Tuesday Topic- Uncomfortable Conversations: Depression

Tuesday Topic (2)

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. …For You are the God of my strength…”

-Psalm 42:5, 43:2

This month on the “Tuesday Topic” we’re discussing depression.  Depression is definitely a topic that leads to uncomfortable conversations in today’s society.  I’ve been seeing this topic slowly come to surface more and more on social media, which is a good thing.  It needs to be discussed.  There are more people dealing with depression than you’ll ever know.  Some don’t even know they are dealing with it themselves. It could be your best friend, co-worker, or even your spouse.  Depression is something that needs to be understood and dealt with carefully in order to fully see healing in that area of a person’s life.

For most people, depression is one of those things that they just don’t deal with.  It can be perceived almost as an invisible creature that doesn’t really exist, as if it were the “Boogie Man.”  It’s constantly brushed under the rug along with other happenings that often occur in the household that are left on the hush, such as eating disorders or molestation.  We’re told to close our closet doors and cover up our truths with our security blankets in the hopes that it would somehow just go away with the rise of daylight.  Depression is a silent monster that seeps its way into spirits without a trace of its entry.  It is a spirit that is not of God.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, depression is defined as follows:

a state of feeling sad :  dejection anger, anxiety, and depression (2) :  a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies bouts of depression suffering from clinical depression

Depression can occur in any woman at any time for several different reasons.  It can be caused by abuse, medications, conflict, death of a loved one, genetics, major events, personal problems, illness, and substance abuse.  So basically, it can be caused by almost anything in life at the drop of a dime.  Some are more susceptible to depression than others and it can take a toll on all aspects of one’s life.  According to an article from Mental Health America entitled Depression in Women,  “approximately 12 million women in the United States experience clinical depression each year and about one in every eight women can expect to develop clinical depression during their lifetime (2017).”  Depression is NOT a normal part of life and it must be dealt with, but delicately.

In my own personal experience, depression can feel like drowning in a river while tied down with cement blocks.  I’ve felt immovable and lifeless during the state of depression.  It feels like intense pain inside disguised as comfort.  It feels like being sucked into quicksand and falling into an unknown sunken place of darkness filled with doubt, anger, sadness, and low self-esteem.  Depression is a constant battle that I’ve fought continuously in my life and I still do at times.  It’s something that hurts my soul and somehow leaves me breathless.  Sometimes, as I find myself crawling out of my “sunken place,” I slowly slip back down with my arms stretched out helplessly, but I find that others don’t quite understand.  I’ve only recently expressed this to my husband, but there is still a disconnect when it comes to explaining the feeling.  It’s like I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, but only the sound of silence reaches the tip of my tongue.  It’s hard to fully describe or explain what the feeling is to someone who has never felt it.  To someone else, it may be just a phase that can be cured with a little prayer.  Yes prayer works indefinitely, but I would often find myself hiding away from my faith in the comfort of my depression when things got tough or just hard to deal with.  I would see myself at a standstill as the world around me is continuously spinning uncontrollably.  My faith during these times was tested immensely.

So how do we overcome depression?  How do we assist others that we are close with that feel like they are battling depression alone? Support from others is key whether it’s by giving a person space or being by their side every step of the way.  Either way, you are supporting that person by respecting their wishes within reason.  Do not ignore signs of depression and do not sweep it under the rug.  So many take this topic lightly and don’t realize that depression can easily lead to suicidal thoughts.  “Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder (WebMD, 2016)”.

For some people, alone time and space is necessary for healing. It allows them to sort through their thoughts and emotions to enable them to push through the process.  Sometimes they just don’t want to be bothered.  They know what they need to do and how, but it just takes time to get out of that dark fog.  Some prefer to just be alone in their bubble, so allow them that time for healing whether it’s in the course of days, weeks, or even months.

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Others may be seeking support and understanding from loved ones.  They may need someone to be a listening ear to let out any pain or frustrations they may be dealing with while in their depressed state.  A pillar of utmost support is needed without judgement. Hold that person’s hand every step of the way and be present.  Understand that it will not be easy.  What is not needed, is negative energy, or being told that it’s a phase or to just get over it.  You see, depression is not so simple for those who are in the midst of it.  Coming out of depression is truly a process and staying out is even more of a task.  Being depressed can really mess with a person’s mental and spiritual state.  The state of depression can have a person off track in their spiritual walk with God in a major way.  Each day that they fall deeper, they can find themselves further away from Him.

Between  molestation during my childhood, a time of separation in my marriage, diagnose of a disease, stress, doubt, and low self-esteem, I felt completely broken to a point where only God could put my pieces back together again and He is… one by one, piece by piece.  While finding my way out, I’ve made bad decisions that led to even worse mistakes.  I remember nights of sleeplessness to the point of insomnia because of deep depression.  There were days when I just could not function at all.  I felt incapable.  I felt worthless.  I was to the point where I felt as if my presence was no longer needed on this earth.  Through many trials, I had to realize that my life did have a purpose and I was needed.  I had to pull through the pain, hurt and frustration in my life and turn it into something I can use.  I realized that all I was going through was a test and I needed to pass in order to see a true breakthrough in my life.

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Of course the ultimate cure for depression is God.  He is always the answer and the cure.  During my times dealing with this, God and His word were the furthest things from my mind.  I found it easier to just sit and sulk rather than to push through and lean on His word.  I would feel the spirit tugging on me to get on my knees and pray or dust off my bible and see what the Lord had to say about my situation and I would turn a deaf ear to it all.  Now, I’m not at all saying that breaking out of a depressed state is easy, but what I am saying is that with God there is ease.  His word is the complete handbook for the ins and outs of our life’s daily struggles.  I find so much release and relief in His word.  Daily, I would make baby steps to find my way back on track.  I would immerse myself in song, journaling, and devotion to keep my mind steadfast.  I’ve used sticky notes around the house with positive reminders and scriptures to get me through the day.  I constantly reminded myself that the storm I was going through was temporary and that God would pull me through as long as I had faith in Him.  I wouldn’t allow the devil the satisfaction of using my soul as his playground.  I smiled through my rough days and encouraged others as I encouraged myself.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things”

-Philippians 4:4-8

Don’t think for a second that you are alone in this.  Regardless of your situation, God is available.  He is listening to your prayers and requests.  He hears your cries.  Be encouraged and keep pushing through, whether it be a loss of a loved one, difficulties in the marriage, or issues in health, He is the only way out.  It may seem like it’s hard right now, but just know that this is only for a season.  Jeremiah 29 verses 11 and 12 states, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”  God’s plan for your life does not end here in this moment.  If you have fallen in depression because of fear or guilt, please know that God is not mad at you.  Your mistakes are not who you are.  They are your testimony of where you have come from, not where you’re going.  He created you for a purpose whether you see it now or not.  You are needed.  You are loved.  You have purpose.  You are capable.  You are enough. Trust, believe, and know these things.

“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

-2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18

Have you ever dealt with depression? If so, how did you deal with it? 

 

Merrium Webster: Definition of Depression Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/depression

Recognize the Warning Signs of Suicide. (2016)  Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/recognizing-suicidal-behavior

Depression in Women (2017) Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Overcoming the Impossible: My T1D Story

Overcoming

Around this time last year, my body was going through some major changes and I didn’t even know it.  I went from weighing 200 pounds even to going down to 130 pounds in less than 6 months.   I seemed to have lost weight without even trying.    I found it kind of odd at first because by that time I slacked up on my work outs, but I just attributed it to my continuous healthy eating habits.  I started to notice significant hair loss as I briefly mentioned in my post titled “The Big Chop Experience.”  There was literally hair everywhere no matter how gentle I was with it.  I remember seeing large globs of it on the shower floor as I washed my hair and standing in the mirror only to see bald spots.  I wore wigs for months to cover it up, but I didn’t feel like myself.  I eventually cut it all off.  I was devastated and was looking for answers.  I was growing my hair back from cutting it off a few years back and felt like all of my work toward growth was in vain.  I eventually figured that maybe I was losing hair do to a lack of protein, so I supplemented thinking it would fix the problem, but it didn’t.

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I started to notice an increase in my thirst almost overnight.  I was always thirsty and my tongue felt like a desert.  I found myself standing in the kitchen at two in the morning with the refrigerator door wide open, drinking anything and everything straight from the jug.  I remember going through a gallon of Tampico in less than a day after I drank all of the water in the house.  Of course, after drinking everything in sight.  I remember driving to the nearest gas station every day at lunch and after work for large cup of ice and a large slushi to relieve my extreme thirst and even then that was not enough.  I also experienced increased urination because of this.

Among all of these things, I was extremely tired, fatigued, and exhausted, which is why I began to slack up on my work outs.  I was literally falling asleep at work in mid-sentence with customers on the phone.  I set a timer on my phone just to take naps during my lunch break and once I got home from work. I was still losing weight and beginning to look sick. The new clothes I bought were falling off of me and my collar bone and ribs were showing.  Things were getting bad and I was completely confused.

In October of 2016, I went to my yearly appointment with my gynecologist.  She mentioned to me that I had high sugar levels in my urine and they may possible mean that I might be a diabetic.  She wanted to do some blood work to confirm.  Jokingly, I told her that I went to the movies the night before and had a big slushy.  I was really confused after hearing this.  I looked great and in my opinion.   I felt great, especially after a good nap.  I wasn’t sure what to make of all of it. I started to Google search everything that had been going on with me and all of the symptoms that come with diabetes.  This only made things worse.  Google had me thinking I was going to be on my death bed soon.

Instead of going in the following day fasted for blood work, I came in about two weeks later.  I didn’t expect to get a phone call for another couple of days.  My doctor called me about two hours later with my lab results.  She said that I tested positive for diabetes and my blood glucose level was at 330.  I still didn’t know what that even meant.  I felt fine.  She kept asking me how I had been feeling.  I responded by telling her that I was pretty fatigued, which had been the norm for the last few months.  She urged me to make an appointment with my PCP immediately.  I was scared at that point.  Like most, I was pretty ignorant to what diabetes was and how dangerous it can be if not cared for properly.

When I contacted my doctor’s office, I was told that I would not be able to see her until mid-January and it was only October.  I ended up making an appointment with a nurse practitioner.  I was extremely nervous for my first appointment.  I had no idea what questions to ask or even what to expect. At the time I was told that I had type 2 diabetes and all I needed to do was diet and exercise.   Because of my high glucose levels, I was issued a glucose monitor and placed on Metformin the same day.  I explained that I ate right and lost a significant amount of weight, a total of 65 pounds in six months, but the nurse could not come up with a reason as to why this happened. She brushed me off and told me it must be in the family.

The following week at my next appointment, I was placed on insulin that I had to inject once before bed to help regulate my glucose levels, which is called basal insulin.  My blood sugar levels were in the high 400’s and 500’s.  Days later, I was to the point of injecting insulin 4 times a day just to keep my sugar levels regulated. I learned that every time I ate no matter what I ate, my levels would rise. I carried needles and syringes with me everywhere I went and had to inject prior to each meal.  It was painful and embarrassing.

I finally ended up seeing my PCP, who later did more research and blood work to find out that I was actually a Type 1 diabetic.  She explained to me that I have a rare case of adult onset type one diabetes.  Type one is usually found in adolescents.  The cause is currently unknown.  In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system, which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses, mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.  Being a type one diabetic has nothing to do with your weight or how many cupcakes you eat at a time.  It is an autoimmune disease.  Once I found this out, I was partially relieved, but still wanted answers.  I researched day and night.  I bought books on amazon, read articles, and joined Facebook groups and Instagram pages just for adults with type one diabetes for comfort.

 

Over the past few months, I have gained back several pounds.  All of the new clothes I purchased for my small frame are now fitting snug or not at all.  I lost a significant amount of hair prior to diagnosis and have been wearing a low hair cut since December.  I have been through several up and downs since diagnosis and have been to several appointments.  I lost my sight shortly after diagnosis and had to wear glasses.  Now my sight is back as I have my blood sugar levels under control.  I am now using an insulin pump which looks like  a small cell phone and holds enough insulin that my body needs for 3 days.  I am attached to my pump 24/7 and change out the tubing every 3 days.

I have to calculate my carb intake to regulate the correct amount of insulin I need for each meal.  I prick my fingers around 10 times a day if not more.  There a many instances when I have extremely low blood sugar levels and that’s when things can get scary.  I start to get cold sweats, I shake uncontrollably, and I can feel nauseous.  It’s almost as if I lose all control of my body.  Because of this, I keep snacks, juice boxes, glucose tablets, and candy on my person at all times to keep myself leveled.   I also keep an emergency glucagon shot with me at all times in case I can’t raise my blood sugar up on my own.  It was upsetting to know that I would never be able to just eat whatever I want, whenever I wanted.  I have to plan each meal accordingly by counting carbs and taking the right amount of insulin at the right time.  Sometimes I splurge with my food and make sure my math skills are up to par when adjusting my insulin.

I battle with depression on and off.  Some days are harder than others, but I push through and I am thankful that I am alive.  When I was first diagnosed, I couldn’t handle the news.  I couldn’t find the strength to get out of bed, let alone leave the house.  I felt sorry for myself.  I cried so many tears and tried so hard to understand why something like this would happen to me.

I’m going to be honest and say that for a moment, I lost my faith that God is healer.  I had to reevaluate the situation and realize that I am a King’s kid.  This is not the end.  It’s only the beginning.   After time, I got back on my feet and decided to live and not die in my situation.  I put a smile on each day and pray for my healing.  I try my best to make light of my situation by encouraging others.  The God I serve is a healer and I claim total and complete victory over my life in Jesus’ name.  I feel like this happened for a reason and my trial is a testament.  I choose not to allow the devil to take my joy.  I am living on purpose.