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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

On writing, depression, and suicide: an update

Hello all :). It's been a while.

Good news: Whispers and Murmurs is coming along—which is miraculous because of the state of mind I've been in for the past couple months—and I am reveling in the writing process as I learn new things about my characters and their world. (Also...fixing lots and lots of plot holes. Boo).



You probably weren't wondering what was going on with the serious lack of posting...but if you were:

I have PTSD. (Ok, really...that's enough to explain just about everything, but...) For some reason, instead of flaring up around the summertime as it usually does, it flared up this winter. Anxiety and stress levels skyrocketed and the blog was left on the backburner. Why did it flare up? Because it was never seasonal. I apparently fear the ending of things.

I know, right?

But it's true. When I found out my friend was pregnant this winter, I was devastated—not because she was pregnant, but because I wasn't too. I couldn't follow her on the road she was going down. I feared our friendship—or at least the depth of it—was ending. 

It's kind of hard to explain, but when you've walked along the same road(s) for so long, you form an unbreakable bond...but that bond, while always existing, won't always be deepening. I love this person more than almost anyone else in this entire world. I cried for days (lol). The medication (see below) did not help matters -_-.

I have some annoyingly persistent—and, as yet, undiagnosed or diagnosable—stomach/intestinal issues.  Translation: My stomach/intestines hurt pretty much...all. the. time. and aside from having an ulcer, no other problem has been found. On top of that, I kept getting sick with other things (fever, pink eye, cough that almost became bronchitis...it was a bit overwhelming o_o).

Some medication I had to take, in combination with my already problematic emotional/psychological state, made things much, MUCH worse.  You'd think the doctors, knowing I have PTSD, would be like, "Maybe it's a bad idea to give someone with PTSD this." But no. That might, you know, make sense. And because this gif captures my sentiments so perfectly:



Suffice it to say what I experienced went far beyond 'mood swings'.  

I've experienced a grand level of apathy and irritability before because of PTSD flare-ups, but usually I'd be better after a few days. With that medication, I lost all motivation to do everyday things--go to work; go outside; do housework; even eat, despite being hungry--for weeks on end

I just didn't care, and, not surprisingly, I contemplated suicide multiple times. Immediately after I stopped taking the medication, I felt loads better. Never will I ever take it again. (Obviously.)

So yeah...the blog had to be neglected for a bit ^_^'.
  
More thoughts...

I think people wonder why, as a Christian, I struggled along such a road. Supposedly God delivers and comforts, right? So what happened?

Well...for one thing, I'm finite and fallible, and man...sometimes I'm just so stubborn. When I get anxiety attacks, of course I pray, and I'm immediately ok. If I sought the LORD more fervently instead of drowning in my sorrow (because, let's admit it, we do that sometimes), I'm 100% sure it would've been easier. 

I'm not sure He would've removed me from the struggle, though. It's happened before, but this time, I think He saw value in the experience. Maybe that sounds crazy to you, but I've learned some things about depression and suicidal thoughts that only someone who has experienced them can: they're not controllable, complete with an on/off switch!  

So many people who go to church and proclaim to be Christians think 'oh, you just have to read your Bible more'. I'm not discrediting that entirely; healing and salvation are of the LORD, not man (God does use people to heal, though—psychiatrists and friends and those who have gone through what you're going through). But the people who say things like that don't know what it's like. They don't understand that sometimes, you just can't move, breathe, desire...whether mentally, emotionally, or physically.

The sunday school group I was in discussed depression the week before last, and I almost lost it after several people said things like that after stating they'd never struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts. And the irony is, one person in my group stated that after he lost his wife, he rejected comfort from those who hadn't also lost a spouse, saying, 'unless you've experienced what I'm going through, you really don't understand, and you can't help me'. *eye twitch*

I kinda felt like if they knew what I've struggled with, they'd think I was crazy. Or, at the very least, 'unspiritual'. (Dun dun dunnnn)

Anyway, I understood in that moment that if I hadn't gone through this, I'd never be able to minister to people who are grieving and contemplating suicide because I never really got it. Got them.

Christ IS the Solution. I will never deny this. But He is with us  in our grief. He understands our struggles, and doesn't berate us for having them. And by allowing me to walk in the midst of this particular struggle, I've been equipped to walk with others through theirs.

As a sort-of uh, closing statement, I'd like to share the chorus of a song that came to me after listening to a sermon about Jesus as our Shepherd while I was in one of the darkest places I've ever been:

When You give, it's like a spark from Heaven—
lighting up my entire world, lighting up the deepest parts
of my oft, torn/jaded/wounded heart
You are my Remedy
delivering me from apathy
video

The astounding quality of this video almost coaxes tears. I know, it's ok *pats back* 

(Sorry about going flat on that one note T_T...makes me cringe ). But hey, at least it gives an idea of the sound. 





4 comments:

  1. I too suffer from PTSD and it is difficult to keep up with a blog at times. I have asthma too and one of the medications my doctor gave me cause depression and suicidal tendencies. After struggling for so long I had to tell my doctors to stop and try something else because I wasn't going to make it. Since then things have gotten better. I am glad your book is coming along and that you are able to blog again. :)

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    1. Wow, I'm glad you spoke up! There are plenty of good doctors out there who genuinely care about their patients' well-being, but sometimes doctors don't seem to fully consider the potential impact of what they prescribe...or, worse, don't listen when a patient states they're suffering because of said prescription(s).

      Thank you for reading, for your kind words (I'm very happy about the book and blogging again too!), and for sharing. I'm glad that you're feeling better now!

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  2. You certainly are showing real bravery there. It's one thing to address depression, it's another to write about it, where every letter etched and every line put on paper is a beat that can restart and remind you about it, enough to unleash it. That's not even taking into account the confessions and the content. You should definitely keep that up, as it is very character-forming, but you should also maintain that 'open forum' with peers both online and offline, so you'll have a feedback mechanism that will stand in as support. Thanks for sharing! All the best to you!

    Brandi Kennedy @ Restoration Counseling Boise

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    1. Thank you! :)

      And I welcome the advice, though I find it easier to write about things like this than talk about them. Also, I find expressing myself in an imaginary venue is helpful, odd as that sounds (haha); it's just like storytelling, only you look at a problem you're having emotionally and attempt to discern its roots by placing yourself in various scenarios. Ok, that's probably one of the weirdest things you've ever heard of lol, but it works for me. (I'm more of an intrapersonal learner, if you know anything about 'learning styles'...)

      All the best to you as well in your adventures ^_^.

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