I just want to share how much more manageable my holiday anxiety has been this year – probably better than it’s been in about 15 years. I’m sure being on Paxil for a year has helped a lot, and the realizations I had last month about my expectations for the holidays seem to have made a big difference as well.
Staying busy helps too. Frankly, I was so depressed last Christmas that it was hard for me to get off the couch and do anything. That doesn’t help my blues at all. I think the Lamotrigene prescription has helped here. It’s a mood stabilizer that’s made my highs lower and my lows higher. Not getting so low that I can’t function makes it easier to do the things that keep me from being so blue and anxious.
Being ABLE to be busier has helped so much. I was busy training and racing until the first week of December ended. I’ve been running sound for almost all the Sunday services and the Christmas cantata this month. I’ve also done a couple of funerals and a wedding.
I went to a ridiculous Christmas party for the church youth group last weekend where we played Dance Central 3 and the adults spent way too much time huddled in a corner laughing and playing with Poo Dough.
Then I drove five teenagers home from the party. They listened to the Classic Hip Hop channel on Sirius and marveled at songs they’d never heard before – songs from 1994 – before they were born…. (Seriously?) And they wrote profound Christmas wishes like “Poop” in the fog on my windows. Good times.
Just being with people, staying busy and laughing (the opposite of what you want to do when you’re depressed) makes such a big difference in how I feel. I think the mood stabilizer keeps me above that low end threshold that makes it hard to care if I’m taking care of myself or even to do it even when I want to.
I usually try to take some time off running at this time of year to let my body rest and heal some, but that time off is really bad timing for my anxiety. Even after my busy weekend, I was feeling the holiday squinkiness sneak in last Sunday night. But I did something I wasn’t able to do last year, I made myself get up early before work on Monday morning and run because I knew it would help. (And it did.) I knew it would help last year too, but I couldn’t get myself to do it.
I’ve also been wrestling with my feelings for Boo for the last couple of years. When I was in the depths of my depression last year, I got to the point where I couldn’t feel anything at all. When I started coming out of that, I had feelings again, but I had trouble figuring out exactly what those feelings were and what they were about.
I feel like I’ve about sorted all that out. For the last year I’ve assumed any bad feeling I have is sadness and unrequited love about that relationship. And so if I felt something bad, I thought it was about Boo, which made me think too hard and too much about Boo, which made me feel bad, which made me think too hard and too much about Boo, which made me feel bad….
But I had a big moment in therapy back in the spring when I realized that what I have always thought was the feeling I experience of “being in love” is very much the same feeling I have when I’m feeling anxiety. (This may be an important realization…. *snork*)
I still haven’t figured out why I feel like it’s so important to me to hang on to Boo. He’s never really done much to reciprocate those feelings I have for him. But there’s obviously something deep-seated in my need to hang onto him in some fashion and in the fears I have of letting my hopes for us go.
I wrote in a recent post that I wished “I had the courage to give up.”
For me, having the courage to let things go means being brave enough to stand on my own without having to use things and people as crutches, without having to try and control the outcome of every single thing in my life. I’m starting to feel like I’m strong enough to try and begin letting the Boo thing go.
I need to believe and trust that it’s the healthiest thing I can do. The Mr. Spock part of me knows that’s true. The disgusting, weak, clingy, needy, girly part of me is still afraid. That makes me a little anxious.
But that’s OK. I am better. And this Christmas is better – even when the anxiety still creeps in.
All I know is that I have my running clothes sitting out for tomorrow morning. I will run. I will breathe. I will calm my mind. I will keep getting better. I will keep getting stronger. And maybe one day I’ll even find something to value in the weak, clingy, needy, girly part of me.
And to you, I hope if you’re depressed or anxious or lonely or scared this Christmas, that you’ll know you’re not alone. Love is all around you, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Just keep slogging through and know that it won’t always be like this. We’ll hold each other up until then.
Much love, friends!
by Noey Barrera-Disler
World AIDS Day
Scripture: 2 Peter 1:1-11
Today, around the world and throughout the United States, communities will come together to observe the 26th Annual World AIDS Day. The summer of 1987 was a turning point in my life. That summer I lost my best friend, Todd, to AIDS. We had made so many plans together and in less than 6 months, he was gone. For a few days I just moved around in a daze and then I realized that our time together was a blessing no matter how short it was. I realized then the importance of educating others about AIDS so that they would embrace our brothers and sisters with AIDS with love.
As Christians, we must educate and grow in our spiritual path. Peter tells us in this Scripture the importance of growing our Christian character development. Peter says it should be a priority for us because when we make Christian character development our daily pursuit….it will “insure that our lives are not wasted” (v. 8); it will “present a positive witness to others” (v. 10a); and it will “guarantee a rich welcome upon entering heaven” (v. 11). What path must we take to know the benefits associated with developing Christ-like character? Becoming Christ-like begins with a personal and growing knowledge of Christ. We will never ever come to know Christ as fully as is possible in this life, but we can grow our knowledge of Christ by studying and learning the Scriptures as we wait for eternal life. Be more Christ-like today!
This reminds me of a story told about a man who was born with an awful facial deformity. He grew up alone and lonely. When reaching adulthood, he decided to move from his town to begin a new life. On his way he discovered a beautiful mask that fit his face, making him look handsome. At first the mask was uncomfortable and he was afraid that people would find out who he really was, but he continued to wear the mask every day. In his new hometown, he made many friends and fell in love. But one day a wicked woman from his old home came to his town and discovered this man’s true identity. In front of his friends and fiancé, she forced him to remove his mask. When he removed the mask, it revealed a handsome face. His face had conformed to the mask!
Becoming Christ-like is analogous to this. Go ahead and put on Christ. At first it may feel unnatural or uncomfortable, and maybe you may think, “Who am I trying to fool?” But every day just keep putting on Christ and every day you will grow to look more like him.
Prayer: Father, we give you thanks for your goodness and your guidance. We pray, Father, that you would give us eyes to read your Scriptures anew, that we would be more like you. Amen.
by Deanna Dennis
Scripture: Isaiah 64:1-9
Thought this was probably aimed right at me and my stupid head and my crazy heart…
The title of this article is a quote by Maya Angelou. A quote that most of us probably think back on situations in our past and say “I should have listened to Maya.”
It is so difficult to find someone in today’s society that I think many of us get a little wide-eyed when somebody shows interest in us. Wow, this person makes me laugh! Wow, this person compliments me! Wow, this person is this or that, or maybe both this and that.
Naturally, our attention may be grabbed and we could start spending time with this person. Maybe a date or two goes by and we are ignoring that thing they do with their mouth that is a little bit annoying, because whatever.
Then we are sort of brushing aside the fact that they have kind of a shady past with relationships, but clearly they are interested in you…
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Thank you, Derek! You’ve proved to me that fairytales DO still happen. I guess I can keep hope alive for at least one more day!
Absolutely amazing! Congratulations, Captain and thanks for all you’ve done for the game!
- My Sunday School class
- Fingernail polish
- Helping people
- XM First Wave
- Exploring and playing in the outdoors
- Old TV sitcom and cartoon reruns
- Giving hope
- My blue blanket
- Blinky, lighty things like Lava Lamps and Christmas lights
- Running sound for events
- “The Simpsons” scene paying tribute to Hayao Miyazaki
- The “King of the Hill” scene where Luanne jumps on the trampoline with Buckley’s angel
- “The Office” scene with the “Seasons of Love” parody bidding farewell to Michael
- “The Office” scene where Jim pops Dwight’s Fitness Orb
- When Dan Uggla got scared by a captured bat during a Braves’ game last year
- Ice cream cones
- Garlic toast
- Making people laugh
- Diet Coke
- Watching it rain
- Bodies of water
- Krispy Kremes