Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greece looming

My mood at the present is ok, though somewhat anxious because on Friday we leave for Greece. Although I'm looking forward to spending time on two of the islands, it's scary because of all the unrest there. On Thursday another general strike is planned and there are fears of more riots. We'll be spending the night in Athens, and I hope and pray there will be no disruptions while we're there. There are also more strikes planned for June and we won't be coming home till June 10th. Our travels could be affected.

So I'm in worry mode. My husband says I seem depressed again. Well, I did have two good days. I guess - judging by my pattern lately - I'm due for another low.

Thursday was bad, to the point of me wondering whether I could be trusted to carry out my responsibilities. I'm trusting God as the Bible says I should. I'm trying to model myself after David in his Psalms - those Psalms I've been reading so much lately. But to what extent can trusting God heal me? At what point am I going to have to say, I'm no longer able to live up to the expectations I've had of myself?

So many people lose their jobs because of this illness. Is it ever going to get to the point when I can no longer handle what I do? I pray not, God. That would be like dying for me. I love this work You've given me to do. Life without it would be meaningless.

Yes, these awful thoughts were going through my head last Thursday. Fortunately I got lots of help with Living Room on Friday. All I had to do was the devotional time. Topic - "And I will yet praise Him." That was a topic close to my heart. I was able to speak passionately about it. Because, yes, I do praise God. In spite of everything, I praise Him.

No matter what happens to me I pray that I'll be able to find it in me to praise God. To thank Him for all He's given me. To thank Him for His great love. To thank Him for my precious friends who encourage me so well to keep following Him. To put my hand in His and walk beside Him, trusting.

I'm also thankful for some of the new help I've been able to get with Living Room. A new, gifted co-facilitator as well as someone to help with the lunches. Another person who has been coming is proving herself to be a good leader - a new talent we discovered in her. Yes, God is providing me with what I need. Why should I fear?

What are you thankful for today? Thankful Thursday is hosted by Laurie at Women Taking a Stand. Thanks, Laurie! Do visit the other participants and be encouraged by their thanksgiving to God too.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The good in rapid cycling

You know, I'd rather be into rapid cycling than in a solid depression, as I was at this time last year. The lows I go through now only last a few hours. The depression only got alarmingly low one day. That was followed by a high the next day, after some prayer time with a friend. Most of the time the low mood is just an unmotivated feeling. And yet, even though I know now that it won't last long, the feeling of hopelessness still crops up. When I get low I still can't imagine feeling good again. And when I feel good, as I do this morning, I can't imagine returning to a low.

Now that I know I can expect to rapid cycle for a while longer until I stabilize, I'm learning that I need to take advantage of my good moods. I need to use those good times to get things done around the house. That's when I need to make the more complicated meals, leaving the simple stuff from Costco for the low times.

Over these past few months of rapid cycling I've had some spiritually inspired times and I've had some very creative times. I've been able to offer support in - what is perhaps - a more sympathetic way than usual. After all, depression is never far from me. I well know how it feels. And the creative work has been such a blessing. I find comfort in it. I'm consoled by it. And the bookmarks are finding their way to people who need to hear the messages they convey.

Yes, even during times of such instability, I have a lot to be thankful for, don't I?

This morning I awoke at 4:30 in an up mood. By 7:00 I had cleaned up a very messy kitchen, something that I hadn't been able to motivate myself to do for days. Then I sat outside in the sun for awhile, searching for a Bible verse I wanted to use for my next bookmark. A wonderful time that was. Don't the birds sing beautifully in the spring? Now I've looked through some pictures, searching for a slide I have in mind that I want to marry with that verse. In the process I found a lot of other pictures that would make good bookmarks.

I'm including one of my recent bookmarks here. The subject is Cosmos, one of my favourite flowers. It felt good to express the way I feel about that flower in this way.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

So that's what's happening!!

I saw my pdoc today and he told me that I'm rapid cycling. So that's it! The moods I've been experiencing lately have not been normal for me. I'm usually much more stable, much more able to cope.

I'm feeling fine right now though. As long as I have the opportunity to work on my creative projects.

But tomorrow I will undergo a medication increase. More anti-depressant and more anti-psychotic. And we'll hope and pray that this will do the trick and get me back to a more level me.

It's just a relief to know that this is not the regular me. That the way I have been is not the way I always have to be. A relief to know that all the complaining I've felt kind of ashamed of airing was not unfounded.

In the meantime I'm having fun designing the calendar. A fair amount of work, but I think it will be worth it when it's done. Beautiful glossy two-sided paper. Beautiful colour. Yes!!!

Hope you all are doing okay as well. I'd be rather happy if you sent a comment - complaining if it's what you want to do. Then I wouldn't have to feel so alone. Not that I'm really alone. It's just that I don't want to be the only one always complaining.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Happy puttering

So good to be able to tell you that I'm feeling very good right now, happily puttering with my pictures. I've been complaining so much lately, I'm embarrassed.

Today I went through some of my forty years' worth of slides and scanned a few, with a view to using them for calendars and bookmarks. And now I'm thinking I'd like to make more notecards as well. Maybe another open house this winter so I can sell them to friends?

Working with these photographs and finding scripture verses to accompany them does me such a lot of good!

Making the calendars is going to be a bit tricky though. A bit of a puzzle getting all the months and photos in the right order, since it will be a folded calendar. That means, for example, that the May image will be on the same page as the September part of the calendar.

Tricky thing now, though, is not to let the housework get too far behind. And I do need to visit Mom every few days. And I do need to cook. Yes, Marja, don't get too too carried away now :0)

The picture in this bookmark is one I took at Puntzi Lake in the Chilcotin area of British Columbia. And the Bible verse is one I hung onto when I was going through a deep depression a few years ago. Actually it was only part of it that I clung to: "The Lord your God is with you...he will quiet you with his love."

I hope these words will comfort you as they comforted me.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The good in bipolar

Almost every day over the past while I wake up feeling awful. As the day progresses things usually improve.

This morning it happened again. I felt so depressed. But as I sipped my coffee and looked out over the yard, the patio, and my favourite chair, I thought to myself, "How can I possibly feel such depression? I have everything a person could want. I have "stuff," I have a husband and friends who love me, I have God. I have work to do that I love - usually love (though at that moment I couldn't appreciate it).

I couldn't figure myself out. Felt ashamed of my negative feelings. And I journalled about it, asking God to please help me be thankful as I ought to be. Asking God to erase the feelings of depression. Asking God to help me feel the way I ought to feel in light of having such a life. I felt guilty for feeling so down.

When my husband got up, I told him about it. How I just couldn't understand why I would be feeling this way. I was perplexed. He reminded me, "I think you must have an illness." Ah, yes!! I have an illness. I actually needed him to remind me of it.

But I did count my blessings as I worked through those negative feelings. I gradually started looking forward to church. And I got through it all once more. By the time the worship started, I was actually feeling quite high. Amazing! Amazing how this illness works!! From low to high within a couple of hours.

What can I do with this? Can any good come out of all this? Yes, I think it can. I think, as a friend told me, it helps us who live with this bipolar disorder, see things more vividly. The great contrast between the highs and lows makes us experience sorrow and joy is a deeper way than the average person. Bible passage can speak louder to us. And I want to share what I learn from it all. How I want to share!