Finding Myself Again

My goal, recently, was to try and stay off Facebook, texting, and etc. Originally, it was an attempt to protect myself and to give myself some more time to do things. After the first day I realized I needed it. I needed it to find myself again.

Somewhere I had lost myself amongst all of the expectations of others. After that one day things felt so good. I came to see I needed to make my own judgements and not rely on other people. My opinions on theological things needed to be my own. I needed to research and form my own conclusions. I also needed to reconnect with things I liked doing and discover new things about myself. I hadn’t played video games in a while. And I’m sure other things got neglected that I was unaware of.

My plan in theory aimed to limit my contact with others to where it was just work and necessary things. However, I have also come to realize that finding myself also includes being able to share ideas and things I learned with people who can appreciate it. A part of finding myself is realizing the need to talk to someone when you are excited about something and know that they can connect with it, or at least try.

I don’t think I’m done with my little break from social media and etc, but I have come to find something surprising. I have found that without the influences of others and forming my own judgements I think I lean to more traditional Catholic stance. In this break, I have allowed myself to explore areas that I may not have thought of if I was not set on finding myself outside of the other people around me.

Finding myself in this exercise is like turning off all the noise and just letting yourself be. Letting yourself not be enmeshed in others and just be inside yourself. Outside of people’s expectations, problems, and emotions. Be in your own skin and regain your sense of self. 

I think everyone should give it a try. But, remember part of finding yourself is also sharing your joy that you can’t help but tell someone about!

The Perspicacity of Giving

Hello my readers,

It’s been a long while since I posted on my blog. I apologize for that, but I have a good reason for being inactive. Back in October, October 2015, my antidepressant medication had stopped working. From what I have gathered, it is common for this to happen. Thus, I have lost interest in many things. I have lost interest in video games, reading theology as a hobby, crafting, and other things. At times, I can’t even seem to enjoy the idea of going out with friends to a fair. My doctor and I are currently working on trying to find new medication that will help me function again as I should. It takes more than six weeks to know if a medication is working for me or not. It is a tedious process of trial and error and me feeling like a dart board. The different medications are the darts in this case.

One thing I noticed today and is compounded by something I read is, giving is very hard when I am struggling with depression. The last few weeks I have been so wrapped up in my own pain and anguish that I find it hard to give back to others. On my good days, when I have clarity of thought, I can look outside myself and give to others. I love those days. And I love giving to others, so I am very much struck by my observation that it is hard for me to give when I am suffering a lot. Recently, I wrote my Godparents a letter and mailed it to their house. It took me a few days to write it after I had the idea of writing them a nice letter. Rationally, I waited for a day when my mood was not bad as I noticed that my mood tends to bleed through in my writing. (Thank you, texting! things you realize from being a person who loves texting!) Thus, in a certain way, I already understood that in order to give someone has to be in the right state to be able to give. Though, I had not made the connection itself with giving.

The nature of giving is one that is made out of surplus. If there is no surplus than the giving could be seen as sacrificing. They are two different things. I understand, though I don’t like it, I am not in a very good position to give to others. A person who has no money cannot give money to someone else. Thus, when I have no comfort within myself I can’t really give to others. Thankfully, unlike money, what I give can be considered something that is renewable since on the good days I can give to others. Whereas, with the example of someone having no money they have to save up when they get money so they can give to others. However, as I write this, I realize that it is only recently that I have felt like it has been hard to give to others. There are days that are so bad for me that there is no possible way that I can look beyond my own suffering and help someone else. On the bright side, there are days where I am not doing so well, but I can give to others and do something to show them how much I care.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” I see now that there is a time for me to give to others, and a time when I cannot give to others. Thus, I am coming to understand that at times in my depression there are days when it is not the time to give. There are people out there that consider people with depression to be just self-absorbed and self-centered. In a certain way, they are correct, but they use the wrong words. They use words that say that a depressive has a surplus; when a depressive probably doesn’t even have scraps. Granted, these individuals tend to be people who fall away from the mainstream idea that depression is a biological illness, so they don’t see it as a depressive having nothing. They see it as being greedy. This is wrong. However, my focus is on the idea that there is this aspect of perspicacity to the action of giving. Perspicacity, when you type it into google, means “the quality of having a ready insight into things; shrewdness.” I realize that there is a sense of perspicacity in giving. There are times when it is not the time to give, and there are times when it is the time to give.

The perspicacity of giving, also, deals with the understanding of when a person can help someone and when they will only make things worse. Have you ever been in a situation where someone wants to help you, but they only make it worse? I’m sure all of us have some sort of experience with that. I definitely have experiences like that. Ha ha ha, now, since usually it has to do with my depression, I educate people before if they want to help me. I give them articles on what is helpful to say and what makes things worse. (That’s supposed to be funny.) Anyway, there is a certain aspect to the act of giving, when one has to see if they are really suited to helping this person. I can’t tell you how many times good people with good intentions have given me bad advice about my health. There is a time when one needs to discern when they should give and support another person because it suits their abilities and when they should not. Or perhaps, people need to educate themselves before they try to give support to another person. Perhaps, it’s the time to educate yourself and then it’s the time for giving. These things all fall under the perspicacity of giving because one has to know when it is the time for giving.

Anyway, this is something that my trial has recently taught me and I thought I would share this insight that I am gaining with you. This is in no way a complete analyzation in the perspicacity of giving. This is only the beginning of the flourishing of what God is teaching me as reflect upon myself and the events in my life. I hope you, at least, found this to be a little bit insightful about the act of giving.

What’s on my Mind…

The friends that matter are the ones who will get to know the real you and not listen to the rumors. My friend Jessica said this to me and the more I think about it the more I find it to be really true. With the case of the rumors and lies circulating about me, it has shown me again how a follower of Jesus should be.

Unfortunately, probably because of my illness, it’s hard for me to not think about the things the person said about me and whether there is any weight to what she is saying. However, I can’t find weight in what she says. My friends all fight me when I think I found maybe something she could be referring too as what she deemed to be “attention seeking.” My trust is really broken in people from what I have experienced. She most of all really broke my trust. It’s hard for me to open up to my boyfriend when I am not feeling well or to a few of my friends who want to be there for me. It’s hard to trust when your trust has been broken by so many people.

What this person did in spreading rumors is stigmatize my illness and made herself no better than those types of people who claim mental illness is a lie. People who are like that are part of the reason so many people do not seek help for major depression. It’s hard for me to understand how she can think I am faking it when she has witnessed times when I got really bad. She was the first one at the university I am attending I opened up that I was being tested for depression. In the end, I feel like I should have went with my intuition and not have trusted her.

It’s sad the lack of understanding and the ignorance that is pervasive in our culture on mental illness. There are times when I feel like no one understands and just feel very alone and misunderstood. The truth is most people don’t understand what one is going through when they have depression. Though I don’t think anyone can totally understand unless they have experienced it themselves, they can on some level have some level of compassion and understanding through education and knowledge.

In addition, I want to point out there is a difference between attention seeking and attention needing. Perhaps a better way to phrase it would be, there is a difference between attention seeking and asking for help. Considering I legitimately had a problem, and would reach out to my friends when I wasn’t feeling well or just needed someone to listen that is not attention seeking. In fact, if someone fakes a mental illness to get attention that is something only a sick person would do. If someone fakes a mental illness that is considered its own mental illness. Only someone who is sick would fake mental illness to get attention.

Anyway, this has what has been on my mind and writing a post about it helped a little.

How to Support a Friend with Depression: Part 1

When my episode of depression was bad and I wasn’t on the right medication, there were many things that would trigger me to spiral and want to hide in my room. Friends who I would reached out to and vent to on many occasions didn’t know what to say or tried to deny I really had depression. When someone has depression what you say to them really matters. What you say could cause them to pull away from you or worse. There are many things people should not do when they are trying to be there for a person with depression. I complied a list of a 10 helpful things you can do for a person diagnosed with depression and the said person is getting help professionally. (Getting diagnosed and getting a therapist are things which have to happen and there is no “ifs, and, or buts” about it. It is the only way they will get better from their illness.)

  1. Do not give advice. sometimes we have an impulse to try to fix people’s problems.Someone who is diagnosed with depression is not someone you can try to fix. The advice you give will be taken as minimizing their pain, this is because the brain is not working and is distorting what you say to mean something negative. This is called cognitive distortion and are in my opinion the worst part about depression. You should not give advice because you are not a professional trained to help them, and what you say can be very insulting because you are going off of how your brain and thoughts work. You have no idea what the sick person can control or not control. In addition, generally we aren’t looking for advice. We just want someone to listen and be there for us.
  2. Do not say “just think positive.” If the person wanted to they would. the person with depression would love to have their thoughts stop hurting them. It’s common in depression for self-loathing to develop and in my experience the self-loathing thoughts have gotten better once we found the right medication. At times, it will be impossible for the person to think good things simply because their brain is not functioning properly.
  3. Do not ignore them. If they reach out to you to vent, they just want you to listen and to provide some comfort. When they are ignored they feel more insignificant and the lies depression tells them seems to be true. The worst thing you can do is ignore them. How would you feel if you reached out for help and the person decided you weren’t worth their time and they didn’t care enough to try to help. I had times when I would hide under my bed and cry; I would text my friends, but no one would care and I would be ignored. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to say or how to help, you can say that to them and ask them what they need. Ignoring them is an awful thing to do. If you are overwhelmed, think of they must feel and how you aren’t the one going through a serious mental illness. Ignoring someone who needs help is the worst thing you can do. you make them feel more insignificant than how they already feel and make them feel like no one cares. you just confirm cognitive distortions. you make the lies depression tells seem true.
  4. Do research on depression. depression entails many things and you need to be able to discern when your friend’s depression is talking and when your friend is talking. You need to understand your friend will be difficult at times. depression includes being irritable and getting angry. I use to get angry for no reason, during those times i would avoid people. however, there were times I thought I had a reason for my anger and unfortunately sometimes that anger got released on some of my friends. it will probably happen no matter what the depressive does, but you as friend need to be able to pick out when they are having mental issues and not take what they say personally. Research is one of the most important things you can do.
  5. Do not take what a depressed person does or says personally. This person is sick and may very well try to push you away at times. They will say ridiculous things, but understand it is their illness talking. they will get mad and be in bad mood, but do not take it personally. My best friend would leave me alone for  few hours and then comeback and check on me. she knew after a few hours I would be back to myself again. They will say things out of anger, helplessness, and worthlessness. If they are attacks on you do not take them personally. Instead, you may want to discuss them with the depressive, but understand there is depression and there is your friend. You have to know when it’s their illness talking. Try not to take anything negative they say personal.
  6. Reassure them that you love them and will not leave them. Depression lies and the cognitive distortions make everything confusing. They will likely question your friendship with them or one day just feel like you hate them. Depression lies and tells them they are unlovable, boring, and their friends just pity them. It can also make them feel like perhaps they are not wanted, or if they let anyone in they will leave.
  7. Do not invalidate their feelings. Some of things they may get upset about may be minor, but understand in depression a little bump in the road seems like a mountain. Invalidating someone’s feeling does not help at all. it never has, even with healthy people.
  8. Do not compare a bad day you had to depression. Depression is worse than a bad day, depression is an actual illness. It’s like comparing a scrape to a broken leg. This statement would probably fall under invalidating their feelings.
  9. Be honest with them. Do not say you will be there for them and not be. tell them what you are willing to help with. Perhaps you can’t handle the depressive being open about their feelings, but you are able to help out with their laundry and hang out with them then be honest with them. This also means if they ask if they are being annoying then answer truthfully. The last thing they want is to be a burden to people. In addition, you have to be honest because you will have to correct some of the cognitive distortions they will get.
  10. Most importantly be patient. Every thing I listed above requires great patience. you have to be patient with your friend.They are sick after all.

Stay tuned, I plan on composing a part two to this topic and trying to help spread understanding and awareness of this mental illness. I hope this helps others be there for their friend like how some of mine were there for me.

The Good in People

The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion people are intrinsically good. This is based on my own observations and not a product of the belief about how God create everything good, before original sin came to be.

It’s hard to put into words my thoughts exactly, thus you will have to bear with me. Everyone tries to do, in the big picture, what they think is right. The difference between two opposing parties whether it be pro-life or pro-choice or democrat or republican is what they think the right thing is. We all are trying to stand for what we think is right. Is that simple enough to understand? The only difference between us is what we value and what we think is right. We are all basically trying to do the right thing.

The more I think about this and the interactions with people on a more social level, the more I come to understand people are the way they are because of certain factors. The more I come to realize this is the greater concept of accepting everyone as they are. This however requires empathy and an understanding nature. These qualities are not something everyone has, and these qualities I think are what allows someone to see the good in others. I will admit when I was suffering from episode of depression, I found most people not to be good people. They seemed so selfish and liable to hurt others like me who are considered to have a sensitive personality type. They didn’t seem to be people I could rely on because they lacked this depth.

With my vision more clear, I can see despite their flaws people are really intrinsically good. It is, however, a lack of understanding and empathy I find is in a lot people. We really dislike someone because we can’t understand them and we do not have an empathy for them. We can’t understand how come they act the way they do. The fact remains everyone tries to do what they think is right, maybe not in the sense of cheating and other minor things, but in conflict with friends and other issues.

The thing is we are all trying to do our best and we are all intrinsically good. I think more people would get along if there was more understanding to others and had more thought given to people. Perhaps, the problem is we don’t look beyond ourselves sometimes.