Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Feeling better

Yesterday and today have been much better days since I last wrote. I've been keeping busy, though I didn't get around to cleaning up the HUGE mess is the workshop. In fact, since I wrote about it in my last post I haven't given it another thought. I'm not good at cleaning or tidying. Would much rather make messes and be creative. If I were to die, would our son ever have a job sorting through all our stuff! One day I will have to think about cleaning up in a serious way. But will I ever find the time?

Yesterday I wrote a little piece for BC Christian News about the mental health service our church had several weeks ago. I also included something about Living Room. Another little effort to hopefully make a wee bit of difference. If other churches were to read it, they might become motivated to try the same thing we are doing. Submitting that to the paper last night has motivated me to carry on working for "the cause".

My next project is to write an article about how Christians can give support to friends suffering from depression. You may think, "Wouldn't the kind of support Christians give be the same as support given by anyone else?" The answer is, of course, yes. But the truth is that many still believe in depression having a spiritual basis. Also, there are spiritual ways of supporting people by praying with them or by letting them know you're praying. There's also the story of Job and his friends. Too many forget that story when they're trying to help depressed friends. It's a story that has lessons for us.

My neighbor has been telling me about her depressed friend who she is trying to give support to. "I don't know what to tell her to do anymore," she said. "I don't know how to help her." But that tends to be the trouble with a lot of people who are trying to help. They think that giving advice is going to fix the depression. The truth is they just need to be there to listen - to be available - to be compassionate - to be patient - to continue loving. For most people that's a hard thing to do. Everyone wants to fix things for others, when that is an impossible thing to do. It is so easy to make a depressed person feel worse.

I'm going to have to write about what it's like to be depressed as well. Supporters need to understand, though of course this would not be fully possible if they haven't been there themselves. Yet I'd like to try to describe it. This project will be a challenge, but a worthwhile challenge.

Just for fun, I've included a little picture I did here: a street in Havana. Please don't laugh too much at the car. It's the best I could do.


Di said...

Ah my friend, I am with you on the "I'd rather make the mess than have to clean it" That is so much a part of the creative side in me -for sure! But right now I am in the midst of a HUGE clean up job as we are getting new carpets tomorrow! Problem is the cleaning process, spurs the creative ideas too. Quandry! I want to play. Making brownies will have to suffice for now.

Tracy said...

I just came across your blog. It is great. My husband has just been diagnosed as being bipolar and this is after losing his faith, being manic, and then very depressed. Thankfully his meds have been helping as well as his renewed focus on Christ. I want to thank you for hleping me understand this illness and most of all how you rely on your faith with this illness. It is good to get a Christain perspective when it comes to mood disorders because there is not alot out there that tie the two together like you do. Thanks again.

marja said...

Di: I feel absolutely guilty for talking you into making those brownies. You didn't need that right now. I'm sorry I complicated your life.

Tracy: I was so happy to hear from you - happy to find out I'm doing something right, something that's helping people. Welcome to my blog. I wish you and your husband well on this journey you're embarking on.

Amateur Dancer said...

Hi Marja,

Thank you SO much for what you wrote on my blog! That was so inspiring!! really lifted my spirit.

**Ok...question...I turned you onto painting and you are SO much better than I am!! What happened there??? That is a GREAT painting! Beautiful!

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Is depression a disease or a state of mind? I do not know and I will not pretend that I do know. But the Good Book says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things." (Philippians 4:8). I will never disagree with you that depression (bipolar disorder) is physiological, mental and emotional in nature. I've been through that before and I had my share of trips to the psychiatrist when I was younger. But my life changed when I accepted Jesus Christ. Now, I view all negative things in life such as pain, sorrow, misery, etc. as just physical reality. (I know because I am in extreme pain as I write this comment). But deep in my heart, I know that there is such thing as spiritual reality and we can make it overcome the physical reality by holding on to God's promises. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will." As I said to Sarah, medicines, doctors, the love and attention of friends and loved ones can help, but the true healer is Jesus Christ. I am sorry, I am not moralizing nor preaching for both of us are Christians. I am only stating what is in my heart. God bless you for the dignity and courage of your struggles as you reach out to your fellow sufferers by giving them words of encouragement. "But my God shall supply all your neeeds according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:13)God bless you more and more each day. God loves you no matter what.

marja said...

Hi Dancer, I hope you start feeling better soon. And I just love hearing from you. Keep blogging, ok?

Mel, Thank you, once more for your comments. What you say here warrants more discussion. I think I'll devote a post to it.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I love your drawings! You have a really nice style and palette. In terms of the woman with the depressed friend, I wonder if she ever said to her friend, "What can I do to help you?"

At different times in my life when I've been depressed, I've wished friends would do the following:

1. Invite my son to their house to play (when he was a child).
2. Go marketing for us.
3. Bring me books from the library.
4. Offer to take a walk with me but recognize that I don't feel like talking.
5. Email me instead of calling because I don't like to talk on the telephone when I'm depressed.
6. Invite my son and husband to dinner without me.
7. Send me a card or flowers and just say, "I've been thinking of you."
8. Offer to drive me to the doctor's.
9. Tell me they've been praying for me.
10. Stop asking me how I feel because that sure makes me feel worse.


marja said...

That's a great list, Susan. Do you mind if I pass that on when I have opportunities? I'll give you credit.

I've put the article on lending support on hold for now. It was just too much fitting that in and it was stressing me out. I'll work on that some other time.

Di said...

No Worries about the brownies... it did not take long and was a good distraction.... Do not feel guilty. If I felt I could not do it I would have told you FOR SURE!
It all went well I heard great raves on all foods tasted!