Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Only This I Want

Only this I want: but to know the Lord,
And to bear His cross, so to wear the crown He wore.

All but this is loss, worthless refuse to me,
For to gain the Lord, is to gain all I need.

I will run the race; I will fight the good fight,
So to win the prize of the kingdom of my Lord.

Let your heart be glad, always glad in the Lord,
So to shine like stars in the darkness of the night.

If you want to hear the melody, come join me in the choir loft at St John's on Saturday at 5pm.  It's a beautiful hymn.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What I Learned in My Year Without Depression

I went one whole year without depression.  That's the first time I can say that in a dozen or so years.

I've been treated for mental illness since 1999, though I remember bouts of depression going back to 1995.  I've never tracked my depressive episodes, so I can't tell you exactly how long I've gone without depression before.  But let me tell you, a year feels like forever!  And I'm thankful for the respite.

I learned a lot while being depression free.  I wanted to share a few of those with you.

  1. I'm pretty sure I'm feeling well because I'm taking my medication, not because I don't need it anymore.  There is no cure for bipolar.  I was diagnosed bipolar 2 1/2 years ago.  I know I could fight this the rest of my life.  But I also know there is medication and therapy to help in that fight.  I'll continue to do all I can to fight... including taking my meds and talking with my counselor.
  2. Resources like a psychiatrist and a counselor can aid in my well-being, but I'm the one who has to focus on getting well.  If my heart isn't in it, if my head isn't in it, I won't stay well, not for long.  I must keep using the resources in front of me, but I also need to take care of myself if I want to see long-term health.
  3. Wellness means including self-care in my life.  This is everything from brushing my teeth and eating every day to paying my bills and making important doctor's appointments.  Things that go by the wayside when I'm depressed, still need to be done whether I like them or not.  Taking care of myself has to remain a priority.
  4. Good things can happen too.  When you're a depressive, you often sit back and wait for the next episode to hit.  But we have to recognize and enjoy the good things too.  That's where we find hope.
  5. I am loved.  Depressed or not, I have people in my world that love me and support me.  They may not fully understand my bipolar tendencies, but they don't have to in order to be there for me.
I'm hoping I can remain depression-free for another year.  But there's no guarantee of that.  One thing's for sure, I'll enjoy my depression-free time as long as I can.  And I'll do everything I can to make my next episode as short as I can.  With help from my psychiatrist, my counselor, and my team of support.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A beautiful spring day... in January

It's a holiday today. That happens when the actual holiday falls on a weekend day.  Anyway, I got the day off work today.  And I chose to sleep in.  That's what I do with most of my days off.

The mayor mentioned on Facebook that it felt like spring out there. I had to take the challenge and find out for myself.  I couldn't wait to get outside.

My plan was to drive a bit and ultimately end up in the park with the ducks.  I rolled down my windows and read.  It was absolutely lovely.

I love a day when I can read fiction.  And when I can read it in the park with my windows down, that's perfect.  So I truly enjoyed this day off.

When I first started seeing my counselor, he suggested that I use the park as a refuge to calm my nerves and center my mind.  Here, two and a half years later, I still enjoy that little exercise.

I hope we have another spring day in January.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

I normally don't make plans for New Year's Eve.  I usually have dinner by myself, watch a movie or two, and go to bed long before the ball drops.  But my mom invited me to go to the casino with her and her siblings.  So I went.

First we went to mass.  Then we headed to French Lick.

Dinner at Lengendz was really good.  I had the taco salad and it was delightful.  Afterwards, we went to the casino.  I found a couple of machines that liked me and only lost $3 on the night.  I consider that a victory.  I've never come home a winner, but I've never only lost $3 either.  Definitely a victory.

One of my uncles ended up $100 to the good, so he offered to buy us sundaes at Dairy Queen.  It was nice ending the year with family and ice cream.

I was home by 10pm.  Happy New Year!