Posted in anxiety, bible verses, bipolar, bitterness, depression, disability, Faith, fear, fibromyalgia

Lay Your Burdens Down

I’m hurting again. I’m exhausted…again. My body is in so much pain that I just want to give up. But I know I can’t. This is a daily battle. It’s a battle that rages constantly, pulling me down with it sometimes. I don’t always win. Today feels like one of those days.

Fibromyalgia. Why must it exist? Bipolar disorder…why must I suffer? I just want to be normal. What is normal though? Does it even exist?

I am not writing this in order to get you to feel sorry for me. Rather I’m writing to get my thoughts out, to express how I’m feeling. But due to brain fog I can’t find the right words to truly express how I’m feeling. I have to save this as a draft, walk away for a little while, then come back. Most of the time that works but today I’m struggling. My brain just doesn’t want to work today.

As I was writing this, Jamie Kimmett’s song “Burdens” came on. Coincidence? I think not! This is ALL GOD!

I don’t have to fight this battle alone. The Lord is with me. He wants me to lay my burdens down, to give everything to Him!

Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.

Deuteronomy 3:22

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17

Posted in anxiety, bipolar, church, depression, medications, mental disorders

Mental Health and Christianity

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

I will never understand why every organ in your body gets support and sympathy when it is ill, except for your brain.

–Unknown

It’s hard having to deal with a mental illness. It can really become a burden sometimes.

As a bipolar sufferer I must deal with the rollercoaster of emotions quite frequently. I can be in the best mood one second and be crying the next. However, as of lately I’ve been pretty stable due to the increase of one medication and being put on a new medication. It seems like it’s a good balance. Recently, I was on the verge of a manic episode and I could feel it. So that’s why my doctor added a new medication to my “cocktail.”

I came across some quotes about mental illness that I’d like to share.

It’s called a mental illness for a reason….because it is an illness. Why can’t it be accepted like any other illness?

Unknown

There is such a stigma when it comes to mental illness. Just because you can’t see it, however, does not mean it’s not there.

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden; it is easier to say, “my tooth is aching” than to say “my heart is broken.”

C.S. Lewis

I think C.S. Lewis hit the nail on the head with this quote. Trying to hide mental pain just makes things worse. But he’s right….it’s easier to talk about a physical ailment than it is a mental ailment.

There continues to be a high level of suspicion, distrust and even fear in the church when it comes to psychology and psychiatry.

Matthew S. Stanford

When I first got diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, I was ashamed of telling people. I thought they would act differently around me. When someone hears that a person is bipolar they start treating that person as if they are a time bomb just waiting to go off. It’s frustrating and hurtful.

Mental disorders do not discriminate according to faith, but rather affect believers and nonbelievers alike.

Matthew S. Stanford

I’ve always believed this. Mental illness does NOT discriminate!! It can strike any one at any given time, regardless of religious beliefs.

Taking medication for any illness is simply making wise use of the abundant resources provided to us by a loving God.

Matthew S. Stanford

God created doctors for this very purpose.

For the stigma of mental illness to be broken, there must be direct, transparent speech from Christian leaders. We need more open dialogue in the church.

Ed. Stetzer

The church must stop being afraid of tackling the subject of mental illness. It exists. Simple as that.

If we immediately dismiss the possibility of mental illness and automatically assume spiritual deficiency, our actions amount to spiritual abuse.

Ed Stetzer

Whether a person suffers from bipolar disorder, OCD, anxiety, depression etc…the church must come together and help fight the end of the stigma surrounding the church.

I have so many more quotes that I could share but I think I’ve shared enough. Maybe I’ll do another “quotes” entry in the near future.

Posted in depression, disability, Faith, fibromyalgia, life, mental disorders, peace

Strength of My Heart

Psalm 73:26 is one of my favorite verses. It says,

My health my fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. (NLT)

No matter what the doctors diagnose me with in the future, no matter what they’ve already diagnosed me with…it doesn’t matter because GOD remains a constant in my life. Like the verse says, He is MINE forever! I never have to worry about Him leaving me. I never have to worry about Him forsaking me. He is mine forever!

I had another MRI of my head on Monday. (Praise God I got through it…well,  with some help from Lorazepam, LOL. No matter how many MRIs I have, the claustrophobia NEVER goes away!) Anyways, my new endocrinologist is checking to see if my pituitary tumor has returned. My prolactin levels indicate that it possibly has.

If it has, it has and we will work together to come up with the right treatment plan. These type of tumors are usually benign and will shrink with medication. It CAN be removed and I’ve been thinking about asking my doctor if that’s a plan we might come to. This type of surgery will require them to remove it……wait for it….through my nose! It’s much less invasive, obviously, than having brain surgery.

Most likely, we’ll try to treat it with medication but if it doesn’t shrink then surgery could be an option.

I’m not worried. God has me in His hands. He is allowing these health issues to keep me humble, to keep my eyes trained on Him, to remind me to lean on Him through it all. Can He heal me completely? Absolutely! But like Paul, I think this is my “thorn in the flesh,” And I’m fine with that now. I didn’t used to be. There were times in the past that I would just cry out to Him…begging Him to make me whole, begging Him to heal me.

One day I WILL be made whole! It may not be here on earth but oh…when I see Jesus face to face….that will be glory!

The Lord is the strength of my heart. He is Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals)

 

Posted in anger, depression, Faith

Be Angry and Sin Not…

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

I was angry a LOT in high school. Back then I didn’t know I was bipolar. I didn’t get diagnosed until about 7 years later. But my mood swings were ridiculous. I sometimes wonder why in the world they didn’t catch it sooner. I was diagnosed with being clinically depressed. But boy, was I an angry person.

I was so bitter. I hated life.

Although I found Christ in 2003, I still struggled. It wasn’t until 2017 that I got serious about my faith. I had started this blog way back in 2010 and then forgot about it. But in 2017 I signed back on and made it a point that this would be a blog for Jesus. Was I still struggling? Well, yes. But I finally found Someone who I knew without a doubt would carry me through it. I finally nailed things down with the Lord and committed myself to following Him.

Do I still have bouts of anger? Do I still have bouts of depression? Absolutely. I’m human, after all.

So there is a situation going on with my church that I can’t go into details about but has been making me pretty angry at some people.  I ask that you please pray for this situation. And pray for me as I work through this anger.  Ultimately, God is in control and knows what’s best.

I use the YouVersion Bible app and if you don’t use it, I recommend you give it a try. There are tons of devotionals/plans you can read on different topics. I decided the other night to look up plans on anger. And I came across quite a few plans!

I have slowly been releasing my anger. With God’s help, the anger is being replaced with compassion. And sympathy. I am learning to look at things differently.

I do believe that there is righteous anger. I mean, Paul says in Ephesians to “be angry and sin not.” (Eph 4:26) There are situations where we SHOULD be angry. But in that anger, we must not sin. In that anger, we must not seek revenge.

It can be a bit confusing to many because Paul says in verse 26 of Ephesians to “be angry but do not sin” and then a few verses down he says to “get rid of all bitternes, rage and anger….” (Eph 4:31)

I believe that Paul is saying to get rid of any unrighteous anger. Anger that produces malice and brawling, anger that seeks revenge.

Do you have an anger problem? Seek the Lord. Release the anger unto God. You really will feel so much better!

Posted in adhd, anxiety, bipolar, church, depression, Faith, fear, mental disorders

The Church and Mental Illness

I was saddened to hear about the death of Jarrid Wilson..if you don’t know who he was, he was the associate pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. Sadly, he took his own life on Monday. He was 30.

Wilson and his wife founded “Anthem of Hope”, a program meant to help people who suffered from depression and mental illness.

I sit here in complete disbelief. But I realize that mental illness does NOT discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. Christian or not. Pastor or parishioner.

It’s time that the church step up and help deal with this mental illness crisis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 43.8 million people experience mental illness in a given year. That’s 1 in 5 adults.

I believe that the reason the church doesn’t reach out is because they just don’t know how to handle it. But it’s time to change that. It’s time to start having meaningful discussions about the seriousness of mental illness.

There is a stigma surrounding mental health. It’s time to erase that stigma. Mental illness is REAL folks. Let’s stop pretending it doesn’t exist.

Its Not a Lack of Faith Issue

I have suffered from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder for many years.  I was told by someone once that my faith was not strong enough and that’s why I was suffering. I’ll never forget that.

But it’s not a faith issue. What if what I had was physical? Diabetes, or cancer? We don’t question those illnesses so why is mental illness any different? According to Ed Stetzer,

We can talk about diabetes and Aunt Mable’s lumbago in church—those are seen as medical conditions, but mental illness–that’s somehow seen as a lack of faith.

Mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It shouldn’t be treated any differently from a physical illness.

My Thorn in the Flesh

Can God heal mental illness? Absolutely! He can do anything! For me, personally, I find my mental illness to be my “thorn in the flesh.” I have actually grown closer to the Lord these past several years. And I believe the verse that says, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Cor 12:9)


Warning Signs

  • extreme mood swings
  • talking about being burden to others
  • increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • talking about being hopeless
  • talking about having no reason to live
  • talking about being trapped and in unbearable pain

What Can You Do?

  • Ask–Talk to them.
  • Be There
  • Listen without judgement
  • Help them connect–create a network of resources and individuals for support
  • Follow up–continue to have contact with them

 

If you or someone you know is severely depressed and suicidal please contact

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Posted in depression, disability, fibromyalgia, Uncategorized

Pain Awareness Month

I had no idea that September was Pain Awareness Month. As a sufferer of a chronic illness, I like the fact that awareness is being brought to those who suffer.

My journey with fibromyalgia has been a long one. I believe it started a few months after I contracted mono in my sophomore year of college…(2004, 2005) I went to the doctor but he brushed it off as depression and that it was all in my head. So I continued on in college…graduated and then decided it was time to find a doctor who would believe me.

I ended up moving back home to Virginia in 2008 and saw several doctors who didn’t believe me and told me it was all in my head.  So my depression, (which I have suffered from LONG before all my fibro symptoms started) reared its ugly head and I gave up on trying to get doctors to believe me.  *I* knew it wasn’t all in my head.

Flash forward to July of 2016. I was babysitting my niece and nephew when I had a seizure and fell to the floor, hitting my head and breaking my collarbone. It was a couple months after this that my symptoms became even worse. The pain I was in was excruciating. I read that sometimes fibro symptoms show up after a trauma of some sort. Mine were already there but became worse after the seizure.

I found a new doctor and decided to bring up my fibro symptoms one more time. Praise the Lord he believed me! He reviewed my history and did the pressure point test and blood work and agreed with me that it sounded like fibromyalgia. So he started me on Gabapentin (which did NOT work) so he then put me on Lyrica which I have been on for quite some time now.

Y’all, chronic pain may be an invisible illness but it’s still an illness! Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Please remember that. 🙂





Update on Landen: (from yesterday)

Landen has had some trouble with the g tube and stomach issues so today they placed an NJ tube to bypass his stomach. The hope with this is to heal whatever may be causing the issues with his stomach. He did not have dialysis today!! His pain is not completely under control and the doctors are working on better pain management. He continues to sleep a lot but was more awake and alert today! His BP was higher today most likely due to pain. They continue to try to wean pressure support on his oxygen but this has been challenging due to his pain level. Please pray specifically for his pain! He has dealt with this pain for a long time and we would love to see it under control! We continue to thank the Lord for stable days! Thank you all for your love and support!!

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Posted in adhd, anxiety, bipolar, christian living, depression, Faith, fear, mental disorders

Yes, I’m a Christian and I’m Bipolar…

I touched on this topic a little over a year ago but decided to add to it in case a new follower needs to read it.

Yes, it is possible to be a Christian, to have the love of the Lord in you and still struggle with a mental illness. The two CAN coexist! Because guess what? Mental illness? It doesn’t discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. It’s a chemical imbalance.

It’s taken some time to get this blog post out because as soon as I sit down at my computer to start writing, I start losing focus. I become agitated because I can’t get my thoughts out the way I want them to.  Oh, I have many many thoughts racing through my head but they won’t come out on screen. It’s a bunch of jumbled thoughts, not making sense.

So what do I do in times like these? I wish I could say I always turn to the Lord to help me (and I do most of the time) but every once in a while I sit and have a pity party. “Why me? Why do I have to be like this? Why can’t I just be normal?” I cry and cry.

I realize having a pity party is definitely not the best way to handle it but try telling me that when I’m having an episode. It doesn’t work. I eventually find my way out of the pity party and then turn to the Lord. (I know, I know…..I should have turned to God first….and believe me…I try! But sometimes Satan is stronger than me and pulls me down.)

So why can’t I just turn to the Lord the second I feel myself slipping? I wish I had an answer for you. I don’t know. I honestly have no idea.

I’m getting better at turning to the Lord in these times. I haven’t had a bad episode in quite some time. The Lord is slowly working in me and I’m becoming stronger.

The other day I was doing my devotions and came across Psalm 27. The first verse is one of my favorites:

1. The Lord is my light and my salvation–so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

The Lord is ALWAYS with me even when I’m not with Him! He’s there for me when I’m suffering. He’s there when life is good! He’s my light! He’s my salvation!

The last verse has become a favorite of mine too.

14. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

If you’re suffering…if you feel lost and confused…turn to Jesus. He will never fail you.

 

Posted in adhd, anxiety, depression, Faith, fibromyalgia, worry

Fibro Fog

If you or a loved one suffers from fibromyalgia then you are aware of one of the more debilitating symptoms: the dreaded fibro fog. According to MedicineNet.com, fibro fog is:

 A type of cognitive dysfunction reported by many people with fibromyalgia. Also sometimes referred to as brain fog, its symptoms include difficulty with concentration, memory deficits, and confusion.

It can be very frustrating and I know for me it leads to depression.  For me, I will have moments where I will be talking and will completely forget what I was trying to say. I will stop mid sentence therefore making me look and feel pretty dumb.  My memory is terrible and I have the absolute worst time concentrating.  (Since I also have ADHD, the concentration problem can be worse at times)

I often have trouble recalling certain words when talking or even writing. Simple words for every day things. Words I never used to have trouble remembering.

(Funnily enough, I’m having trouble right now trying to get this blog post written.)

The combination of my struggles with the fibro fog and the insecurities it brings really puts a damper on things. I want to be positive, want to have confidence but the struggle is so very real.

I googled some verses on insecurity and came across several that have been very comforting:

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart     I Samuel 16:7

I struggle with my looks quite a bit and reading this verse really helps me to put things into perspective.

Some more verses I came across

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.    Philippians 4:6-9

These verses give me comfort because I know that by placing my trust in Him I can overcome any struggle I run into. I need not worry because He is right there beside me as I go through my insecurities and doubts.

Fibro fog may not be curable but with God’s help I can get through the frustrations it brings. And when I struggle with finding the right word, God is still right there beside me helping me to get through the difficulties.

Posted in anxiety, bipolar, blogging, christian living, church, depression, Faith, fear, fibromyalgia, grace, mental disorders, peace, phobias, song lyrics, worry, writers block

Why Is It So Hard?

I have all but lost my desire for writing. Now that I’m back to work, it seems I have let my writing fall by the wayside. After I get home from work I’m in so much pain from standing all day that I have no interest in writing.

I’m going to be honest with you all for a moment…..I’m struggling. With life, with my relationship with God, with just about everything. I haven’t lost my faith. I still believe but I’m finding it hard to set aside time to spend with God.

I’m human. We all are. We have flaws and always will. But what happens when you lose your desire for God? Why is it so hard to follow Him? I see others who are so devoted to God and have a deep relationship with Him and I wonder why I can’t seem to find that sort of relationship. I know it’s available, I know it’s there. I thought I used to have it.  Maybe I never have.

I feel like a fraud. This blog is supposed to be me telling others about Christ and His love for us. And here I am, struggling. I’ve abandoned my blog in recent weeks.

I know we all struggle. As long as we are on this earth we will struggle from time to time.

I do know that God is still working in me. As I write this, I’m listening to Mandisa’s song, Unfinished. If you haven’t heard it I definitely advise you to check it out. Here’s some of the lyrics,

Not scared to say it
I used to be the one
Preaching it to you
That you could overcome
I still believe it
But it ain’t easy
‘Cause that world I painted
Where things just all work out
It started changing
And I started having doubts
And it got me so down
But I picked myself back up
And I started telling me
No, my God’s not done
Making me a masterpiece
He’s still working on me
He started something good
And I’m gonna believe it
He started something good
And He’s gonna complete it
So I’ll celebrate the truth
His work in me ain’t through
I’m just unfinished
I’m just unfinished
So I’ll celebrate the truth
His work in me ain’t through
I’m just unfinished
I know God is not finished with me yet.  And I know if you are struggling right now, like I am, that God isn’t finished with you yet either. Keep your head up and focused on Him.
That’s what I am doing.
But why is it so hard???
Here is another song that is speaking to me right now. It’s called Need You Now by Plumb. Such a powerful song!
Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise
How many times have you heard me cry out
God please take this?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I don’t know where you are right now in your walk with God, whether you’re struggling, as I am right now, or if things are going great for you right now but just remember this: God is not finished with you and has great plans for you.

I honestly believe this though I’m struggling right now.
I just wish it wasn’t so hard.
Posted in anxiety, depression, Faith, fear, fibromyalgia, mental disorders, prayer, worry

An Apology

I would like to apologize to you all who read my posts. I haven’t been writing much lately and it just feels like I’ve lost my desire to write. I want to get it back but I don’t know how to do it.

I have been having issues with my fibromyalgia and not having my Lyrica for several weeks, leaving me in pain. I finally was able to get my medication but it will take a week or two to fully get back in my system.

I want to be completely honest with you: I’m struggling. Spiritually, Mentally, Physically. It’s so hard being a bipolar Christian.

This blog is supposed to be about me telling people about Jesus and lately I haven’t been doing that. I feel like a fraud.

I don’t want to shut down this blog. I want so badly to get back into the swing of things and be the person I was when I first started this blog.

So I’m going to dig deep into Scripture and pray that God will show me what I am supposed to do.

Pray for me, if you don’t mind.