I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Godde does not delight in anyone's death!

Have you ever read a passage that just electrified you?  That upon reading it, just sent a shiver of electricity down your spine, because you knew it to be true?  A few weeks ago, I was reading Ezekiel 18, since I was thinking of writing a sermon and that chapter was part of the lectionary.  I did end up writing a sermon, which I will publish later.  However, it did not get used, as I got sick that weekend and my minister had already found someone to replace her on her vacation.  I did, however, start using Ezekiel 18:32 in my daily practice, as it really struck a chord with me and inspired me.  It is this:
For I take no pleasure in anyone's death, says Sovereign YHWH.
 That means me!  Godde would not take any pleasure in my death!  Yes, I probably should have known that already, but for some reason it provided a much needed boost to my brain and soul.  You see, when I go through my bouts of depression, I become suicidal and a few weeks ago, that's where my thinking was centered.  So whenever I started to think about suicide, I would repeat that sentence paraphased:

Godde does not delight in anyone's death!

Miraculously, by repeating that phrase over and over again, my thoughts would eventually clear up, like the sun shining through on a cloudy day and after awhile I would feel alright.  At first, it took an hour for my thoughts to clear up, but with a few medication changes and tons of Ezekiel repetitions, the hour-long agonies soon turned to thirty-minute long ones to fifteen minute-long moments of torture.  I can now say that my depression is now doing a lot better and it has been about a week of suicidal free thinking.  Hallelujah!

What I practiced is called a positive affirmation and they're one of those things that can sound really cheesy at first, but with practice they really work.  The trick is to find a phrase that means something to you.  And then repeat it.  Again and again and again until you really start to believe it.  Until your brain starts to buy into the positive message and the negative hold doesn't seem so strong.  It doesn't have to be a biblical passage-that's just what happened to work for me.  I do think it is important to tell our brain and our heart positive things, because the truth is we're always going to be telling our brains and hearts something and whatever we say long enough, we will eventually believe.  It is harder to tell ourselves positive things, because at least I have a lot more experience telling myself negative messages, but the more we practice, the easier it gets. 

And so I leave you with this: Godde does not delight in anyone's death, so please do not delight in yours. Delight in living instead.

*What are some positive affirmations that have helped you?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

September Books

This book is a humorous take on the now famous fairytale about the princess that kisses a frog prince and ends up turning into a frog herself.  It’s written with lots of humor and the girl I read it to loved it, but I wasn’t wild about it.  It lacked depth and even though it was located in the “teen” section, it seemed more like a book for preteens or younger.  Not that a book for preteens cannot have depth-I just wish this book had had some.  I felt like it was a book that catered specifically to its market and could not appeal to older readers.  A truly great book appeals across generations.  Also, this book had unfortunate vibe of being regrettably predictable, even though creative.  There is definitely an art form to rewriting fairy tales-the writer has to take great care to write a story that is probably very familiar to its readers in way that is new, while still honoring the original.  In my opinion, this book did not succeed.  Of course, anyone younger and not quite the literary snob would probably disagree.

The Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda
Fabulous!  This was by far the best book I read this month.  This book of romantic poetry was originally written for his wife in secret and while I do not usually like love poetry, I loved this volume.  It was sensual without being mushy, intense without being esoteric.  I could understand why Pablo Neruda is a celebrated poet and I am glad I discovered this book of poetry – I found it in a used book store.  I have a feeling I will read this book over and over again.

I’m Not Okay, You’re Not Okay, But That’s Okay with God by Shelley Hussey

I got this book from a recovery themed book sale at the treatment center that I am currently attending.  The book is an autobiography with informative notes written by doctors and therapists about living with mental illness, specifically living with extreme anxiety.  The book is written with a lot of humor and it really helped lift my mood.  It did not teach me anything new, as it is written mainly for the newly diagnosed and I am anything but that.  At first, I really liked the title, but I have since rescinded my approval.  Why?  Because when I got sick, I started to think that something was wrong with me.  I felt like something was innately wrong with my being and I was full of shame.  I am still battling these intense, overwhelming and negative emotions.  I know that the title was appealing to not feeling like she’s okay, but when it comes to the truth of our condition, I need the truth and the truth is that we are okay.  We are Godde’s children and so we are intrinsically okay.  In fact, we are more than okay, we are blessed, and I have to surround myself with messages that reinforce that particular truth.  Otherwise I will believe my feelings of unworthiness and those feelings are not facts.