Tag Archives: depression

mask

Masks

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. It takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
~
Zora Neal Thurston

As a young child I was terrified of anyone wearing a mask.  My parents tell of my being at Disney and hiding underneath my mom’s skirts when the characters walked through the park.  You can imagine how I felt about Halloween!

Over the years I realized that there were actually people behind those costumes and masks. This enabled me to cope with visible masks that people wear.  But,mask people often put on masks that can’t be seen with the visible eye. (e.g. a happy face when we are actually depressed and stressed.)  Sometimes the masks we put on are for our own protection.  Other times it is to hide something we view as a weakness.  Or it might even be that we want to ignore how we really feel inside by masking it with another feeling.  Whatever the reason, we as humans have become master mask wearers.

With my hatred of masks it is ironic that I would don one for many years of my life.  My mask of choice was that of the fun loving “Party Girl.”  I hid all my sadness, loneliness, and fear behind a big smile, sarcastic wit, humorous comments, and laughter.  To the world I appeared like the class clown or the life of the party.  But inside I was dying more and more each day.  Some days were a struggle to even get out of bed because I was so burdened by the depression pressing down on me.  All I wanted to do was pull the covers back over my head and never come out.  I actually lived like that for awhile…staying in bed 15 – 20 hours a day.  Yet, when I left the house it was like a switch had been thrown.  My fake smile was plastered on.  My practiced “natural laugh” was ready at a moments notice.  My sarcastic wit was finely honed.  I was transformed into the perfect little happy-go-lucky “Party Girl” the moment I stepped out of the door of my house.

I think we are inherently aware in our spirit that as children of God we were never meant to wear masks. I know for me, I came to the point where I just couldn’t don my mask anymore.  I knew I needed help.  It was through inner healing at the Glennon House and Christian Counseling that I began to pour my pain out to the Lord and received His healing touch.  Jesus showed me how to take off my mask.  God knows what’s really in our hearts.  Our part is to be willing to be brutally honest with Him by telling Him about the pain that is twisting our insides.  It is only by expressing the pain to Him that He can begin to heal those areas in our lives.  Look at how King David poured out his anger and pain in the Psalms.  He was brutal with his words!  But he was also known as a “man after God’s own heart.”

If you are going through your days donning a mask before facing the world please visit the Glennon House for an appointment with a trained Prayer Minister.  Open the doors to your heart letting the Lord in to heal you.  His greatest desire is for you to stop wearing masks and start being who He created you to be – mask free!

 “God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another.”
~ William Shakespeare

HolidayBluessnowman

Holiday Blues

The Holiday Season is a hard time of year for many people.  They experience such feelings as sadness, loneliness, depression, financial worries, etc.  When all of that is going on inside it is sometimes hard to feel thankful.

For me, this time of year was extremely difficult for many years.  It all started back in 1987 right around Thanksgiving.  I gave birth to my daughter on November 27th.  On December 2nd of that same year I signed the documents to place my daughter for adoption.  I went home to discover that my dog had been put to asleep because cancer had spread throughout her body.  Then at the age of 32 I had a stroke on November 26th.

In the Social Work field, the dates of events like I mentioned above are referred to as “anniversaries.”  They are sort of triggers that make us remember the sadness, fear, or anger that is associated with that event.  Granted over time the intense feelings become muted to a more manageable level, but we still often experience an echo of those feelings around the dates.

Somewhere along the way I decided that I was just going to be semi-miserable every year through the Holiday Season.  So, I pasted on my fake smile acting like everything was peachy keen.  No one ever knew that beneath that faux smile I was aching on the inside each time I re-lived one of those anniversaries.

It wasn’t until I heard a sermon on having “an attitude of gratitude” that I realized I had been telling myself a terrible lie by buying into the idea that I was going to be semi-miserable each year.  I did not have to be semi-miserable!  What I needed to do was re-adjust my focus about those so-called anniversaries.

I decided to see if I could find something to be thankful about each one of those dates.  When it came to November 27th I decided that I was thankful that the Lord had given me the strength to place my daughter for adoption so that she could have all the opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to offer her back then.  For December 2nd I was thankful for the wonderful counselor at Children’s Home Society who sat with me while I signed the adoption papers.  And for November 26th I was thankful that I survived the stroke with minimal residual effects and that I went seeking for “something more” after I had it.  I soon discovered that that “something more” was actually a Person…Jesus!

Each year, starting around Thanksgiving, I remind myself to be purposeful in having an attitude of gratitude.  I figure, if I’m trying to find ways to be thankful I won’t have much time to fall back into the semi-miserable groove!  I don’t always do it perfectly.  And I sometimes experience a brief twinge of those old feelings, but they leave quickly.  I will keep practicing being thankful until I finally don’t even have a twinge at all!

If this is a hard time of year for you I encourage you to come visit the Glennon House so that one of our trained Prayer Ministers can pray for you.  Or if you would like to just come in to tell us what you are thankful for during this time of year we always love to hear praise reports!!

Jesus Label3cropped

Wearing Jesus’ Label

Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his (Jesus’) label on it.
All the old fashions are now obsolete.
Colossians 3:10 MSG

There is this commercial on television where a woman is followed around all day by her “robe” of depression.  This robe of hers even has eyes that follow her movements.  First thing in the morning the robe greets her in bed wrapping her in its embrace.  The robe greets her on the sidewalk as she leaves to go to work clothing the woman in depression.  Basically, the woman is being stalked by this robe of depression that is her shadow.

While the commercial itself is somewhat comical, the reality of depression that it depicts is far from humorous.  Depression is like that woman’s robe that stalks a person throughout the day.  It truly is a robe that clothes a person in its gloomy burden.

For a majority of my young adulthood I battled depression on a daily basis.  I would go through seasons where I thought I was free of its grip.  And then BAM…I’d wake up one morning once again wearing the robe of
depression.  It would often blindside me at the most inopportune moments.

I spent my good days always waiting for the depression bomb to drop on my head.  Basically, I was either depressed or waiting to become
depressed.  This negative view inhibited me from ever truly enjoying my life.

When I hit my 30’s I had come to believe that I was doomed to remain a victim to depression for the rest of my life.  Nothing I tried had worked…not medicine…not life changes…nothing got rid of the depression.

But Jesus had a surprise for me – He had a plan to set me free.  When I turned 33 I met a woman who re-introduced me to Jesus.  Her walk with the Lord inspired me to believe that I could take off my robe of depression.

My healing was not instant.  It was a process.

I experienced days when I stood in front of my closet debating whether I was going to once again wear that robe with the depression label stitched into it or if I was going to choose the new wardrobe that the Lord had given me (the one stitched with His Name).  Nine times out of ten I chose the clothes with the Jesus label.

I discovered that that the more times I chose to robe myself with the Lord’s clothes – by turning to Him during my troubles – the less depressed I felt.  I still experience days when I’m down or discouraged, but I now have hope where there had been none.

And as Dick Mead says, “Hope requires an object and/or a thing.  Hope is a person and His Name is Jesus Christ.”

feet1

My Father’s Feet

As a young child, I loved to put my feet on my father’s feet. I would hold up my little hands to him so that he could take my hands to lift me up onto his feet. Then he would walk me around the room. As I giggled, he would step forwards, backwards, sideways, and in circles. Everywhere my father went I would follow.

When I grew bigger, I stopped asking to stand on my father’s feet. I’m not sure why I stopped – I just did. I know that if I’d asked my father he would have let me stand on his feet so he could direct my steps. I guess I thought I was too big to have him lead me. Or maybe I was asserting my independence…deciding that I no longer needed to follow him where he went.

At times, my walk with my heavenly Father has echoed my walk with my earthly father.

Prior to returning to a relationship with the Lord, I had been living a life of chaos and mayhem. I had been perpetually riding a rollercoaster of
emotions. Over the years I had been diagnosed with a variety of
psychiatric labels including: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression,
bi-polar, panic disorder, and addictions. My life had been totally out of control for a long time.

The first thing I did when I began my new relationship with the Lord was to hold up my hands to Him so that I could be lifted up onto His feet. I clung to His hands determined to only step where He stepped. This was the only way I knew how to leave the chaos of my life behind. I didn’t look to the left or the right; in fact, I didn’t look anywhere but at my Father.
He led…I followed.

Unfortunately, as my past grew more distant I wasn’t as diligent about
following where the Lord was leading. Sometimes, I stepped off His feet to go my own direction. My need for independence had reared its head. I decided that maybe Father didn’t always know best. Boy, was I wrong!
I quickly discovered that my craving for independence led me down the wrong roads. They were roads that would eventually lead me back to the towns of Chaos and Mayhem. And those were places that needed to be given a wide berth.

I had to swallow my pride, return to the Lord, and ask for forgiveness. Once again He reached down to lift me up onto His feet. From experience, I can tell you that it is much better to keep your feet on His feet as you walk through your life. The Lord will never lead you astray. Wherever He leads you will be in your best interest. While I don’t always understand the circumstances I have to walk through I do know that God will use every step, I take following Him, for my good in the long run!

That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God
is worked into something good.
                                                   Romans 8:28 (MSG)