So, about me and my mental health.
Does it sound like I’m bragging about my mental health? Trust me; I’m not. But when you have the history I do, to be able to describe your mental health as great is really something, and I praise God for my recovery.
I didn’t say I’m happy all the time or that I never worry about anything or never have an anxious moment. However, I can say that ninety percent of the time now, my mental health is superb. I rarely get mad, nor am I envious of anyone. Saying “no” is easy now. Rarely do I put myself down. I am able to let go and no longer feel the need to please everyone. But I didn’t get there all at once.
Gaining my mental health was a process
There was a lot of going backward at times. But God knew how hard I was trying, and eventually, I got to where I am now. I was a “highly functioning” depressive. That’s much more common than you might think.
I am a woman of faith.
I am what many would call a “conservative.” But I don’t fit the mold. Just because one has deep religious beliefs doesn’t automatically mean they are some kind of “nut job.” As far as I know, no one has ever accused me of being intolerant or judgmental of others. I will refer to my faith whenever I need to on this blog, but it’s never intending to convert anyone. I leave that up to God.
At the same time, I can’t ignore my faith just to make some followers comfortable. So I ask that you have an open mind, and I will, too.
I have followers who are as far removed from me religiously as they can be. I have followers whose language certainly is far removed from what I’m comfortable with. Another group of followers holds political views that seem to be from another planet compared to mine. However, I also follow bloggers whose views about everything are diametrically opposed to mine. Blogging has exposed me to a world I don’t play in very often, but it’s good to step outside the box.
Some personal facts.
I love (in no particular order)
- DIY and home renovation
- Book stores
- Living in Michigan
- Love my little up north cabin and she-shed
- Walking in the first snowfall
- Love autumn
- Lake Michigan
- Bible study
- Walking daily with my husband
- Spray paint. I will spray almost anything. Even upholstered furniture. I’ll tell you about that one someday.
- Painting, pictures, not walls
- Fabric stores
- Paint stores and paint chips.
- Scrapbooking stores where I buy lots of paper even though I rarely scrapbook.
- Antique stores
- Yard sales and thrift shops.
- And much more.
- Mostly, I love my God, my husband, my family, and my friends, and consider myself truly blessed.
I write a lot about mood disorders and faith issues because being a person of faith doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with mental health issues. Because I am a survivor of depression and a person of faith, it’s my heart’s desire to help others win their battle as I did. I can still remember the day I decided I was going to beat depression. That is a day I won’t ever forget.
I was in my basement wrapping Christmas presents for my daughter-in-law, and I was struck with severe anxiety out of nowhere. My doctor had prescribed additional medication because I was really struggling.
Distraction and mental health
I didn’t know what to do, so I started putzing, doing nothing in particular but simply staying busy, and I was scared. After maybe thirty minutes, I noticed I was feeling slightly better but couldn’t understand what happened. So I kept busy, making myself perform little tasks.
The more I distracted myself, the better I felt. I began to think that maybe depression was manageable by doing very simple things that took my mind off how I felt. When I called my doctor the next day and told him I wasn’t continuing with the second medication and that I’d like to reduce the strength of my current anti-depressant, he agreed.
Don’t think any of this was easy.
I had many twists and turns, and some days, it felt like I was getting worse. But I never gave up. I knew God was with me on this journey, and with his help, I’d figure it out. The doctor lowered the dosage of my anti-depressant, and while adjusting to that, I paid close attention to what activities made me feel better. And, I might add, to the people who made me free good and those who did just the opposite.
I learned about boundaries and how to create and use them. It was a process of self-discovery, and I learned that my own habits, words, and thoughts contributed to my depression.
Good mental health led to the writing
That was over twenty years ago, and in the process of my healing, I began writing a book. I put it aside for a time, as life had other plans for me. Plus, I knew I couldn’t publish the book right then, as other people were involved. During that time, I started blogging. I wanted to help everyone I could who struggled with mood disorders because I knew how it felt. Based on feedback from speaking venues, leading retreats, teaching Bible classes, and my work as a hospital chaplain, I learned that people found my advice helpful.
The time came when everything fell into place. Since then, I have published three books. Depression Has a Big Voice. Make Yours Bigger! Finding Your More, and a novella, The Second Best Christmas. I am currently working on my fourth book about prayer. The books are free on Smashwords until I get them in a softcover format, which I hope is soon. If you’d only known what a grip depression had on me to be where I am now. I want that for everyone.
I have real empathy for anyone who struggles with depression. Seeing my mother struggle her entire life with this illness broke my heart, and I watched other loved ones as the darkness dimmed their eyes and stole their joy. I have counseled many people over the years. My blog and my books are my way of helping those who struggle with mental health and faith issues. I hope you stay connected, and I hope your journey to wholeness is right around the corner.
I’m sure this blog will continue to evolve as I “find my voice” and as I continue my life coach classes. I hope you’ll stick around to see where it all goes.
God bless, and have a wonderful day.