Depression, Medical Issues, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome

My Hero and His Sidekicks

My Hero and His Sidekicks

This post was originally written in 2018.  This is the story of My Hero and His Sidekicks. After an unnecessary Chemo and IVIG 2-day trip to the hospital (we no longer go to this hospital), my anxiety took over my body. It has snowed/iced while we were 4 hrs away at the hospital. My tribe took over and saved the day.

Fella

My man caught a ride, in the nasty winter weather we had, rode and 1 1/2 hrs to where H and I were stopped because my sanity could not do it any longer after two days of no sleep because of sitting in a hospital room. We got food and chatted the whole way home about nothing and everything. He never hesitated.

Future Son In Law

This boy, who wants to marry the girl in the picture, dropped everything to drive my husband 1 1/2 hrs to where I was. He never hesitated or complained. He just asked how we (meaning the baby and me) were and that he was happy to help. This girl in this picture called me on the way home, made me laugh, encouraged me, and chatted my ear off to keep me from wailing.

My Daddy

This ripe old man made me a strap of leather that says, “Hold on tight to God” He made this for me because he knew from the beginning that I would need something tangible to touch to remind me of Christ (and his) love for me.

My Sisters

She and her family prayed fervently for me and spoke wisdom to me while I had my moment driving on the ice. Even though she was tired, she stayed on the phone with me until I had calmed down.

This other sister, well, I can handle just about anything until I call her and she says “hey,” and then I cry. Her voice soothes my soul, and she calms me to my core. She listens and gets mad at the appropriate parts of my stories. She gets quiet in other parts of my countenance, researches, and prays. God knew what He was doing when he created these people to be in my tribe.

My Oak

This mama of mine…this mama of mine…this mama of mine, there are days when I think I cannot breathe without talking to her 500 times a day. She is my rock. I am so thankful she is a FAITHFUL and driven prayer warrior. She listens and worries; Martha has excellent ideas, is encouraging, and never makes me feel stupid. Ever. She always says I’m a good mama, and I learned from the best.

Peach

This pretty girl shoveled the sidewalk, did and put away ALL the laundry, had all my diffusers going, made supper, and loved me and H when we got home. She watched kids, she delegated, and Peach worked on her homework so she could be ahead. She let me sleep in the next day and fixed dinner plates.

Boo

This boy had the kitchen spick and span before I got home. He shoveled the snow/ice away from my garage door, so we wouldn’t get stuck trying to get in our driveway. Amazingly, he loved on H and me like he had not seen us in years. He makes my heart smile.

Gigi

This girl had her chores done, her exercises done, and her schoolwork done. She also helped unload all the excessive crap we hauled home, and she put it all away. There was no drama, no nothing. She played and calmed H while some chaos was swirling around us, getting things put up.

Catfish

This boy took care of all his chores without complaining, and he did his schoolwork. That is quite a challenge some days, but today he did it. He also goofed up and got caught in a sin act, but he quickly admitted what he had done was wrong and apologized. I’d say that is a win-win situation.

Bro Man

This Bro-man got all his chores done and all his homework done, as well, with no complaints. He is loved tremendously by H. He is his lego man person, and their relationship is so precious. I think I’ll keep him.

On this particular day, it took MY village to come and rescue this weary woman’s soul. I’m so thankful that God perfectly ordained each of these people to be in my tribe and to love me and H so well. God is SO good….all the time. I sure do love My Hero and His Sidekicks.

Depression, Faith Journey, Medical Issues, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome

A Breakthrough of Letting Go

A Breakthrough of Letting Go

A Breakthrough of Letting Go

Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m trying to control a situation. For a year (or more), the Lord has not moved. 

Then I sit back, and I reflect.

I think about all the phone calls, the late nights researching, the bookmarks I’ve saved, the groups I have stalked, the tests I have read and reread…..but…

Where was my Jesus?

I realized: ~ that my depression was stronger ~my prayer life had waned ~my mood was somber ~my temper was short ~my resolve was shorter ~my study life was nonexistent ~my relationships were strained, and ~my desire to go to church was void.

On June 17, 2018, I found Jesus again.

I say that knowing that I have always had Jesus. He has never left me or forsaken me. Today, He imprinted on me. He gently turned my head back around to face Him. I allowed things to happen that I would generally never let out of fear.

Fear has no place anymore.

As I wheeled my son in church, late, past 1044 people (not really, but it seemed like a lot when your baby is in a wheelchair), I kept my head down. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone. If I did, I would melt into a puddle of tears.

Then I turned around.

There stood friend #1, and before I knew it, friend #2 walked up. There was a brief moment where I explained a few things. Then I had to walk away because I was fixing to lose it. In no way did I want to release that control and let anyone see me cry. From the hallway, I hurried back into the sanctuary, and we were in the middle of worship.

I couldn’t even open my mouth or my eyes.

I just stood there, in the pew, with my head down. There were no thoughts in my head. At that moment, I was trying hard not to cry because I was with my children. I found myself walking to the altar to pray when they began another song. My feet were moving without the permission of my mind. I knelt, and still, there were no words in my head out of my mouth. I just sat there and absorbed the music.

Mamoo

As I was praying, I felt a hand, and I looked over, and Ms. Mamoo was praying over me. She is the most eccentric woman I have ever met. She is stunning with bright blonde and pink hair. Her legs are to die for, and she is about 86 years old. There is a strength in her. She kept telling me to “hold on,” that healing would happen and that I needed to hold on to that statement. I felt my body release. Then, I heard these sounds that thinking back, was me moaning in an animalistic way.

The music stopped.

I hurried through a door to gather myself, alone for a moment. I walked around the corner to check on H. He was beginning to melt down because he could not pick up a whale snack. He kept dropping it and shaking. As I went in to help him, the ladies said there was a man at the door that wanted to speak to me.

I have never seen him before.

This man was emotional, and he asked me to bear with him. He said he saw me wheel my son past him. He felt the Lord leading him to pray over him, and at that moment, he asked permission to do so. I went back into the room and scooped H up. In his next request, he asked me if he could hold H. I was okay with it; strangely, so was H. H was completely at ease with this man.

His prayer

What a beautiful healing prayer this man prayed over my son in the church hallway. I will never remember all the words he said. I do remember the stillness of H. The electricity in that little huddle, the tears that this man and I shed. I was humbled.

Faith.

Our sermon was on faith and how you must tie a knot at the end of the last thread, you are hanging onto. You must trust that you will land on Jesus’ hand if you slip. This sermon was exactly what I’ve been battling with for the last month or so. Jesus has been working on me to have faith. To stand strong, to release control because He knew H before He created the earth. He knew who would carry him, and He knew who was going to raise him. God knew that H would go through this. He already has the perfect provision if I get out of the way and stop controlling the situation.

In the end

I went to get my son. H was gently placed in his chair, and I wheeled him into the sanctuary. Looking up, I saw Richie, our pastor, and before I knew what I was doing, I wheeled him up to the altar. The Lord gave me another huge chunk of my rainbow at that moment. As I looked up, people from all over the sanctuary came forward to lay hands on H, Bart, and me. Mamoo anointed him with oil as she prayed.

There stood men and women of all ages and children. I could hear a gentle roar of prayers being spoken over our son. In the midst of that, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was a familiar hand, with a familiar smell and a slight tremor. Ms. Jan, through the crowd, touched me. I never saw her face. I just felt the warmth of her hand, and I could hone in on her voice. H never moved. He never cried. He just sat there and took it all in.

 

Depression, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

There are so many types of mental illnesses! Yet, they are rarely spoken (hence The Elephant in the Room) because it is construed as showing weakness when you can’t handle your crap. Here is a list of the main groups (or classifications) though there are probably a hundred more that can be added.

Some of the main groups of mental disorders are:

Breaking it Down

According to the DSM-V, each category of depression has specific “criteria” to meet. I am not here to argue with the authors of this book. Frequently, I have had to pull this book out to see things, and I use it as a solid guide. Yet, no two people who struggle with mental illness are the same.

That is where my thought process may not line up with the professionals. I guess that is just splitting hairs. If you or someone you love is struggling, PLEASE reach out. Reach out to a pastor, counselor, friend, family member, anyone!

My Story

I have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I remember thinking I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t look like other kids or think like other kids. We didn’t have the money to buy things that others had. Don’t get me wrong, I was loved, and I was loved fiercely. So many people do not come from good home lives. I did, and I am thankful.

As I got older, things got harder. My grandpa died when I was 14. That was the first death of someone I loved, so I took it hard. So hard that I was physically ill. I remember having to stay at Susie and Frank’s house (my “other” parents) during most of the mourning time. It was just too much for me, and I didn’t know how to process it properly.

Ice Cream

I remember when my sister and I were in the car with my mom. That moment was so deep in my sadness that I couldn’t see out. I looked at Martha and said something eluding to suicide. That is the only time I remember her smacking me across the face.

The look in her eye was fear; now, as an adult, I can see that. I remember her asking me what Granny would think and how mom could go on if I chose that path. Her tears flowed freely. Again, I was fiercely loved. I couldn’t see it because of this haze that I lived in within my mind. Never have I spoken or thought that again. Her face is burned in my mind. We went for ice cream after that interaction. From that point on, we never spoke of it again.

Diagnosis, Sort of

When I was 19, I started having health problems. I was skinny because I didn’t eat (I wanted to fit in). This was my first year in college (stress), working full-time and catching the attention of inappropriate male humans.

At that time, I was diagnosed with chronic high blood pressure (which ran about 240/120), high cholesterol, Meniere’s Disease, and clinical depression. All had good times! I was shocked, as were my parents. The meds for the “medical” part started, but I was told to buck up and be quiet for the mental aspect. There wasn’t anything they could do for me. I would be fine.

Let’s Add to our Fun

When I was 20, I placed myself where I should have never been. Now, that does not mean that what happened was something I brought on! It was an active choice of another, and I have lived with that for a long time.

Depression, self-doubt, blame, shame, and all the other negative words you can think of piled on top of me. For YEARS I blamed myself. Like I could not function. I felt dirty, unworthy, and unlovable all because of an action of another. It was horrible. I genuinely do not know how Big Daddy fell in love with me. Honestly, it wasn’t very good.

Crisis Center

One day, after I had had V, I got up the nerve to call a crisis center. It was anonymous and before the land of caller id. I knew I could safely call, relive everything, and get a straight answer. My family knew nothing. My husband knew nothing. I kept this to myself for YEARS.

I used all my words. Then I used more words. I can recount every detail like I was reading a book. There is also no more emotion attached to it. I had completely detached myself from this memory.

What she told me stopped me in my tracks and began my healing. Did you know that 8/10 people are sexually abused by someone they know? At the time, I didn’t know that! I thought every case was this violent, horrific act you see on television. Nope. I was so wrong.

I will be forever thankful for the person on the other end of the line. Thankfully, I have been able to heal emotionally, talk openly, and get the needed help. If you EVER need to go through YOUR scenario, please call 1.800.656.4673 for 24/7 help!

Moving On

So many other things in my life. Death, loss of children, threats of losing children, difficult children, loss of jobs, and marriage difficulties. My depression has deepened to the point of frightening my husband and family. Thankfully, I can use my words and communicate my needs.

There is NO SHAME in medication! NO SHAME in therapy! There is NO SHAME in admitting you are not okay! There is NO SHAME depression! It is a disease just like cancer and diabetes! You medicate for those things, and you can medicate for a chemical imbalance in your brain or a circumstantial period of your life.

End the Stigma

Mamas with postpartum, people with PTSD, people with brain damage, trauma, sexual abuse survivors (we are NOT victims), soldiers, police officers, EMT workers, pastors, and people in general!

I see you! You are okay! God is bigger! Help is waiting for you! You are loved! Treasured! Accepted! A child of the King!

Do not be ashamed. Fear is a liar. You are a hero! I hear you and feel you. Medication is OKAY! There are days when I’m good. Like, I’m great! Then, there are days when I want to stay in bed and cry. That is okay as long as you don’t stay there by yourself.

Words of Wisdom

I will NEVER forget my sister saying this in the depths of one of my painful periods. “Brandi, you can let the bird fly around your head all you want…just don’t let it make a nest in there.”

I have learned self-care: I have great doctors and a med that works well with me when needed. Jesus and I are talking again. He is good all the time, and all the time, He is good. My husband has stopped trying to fix it; now, he listens to or hugs me.

You are okay, and if you are not okay, that is okay too! Soon, you will be okay! I hope this has helped someone somewhere. If not, it sure was helpful to me! Onward and upward!

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

The Reality of my Nightmare

The Reality of my Nightmare

In The Reality of my Nightmare, my guest blogger writes about her interpretation of the trials that surrounded her. She writes it as if she were me. I read it the morning of my friend’s funeral. She is pretty spot on in all that she said.

The Reality of my Nightmare

Writing this seems like a nightmare

I am waiting to wake up from this nightmare because of how real it feels. But when I open my eyes, it will all go away. No. This nightmare is real. I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why? Why me? What did I do wrong to cause these people to knock on my door? Who has been watching me and observing my every movement? 

I am afraid

Afraid to raise my voice even the slightest bit because someone might be watching. Also, I am scared to take my child to the other room for fear that someone might think I will punish them. Afraid to go out in public with my child for fear that someone will judge me the wrong way and call them again. Why me? 

Raising Kids

Raising kids is hard, especially 7 of them. They are all so different in so many ways. Yet, I would not change a single hair on their head because I love them so much. I love my kids with every fiber of my being. I would gladly take any strife or burdens off their shoulders. I will put them on my own if it helps them and their future. 

My kids are special.

Some have mentally challenging issues. Then, others have some physical problems that need my constant attention. Being a mom is hard. It is tiring even. Yet, I am glad God chose these beautiful children to be mine. 

I love fiercely and will do anything in my power to protect them from the world and its temptations. Sometimes, I help others before I think about myself and my needs. I have run ragged, going in different directions to help those in need as God calls me to do. Honestly, I try to open myself up to other moms in various clubs and organizations my kids participate. I try to help them and converse with them when they need a friend or a shoulder to cry on. 

But You

You took care of my child when he played sports on your team. He became best friends with your kids. I thought you loved him like one of your own. He stayed at your house and slept over so many nights. Every time, he had a blast when he came home beaming from ear to ear. He would tell me all about how fun it is at your house. 

Invitation then Betrayal

I invited you into my home, which we manage to keep clean amongst the chaos of having multiple children and animals in the house. And yet, you betrayed my trust by calling them. Why? Why me? 

You know my child is well-fed. We give him clothes and things to toys. Furthermore, we keep him involved in sports. Importantly, we teach him the love of Jesus in everything we do. We fight for him daily because he is different. And that’s okay because I love him so much.

How Would You Feel

You are a mother with kids of your own. How would you feel if someone called them? They showed up at your doorstep asking to be invited in. Then ask you probing questions about your home and relationships with your kids? And what if you found out that it was a supposed “friend” who called them on you. 

How would you feel? 

Betrayed? 

Confused? 

I should hope so. 

That is how I felt. 

Terrifying Agony

The terrifying agony that my kids could be ripped away from me with no warning. Sadly, the wailing and uncontrollable sobbing happened in my car when I got the call. My heart can’t take it anymore. I am so tired of having to justify myself to these people. Justify every action that I do and every word that comes out of my mouth. 

How would you feel? 

Would you demand an explanation from your “friend” and say some nasty things to them in retaliation? Would you constantly look over your shoulder to make sure no one was watching you if you ever had to punish your child in public? Or are you one of those parents letting their children run amuck and do whatever they want? 

Either way, I want you to know that it is understandable if you did not know the family or had never been in their home and seen how the family operates. It would be understandable if you didn’t know my son or me. 

But you did know us. 

I was at every game. I talked to you all the time. And yet, you still called. I could trust you. You have betrayed my trust. But I choose to let God be in control of my situation. I prefer to let God judge your actions when you get to Heaven instead of judging you, which I am not called to do. 

Honestly, I choose to love like Jesus with skin on and be the city on a hill for you. I prefer to let God listen to my sorrowful prayers and collect my tears in a jar. Furthermore, I choose to let God pick me up and comfort me because he knows I am the mom He called me to be. I am not perfect. But God does not call us to be perfect. He calls us to be his disciples and to love our neighbor in his word. 

My house may be messy sometimes, and my kids may drive me crazy most days, but in what reality is home always tidy and the kids always clean and well-behaved? I would love to meet those people and that family. 

Haven’t you ever made a mistake as a parent? 

Because if you say no, that is a bold-faced lie. We fail daily at things. The key is learning from those mistakes, moving on, and leaving the past behind us. Those failures are also successes. I have put several of my kids through a full education (and I have homeschooled them for many years as well). Two of them graduated with honors, which is a huge accomplishment.

Mama Pride

One of my kids is married with a baby on the way. I could not be happier for my sweet child. My smallest child is excelling at what doctors told us would be impossible. Yet, with me by his side, he has survived those odds. 

The moments of pride I feel for the children I raised surpass the moments of sadness I think when things like this happen. I choose to find the beauty in the ashes. I will stand tall and not be shaken by people’s opinions of my family and me.

My Choices

So I will also choose to continue to stand by my children and attend every activity, club, and sporting event they are in. And if you other moms judge me or whisper tall tales about me that are not even true, I will smile and turn the other cheek as God has called me to, even if it is the hardest thing I have ever done.

Cruelty of Others

People can be so cruel nowadays, and they always look at the plank in someone else’s eye rather than focusing on the speck of dirt in their eye. Words can slice through a person and bring them down when we should be standing together as moms and supporting one another rather than bringing them down and jumping to conclusions by calling the organization before they have the facts straight. 

No, we moms are not perfect. But we are doing the best we can with the circumstances we are currently in and the children with whom the Lord has blessed us. I will continue to be the city on a hill and shine my light bright for my kids and you. 

And I know deep down in my heart that God will be pleased with my strength and integrity, and when I get to Heaven, He will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I can not wait for that day to come. 

In the meantime

I will continue to be the most fantastic mom to my kids and a faithful spouse to my husband. I am showing them the light of God. Continuing to shield them from the world will be a lifelong journey, but I would not change one thing about it, not for you or any other mom who says a spiteful word towards me. 

I will pray for you even though it is painful. Because in my darkest moments, I cling to Jesus the most, and when my faith is tested, I come out stronger than ever because my Redeemer is with me. No more hiding. No more fear. I will not be afraid. 

 

Depression, Medical Issues

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is something that I will be doing. After a couple of years of tackling acute trauma in my life, a decision came to pass. I have decided to move forward with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).  EMDR is a therapy that helps you process your trauma through eye movement. Sounds crazy, right?

 

When I Started Therapy

 

It was hard. I’m not going to lie. I told my therapist that I was there for only 52 days (read the book of Nehemiah, and you will understand that). There was one memory that I wanted to tackle amid EMDR. Sounds simple, huh.

 

I love therapy (my Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy). The thought of being able to help someone through the muddy waters until it becomes clear running is my jam. I love seeing beauty come from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

 

Yet, it is SUPER hard for me to be in the clients’ seat because I know all the logical things. I know what to tell myself. I know how to process items. I did not enjoy my time at all. I was the worst client in history of ever.

 

Sessions

 

We did the first session, and I freaking went somewhere I did not want to go. That was not my mission; that was not part of my 52-day plan. Not. At. All. I was so pissed when I left. In the next session, we did EMDR; I could not focus. I was already walled up because I did not want to go where I was the previous week. On the third visit, we did the DUMBEST grounding thing ever. I laughed hard because she was so serious, and it was not my jam. I assume she guessed that when I said, “this is the stupidest shit ever, and I’m not doing it anymore.”

 

Point taken.

 

Bless her heart.

 

I would have fired me as a client.

 

Co-Vid Hit

 

With that, we had to do virtual visits. Again, not my jam. I couldn’t focus because my kids were loud. I didn’t feel like I was in a safe place, and I couldn’t concentrate. It was hard. That therapist moved out of the office and took another job in another state (which had nothing to do with me, LOL).

 

They switched me to another counselor. I was set not to mesh with this lady because my mind was already made up. EMDR was stupid, not effective, my 52 days were up, no progress, and now I had to rehash everything with another person.

 

Not happy.

 

Getting to Know Her

 

My new therapist was my jam. We clicked immediately. She didn’t make horrific faces when I said things. It was easy. Comfortable. I’m so grateful to her and how she immediately made me feel so safe.

 

EMDR has yet to happen (next week), but our focus was on the MASSIVE acute trauma that I faced weekly. I kid you not; every week was a new trauma. I’m glad she could swim because she was deep in with me.

 

Complicated Party of 1

 

My life is very complicated, and so is my past. I’m very complicated. I’m an empath to the nth degree. There are so many things that I blame myself for, and I carry with me these notions that are not true.

 

We could not even address my past because my present was so tangled. My present was getting more and more knotted every single day. There were days that I couldn’t breathe. There were times when she was almost insistent that I go somewhere to get into patient care. That’s how bad I was.

 

I kept in close contact with my doctor (medication), pastor, my mom and sisters, and my fantastic husband. Without this support (especially my husband), I would not have made it. I still have bad days, but they are fewer and farther between them.

 

Addressing it All

 

Now, we are ready to dive into EMDR. Today was in preparation for next week, and let me tell you. It was hard as hell. The prep sucked. We are going to try and do EMDR through virtual visits. If that doesn’t work, we have a plan. I will drive to the center for one week to do EMDR in person. EMDR will be with another counselor. Then, I will process the next week with my regular counselor. I’m praying that the virtual does its thing and that I can break down the walls and mindsets that keep me captive.

 

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

 

I may write about my processing, as it helps me. Yet, I may not publish it, LOL. I may keep it private to protect those that still need protecting. I can write on my blog and keep it private. I don’t know yet.

 

Today, I learned what a trigger was for me. What reality is and what lies I choose to believe. Now, we have to untangle that mass of lies. This is where we separate the lies from the truth and then live in the land of reality. Instead of it being a trigger, it will be a memory that does not affect me as it does now. Right now, it is crippling.

 

You are Not Alone

 

Please, if you struggle with mental illness, I want you to know something. You are NOT alone. You are normal. You matter. You deserve love. You are enough. Please seek help from a counselor, pastor, friend, or family member. Write, draw, drive around, get on medication, and get an emotional support animal. Do what you need to do to help yourself because you matter. 

 

As I move along this process, I will keep those who care or are curiously updated.

 

Depression, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Ten years ago, I met a brassy blond girl at a ballpark. She had a crass mouth and a nasty smoking habit. She was loud and obnoxious. A person people moved away from when they saw her. She did not dress the part, talk the part, and certainly did not behave the part of what society deems “normal.” 

Yet, I was drawn to her. I saw myself in her—the girl that no one wanted to be friends with, the outcast. I have a deep love for those who seem unlovable. I see through the facade of what someone presents. I see their heart—that deep desire to fit in, yet the complete inability to do so.

Seeing a Bit of Jesus in Her

In my mind, I can close my eyes and see all the bright dots of Jesus throughout her. I just knew when those dots connected; she would be an unstoppable force of nature for the Kingdom.

I fell in love with this girl, her children, her brother, and her parents. We were a tight-knit group of misfits. I was blessed to be able to lead her to Christ one spring day. After she accepted Christ, I gave her a hot pink Bible. It was her favorite color. She loved Jesus with all her heart.

Mental Illness

She also struggled with mental illness. Despite her love for Jesus, she had good days and bad days. What bonded us was that I, too, suffer from mental illness. I have clinical depression. She had onset bipolar disorder. 

One thing I want you all to hear is that you can still love Jesus without abandon and still struggle with different types of mental illness. That does not mean you love Him less than someone who does not struggle.

How Did She Change My World?

She taught me how to accept those who were not “normal.” Also, she taught me to walk towards the waves instead of away from them. Live life without fear of abandonment and to hell what people thought of you.

Did I change her world? I hope I did. She made me a better person, and I hope I had some effect on her. Her mom always said that I did. I sure do love her children and now grandchildren. We were good for each other, for the most part.

Does it Change the World to Stand in the Gap?

Yes, it does the world when you brush and braid a friend’s hair for the last time? Also, when you begin painting her nails and toenails her favorite color? Does it change the world to wipe the ants off of her body while you are bathing her? What about closing her eyes for the last time?

Yes, it does change the world. It changed for Leigh Ann’s children, her mother, and her brother. It also changed me. It showed me what the phrase “be Jesus with skin on” really means. Sacrificial love and service for her and her family.

Leigh Ann, you are loved, thought of, and missed daily.

Depression, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Dear LA,

I’m hosting a pity party this year on your behalf. It is just now beginning, and it won’t end until, I don’t know, Jesus returns. I want to love this time of year. Basketball is in full swing, and oh, how you LOVED to watch your kids in sports. So loud you were so loud at the games. God bless those children.

This month is B’s bday month, Father’s Day, my anniversary, and yet, it makes my heart heavy. I wish things were different. In the end, I wish it didn’t even happen. Your children are healthy yet struggling. You are grandma times two! I can’t even fathom you and me being grandmothers! Seriously, how did that even happen? We aren’t old enough.

It’s the Month

The month. The month that changed me forever and a day. That phone call, the screams, your children’s faces. Your face. Your eyes. The smell of your freshly washed hair. It was still damp when I took it down. It had gotten so long. I don’t remember where the hair tie went. What did I do with it? I don’t know.

Honestly, that is now going to bug me. Maybe I used it to tie up the little bit of hair I snipped off to give to your mom, brother, and kids. I don’t know. I just had to call a friend and check in because my mental status is not good right now.

Hair Tie

Honestly, I went to call your mom to ask her, and it hit me. She is gone too. Your kids will only have each other, their uncle, and me. In reality, I don’t even count. I’m going to have to stop now. I can’t finish.

Be at peace, my friend. Dance with the angels. Smile your smile. Talk your loudest. I miss you, and you were loved. Your life meant something, and I’m sorry you lost sight of that for a moment.

XOXO

Suicide Prevention Hotline 800.273.8255

Depression, Faith Journey, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Get Over It Speech by My Lady

Get Over It Speech by My Lady

Get Over It

 I have struggled with depression my whole life. There are short seasons; there are long seasons, then there are ** long seasons. A couple of times, I missed a year because I could not remember due to my depression. Some seasons are circumstantial, and my sad cloud leaves once those circumstances have been resolved. The other seasons are just plain ole crappy.

 I withdraw, sleep, do not get out of my house, do not change my clothes, or get out of bed. It takes too much effort. My husband does not know what to do with me. In our early years, he was oblivious because I was great at placing my mask. He recognized and then tried to fix the problems in our middle years. Well-meaning spouses cannot cure depression. 

In Later Years

In the later years, he sits and loves on me. He lets me be me, and he loves me through the valleys. We have come a very long way. I have learned to take off my masks and ask for help through lots of prayers, Jesus, therapy, and medication. He has learned to stop trying to fix me and to stop trying to understand the darkness that can consume me. 

 In 2015, I was struggling with a hard season of depression. There were days when I struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, brush my hair, etc. I did the best I could, but at the end of the day, depression won. I would sit in my bed, sobbing about being a failure as a believer, wife, mom, daughter, sister, and human being. Deep down, I knew my worth in Christ. Sadly, I listened to what the evil one was whispering in my ear. Instead, I should have been listening to the Truths of my Jesus.

In Walks My Lady

 On a Wednesday night, my family and I went to church for dinner and our classes. We got there, got our food, and sat down to eat. The side door opened, and my Lady walked through the doors. She is a fantastic lady, and she has taught me so much, and I knew, regardless, that she loved me. 

I got up from my seat and hugged her while my son ran and grabbed her some dinner. She cannot only look at me, but she can also look THROUGH me. 

That night, she looked through me and asked me what was wrong. Tears rose in my eyes, and I said, “I don’t know, I’m really sad and I can’t shake it.” My Lady looked at me and firmly said, “well, get over it. You have a life to live, a husband who needs you, children who need you…now get over it.”

Shocked

 I think you could have knocked me over from the shock of that statement. There has never been a person, over my long history with depression, that has ever said anything like that to me. I almost let it hurt my feelings. I almost listened to the evil one saying, “she does not love you, she does not care, that was mean.” 

Instead, Jesus took me and shook me that night. With Jesus by my side, He flicked satan out of my ear and said, “I sent her to you. She is my gift. This is your kick in the pants from Me through her. Now, get over it!” I walked around in a bit of a daze that night.

Purposing to Follow-Through

 The next day, I got up and proposed to do a few things to better myself. I am well aware of my deficiencies in the “follow-through” department. There is also the thought of wanting to succeed at something, and if I set my goal too high, then I will not follow through, and I will fail. I put the bar VERY low. 

My first set of 30-day goals was straightforward. The first thing was to brush my teeth every day. The second was to put a bra on every day (you laugh, girls, but you know what I’m talking about, especially being a homeschool mom).

Next Up

I also purposed to read 1 chapter of Psalm and 1 chapter of Proverbs daily. I did this by starting on whatever day of the month it was. It made it easier for me to remember. I had just received a great study bible, a new journal, highlighters, and pens for Christmas. I was set. In my journal, I listed five blessings first. Next, I listed prayer requests. Then, I would read my chapters, highlight the verses that meant something to me, and write them in my journal.

 I made it through that first month! I was so proud of myself, and the Lord revealed SO much through His Word. I also maintained my two tiny goals of brushing my teeth and wearing a bra. 

Month 2

The following two goals were pretty simple. The first was to take my medicine regularly (always take your meds as prescribed by your doctor) and not wear my husband’s clothes but my own. Again, you people might be mocking me, but my husband is a big man, and I feel skinny when I wear his clothes. I like to feel skinny! 

I had powered through Proverbs, and I still had a ways to go with Psalm, so I thought I would add a short book of the bible to make myself feel good about accomplishing something again. I still kept my journal, but I was on a new journal because I had filled the first one up!

Getting Wild Up in Here

 This time around, with my prayer request, I got wild and mixed things up! I went back through my prayer request and highlighted the answered prayers, dated them, and wrote how they were answered. In my dark times, I could flip through my journal, and I could physically see the answers and that God still moves even when I feel He is not moving. 

I also began branching out with my prayers. When I felt myself closing up and moving inward with sadness, I forced myself to look to someone else. I texted people in my contacts about how I could pray for them. The replies to my texts were humbling. 

My friends would say, “How did you know? What do you know? Who told you? I was praying about that, and I feel I have confirmation. In my darkest, you reached out.” Oh, my goodness. The reaction of others was a source of light and comfort for me. The Lord was using my depression to further His Kingdom!

My Prayer Journal

 My journal filled up quickly, and I had to upgrade to a notebook. I asked each person how I could pray for them; I gave them their page and added any requests. I would follow up with their requests to see if the Lord had answered them, and when they were answered, I highlighted and dated that request. 

Eventually, I branched out even further and extended prayer to my friends on Facebook. The responses were overwhelming. I was and still am humbled to stand in the gap, with prayer, for people. My notebook got full, and I have since moved to a binder! I love my binder. It is never far from me, and I have my pens and highlighter ready.

What I Learned in my Season of Depression

 In this season of depression, I not only learned how to pray, but I also ended up reading through the entire bible in about a year and a half. There were the dreaded books of the bible that came to life because I was reading it through a new set of eyes. The Lord revealed so much that I started sending out lessons I had learned along the journey. My season lifted because one person spoke what I needed to hear. “Get over it!”‘

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

 Depression is real, and it is not talked about in society. Please, I am urging whoever is reading this to seek counsel. If counseling does not help, go to your doctor and look to get on medication. There is no shame in that. I have been on medication, on and off, for several years. 

There are seasons of your life when “get over it” does not cut it, and you need more help. I hope that the stigma of depression and other mental illnesses is eradicated and that we can talk freely, get support, and become free from this disease. 

If you, or someone you know, has any mental illness and are afraid they may do the unthinkable, the Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. People are there 24 hours a day. Never be ashamed. Never think you are alone. Know your options. Reach out! Live! Teach others! Through your ashes, beauty will be found.

 

Depression, Medical Issues, Quotes

Redeem Me, Lord

Redeem Me, Lord

Redeem Me, Lord

 

What started as excitement
Lent its way to anxiety
Everyone fighting with resentment
I, wanting nothing more than privacy

Privacy comes at a price
It comes with the monster in the night
I want to be alone and play nice
But the monster is a fright

It taunts me and haunts me
All the days of my life
The monster hides inside me
He is ready to destroy all of the sources of my life.

Please leave me be and take your fighting
Mind, please settle down and be calm
I can’t take much more hiding
Its time to settle this qualm

I sit in silence and cry
Over the losses of the past
I can’t seem to shake the past off, but I try
Losing comes too fast

Redeem me, Lord, with your promises
Here is my earnest plea
Please save me from this monster
Please save me from me

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Lockup: Extended Stay

Lockup: Extended Stay

Lockup: Extended Stay

In Lockup: Extended Stay, I just completed a four-day stay in the hospital because of my mental health. I am not ashamed to say that’s why I was in the hospital. I needed help, and I can admit that now.

Things have been bad for me for basically a month, and I had nothing left to give. It started with me realizing that even though I had forgiven myself for my brother’s death, it didn’t make it any less painful than I was expecting. I thought that if I had forgiven myself, the hole in my heart wouldn’t feel as big.

Trauma Relived

On top of that, I have started remembering things from ten years ago, which just hasn’t worked out in my favor. I also had anxiety about what to do with the information I remembered. Do I report this even if it may ruin my family?

Do I report it even if I will have no biological family afterward? The decision was made for me. Now I’m dealing with the anxiety of waiting to hear from the police. Every time the phone rings, it’s like my world stops. I start shaking, and I get nauseous. I hate this feeling.

First Few Nights

 

My first few nights at the hospital were very lonely. I didn’t even start to make friends until the night before I left. I only knew those people for a short time, but they made a massive impact on me. I can’t help but think about where they are in the world.

 

Did Katie and Michaela get out today? Did Jamie’s mom ever pick him up from the hotel room? Did the other Katie get the Job she interviewed for right after she got out? Did the girl with super long hair throw a chair through the window? Where are they now? Are they doing okay?

 

Dawn, the Night Nurse

 

My night nurse made the most significant impact on me. Dawn deserves a raise because she doesn’t make enough money for what she does. From the moment I met her, she was nothing but caring. The nurse answered any question I had. She got me food from the fridge when I was too anxious to do it myself. She treated me like I was her child.

 

On my last night there, she shared something with me that she had never shared with anyone. I won’t say what it was because that’s not my story to share, but it made me believe that I could talk to the police. I am strong enough to get through this.

 

I am Home Now

 

Now that I’m out, I feel like there’s this pressure that I have to be good now. Like I feel like I can’t be anxious or depressed. Don’t get me wrong, I am the best I have ever been, but it’s still not great if that makes sense. The bar was literally on the floor before now. I now appreciate the people around me a little more.

 

Looking back, I know I wouldn’t have made it through the past month without them. That’s not something I’ve been shy about, either. I’m so grateful to Bart (you guys may know him as “Big Daddy”) and Brandi. They have completely changed my life. I love them wholeheartedly, and I could never thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.

 Guest Blogger

This was written by one of my favorite people. She is so precious to my soul. I am so encouraged by the strength it took for her to admit that something was not quite right. There have been so many days and nights that I have seen her struggle to maintain. The dam broke. Without the help of her medical provider, his nurse, and my son, she would have never had the strength to stand up for herself. She would have never sought the help that she needed.

Since doing that, it was discovered that she has Serotonin Syndrome. Many symptoms range from excessive sweating to goosebumps. All of this is caused by an accumulation of serotonin. Antidepressants cause some your body produces and some.

Thankfully, she is on the proper medication. She was on too many SSRIs and has completely leveled out. There is no shame in getting help. Had she not gotten the help she needed, she would have never discovered the meds to help her were hurting her.