Fighting Seasonal Depression

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Welcome to January, its cold, its dark and for many of us it’s well depressing. I do and have suffered from seasonal depression for a long time. I was lovingly reminded yesterday that I’m not the only one. I hope I can give some positive solutions of what you can do to easy your depression symptoms. These are things that work for me. I hope they help you.

Please remember if you suffer from depression the first step should always be seeking the help of a professional. Either a psycologist, psychiatrist or both. I have a psychiatrist and a therapist. Most of the following suggestions came from their guidance and are what helps me when I feel depressed or over come by anxiety.

  1. Buy a light. Not just any light, a Sunlight Therapy Lamp. There are plenty on Amazon ranging from $40 to $100. When you get up in the morning, and you may have to start getting up earlier to do this. Turn the light on and sit with it in front of you for about 20 minutes. It does help, especially on those endless weeks with no sun. You will have more energy.
  2.  Create a morning routine. If you are like me and have kids your morning routine may already be created for you, however if you can keep getting up at the same time and going to bed at the same time, even on the weekends it will help your body regulate. Build time in if you can for self care, sit in front of you light, do your quite time or mindfullness, drink your coffee. Sticking to the same routine will also give you a sense of control and balance that depression likes to steal from you.
  3.  Make a list of things you are thankful for and read it aloud daily. Post it on your mirror, in your car, above the stove. Remind yourself daily how blessed you truly are.
  4.  Listen to worship music. Changing your atmosphere can easily change your mood.
  5.  Exercise. I know this is the last thing you want to do when you feel depressed but it releases your natural endorphins and you will feel better. Because of my injuries I have started doing yoga. Its easy on the body and I feel so much better physically and mentally after doing it.
  6.  Go outside. Even for a quick walk around the block. Studies have shown being outside, especially if there is a park or a woods near by,  will help lift your mood.
  7.  Talk about it. Depression makes us feel like were all alone. Your not. I promise someone you know, knows what your feeling.
  8. Pray about it. Depression is caused by many different things, hormones, situations, chemical imbalances in your brain, sometimes just the atmosphere your in. Ask people to pray for you. Remember God keeps each of our tears in a bottle. Read the Psalms. David dealt with depression. God knows and loves you and wants you better.
  9. Journal. Write it out. Having a place to put your feelings will help you. There are lots of journal prompts and art therapy prompts on Pintrest that can help you write or draw out your feelings. After you write out how you feel, write down one positive or thankful thought. It will turn your perspective around.
  10.  Know where your thoughts come from. At some point you have to come to the conclusion of who you are and who you are not. Depression makes you feel ugly, worthless, unnecessary, unloved. You are not that. Not on any day. You are a king or queen, righteous and sanctified in Christ. At some point you will have to tell those  thoughts, that’s not me and start telling yourself who you are.

I started doing that in 2016. A friend sent me a series of verses from the Bible that describe what it is to be a child of Christ. When I felt anxious or scared or depressed I’d read those verses out loud. I will attach a link to them below. It didn’t take long before I had them memorized. It didn’t take long before I learned how to stop the rhetoric in my head of how worthless I was. I could say, no I am God’s child. God loves me, God made me how I am for a reason and God has good plans for me today. Saying this out loud stopped the negative tape in my head. Now that negative tape comes back sometimes, but I can recognize it and turn it off again. It takes practice but you can overcome depression.

This is how I deal with depression. It is not easy, when you are depressed you don’t want to do any of these things. Your tired, wore out and don’t want to get out of bed. There’s a lot of other things I could say on this subject but these things I used when I started this battle. It is a battle. Its hard work but it’s so worth it.

Remember Jesus left us with peace, John 14:27 AMP “Peace I leave with you, My perfect peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. (Let my perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.) You can have peace. You were gifted it by Jesus. I hope this helped someone today.  To read the verses that helped me go to.Who I am In Christ

 

 

Have Faith in God’s Grace

I was in a car accident yesterday. Me and my daughter were going home from the store on a main road and someone made a U-turn in the left lane causing all the cars behind them to slam on their breaks. The third or fourth car back had the choice of  hitting the car in front of him or pulling into my lane and hitting me. He got me.

It could have been a really bad accident. More people could have been hit. Me and my daughter were both on the driver’s side where the collision occurred and could have gotten really hurt, but I believe by God’s grace we were all ok. The other car stopped. We were both very concerned about each other and relieved when everyone was alright. I really believe that God’s mercy and grace took what could have been a really bad circumstance and protected and cared for me, my daughter and the others involved.

I have a confession to make, since my back injury in 2017 It has been very difficult for me to be in a car. I struggle driving not only physically but I have a real fear of an accident about to happen. I can’t drive on the expressway right now because of my foot pain so I often have to rely on my husband to take me places. I am so very anxious during those times. Sometimes I have panic attacks when were near large trucks or someone cuts someone off in front of us. I pray, a lot almost every time I get in the car for protection.

So yesterday God let me get in a car accident. While I was driving on a road that was not the expressway. I think he wanted me to learn two lessons in this. First, that I am not in control. Even when I’m doing everything in my power to keep myself and my passangers and my vehicle safe, I’m not in control. An accident can still happen. I’ve been trying in a backwards way to control the anxiety I have about driving. Only driving short distances, staying off the highway. I avoid driving when my foot is in a lot of pain. These pirameters make sense but I think I’ve had an “I can’t get hurt this way” mindset. My faith shouldn’t be in these rules I’ve made up for myself, they should be in God’s grace.

The second lesson I feel that God had to remind me of is that He has promised already to protect me. You see I am his child and he promises that he will never leave or abandon his children. I pray all the time for protection in the car when I think God is asking me to not just pray but have faith it will happen. I think I was praying so much because I only had faith for one car trip, maybe not only that. God wants me to have faith for everything I ask. His grace is not limited to the car trip I’m on its unlimited grace and I needed that reminder.

There’s a verse in Matthew that was actually in my quiet time today it says, “And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. So do not be like them (Praying as they do) for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:7-8 AMP I think I’ve been very repetitious in my prayers lately. I am challenged by this verse and circumstance to have faith and not repeat myself. Which is hard. My children went back to school today. I think I prayed 4 or 5 times since yesterday, God please watch over them and let my youngest have a good day. It’s time for me to stop praying about it and have faith God will take care of them.

 

 

Bitter Sweet Christmas Eve

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I wrote last about the passing of my husbands great Aunt. The funeral was over the weekend. We spent Saturday and Sunday with family. The service was beautiful. The pastor gave a very special message about her.

She lived a very hard life. She grew up in Poland during World War 2 and spent some of her childhood in a Russian concentration camp. She came to America. She had and lost two husbands and a daughter. The message that she herself left for us in a video recording was that life is hard and that Jesus is a friend that can love and help you through the hard times. I’m paraphrasing her words here. It was a message I think we all needed to hear and be reminded of.

Heartache can hit anyone at any time. Even those who appear to have the most blessed lives may be dealing with heartache that isn’t visible or apparent. I knew my husband’s aunt later in her life. I didn’t know much of her heartache till after I had known her for a while. She was a beautiful person. Always interested in me and my family. Always wanted to know about what my kids were doing. She was a great testimony of how you act in love despite the hard times that you have endured.

I also saw this weekend how a loving family can support one another. My husband has a big family. Many of them came and stayed the whole day with the family. There was no bickering that I  know of. Just a lot of love and support and kindness. It was good to see so many people loving and supporting each other. Not every family has that at a funeral time.

Today is Christmas eve and well as my middle child said this morning, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas time.” For our family today it doesn’t. There are probably many of you out there who it doesn’t feel like Christmas time either. I think that’s ok. I think that allows at least me to focus a little closer on why I celebrate Christmas. Not for a feeling but because of Jesus. And maybe I’m not focusing on the Jesus who came as a baby but the Jesus who is my friend and a friend to someone I loved.

Hope in Grief

My heart’s a little heavy today. Someone I love very much passed away last night. My husband’s aunt was one of the sweetest, loving, kind people I’ve ever got to meet. She welcomed me into the family, made beautiful beaded socks and blankets for my three babies and loved me as if I was her own. I’ve had a struggle with grief the past week, since she went into the hospital, knowing this was coming, which is why I didn’t write last week.

Grief is strange. How I can be at peace with her passing and still feel so much sadness about it. It’s like my head and my heart aren’t communicating. It brings back memories of my grandparents dying, friends that have passed in the last couple of years. Times when I was able to say good bye, I am so thankful this time I was, and times when because of my inability to drive I could not.

I know grief takes its own time and shows up on its own. I think grief around the holidays is especially hard. I think its harder the year after, when you remember why someone isn’t unwrapping presents with you. Why your not visiting a certain house at Christmas because the person who brought you their is gone, the house is sold and you have to make a new tradition. I’m a cryer and I find myself tearing up multiple times a day for no reason, hoping my kids aren’t seeing it. Being alone is hard, the house is too quiet and your mind goes down rabbit holes.

I find myself grieving more than just who I’ve lost today. So I guess if you know me or someone going through what I am be gentle. God is gentle. He gave me the news at the right time and a snowy day to stay inside with it. He knows I love snow. He gave me a 2 hour delay and 40 minutes of watching my son take nose dives into the white soft snow in our yard. He gave me joy despite the sadness I feel. And I know her story, I know she’s in heaven so most importantly the God of the universe has given me hope today. He gave me people to care for and jobs to do because he knows I like to be busy. He’s a good God who understands that hearts can be heavy. His was heavy once too. If your grieving today have hope, God is still with you and he puts every tear in a bottle.

 

 

Karitos Christmas in Streator, Ill

KaritosThis weekend my other love, Karitos, is celebrating their first Karitos Christmas in Streator, Ill at Grace Community Church. I’m going and my dear friends Zach and Susannah Francis are driving me there. Zach and Susannah are currently serving on the executive board of Karitos. They have been dear friends of mine for over 20 years.

We’re not sure exactly what this event will look like since its the first we’ve done. We’ve planned activities like cookie decorating and a Christmas card contest. I will be leading in making some beaded star ornaments and their will be Christmas themed movies playing. There will also be a Family Portrait Station. Most of these events are free. Those requiring a fee the cost goes directly to the Karitos Organization so it can put on more conferences though the year.

geneThe activities are from 2 to 4 p.m. At 4 p.m. there will be a worship time and Christmas program. Karitos Dancers Ginny Ching Yin Lo, Alyce Anders and Ellen Aldridge are planning a number of dance pieces for the event. Gene and Anne Schmidt will be leading the worship time and I get to do a spoken word from Marlo Schalesky’s Book Wrestling with Wonder about the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Mary. 

I started going to the Karitos conference in around 2011, 2012. I helped host mini conference’s in the Indianapolis area based on the Chicago conference for about 6 years and I have been serving as a the Youth Department head for the main Karitos conference for the the past few years. Karitos is about learning who you are and what your gifts are that God wants to refine and use. It is for the artistic minded and covers visual art, dance, theater, writing, poetry, music, songwriting, and worship. To me it has become an extended family of supportive, loving people who celebrate each other’s differences and artistic talents. Each gathering is like a family reunion. If you are artistic I encourage you to at least visit their website and see what its about. It definitely changed my life and I am so grateful for it. Karitos

Photo’s by Cheri Heron

White Knuckling It

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There comes a time in all our lives where we feel filled with fear. Lots of times in my life It’s made me turn around, say I can’t or give up. But sometimes you come to a point in your life where you have to white knuckle it through. When I got up this morning I didn’t think I was going to write about this. But then I remembered this blog is about overcoming fear and sometimes you can only do that with teeth clenched and knuckles white.

My daughter Lucy just finished her fourth play, Frozen with CGFAA. These plays take place at a high school on the east side of Indianapolis called T. C. Howe. Its about 35 minute drive from my house. Tec week, the week of the play the cast practices at the high-school every night. I have nerve damage in my right foot from my ruptured disc two years ago. Driving is hard for me. Last year she was in a play this same time and I realized during that tec week I could not safely drive the 35 minutes on the expressway to the school. I white knuckled it home two days in a row with severe pain in my foot before finding friends who were willing to drive me and my daughter back and forth. The next play, I didn’t even try to drive tec week. I got rides and we got through it. I had surgery on my right foot about 9 weeks ago. Since surgery the pain I had had along the bottom of my foot is mostly gone. Driving has been tremendously easier.

I found a way to get to the school avoiding the highway and this past week, tec week, I drove to the school every night. I did fine, until Friday night. I had overdone walking and not rested enough before we left. About 10 minutes into the drive I had severe nerve pain in my toes that began to travel down the bottom of my foot. Fear flooded me. I remembered driving the interstate with similar pain and loosing the sensation of the pedal under my foot. So I started to pray. I prayed God would give me strength or take the pain away. Then I turned up K-Love on my radio and slowed down a little, and started to white-knuckle the steering wheel.

The pain lifted a little, and never traveled down to where I couldn’t feel the pedal. God put some of my favorite songs on the radio, Bulletproof by Citizen Way was the first one I remember playing. Me and my daughter were singing along and by the time that song was over I was in pain but it was bearable and we got home safely.

Now God doesn’t do that every time. Sometimes it doesn’t get easier but I have learned living with this pain daily that I can handle a lot more than I think I can and God can handle more than that. I rejoiced in the fact that all the drives too and from the school I was able to do.  That one was just hard.

We were talking at my Mops group about how when our fists are clenched we can’t receive anything. When my pain started my fists were clenched. Fear had me but when I invited the Holy Spirit into my situation by praying I was able to stop white knuckling it and let God lead me safely home. I think about how many times I’ve faced something hard with my knuckles white pushing though it while hanging on to fear and how horrible those situations have been. I want to receive joy even when things are hard, painful or hopeless.  I want to loosen my grasp in those situations so that the Holy Spirit can lead me safely through.

 

CGFAA’s Production of Frozen Jr. Takes the Stage.

IMG-1506Tomorrow is opening night for my middle daughter Lucy’s play Frozen Jr. by Creative Grounds Fine Arts Academy centered here on the south-side of Indianapolis. This is Lucy’s fourth production with the group and her first time having a role with a line. She’s a towns person. The play will take place at T. C. Howe High School starting tomorrow November 21 through November 24. If you’d like to go please go to this link for tickets and time. thelittleboxoffice.com/cgfineartsIMG-1513

I again got to work on costumes for this play. From ball room gowns to bathing suits I got to work along side some very special friends from past shows. Melissa Yockum and Jill Bradley-Levine were the leaders in costumes this time and I this was my third show working with them. I love the community this group has formed for us parents. I think we make friends and bond just like the kids do. There is a special bond that forms when you are working together for something and its one of the things I truly enjoy about this group.

IMG-1501Last night I snuck into rehearsals and got a few pictures. So I hope you enjoy the few sneek peeks before tomorrow’s show. My littlest, Hunter who is five will be going to morrow and this is the first of his sister’s play’s he’s attended. Thursday night shows are perfect for him because it is the sensory friendly show. On Thursday nights CGFAA makes the show extra accessible to young children and children who may have sensory issues. Loud noises and strobe lights are excluded from the show and the theater is never completely dark. Houselights say lit. The children are aloud to stand up or move if they need to. Its a really special night and perfect for his first time.

We have a busy few days ahead of us but I love the theater life and am excited to see it all together. If your in the area it is defiantly worth coming and seeing. Leave a comment if you come so I can look for you!