Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trained Negativity; Gratitude Journal

I think that sometimes when women are depressed, they think it has just "come upon" them. They don't realize if they've done anything to contribute to it. And they don't realize that they can do anything to change their circumstances. I am talking about taking real personal responsibility here. Not just going to the support group meeting at the hospital, but saying: "I am depressed because I think depressed thoughts. I have power over my own thoughts. I can choose not to think depressed thoughts".
Have you ever considered that? That you, yes you, have the authority, even over heaven and earth, to choose your own thoughts. Yes, it is so.
Matthew 16:23 says:
But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, satan! You are hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
Do you notice how He says setting your mind? That means that Peter was responsible for the thoughts that were running through his head over and over again. And they were satanic thoughts, because the Lord rebuked Peter for what the devil was saying through him. Now, we could get all messy with theology here, but the thing that thrills me, that I want to convey to you is:
1. Those depressed thoughts are your enemy. Your nemesis.
2. You don't have to set your mind on them.
In Matthew 21:29 Jesus tells a story about a man who had been asked by his father to go work in the family vineyard. The man refused, but it tells us that he later changed his mind and went. So this man changed his own mind. "A small instance", you say, "perhaps only his whim, and really nothing compared to what I am going through". Well, keep following this train of thought: In Matthew 21:32, a few verses later, Jesus condemns the local religeous leaders for having been sent a message from God and then not changing their minds and believing. So this time, we see Jesus requiring a change of mind of someone!
"Oh great, now I am required to be well?"
Not so. With God, things are always more of an invitation than a legislation. He really wants you well, and His word shows us how we can be. If the bible holds the keys to a sound mind, then we need to put our flesh aside, and really consider what it has to say.
Especially about our minds.
Most of depression takes place in the mind. Sure, depression is spiritual, but it probably entered through the mind at the outset. Yes, depression is very physical, but where is that physical depression manifesting? That's right, in your thoughts. You know this, because you've thought it yourself: "I'm too tired", "I can't handle this anymore", "I just want to die".
Well, you don't want to die, those are just thoughts. And you can choose which thoughts you will take.
So if the choice is all yours, what are you going to think about? After all, your mind and your brain have been in a habit for years of thinking the same negative things, and turning to the same coping mechanisms (maybe your bed, maybe your pills, maybe your beer). So, that in essence is trained negativity. It really takes a lot of work.
When I was young, many well meaning people said many well meaning things to start me off on the road to negativity: "If you keep making that face, it will stay like that", "What are you, Oscar the Grouch?", "Liberty, you are such an Eeyore". Was I? I guess I must have been, but to a child those words become identified with self, and a strangely pronounced prophecy that something in the child wants to live up to.
Then, there are all the things I did to train myself: all the TV shows I watched in which the heroines were perpetually rude, and in a constant state of tragedy; all the things I said, like: "life sucks", "I hate school", "I can't stand life". Did I feel like that? Well, I guess I must have, but there was no point in being so negative. It's just that I didn't know to RESIST negativity, and so it came naturally.
Can we train ourselves to HAVE A DIFFERENT MIND? Yes! And really it is so very simple. If your heart is to be well, and to get to know God, He will honor your every effort, no matter how small. One thing I did after my healing was to begin writing in my journal: things I was thankful for. At the end of the day, when I was most tired, and most inclined to feel negative, discouraged, or to think depressed thoughts, I would sit in bed and write down around five things that I was really thankful for that had happened that day. It changed my thinking. Whereas before, I would have gone to bed feeling beleaguered from my day with a toddler, I would now write down that I got a load of dishes done. No, it doesn't seem like much, but for me it was a victory, and it proved that my life had worth.
I also wrote down the main thoughts that had plagued me that day, and beside them (or under them) I would write what the bible said. For example, if I had felt that day like I "just couldn't do it anymore", I would write down beside that: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". I didn't feel it, but knowing that the bible said it gave me comfort, and new strength. I could feel God's presence with me, and the fact that He loved me, and that I wasn't alone was enough. I would sleep peacefully, without any fear of the next day. I knew that He would help me then too.
Often I prayed that way. I would feel tempted to get down, or I would feel a headache coming on, and I would just ask Him to turn my day around. To take hold of it, and make it better. And He would. The headache would go, and I would feel cheerful again. But I did make a choice. I chose to turn to Him, not to the depressed thoughts, or actions. You can choose Him too. Call on the name of Jesus, and trust Him to deliver you.
Mark 12:30 says "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength..." This doesn't seem to me like a command from a harsh God, but rather the invitation of a loving Father, to enter onto the road to mental health.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Loving Our Children

I found some really good stuff over at Titus2.com.

The "Mom's Corner" for the months of August and September really would have been great to read when I was a young mom. Because of the post-partum depression, I really struggled during those years. Now I am gaining my life (my dreams) back: more every day! The life I live now, I couldn't have even dreamed of then. So don't get discouraged, you will come out on top, and some day these years of depression will be far behind you. Your life will be healed, and whole. Now those years of depression are all but a vague memory, and each day my life is crystal clear. But, even to this day, I must "take my thoughts captive".

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fighting Depression

The Soldier

A soldier
In a distant land, a strange land
Many sights, many sounds
No rest
No silence
No home
He had a home, long ago and far away
When he was a boy
Everything sharp; crisp; vibrant
At night it haunts him
The colors too bright, the smells too real
So real it is painful
Painful because he will awake
And here it is all sharp
The colors here are marred
The lonely landscape twisted
Perverted into a prison

On every side
Inciting fear
Making demands
More than he can stomach

Has he forgotten
Truly forgotten
Is it really so far away
“Have you forgotten
That in that other place, that real place
There was no fear
You were a king
You slept, and everything was quiet
You ate, and always had enough
Each morning was a joy
Each evening was filled with laughter

You were loved
You were someone’s son
You had a name

But here in this place of death
Here in this truth to awful to name
Have you forgotten
Your sisters
Your mother
That she smiled
That you were home”
He hasn’t forgotten,
It is why he is here
It is the only thing waking him in that trench,
The one thing moves his frame
The only thing giving strength to his mind
Get up
He slips
Get up
Get up
It is why he cannot fail
But remember....
It is why WE fight
It is why we LIVE
It is LOVE
Have you forgotten
Have you forgotten why you are here
To put pressure on the pressure
To drive another enemy force back
To take another territory
You were born into a war
Will you win it
Will you continue to fight
You know why you must not fail
Get up
1 Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Going off Antidepressants; Quitting Addictions; Sugar

I don't recall if I mentioned this part, but some of you may be interested in knowing how I got off antidepressants. I had taken several different types: mao inhibitors, sri's. The last one I was on had changed my behavior and personality quite a bit, but once I was healed, it wasn't doing much of anything, and I knew I didn't need it, but there is a bit of a story here. Now, I had been having terrible migraines, and food allergies, etc. which may even have been made worse by all the chemicals going through my system. I know antidepressants are supposed to help with migraines, but they weren't helping me! I had really tried almost everything: melatonin, triptophan, feverfew, st. john's wort. Nothing was helping me with the migraines, and my body was sensitised to the pain killers. It was the prayer counselling I had that totally healed me of the migraines. Not one more migraine- and that is 10 years ago!!

So through the prayer counselling I recieved a truly miraculous healing. I wasn't feeling depressed; I wasn't having any migraines; but I was still taking the antidepressants every day. I decided that I was truly well, and if that was the case, didn't need my medication. So I stopped taking it. BUT. People say that antidepressants aren't addictive. I would agree with that except, I think they are dependance forming. You probably know many people who have been on antidepressants for years! Sure, the depression is under control, and they are functioning well, but they can't stop taking the antidepressants. If they do, they begin to have "symptoms" again.

So I began to wean myself off of the antidepressants, and I began to have withdrawal symptoms. This is why I mention that people say they are not addictive, but I was certainly having trouble getting off of them, and I was feeling "down" again! This confused me, because I knew that I'd been healed (of course, if you'd been nearly suicidal for two years, and suddenly felt miraculously happy, you'd notice it!) but if I was healed, why couldn't I get off of the antidepressants?

I decided to keep taking them for awhile, until I felt sure what to do.

During that time, I was reading the New Testament every morning, and going to church every week. I was spending a lot of time with Lydia, who had prayed for me and was now mentoring me, and I was beginning to take back my life. I was now doing again the things that I'd been totally unable to do when depressed. I was enjoying my life, and my family again.

After about three months, I had an inclination on the inside of me, that now was the time to stop taking the antidepressants. This time was different: the first time, I had wanted to quit them, almost as if I would do it in honor of God who healed me. But at that time I couldn't: I couldn't do it on my own. But the second time, I knew that it was God telling me to stop taking them, and with that telling, there was also a power to carry it out. I had grown a lot spiritually during those three months, and now I was ready to go on without the drugs.

This time when I stopped taking them, I expected the withdrawal symptoms, but I felt I was ready, and could tough it out no matter what. I quit cold turkey this time, and...
I sweat profusely for about a week!
But I didn't experience any withdrawal! I think my body was cleansing itself of the chemicals through the intense sweating, and after a week, it was all gone, and I was FREE!

Your story may be different, but one thing I must highlight is that I was paying attention to God, and His word, and when He said it was time, I was ready, and I obeyed what He said without fear.

I believe that along with hearing Him, there comes an ability to carry out what He has commanded. Remember when Jesus went out to the boat in the storm, to help his disciples? He walked on the water to them, in the middle of the night. His disciples saw Him, and were terrified, but He reassured them, and said "Don't be afraid, it's Me!" When Peter (one of Jesus' very closest companions) heard this, he said something strange: he said- "Lord, if it is You, tell me to come to you on the water!"

Do you notice how he says: TELL me to come to you. He knew that if Jesus didn't say it, he couldn't do it, and he knew that what Jesus SAID, he was able to carry it out!

When my children were all still very young, I began to have problems with fatigue. At about 7pm each night I was flaked out on the couch, and feeling like I couldn't move.

One day, I felt particularly worse. It was a very strange feeling, and a very sick feeling. I lay on my bed, with the world spinning, and I cried out to God: "Lord, why do I feel so sick!?"

The answer came clearly and quietly on the inside of me: You are eating too much sugar.

That simple small phrase surprised me. I didn't think I'd been having that much! But I knew that I'd heard from God, and I decided to go for a month without sugar, to see what kind of a difference it would make.

It was a world of difference for me. I had tried in the past to stop eating sugar, because I knew that it wasn't that good for people, but there was always a chocolate bar calling me from the cupboard, or a coke that would just taste so good right about now, and after all, I was just having one piece of cake, one cookie after lunch!

But again, this time was different. This time, I had heard God, and this time when I quit, there was no desire for sugar. At all. I felt so good, so happy that month. I had energy all day long, and all evening, and I was much kinder to my children. I had been too grouchy and fed up of a mama before, but now I was seeing my children in a whole different light. FREEDOM. Freedom, by my doing what God said.

So are you addicted to something? Maybe something you are ashamed of, and you don't want anyone else to know about? Let me assure you, Jesus knows, and He is not angry. If you will listen to Him, and read His word, you will find that He is always speaking, and it will be easier and easier for you to hear His voice.
Don't be afraid to listen for Him, thinking that if you open up yourself you are just as likely to pick up any voice as His, because He said that if you ask for bread, He wouldn't give you a stone. He hears you all the time, and it's not scary for Him! Will you hear Him, and not be afraid? He is Love. Love is a good Person to hear from.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Confronting the Demons

If you've been here before, and have read some of the entries, you've probably had some questions running through your head, and also some conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, you are really considering healing as an possibility, but on the other hand, you are thinking things like:

"Does God really want to heal ME?"

"Would He forgive ME? Sure He forgave Liberty, but she seems like a fairly decent person, and she doesn't know the extent of the things I've done. I can't be forgiven. I deserve to be depressed."

Then there are others of you who are feeling religeously disturbed. "She is misusing scripture, and besides, God doesn't heal EVERYBODY."

"God only wants to save us, He doesn't say anywhere in the bible that He will HEAL us."

"I've studied my bible for years, and have never been healed. This woman is not a bible expert, how can she expect to instruct others about what God will or will not do?"

And there are others of you who believe that God WANTS to heal you, but you are uncertain as to how to get it. This morning our golden lab sat outside our patio door, and gazed in with wagging tale and expectant eyes at the breakfast feast that the children were partaking of. She met their gaze: she was expectant, and she believed that the food was there, but she wasn't sure how to get it.

Will God really answer you if you pray?

I think the best way to adress all of these questions you are having is to start by sowing a seed of truth into your thoughts. One true thought about God, and one true thought about His healing is greater than all of the other "mess" that's been running through your mind. Now don't get offended: we all have a bit of mess from time to time. If you are depressed, let me assure you: your thoughts are messy, and you need some counsel as to how to get it cleaned up!

"My people perish for a lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). What does that mean? I think it means that there are some things we don't yet know, and our knowledge of God and His word is not good enough yet. If you don't know that He will heal, or answer you, then that's just what the verse said: you are being destroyed because you don't know, and you need to know Him. If you have studied the bible for years, and are sure that I'm mistaken about all of this, think about what the Lord said to Job. (He goes on from there to give a beautiful description of His love and creative power.) Let's face it, sometimes we don't know why we got depressed, or why someone died, or why, why, why. Why, if I'm a Christian, did this happen to me?

I think the point to be made here is: we don't know, BUT! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! It just means, that if you acknowledge that He is God, and He really does know everything, then He is willing to share it with you! He WANTS you to KNOW!!
Let's keep talking about it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Green Smoothies

So we know that diet is not a catch-all cure for depression. But sometimes diet can help! Green things are good for your brain, and raw green things especially.

One of my favorite green things is a green smoothie. Now if you've only been drinking milkshakes, it will take a little getting used to, but you'll find that after awhile, you will start to crave green things (and raw things), just like you used to crave chocolate!

Here's how to make one:

One large handful organic baby spinach, stuffed at the bottom of your blender,

One frozen banana,

One pear, or some blue berries (I really like the frozen blueberries),

One cup of water,

One cup of juice.

Blend thoroughly to liquify, and drink immediately.

These are very good for "detoxing", or for drinking mid-afternoon to keep your blood-sugar level (the blueberries are very good for that too). I have one almost every breakfast.

So feed your brain green things, and feed your spirit with the word of God.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

He will bless our bread and our water.

Some more eye opening verses regarding our freedom (through Jesus) from food allergies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More on "The Battle"

1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Notice, there is a prize. With God there is a reason to get out of bed, a reason not to quit, a reason not to give up.

Is my body my enemy? Why else would I be "beating it" and "making it my slave"? Well, if you are depressed, you are experiencing it first hand! If you don't take control of that body, it will do things that you have NEVER invited it to do. It will stay in bed, and you will get poor. It will stay on the sofa, and you will gain weight. It will quit exercising, and you will develope tumors. No! Not this body! Body, you will not do what you want to do. You will not get depressed. You are my slave, to do me good.

I remember wondering again and again why other people were just happy, and I had to WORK at being happy. Now I don't care why. I will simply do what is neccessary for me to live the happy life.

Will you enter the fray? You are not alone: you have a God who is willing to equip you.

I am believing for you. We will win.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Post Partum Depression: Winning the Battle

Hear me young mother.
Did you know that there is a battle? Or did you just think that something terrible was happening in your life: something unavoidable; something that may lift eventually... someday?

You were deceived then. It is a battle. A battle for your life, your mind, your sanity.

There's no sense in getting scared, and turning away now. You must win.

Most mothers' will think of their baby at this point, and agree with me. You know that for the sake of your child, you must put on a good face, and do your best for this little one. But know also that not all mothers have done that. You know them. They've left their husband and their five year old daughter and moved thousands of miles away. The've been absent from church, only for you to discover that they've left their husband and three boys for another man, and won't be coming back. It' a slippery slope, and post partum depression wants to help you slip.

OK, now that you're sober, and cut to the quick, I must remind you:

The Lord is Faithful He will not allow you to be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear.

I realize, that you do not feel that you can bear it now. Not one more sleepless night, not one more demand from your husband, not one more cry... No way. This is more than you can bear.

I know that, I've been there too. I've cried too, until I felt my heart would break. Some nights I cried because it had. I've searched my mind endlessly for answers, desparately searching for a way out of the situation, and coming up with nothing. I've been there too- without hope, and without God in the world.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Did you know that you can invite God into your darkness? That you can come to Him with all your misery and anguish, and invite Him into the midst of your mess.

He isn't like us. Other people have turned away from you because of the depression. They don't want to be around you anymore- you're not fun anymore. You're always busy with the baby now. They don't understand where you are, and suddenly you can't understand them anymore either. But God doesn't ask for our circumstances to be good before He wants to spend time with us. Maybe your husband is angry that you're not so exciting in the bedroom lately, and you are pained by how selfishly he is thinking- how can he be after just that, with all that you're going through- doesn't he care?

But God isn't asking you to do anything, be anything, or have anything for Him to come to you. He just wants to be with you in your grief, to hold you in the middle of your mess.

If you will give your mess to God, it will not stay that way.

We all need to do it, and some of us more than once. We need to give control over to Him, and say: Lord, if you can do anything with me, I give all of myself to You. I offer You full control of my life. You will not regret it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

No Depressed Christians

Reasons why I know that God doesn't want you to be depressed.

God's plan was to send Jesus to bear your diseases and torment. BUT NOT ONLY THAT. See verse one: "to bind up the broken hearted"... That WAS you. You WERE the broken hearted. But God sent Jesus, and you are so no longer. NOW you are the "binder". You are made in the image of God to be a healer of hearts, and a binder of wounds. To proclaim liberty to those around you who are captives today!

It is your destiny.

Monday, October 1, 2007

More on Food Allergies, and MCS

John 6:27

Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal.

This was a real encouragement to me today not to live under bondage to food. What is bondage to food? Well, if you can't eat certain things without getting sick, or if you live in fear of encountering the thing that will make you sick, then it sounds to me like that thing has control over you, and the verse is saying to me today: Don't serve food- it is only temporal. Serve and worship the Lord your God.

John 6:29

Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

This says to me too, that there is no "labor", no careful diet planning, no strict dietary laws required of me by God. His desire for me is that I believe in Jesus. Believe in the answer that God has provided!