a husband, and a mom who depend on me…and I’d never hurt them like that.

 

OH!  And by the way, though I know you don’t mean them that way….all of the above comes across to me like you are calling into question my salvation and my devotion to God.

Start Exercising, the endorphins will kick in.  So I’m supposed to go for a temporary high to make me feel better????  In that case, pass me that bottle of wine…it’s easier and I don’t have to sweat.  No, I’m kidding, kind of.  I do work out.  At least I try to.  And I do feel good after.  But see above…it’s really hard to work out when you are struggling not to break into tears.

You just need to change how you think, see things has half full, not half empty. Yes.  And can you change your primal reactions to things too?  I have suffered from depression off and on since I was a child.  And when it is a normal day, I am happy and bubbly and positive.  When the blahs hit, everything goes gray.  It’s not a matter of seeing the cup as half full, as it is seeing the cup at all!

Everyone has those days.  Yes.  Everyone has days where they just don’t want to get up.  But my depression is not your depression.  I have been battling this since i was a child. This is not just one of those days.

Now, before someone tells me to go on medication, or that I need to see a doctor.  I don’t.  I don’t get to the point of actually wanting to try to attempt suicide.   I will not commit suicide.  I have people who depend on me, and I will never leave them.  I don’t actually spend days in bed – I just wish I could, yet those little people need me.  My depression is not cyclical, it’s not tied to PMS.  Though I did have Postpartum Depression with Barbie and with BAM! and saw a doctor and went on medication for both.  I take vitamin D, I’m on thyroid medication, I eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and I’m in the process of adding whole grains.  I drink lots of water.  And I’m not always depressed.   I’m not bipolar or manic-depressive.  But every once in a while…..

So I’ve given you a couple of things NOT to say, here’s a really brief list of things TO say:

What can I do to help?  This is a really sweet thing to say.  It lets me know that I’m not annoying you, and that you are there to support me.  Even though there is nothing really you can do to help except…..

Give me a hug.  Hugs are good.  Hugs that are actual hugs, not hello hugs (if you live in the south, Europe, or Latin America you know what I mean), and that allow me to possibly cry a little on your shoulder are even better.

Tell me you love me. Yep.  But only if it’s true.  If you don’t even like me…please don’t fake it.  I can tell and it just makes me worse.  And showing me you love me by bringing me soda and Hershey milk chocolate with almonds…or brownies (yes,please)…well, that is always good!

If I have offended anyone that suffers from depression by anything I’ve written, please accept my deepest apologies.

If I’ve made you think a little about how you’ll handle it the next time someone around you is going through depression, Yay me!

If I’ve completely angered you because you think I’m just another wah wah blogger that wants YOUR deepest sympathies.  You’re dead wrong.

Many blessings to you all.  May Christ show His love through you to someone else today.

GodisFaithful

 

 

 

Morning is Broken

I hate mornings.  No, I REALLY hate mornings.  It takes my brain several hours to figure out that my body is actually out of bed and moving.  But, with all of my hatred of mornings, I’ve realized that if I get up “early” than I have a better day.  I kind of figure that most of you hate mornings too.  After all, not all of us are like my little brother and Smarty Pants, bouncing out of bed to greet the morning with a loud roaring “Hello” and a huge smile.

I think I have found out how to have a good morning (for me).  Obviously you’re morning may look differently, but one thing that won’t be different is that if you have a routine and stick to it every day, your mornings will go smoother!

My alarm goes off at 5:45 am.  I turn it off, bleary eyed and then I sit up in bed.  I have found that if I don’t sit up, I go right back to sleep!  I begin to pray, praising Him is a priority.  I thank Him for things that make my life easier (think microwave, stove, COFFEE!), and I ask Him to help me be the best wife, mother, daughter, and friend that I can be.

At 6:00 am my alarm goes off again.  That’s just in case I fell asleep while praying – hey, stop laughing!  I do that all of the time!!!

I stumble to the bathroom, with my eyes still closed.  Papi is usually finishing getting ready for the day. (The man doesn’t go to sleep until way after I do and still gets up at 4:30 am.  There are moments I hate him – just kidding) I grab a bunch of dirty clothes from the hamper, my glasses, and my cell phone and stumble my way into the laundry room; clicking on lights in every room.  (That makes Papi crazy, he turns off the lights as fast as I turn them on.)  I start a load of laundry (my first of the day) and it’s just past 6 am.

After I’ve started the load of laundry (I make sure the washer and dryer are empty before I go to bed for just this reason), I grab my first cup of coffee for the day and sit down in the living room with my bible, my journal, a pen, and my cup of coffee.  I read 5 Psalms, 1 Proverb, 1 chapter from the New Testament, and a bible study (either my Sunday School lesson or one of the myriad devotions I’ve gotten hold of).  By the time I have finished that and my first cup of coffee, it’s a quarter to 7.

I put my morning devotion things away and head off to the girls room at my first attempt to wake Barbie up.  She has clearly inherited my hatred of the morning sun.  I go back to the kitchen, refill my coffee, and write all of the information on the FAQ board for the day.  Our FAQ board is a marker board on which I write the menu for the day, the weather, Prayer Requests, Cleaning Goals, the date, and any special things going on that day that might change the schedule in any way. I also switch the wet load of laundry to the dryer and start a new load.  Yay!  I’ve started my second load of laundry already!

I then go and re-shake Barbie, gently announce to the other girls that it is time to get up, and head to the boys room to get them up and moving.  And this is when the insanity starts.  By now I’ve been up for over an hour, and my brain is starting to get the idea that WE ARE UP!  I sit down at the computer to check if I have any emails that need immediate action and check our bank account for the day (just a safety precaution).    For the next half hour I am calling children to me to check if they have their morning stuff done.  Barbie needs to wake up, work in her faith journal, shower, get dressed, make her bed and start her math.  BAM! needs to do the same (except for the math part).  Kissy needs to wake up, do her morning devotion, shower, get dressed, and strip her bed (if necessary) and make her bed.  The boys all need to wake up, brush their hair and teeth, wash their faces, get dressed, make their beds, and do their morning devotions.  It is utter insanity.  All of this is done with 2 bathrooms!!! 😉

As I see that everyone is up and moving in at least a semblance of alertness, I jump into the shower and get myself ready.  I also make my own bed.  Then I head back into the kitchen.  If Nana hasn’t made breakfast yet, or if she needs help, I dive right in.  Once breakfast is ready, I call the kids to the table with an officials whistle.  It’s loud, and that way I don’t scream.  It scares Simon our greyhound to death though, so I try to make sure he is outside.  We eat our breakfast the 7 of us, as a family.  Nana leaves for work right after I jump into the shower.  After I am done eating, I read to the children as they are finishing.  At the moment we are reading The Yearling.  It’s a great book about growing up in Florida waaaaayyyyyy back in the day.  As we are studying Florida in school, I thought it was apropos.  We’ll be going from this one to books about Christian Heroes and Martyrs.

After everyone is finished eating breakfast, then we do a 15 minute pick up.  They each have chores in the kitchen, and I’m folding the clean laundry and starting my third load of the day.  Whomever doesn’t have kitchen chores that day (they take turns) helps me by putting the laundry away.  After the 15 minute pick up is done, we all congregate in the living room with our Bibles and have a quick family devotion.

Exhausted yet?  That’s when we start school!  And that’s my morning folks.  I hate them.  But I find if they go smoothly, so does our day.

So, your turn.  What does your morning look like?  Do you hate mornings as much as I do????