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STRESSED? PART THREE

Tuesday, August 31, 2010





Depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain. It’s not the blues. We all feel a little down in the dumps at times, but to be sure that doesn’t mean we’re depressed. When someone is seriously depressed they can’t, “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” That’s like telling someone who has lost the ability to walk to “just stand up.” It’s not possible. And for some people depression can lead to suicide. Depression can be deadly.


But there is hope for people who suffer from depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness. Medication is not an evil word. Unfortunately, some people think that the need for medicine to help you feel better emotionally is some kind of crutch. It’s not. It’s no different than taking medicine you would take for any other illness. So if you think you might be depressed or suffer from another form of mental illness please seek professional help from a good therapist and/or psychiatrist.



There are many mysteries yet to be solved regarding the human body. The health of the spirit is also related to the health of the brain. Please remember that the brain is part of the body and those who suffer with any type of mental illness are due the same respect as anyone else who has cancer, diabetes, thyroid disease, etc.. It’s just different. Taking care of you means taking care of your brain, too.







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Whether we are writers, readers, teachers, ministers, doctors, lawyers,  homemakers, nurses, secretaries, you name it. We have to take care of ourselves. Wasn't it George Burns who said something like, "If I'd known I was going to live this long I'd taken better care of myself?"  :)



If mental health is a color, what color would it be and why?




Okay, I wrote this. I get to go first.:) Mental health is orange because it's so vibrant.



Mustard Seed Faith

Sunday, August 29, 2010

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I’ve wrestled with different types of fear my entire life. My parents separated when I was six. I had nightmares until I was in college related to the fear that many kids believe, and that’s that they are somehow responsible for the break up of their parents. Not true, yet many kids feel or have felt this way.


I was very sick and hospitalized when I was in second grade. In 1963 children were on wards and in beds next to each other, (at least it was my experience). The children on either side of me died. I became afraid of death. My brother died when he was 27 years old (he would have celebrated his 54th birthday today). I became even more afraid of death.


PhotobucketI experienced a lot of other reasons to fear in my lifetime: car accidents, my own childrens' illnesses, the death of friends, the death of other family members. The list goes on and on. I’m 55 now and I’m not afraid most of the time. Do I occasionally let my fears slip in? Yes. I’m not able to banish my fears completely, but I finally figured out that no matter how hard I try, in my human strength, I cannot keep bad things at bay. I don’t have control. God does. All I can do is the best I can do, trust God for the rest, and remember the mustard seed.




PhotobucketHe replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20 NIV






So have faith, not fear. Peace, not fear. Trust, not fear. Hope, not fear.




Bible for HopeIn my counseling Bible, The Bible for Hope, NKJV, the introduction to Numbers talks about fear. The first paragraph states, “Fear can immobilize. Fearful people often do not think straight and run off in the wrong direction to escape the source of their fear. The world can be quite scary, and at times, Christians will become afraid. On those occasions, they can either run away from God, thinking that he cannot handle their fears, or they can run to God for protection.”

Photobucket“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV). 2 Timothy 1:7


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Question: What are you afraid of? What are you going to do about it?

STRESSED? PART TWO

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One of the biggest mental health disorders that we all know something about and many writers suffer from is depression. Did you know that Sir Winston Churchill suffered from depression; he called it his Black Dog. http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

PhotobucketBritish folklore talks about a ghostly black dog that has large glowing eyes. This made me wonder if that was the thought behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s, The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have not researched that idea but did a quick search of the question on the internet and found, not surprisingly, that Conan Doyle did suffer from depression after his wife and several other family members died. It would have been difficult not to be depressed in those circumstances. I wonder if his writing helped him cope.




My point is that anyone can suffer from any mental disease. Depression and anxiety are more commonly known than some of the other disorders, but even obsessive-compulsive disorder is out of the closest now with some help from Adrian Monk, the defective detective. Please visit: http://www.ocfoundation.org/

Fear can suck happiness from our lives by not allowing ourselves the joy and freedom of living to the fullest as God wants us to. Fear can lead to depression and a number of anxiety disorders. In the worst possible circumstances suicide becomes a risk and all too often a reality.




If anyone ever tells you they are planning on killing themselves, whether you think it's true or not, take it very seriously and call 911. Teens will sometimes jokingly talk about suicide. Don't ignore that talk. And be especially vigilant for our men and women returning from Iraq, Afganistan or any military service. They are  vulnerable to thoughts and actions of suicide. Never give up!
There is HOPE!

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Streams In The Desert

Sunday, August 22, 2010


My family and I had walked through a spiritually devastating desert for several years. My oldest daughter had been diagnosed with a severe learning disability known as NLD (non-verbal learning disability similar to Asperger’s Syndrome). For more information you can go to http://www.nldline.com/ On top of that she’d developed a complicated depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was eleven years old and in fifth grade. My youngest was eight at the time and so very scared about what was happening to her big sister.

This month my oldest will turn twenty and the severity of the problems continue but we are learning to trust God no matter what. Without Christ in our lives, our church, and many friends, I can’t see anyway we would have made it this far. But I’m a big believer in the power of prayer and in the power of hope. I even have a carved sculpture in my office that simply says, HOPE.


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Several years ago, Robin Lee Hatcher, recommended I buy a copy of a daily devotional originally published in1925. That devotional is titled, Streams in the Desert, written by L.B. Cowman, and updated in modern language by James Reimann. Streams in the Desert is relief for the parched soul.

Yesterday was September 7th (Labor Day) and I posted over at http://www.inkwellinspirations.blogspot.com/ You might want to check that out as this is a continuation of that post. Streams in the Desert, begins with Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. The first sentence: “Why didn’t God help me sooner?”

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And then later the text continues.

"I once heard the following statement from a simple old man, and I have never forgotten it: "When God tests you, it is a good time to test Him by putting His promises to the test and then claiming from Him exactly what your trials have made necessary."

The text continues again: "There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is simply to try to get rid of the trial, and then to be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever before experienced, and to accept it with delight as an opportunity of receiving a greater measure of God's divine grace.

"In this way, even the Adversary becomes a help to us, and all the things that seem to be against us turn out to assist us along our way. Surely this is what is meant by the words "in all these thing we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Rom. 8:37). A.B. Simpson Page 342.


Let me say it can be very hard to learn lessons when our children are suffering. I don’t even want to think about learning a lesson in those circumstances. I just want results. Fast! But looking back over the past nine years I have learned much. Okay, what you may say have you learned through this long, long, trial that still persists? Here’s my short list:
1) Patience
2) Prayer
3) Persistence

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My long list begins something like this:
1) The need to let God work in a situation that I feel I need to control. That’s a tough one.
2) Wrestling God for a blessing and what that really means.
3) The need to REALLY take care of yourself even when things are awful because a long term illness of any kind will exhaust you as a caregiver and parent.
4) Hanging on to hope when you can’t find it.
5) Asking friends to stand in the gap and pray when you can’t pray one more word.
6) Finding peace in the Word, on a walk, in prayer, or in "being still."


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Through all our trials as a family Christ has always been there for us even when we didn’t know it or feel his presence. Think about your trials and your “dry times.” What was it that you thirsted for? How did God provide?

Every morning on my way to work I pass a fountain that says: “Thirsty and ye gave me drink.” I roll my window down and listen to the calm of the water. It’s really nice when I get a red light and can enjoy it for a minute longer.

Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

STRESSED? PART ONE

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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PhotobucketIF taking care of yourself usually shows up on the bottom of your to be done list it’s time to make a change. Women especially are at risk for depression because we tend to be the first line of defense in our families to take care of others and not us. As a Licensed Independent Social Worker counseling nursing students, I deal with mental health issues every day at work. But what many of us don’t think of until we get depressed or suffer from anxiety is what does mental health look like? What is a definition of mental health as opposed to mental illness?

One definition of mental health is:
–noun
1. psychological well-being and satisfactory adjustment to society and to the ordinary demands of life.
________________________________________
Origin:
1825–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

My definition of Mental Health is the absence of disease and the enjoyment of life. I like to say the absence of dis-ease. Just like any other part of the human body the human mind can have illnesses. You can read up on all of these problems at http://www.nami.org/ . You can help stamp out the stigma against those with mental illness just by becoming informed and sharing your knowledge. I think Jesus demostrated the objective of mental health when HE said:

Photobucket"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV. It's not just our bodies that need rest but our minds as well.


There are many ways to relieve stress in our lives (my top pick is massage, bet you couldn't guess). I think other effective strategies are 1) Talking about your problems with someone you trust, 2) Pray and seek God’s wisdom for your particular concerns, 3) Set healthy boundaries, in other words, learn to say no. Resource: Boundaries (When to Say YES When to Say NO To Take Control of Your Life) Dr. Henry Cloud, and Dr. John Townsend, and 4) Excercise that releases endorphins and helps you feel better.

I followed my own advice and got a massage yesterday. Ahhhh. How are you coping with stress?

Just Enough Light

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I needed this reminder today. If you've been struggling lately you might want to read this.



If you are experiencing a difficult time in your life, or you know someone who is, this is a great book to use while you work your way through painful situations. I don’t say that casually. I’m employed as a full-time counselor for nursing students and have a master’s degree in social work, and I believe this book is a valuable tool for anyone.

Stormie O’Martian discusses how we learn to walk with our heavenly father. This hasn’t always been easy for me because I didn’t grow up having a father in the house, so it was hard to learn to trust God when my earthly father had abandoned me. Perhaps some of you have faced the same experience. Once in awhile I still need a reminder that God is there, and providing just enough light so I don’t get overwhelmed.

I love the image of just enough light because it helps me focus on what I can do today and encourages me not to look too far ahead. It reminds me of the scripture: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.Matthew 6:33-34.

The Prayer Light in each chapter is a prayer related to the chapter. For instance, on page 36 following the chapter on, Refusing to be Afraid of the Dark, the prayer begins with “Lord thank you that because I walk with you I don’t have to fear the dark.”

Footlights provide a list of several scriptures that shine light on the chapter subject, i.e., Isaiah 50:10.

Stormie offers a study guide at the end of each chapter which is very helpful for further study and insight.


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The Bottom Line: If you’re walking in a dark place, a little light will help you find your way.

When Making Your Daily Word Count Drives You Crazy

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ever have trouble keeping yourself focused on your writing? Life got in the way you say? Me too. But then an awesome opportunity showed up in my e-mail. ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) decided to introduce us to NovelTrack this July. And it made a huge difference in my ability to write and reach my goal of 25,000 words. Hey, I even went a little over that. It felt great!


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So what did  I learn from NovelTrack?


Preparation - I knew a couple weeks ahead of time that I was going to do this. I thought about it and prepared for it mentally, told my family I was going to write every spare moment I had in July, and looked at what I had already accomplished with my WIP. I did a lot of mental preparation.



Methodology - I wrote in different places. I wrote in the library, coffee shops, on the deck, in my office, in the living room, and on my lunch break after I had to return to my day job in the middle of the month.



Tools - I wrote on my laptop, my desktop, my Neo, and yellow legal pads.



Math - I learned how to figure out how many words I wanted to write every day and became friends with my calculator. Each day I would log in to the NovelTrack account and record my total for the day and got to see what the entire group of us achieved each day.



Accountability - telling others on the NovelTrack Loop how I was doing, seeking encouragement, giving encouragement, being honest on the three days I had when I my totals were zero.



Accomplishment - Each day I met my goal or even moved in the right direction made such a difference to me. I was writing every day and I was developing a great habit.



Staying In The Story - I  thought of new ideas each day I sat down to write. I struggled a few times but when I just decided to write and not think too much I was able to consciously and subconsciously remain in my story.



Discovery - I wrote in scenes and I didn't try to write in a linear fashion. I wrote whatever I thought might make a good scene somewhere in the book.



Giving Up The Internal Editor - I wrote fast and left my internal editor in the dust. I used my Neo by Alphasmart almost always after the first week because the small screen only allows me to see about four lines at a time. This allowed me to write faster and not worry about having perfect sentences or the right word. I could do that in revision.

Success - I loved making my goal, but developing the ability, the habit, of writing every day is what really made me feel like a success.

    So if any of you would like to try and develop a healthy new habit, write every day, and get lots of encouragement while you're writing lots of words, I'd suggest you sign up for NovelTrack in October when the challenge is offered again.

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    Today Is My 29th Wedding Anniversary

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Marriage is a really good thing. It's not easy, and I think some couples still get married way too quickly without thinking through what it really means to live with another person and make a committment to stay with that person forwever. Till death do we part. That's a long time. But if you can work through your problems and really respect each other, 29 years flys by so fast it's difficult to believe you've been married to each other that long.


    Love Quote Pictures, Images and Photos


    Trust has everything to do with a good marriage. If you can't trust your spouse, you can't have a happy marriage. Love without trust isn't healthy. My hubby and I are good friends. In fact our wedding invitations started out with, "This day I will marry my friend." And we've been friends through the good times and through the really tough times. Happy Anniversary, Randy. I'm believing the next 29 will be the best!

    Friends Pictures, Images and Photos

    Faith and love will take you far. Have a great week and fireproof your marriage.

    BEDLAM TUESDAY: LET'S TALK ABOUT INCEPTION

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010


    SPOILER ALERT
    Don't read if you plan on seeing the movie.
    I went to see Inception  last week with my hubby. There's been a lot of discussion about this movie. If you've seen it, I'd love to know your take on it. Perhaps being a full time counselor as well as an author has clouded my judgement. But I thought it was all about mental health and one man's journey back to sanity after his wife's suicide, which he feels responsible for and carries extreme guilt related to what he feels he did to her. 

    Your mind is the scene of the crime.
    I will definetly go back to see this movie because (ahem) I can't get it out of my head. It's a fantastic way to depict mental illness and how the mind fights to find and stabilize reality. It should be a requirement for every psychology class.

    Christopher Nolan, the writer and director has developed a real winner in my opinion, no matter what you think it's about. Any movie that can keep people talking about it is doing something right.

    If you go to http://www.imdb.com/ and look at what genre it is you'll get a smile on your face. For me this movie showed a man and all the characters he would come across on his way back to sanity. Let's see, we had dreams to begin with, very Freudian. Then we had projections, the difficulty of getting lost and never coming back. Knowing when you're in reality and when you aren't. Unlocking the vault to discover the secrets of the mind. I could go on, but I'd rather you did.

    So what was Inception all about?