Posts Tagged: health

Holiday Depression Survival Kit

No one plans on unwrapping depression during the holidays.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

Depression is a gift not easily returned to a store. I say gift because, as I work through despair I also discover my capacity to fight it.

Twenty-two years ago depression became a training ground for my faith. I hoped for what I could not yet see. I stretched weak, underdeveloped spiritual muscles. And survived attacks from the enemy. Beauty emerged from the ashes of my life.


We don’t have to have it all together to survive Christmas. But, we do have to have certain habits in place that are not optional.  I am conditioning to be fearless and embrace discipline, compassion, and determination. Like a drill sergeant encouraging failure, depression stirs instead, my will to live.

Despair

Grief doesn’t take a hiatus, and physical pain may have no relief. The strain is constant, but we also experience joy.  We can hope, remain open to new possibilities, step outside of our own thoughts, and engage the world. Not based upon feeling, but upon the basic way, humans were created. We were built for relationship. Based on that understanding, isolation is not an option.

Below is a Depression Survival Kit that I use on a regular basis. These habits help me to get through and even gain new ground through holidays.

Feel free to comment on anything that helps you to get through the holidays.

  • 1-2 scriptures to read on a regular basis, call to mind when thoughts spiral
  • List of safe people (of the same sex) that I can call in case of an emergency
  • 1-2 old traditions I will do (not based on feeling)
  • 1-2 new traditions I will create with family, friends, strangers
  • Emergency exit
    • Go to Christmas events
    • Shorten stay
    • Signal designated departure friend to aid in a smoother exit
    • I don’t have to do all events
  • Stay engaged with the community (not an option)
    • Volunteer to help others
    • Encourage someone else who is struggling
    • Allow 1 or 2 people to take you out of your comfort zone
    • Laughter is good medicine (welcome humor)
  • Be intentional 
    • Set goals and take steps to be as healthy as you can
    • Extend grace to yourself and others

My prayers are with you as you find joy this Christmas.

Grander Views in the Middle of Pain

Jeremiah 15:18 Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.

 

Daniel has been in more pain over the last few weeks. His vertigo and sensitivity to any kind of car motion has ended up in several episodes of throwing up. So our trip to Cedar Point (roller coaster capital of the world) was up in the air as to whether he would enjoy.

Much to my surprise and delight, Daniel worked within his limitations and enjoyed his time. But I questioned the wisdom of one chosen ride. Spinning 300 feet in the air at 30 miles an hour didn’t exactly sound vertigo friendly. He wanted to try anyway. He did fine as we went up, but as soon as the swings began to circle around the nausea began. I held his hand and told him to look forward. Vision better focused he could now take in the scenery and exclaimed. “It is beautiful! God is so creative! Wow, is this all one lake?”

Oh, what a glorious view I received as a parent! I breathed in my son’s joy and suddenly my own heartache diminished. Daniel could see God’s glory, even though his own physical struggles felt overwhelming.

We all need grand view reminders, so that when life is at its hardest we see God is bigger and so capable of bringing us through. But, we can’t have them if we have boarded up the windows, locked ourselves in pain, and wait for death to take us. We can only have them if we step out, take a risk, and look outside our problems. Where will you go for your grander view?

 

Love Always,

 

Karisa

 

 

Putting on Your Skates: When the impossible becomes possible

Philippians 2:…26For he has been longing for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27He was sick indeed, nearly unto death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less anxious.…

Resilience does not come from some secret place only a select few can access. It comes from knowing that there is always a “but God”. . . in every hardship. –Karisa

Today, I admit to you that I am discouraged. My hip is painful and my knees are getting in on the act. A visit with the orthopedist did not result in any easy or long-term solutions.  They cannot replace cartilage. Surgery to clean out the socket, at this point of deterioration, may be too late to be effective, and a hip replacement would wear out and have to be done again. So I sit here, sipping my anti-inflammatory concoction and remind myself to put on my skates.

A couple of weeks ago, I wanted so badly to get out on the floor with my kids and skate at my nephew’s party, that I finally laced up and went out. I was very cautious . . . at first. One fall and my cartilage might tear worse than it already is. But it was such a pleasure to be out there and I did not fall! So, do I withdraw from life because it could be painful? Do I stop seeking the great physician because the earthly ones can’t find a solution? No! I am convinced that nothing can separate me from God’s love. Pain included!

In this moment I take in a deep breath and lace up my shoes again. Enjoying the life God gives to me, and trusting him with my mind, body, and spirit. He wants good things for us. Put on your skates, and live life to the fullest. Turn this page, and find out what happens next!

When the World Tilts Pray

Please  pray for my husband. He is struggling with severe vertigo and numbness in his leg. If you are one who believes in prayer and fasting for breakthrough, I ask that you join me in praying for my entire family’s health, as well as others who are struggling with illness.

 

James 5:14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

 

 

Note to My Readers

I was hospitalized on Saturday with Pulmonary Embolism (fancy talk for blood clots in the lungs.) I am doing much better today and will probably be released once they get my meds established.

I praise God for each breath I am given! I encourage you to breathe deeply and live life to the fullest, it is a precious gift given to each of us.

Getting a Leg Up

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I fell again today, already nursing a sprained foot! As everyone came running to aid the pitiful woman sprawled out on the dentist room floor I laughed. In painful moments, sometimes, laughter is the only sane response. As pain roared through my knee and I struggled back to my feet I didn’t even fool with asking God why?

Instead I asked, what is the advantage of a sprained ankle? Well, for starters, it is forcing me to the doctor because beyond the sprain I was diagnosed with bone spurs and arthritis. There is a reason for my foot pain. I must once again humble myself to ask for help from others. My sprained ankle is putting me in places and opportunities to share the gospel that I would not normally be. Once again I praise God that he is completely able to sustain me! There may be further things revealed and I am open to the possibilities!

Dear New Page Turners,

I cannot turn the page on suicide alone. None of us can. I value your experiences, your challenges, the depth of your own sorrows and your resilience! Please do not hesitate to contact me with your concerns, suggestions and experiences of hope in the midst of grief or depression.

Thank you for reading and turning the page on suicide with me!

 

Sincerely,

Karisa

Mama Told Me There’d be Day’s Like This: Overcoming Downcast Days

John 16:33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

I woke up to the tune of “Day’s Like This” going through my head. Not a good sign. When I entered the church this morning I found myself scanning for Jonathan. It was hard to worship, even though I was excited to hear from the book of Daniel. I was so weary when we got home that I laid down and napped.

When you grieve, or suffer depression, there are simply days that don’t feel right. But ironically, as I looked for the lyrics to the song stuck in my head–having little to do with my circumstances–I discovered that Van Morrison took the phrase and turned it on its head. His lyrics warn against getting too attached to the good days because bad days will happen and they can derail you if you aren’t prepared (love Morrison’s take on the phrase).

Jesus prepared the disciples for his death. He said, “Don’t get so attached to the good days with me that you forget, in this life, you will have many trials.” Too often we Christians try to portray becoming a believer as a smooth ride, but it isn’t. “I’m hanging with Jesus. It’s all good.” But it is not all good. At least not if you plan on digging in the trenches of faith. Sometimes I don’t feel like singing, praying, reading scripture, fellowshipping, or witnessing. Good that Jesus conquered the consequences of my darkest days before I ever took a breath!

When I came in this evening, after weed-eating and mowing I put my arms out like a zombie and asked for hugs from my kids and husband. They scattered with laughter. It felt good to overcome the grass swamp in my backyard. The rain had kept us from mowing all week and with no end in sight to the rain, it was as dry as it was going to get. More than that, I needed to work hard to snap out of my downcast spirit.

There are days like this dear friend, but Jesus has overcome the world!

God the Ultimate Health Coach: Prospering in more than the spiritual

Endorphins

” Exercise gives you endorphins–Endorphins make people happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. . .they just don’t.” (Legally Blond)

A friend  gave me a pass for 30 days of jazzercise. I can not emphasize enough, whether walking or exercising in a group setting, moving the body is vital to healing from trauma. This week I was stuck. Stuck in my thinking, stuck in overwhelmed mode, and stuck in my reactions to life.

Taking action on the spiritual level was a first good step, and today as I worked my weary muscles I was happy. It was a good kind of ache at the end of class. The kind that says, “That a girl, keep going!” My goal is to be what John describes in 3rd John 1:2-3. “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.” If Christ came that we might have abundant life then that doesn’t just stop at the spiritual realm. Can you imagine in all aspects of your life prospering? Wow!

This isn’t greed. We tend to limit the word prosper to just money or economic success, but Merriam-Webster defines prosper: to become strong and flourishing or to cause to thrive. How many of us settle for the plain of existence we’re on and never realize abundant life? I’ll be transparent with you, there are many areas that don’t feel prosperous in, but I have witnessed people who at one time stood in my shoes and felt the same way. But they began walking in truth and they now thrive in life. To walk in the truth is to believe the gospel and be a living example of God’s love for humanity. As I journey in all areas my faith walk, my prayer is that one day I can cause others to thrive. For now may our endorphins increase as we move towards abundant life.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Grief effects our health. It is important to hydrate (I find I get dehydrated more quickly), and eat foods that will encourage and strengthen our bodies. In the weeks after Jonathan’s death my back went out, I had a sever respiratory infection and had seizers that were triggered by insomnia. To say that my body was depleted and not strong enough to carry the load I now bore, is an understatement.

I don’t have much of an appetite these days, but the health choices that I am making are horrendous. You’d think, if you aren’t craving things, that it would be easier to make better choices. But, I went into grief with bad habits and they are now magnified. I have enough to deal with, without adding more pounds to carry.

What does it mean to eat to the glory of God? At its core is acknowledgment that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) Jesus had just completed 40 days of fasting, prayer and preparation for ministry. Satan tempted Jesus with food first because Jesus’ body was in desperate need of food. Jesus responded that man’s health does not come just from physical fulfillment.

Throughout scripture, there are so many examples of breakthroughs in the lives of Israel centered around food. Daniel and his friends were put in charge because they honored God by not defiling themselves with the king’s rich foods and their health was better than all of the other candidates. Jesus stated that there are some demonic forces that can only be cast out through prayer and fasting. There is power in what we choose to put into our bodies when it is to the glory of God.

Lord, I long to glorify you in what I eat. Father discipline me to bring scripture to mind when tempted. Help me to enjoy what is before me, and for food to no longer be a hindrance in living on every word that comes from you. Amen.

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If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to the website at  SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.