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.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Five Days and Not Counting...

This is the fifth day in a row that I have not been depressed!   Not that I'm counting or anything...  I'm trying not to make a big deal out of it, because I don't want to be too disappointed when a day of depression comes again.  One undoubtedly will-depression, as one of my therapists keeps on telling me, is a recurring disease.  He keeps telling me that, so that when I start feeling depressed again, I can work towards staying in peace instead of totally giving into depression.  Not that that's easy at all.  But for today, I am not depressed, THANK GODDE!!!

Yesterday, as I was marveling at it being the fourth day in a row without depression, I thought to myself, "Today I am not depressed, but I don't know what tomorrow will hold..." and I smiled.  I was surprised at my smile!  Usually at the end of such a thought, I would have frowned, as I would have started to worry about the next day.  Soon, that worry would start tearing up the good parts of my day until all I was left with is negative energy, which would edge me closer and closer back towards the dark hole of my depression.  But yesterday, I smiled instead and with that smile, I gave thanks and decided to live in gratitude for today.  In fact, I almost laughed, because in that moment of clarity I realized that this was not my normal reaction to such a thought.  Perhaps, by appreciating my good mood, instead of anticipating a bad one, I can foster more goodness.  It sounds so easy, it's almost too easy.  It's the kind of advice that I always mocked before, because I felt like it minimized how awful I felt.  

Why was I able to utilize this truth when I wasn't able to before?  I think I have been more open to life's possibilities and truths lately than in previous times.  It's like ever since the mysterious time on Tuesday when I realized that I was not depressed anymore, the resulting gratitude has opened a door in my soul.  I don't think I could have learned that truth about living for today when I was extremely depressed.  That's not an endictment of my character, but a powerful testimony at how horrible depression is.  Depression is utter darkness, total aloneness, and emptiness that goes on like an endless ocean.  To experience the truth of gratitude, I needed to see the crack of light under the door.  What happened to my spirit between Monday and Tuesday?  I think the "crack" of hope for me this time was an increase in my medication, and an increase in sleep.  These two things led to an increase in my ability to persevere.  The result after persevering in my battle with depression?  Gratitude.

Take a minute and smile with me now in gratitude.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

December 2011 Books

Vampire Kisses 8 - Cryptic Cravings by Ellen Schreiber - This book was okay.  Raven is excited that Jagger and friends are going to build a gothic nightclub in her own club, but she's afraid that it's going to attract unwanted attention to Alexander.  I know what her concerns are, but frankly, I found her to be a worrywort.  I just wanted Raven to have fun and enjoy herself, but she kept worrying about her boyfriend.  Actually, this book concerned me as I am afraid it promotes a devotion that is unhealthy for teens to emulate.  It is unhealthy to be so devoted to one person at age sixteen or seventeen when there is so much time left to make a decision, especially when it seems that she is a little conflicted between her love for Alexander and for Travis.   It was very frustrating for me to read, because whenever she would start to think romantically about Travis, she would then tell herself that she is really devoted to Alexander.  I wanted to shake her and tell her to have more fun, to not be so serious, and that this blind devotion is extremely scary, as it usually leads to abuse.  I just hate young adult books where the leading character has a flaw that is painted as a desirable trait.

Sometimes I Act Crazy - Living with Borderline Personality Disorder by Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus
Do you remember how I promoted the book, "I Hate You-Don't Leave Me?"  I take it back!  I have come to the conclusion that that book is too old to be much good for most people nowadays.  "Sometimes I Act Crazy," is written by the same people and this time I do heartily promote the book.  Written over a decade later than their first book, they now have a lot more information both in the disorder itself and in how to cope with it.  Each chapter explains one of the nine symptoms of BPD by using an absorbing case study and at the end of each chapter are direct ways that loved ones can help the person with BPD and ways that the person with the disorder can help herself in dealing with that particular symptom.  I thoroughly appreciate this book, as it gave me an understanding of my illness that I did not have before and just as importantly, it gave me a new vocabulary for describing my symptoms.  Finally, this book is much more optimistic than their first book and the authors rail at the insurance companies that continue to discriminate against those with BPD.  I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is connected to BPD and this time I will not take back my recommendation!

The Woman's Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton
This book is a free classic work on Kindle and I read it on my SmartPhone whenever I had time over several months.  Writing this book got Stanton kicked out of the suffragist movement, because most of her suffragist friends thought that by writing this book, she was creating too much division.  This book is one of the first feminist theologies and for that it deserves to be read.  Stanton and her committee of 26 women used this book to address all the passages in the Bible that concern women.  Sometimes the commentary is absolutely fabulous and makes my feminist heart flutter and then in other times, I get frustrated, because the commentary seems to be lacking a lot.  This is not incredibly serious, scholarly theology, but is more of a platform for feminism.  This is not totally Stanton's fault-she could not find enough theologians willing to put their careers on the line for a controversial, feminist theology.  For anyone interested in feminist theology or in first-wave feminism, this book is a must read.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Resolutions and Blueberry Pie

First off, I am sorry that I haven't written in a while.  One of my new year's resolutions is to blog more often, which is going to be tested as I going to be living at a friend's house while she's away for about a month and her internet isn't currently working.  I'm going to try blogging at places with free wifi, but I cannot guarantee anything.  I will be glad when my life gets back into its regular routine and I'll be able to blog without tons of effort.  Then again, its the things in life that take effort that are often worth doing.  For some reason, I often buy into that statement kicking and screaming as I generally prefer things easy and instantly gratifying...

Another resolution I have is to get back into yoga.  When I did yoga on a semi-regular basis almost a year ago, I found that I felt a lot better about my body.  It's not that I weighed any less, because I couldn't at the time practice it more than once a week and the only kind of yoga my body can handle is the most relaxing form called Hatha Yoga, but I did feel more in tune with my body.  It felt good to be more active, especially as there are not many kinds of athletic activities that I can do, due to my fibromyalgia.  I felt more productive and I want to feel that way again.  I am hoping that by posting this, I will be more motivated to go.

Finally, I want to live more into the moment and to be more sure of myself.  Typically, I am very preoccupied with myself and am painfully self-aware, which leads to me feeling very awkward and uncomfortable.  My brother and his girlfriend were at my parent's house for several weeks-another reason why I was not blogging!-and for the first time I can remember, I had several weeks where I felt comfortable in my own skin.  I felt accepted and almost normal, as we hung out and went to movies, museums, and shopped together.  I really liked feeling that way and I decided that just because they are now gone does not mean that those feelings have to be gone.  I often feel like I do not fit in, but I am coming to the realization that that may be just my perception and not actually the truth.  There are places where I am accepted and it is up to me to internalize that and to stay involved in the places and groups of people where I am accepted and loved-to stay more in the moment and to not dwell in the negative.  I feel like I have grown a lot this year, even though this new year is only a few days old and I am excited by the fact that I have been mostly happy and satisfied so far this year.  I am excited that I am actually looking forward to living out this new year, to growing and becoming a happier, more satisfied and self-assured person.

I had a good holiday season and one thing I love about the holidays is that it usually gives me the chance to cook with someone.  Cooking can be such a joyous art and I just love sharing that joy with someone else!  My mom and I made a fabulous blueberry pie.  It didn't quite congeal the way ones from the store do, but that didn't affect the taste!

From Allrecipes.com, here is a blueberry pie recipe that has been altered slightly to make it deep dish.

Blueberry Pie

1cup white sugar
5 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1/2 t ground cinnamon
5 cups fresh blueberries
1 pkg. of Pillsbury roll-out pie crust (My mom says they're just as good as making your own crust!)
1 T butter

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon and sprinkle over blueberries.
3. Line pie dish with one pie crust.  Pour berry mixture into the crust and dot with butter.
4.Put other pie crust on top and make slits in the top piece.  Bake pie on lower shelf of oven for about fifty minutes, or until crust is golden brown.  Let it stand about 1 1/2 hours before cutting.

5. Enjoy!

It's a very simple recipe and it tastes great!  The holidays may be over, but make it your new year's resolution to share pie with plenty of people...