Monday, January 30, 2012

Can a person be a Christian and be Bi-polar?

I spoke with my aunt on the phone this evening after talking to my mom and saying some things that scared her. She thinks I should be evaluated for a Bipolar disorder because it runs in the family and my mood swings have been both sudden and extreme. 

I told my aunt that yesterday was a really good day. The sun was shining, I was in a good mood, I felt poetic, I felt good, I started doing stuff, and I started cleaning, and I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.  There was probably nothing that could have brought me down yesterday. And then this morning I woke up, didn't feel either good or bad, but my back hurt (probably from sleeping in a weird position), so I stayed in bed for another two hours and finally got up, dressed and went to church. 

At church I started feeling extremely irritated. There was a person sitting behind me who was doing the anxiety thing where they fidget, and he was shaking his leg really fast. I could feel it making everything around me shake and I got so irritated that I got up and left the room and went and sat in a different room all by myself.  Then the day went on, I still didn't feel either good or bad, just normal. And I was talking with my cousin Brandy and I was thinking about the tax predictor thing and how it predicted I would owe $1200 and I started feeling incredibly anxious.

I started feeling so anxious that I literally could not see hope for the future. My future felt so bleak and miserable and I felt so trapped in this hoplessness that I told my mom I didnt want to live and that if I ended up owing the government $1200 (like the tax estimator thing predicted) that I might as well jump off a bridge because I would never get it paid off.

My mom started to tell me that she didn't want to hear me talk like that and I hung up on her and then cried because I felt so alone and because I just wanted someone to tell me things will get better. And then I went and checked the mail and I got my insurance statement in the mail and I cried because my monthly payments went up about $5 a month. (Now that I look back on it, it feels pretty rediculous, but just a few hours ago all of these things felt like the end of the world, and tried to feel better, I tried to pray).

So when I did calm down, I called my mom back and let her know I was feeling better (she had called back to check on me, but I didn't hear my phone), we talked about it, and I realized that this has happened to me several times over the past few months... maybe even over the past year. I used to be so happy-go-lucky and simply go with the flow of things, now I have bouts of utter hopelessness so bad that I don't want to live during those moments.  What happened?

And now... I don't feel horribly depressed. I feel mellow and tired.

So after we spoke, my mom suggested I talk to my aunt (who is bipolar), so I called her told her all about it and she laughed at me and suggested I get checked because I sound just like she did before she was diagnosed.

I don't know what I'm going to do.  I think jumping to believing I have a bipolar disorder is a little extreme. It could be a hormone imbalance. Elevated estrogen levels can mess a person up.

 But I also don't want be looking for excuses either.  Maybe there is another explanation that doesn't involve drugging myself to get better. Try harder to give my worries to God?  I don't know.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love is not easy.

Responding in love is not easy...especially when you've been attacked by a person... and regardless of the means they used to contact you. Especially when all you want to do is is respond to the person and tell them you don't appreciate their attitude and then proceed to tell them why all their complaints don't apply to you, while making snide remarks that hide insults in them.

But I didn't do that. I promised my roommate that if she had something that she needed to talk to me about, instead of replying defensively, I would hear what she has to say and try to understand the heart behind it.

But then I was surprised when I actually did.  And of course, when I take the focus off of myself, I see I don't think my roommate sends me and my other roommates texts like she did because she is trying to start a fight or attack me personally, but because she is simply frustrated over something, regardless of how much or how little it applies to me personally, and she doesn't know how to communicate it, so when an issue does come up, it builds and builds and builds until it comes out in this huge emotional upheaval of anger and frustration, and other emotions.

And though she's not trying to start a fight.... she is prepared for one.  So what is the best response?

I remember immediately Proverbs 15:1 A Gentle answer turns away wrath, but a hard word stirs up anger.  (you could even go into verse 2: The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly).

And I've been studying the book of 1st John this whole month and I've probably read through it 30 times. But There is so much in it about love... how we know God abides in us, how we know we love God, or how we know we are children of God, is in the way we love.  So instead of replying defensively, as I have, sadly, done before, I thought about what it was that she needed right then when she sent the text, and the fact that she has been working the midnight shift for 3 days now and I simply texted her back and said: "I hear you, and I respect your thoughts."

But then, as it would go, I continued working through the evening at the group home and I started to feel some compassion toward my roommate.  In all truth, most of the stuff she texted really didn't apply to me at all, but I began to feel a prodding to respond not only in word, but in action.

1st John 3:18 says Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

So I looked at her text again, and I noted some of the things that she mentioned specifically frustrated her, so I went out and bought her stuff that she claimed got used up, and I came home and I spent the evening washing and loading the dishwasher and vacuuming and sweeping.

So like I said, responding in love is not easy.  Love means sacrifice.  Love means I had to consider someone besides myself. Love means I had to ignore my thoughts about what I do or don't do and realize that for this moment, what she needed was for someone to hear her needs and respond to them. Love means sometimes a person is more important than my immediate need (like sleep, haha), or my busy-ness (sigh).

And I'm not capable of loving on my own. I wish I was better at it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Anxiety relief anyone?

I've been feeling anxious. I'm not 100 percent sure all why I'm feeling anxious, but I am.  I credit some of it to work.  I found out today that Sheffield lost two of their full time staff.  While this can be a good things for me, it can also be very overwhelming for me.  I told Sheffield I am available Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  They've been using me maybe once a week, sometimes twice. Now that two full time staff are gone, they are likely going to start using me all three days.  While this is good for my paycheck (and actually quite needed right now) it is also a bit overwhelming with everything else I have going on.

I want to go to VCC on Wednesday evenings. I like going, I enjoy meeting new people, and I feel like I'm being challenged there. But this week I may have to skip because Wednesday was the only day I could give to train the people I invited to be a part of the Out on a Limb team for Life Tree Cafe because I can't be there on Tuesday when they are doing the make-up training since it was cancelled last Friday (not to mention all the preparations I need to do for it). And then there's the next Life Tree training on Friday so it cant be done that day either, and I may be working this Thursday evening, I'm waiting on the schedule from Sheffield.  

My schedule just feels too full and for someone who likes to be spontaneous and have the freedom to decide to stop and help someone shovel their car out of the snow like I did tonight without fear of being late (growing up I was punished quite severely if I was told to be home at 8 and I showed up at thirty seconds past 8. so even though I still show up late to things, I hate it!) so for me, this is a nightmare!

But I guess the good thing is that once I get used to the roles I will be playing with Life Tree, and if I make sure Sheffield only schedules me on the days I said I was available, and all that other stuff I don't want to think about right now, then it will be bearable, and even enjoyable, but until then... I will have to do a lot of praying, or just feel anxious. I think mostly, though, is that there is a fight going on between necessity and desire in my schedule.  I want to do one thing, but I have to do another, and the two things overlap so I have to choose and necessity is going to win.

So, maybe it's not so much the full schedule that bothers me, but perhaps, having to choose necessity over desire makes me feel like I don't have control. (please no comments about how much control we really have anyway, now is not the time for that).

But I still feel anxious about something else, and I don't know what it is.

Well, with that being said, for me to wake up on time and not feel exhausted, I should have gone to bed half an hour ago, so I'm out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Death was never a part of the plan
yet one man falls so so another can stand
we think we are immune from death and pain
until our mortality hits us again
our plans fail and babies cry
we all bleed and young men die
And we think theres some cosmic purpose to it all
some divine meaning, as though weve been called
to suffer through these chains and abuse
because its something that God can use
And maybe God does use our pain
To call us back to him again
But is it really something that he plans
Or is this our attempt to understand
All our questions and cries of why
He allows who he does to die
So we take a moment and we pause
Does God allow or does God cause
And does it matter in the end
When we have a God that we call friend
Who is with us and heals our heart
And hold us close when we fall apart
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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Yearly Review.

My Year in Review:

January, February, March:  Sadly, these three months run together for me. I can't really think of anything that sticks out or was significant during these three months.    In January I started working in the art room at the Boys and Girls Club, while continuing my position with Kidstop in the mornings.

April:  I celebrated having been employed with the Boys and Girls Club for a year, while at the same time, I began my employment with Opportunity Enterprise, working at a group home.

May: I can't remember anything of significance happening in May.

June:  June almost seemed to be a turning point for me this past year. I spent the first 5 months of 2011 grossly uninvolved in my own life.  How sad is that?   In June, I quit my position with Kidstop to work full time for OE, and to continue with my position in the art room.  I took a road trip by myself to visit my friend Stephanie and her Husband Chris in Alabama. It was a time that was refreshing and the beginning of a journey toward spiritual renewal.  After I came back from Alabama, I made the decision to move out of my parents house and into an apartment with my cousin Rebecca. The actual move took place during the last week of June. Also, during June, I found myself infected with MRSA, the flesh eating bacteria.

July: I had officially moved in with Rebecca and the electricity got shut off. I had spent some money getting the water back on, because I refused to live without both, but we were never in a place where we were able to get the electricity back on.  During this time Rebecca started staying with Mikey, and I felt very alone living the way I was living. Shortly after the electricity was shut off, the gas got shut off too. Taking cold showers was very "character building." 
In addition to this I found myself, a week after I moved out of my parents house, unable to use them as a fall back if things didn't work out as they recieved a letter in the mail claiming property taxes had not been paid on the property. The long and short of it, my parents would end up getting evicted.   At this time I was also working nearly 70 hours a week between my two jobs.

August: In August I applied to transfer to a new department at OE so I could keep my position in the art room, and was passed over for the position, so I put my two weeks notice in.   The day after I put my two weeks notice in, I recieved a phone call offering me a different position in the same department.   After speaking with my boss at the Boys and Girls Club, we decided that I would stay with the Boys and Girls Club on a subbing basis, and that I would indeed leave my position in the art room.
Rebecca and I also recieved an eviction notice from our landlord.

September:  Rebecca and I moved out of our apartment, and spent the next month living with our aunt Terry.   I started the new position at OE on September 6.

October:  In October, Rebecca, Jamie, and I moved into our new trailer together.  I also got my kittens, Bella and Esme.  Shortly after moving in, sewage started backing into my room from the hot water heater. Big Mess, not fun.  I also got Victoria a job at OE, working with me.

November:  In November, I celebrated my 26th birthday. This was the only birthday that has ever really bothered me. It made me realize that much of the last year of my life was spent going through the motions.  Growing older never bothers me so much as when I feel like I'm not doing anything with my life.

December:  I revisted my 100 pounds in 1 year plan and developed a strategy beginning.... today!  That would take me back on the journey to permanent weight loss.    I also found out that instead of doing personal care, I will be spending some time taking on a line for an unknown period of time. 

Concluding thoughts:

I really honestly don't remember much of this year. It all kind of centered around work, and that is highly accurate. Work has pretty much been my life for the past.... if not year, then at least for the past 6 months.  I don't know what I expected out of 2011. It really wasn't a great year for me.  I want to make 2012 better. 

One of the ways I've decided to do that, was that instead of going out with some friends to the bar, I started thinking, the way I start my new year is going to have a lot to do with how my year goes this year, and watching others drink and have what they think is a good time... well, it just wasn't on my to do list. 

Instead I spent the evening cleaning up my room so that I would have a clean room to start the year with, and then I spent some time doing some spiritual clean up, and I prayed in the New Year. It seemed so fitting.  I've had a lot of spiritual darkness this year, and while I had times when I was succumbing to it, I have also had moments when I was fighting against the darkness.  This year, I am not going to let the darkness overcome my soul. I have so many things I could say about my spiritual journey, but there is a desire in me to let sleeping dogs lie for the time being and focus on what is coming rather than what is past.   I had no idea what 2011 would bring me, and I have no idea where things will go with 2012. 

In addition to starting my year with Prayer, I have also started the Daniel Fast (in response to a challenge from another church I went to last Wednesday).   It is basically a fruit and vegetable  and water partial fast.  I can tell you my prayer life has increased dramatically just today because I had to pray for strength not to succumb to the foods at the coffee bar at Life Bridge that don't align with the Daniel Fast, and then during the Builders meeting, I had a hard time with my stomach growling while half the food still sat out, and then ofcourse, the smell of Jeni's pizza.... Temptation.  I honestly didnt think I would be able to make it through, but somehow I did. I stuck to the fast.  And then today when I came back to my trailer, Jamie had made buiscuits and gravy and it smelled amazing. But somehow I managed to avoid sampling.  And then, the other temptations were to dip my carrots in the dressing or dip. Didn't do that either.    Am I proud of myself?   No.   I'm humbled by the extent of my passion for food.  Only 20 days left. God help me.