Depression

10606406_895675867112661_5830027660572030434_nI am so glad that someone posted this picture. Having family members who are dealing with, have dealt with, or may deal with depression; it is nice to see that Facebook, Twitter, and the bloggersphere are beginning to disseminate the truth about depression.

I have a good friend who is a psychiatric nurse and a mom of children with depression.  At the funeral of her oldest daughter, who had taken her life, she wrangled inwardly anytime someone would approach her to share their sympathy saying something they believed was well meaning but was truly insensitive.  Things like: “Well, if she only had thought more positively.”  “She should have pulled her self up from her bootstraps.”  “I hope she doesn’t go to hell.”

Really!

First off the positive thoughts.  To tell someone who has a brain disease that they are not thinking positively enough is like saying to someone with cancer that they should not have eaten whatever, or stood in front of their microwave, or held their mobile phone by their head, or shaved their armpits, excuse me, that should have been used deodorant than shaved your armpits. It’s absurd.   As someone who battles depression no matter how hard I tried to be positive the dark thoughts would creep in.   I would withdraw.  And that is when my husband would draw closer knowing what I needed was support and engagement with the world. He would support me, but not allow me to wallow.

For me depression has been lifted with medicines as well as greatly help through a wonderful faith-filled therapist.  The combination of both has brought greater balance to myself, but depression does still creep in.

It has nothing to do with how well my bootstrap were pulled up.  I, as a mother, have had to work through my depression, trying very hard to be “human”; up and walking around, during a time when I felt so sad, blue, upset that all I wanted to do was sleep all day.  It is a brain disease and the sleepiness for me was a physical symptom of the imbalance of my brain chemistry.  I feared greatly and hoped greatly that I was not affecting our children.  I analyzed every action to see how much I “destroyed” our children instead of, which I finally did, working toward helping our children who were depressed get the help they needed, the support from us they needed, and to protect them from “well-meaning” relatives who either didn’t understand or care.

As for the go to hell, well as a Roman Catholic living in the Vatican II council era, I believe God has forgiveness for those who feel such despair they take their own life.  It seems every several years a young person will take their life.  Racked with their own personal hell of thoughts of worthlessness, that somehow they are so damned they should no longer live, they feel life no longer has meaning and so they end theirs.  During a school Mass that was being held for the young man who had killed himself during our twin daughters junior year of Catholic High School, the priest who was celebrating that Mass homilized that God was surely standing in heaven at the entrance with tears streaming down his face saying to the young man: “Come home my son, I love you so much and am so sorry you suffered so greatly.”  Much of the “change” in thought comes from the understanding of mental illness, that God DOES NOT afflicted someone with mental illness, that it is a disease, not a demonic possession.  And even if it were true that it was demonic possession how in goodness would that be the fault of the person possessed; just as it is now with a brain disease?

Let us pray for all who suffer with depression.

Eternal rest grant onto Robin Williams O Lord.

Some very interesting blogs on mental health and Robin Williams:


Righteous Cause: Laughing

On 8 August, women will gather in central Istanbul to take part in a “laughing protest”  It is an opportunity for women all over the world, Christian/Catholic, and Jew to join in solidarity with our Islamic sisters.  We can spend a few minutes on August 8th, praying for, thinking positively about, sharing a laugh with these our sisters.10257675_10152594206734604_3743966925773483524_n

Brave women. Laughing with them in solidarity.
Hundreds of Turkish women posted pictures of themselves laughing on Twitter on Wednesday to protest against comments by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc who had urged women not to laugh in public to “protect moral values.”

Melda Onur, a lawmaker from the main opposition party CHP said on Twitter Arinc’s comments portrayed laughing as a dishonourable act and left women exposed to violence.

See the photos now at CBCNews.ca: http://cbc.sh/qTh2pdD
CBC News
Hundreds of Turkish women posted pictures of themselves laughing on Twitter on Wednesday to protest against comments by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc who had urged women not to laugh in public to “protect moral values.”

Melda Onur, a lawmaker from the main opposition party CHP said on Twitter Arinc’s comments portrayed laughing as a dishonourable act and left women exposed to violence.

See the photos now at CBCNews.ca: http://cbc.sh/qTh2pdD




Sometimes you have to put the anchor in the water.

Hope

Hope

From my Facebook time line this morning, written by a mom of teens: When do the growing pains of your children stop hurting and stressing you?”

My response to her was: Sweetheart. I am with you. Trust. Trust in your mothering instinct. Trust in your gut. Trust in love and grace. Trust in hope. Trust in the strength of your mothering. Trust in the larger positive picture. Trust that you know when to reach out, when to hold back, when to lovingly confront.

As with all things God connects us one to the other.  Earlier this week there was an incident with our eldest twinnie, and the wisdom of her sister gave me more insight into parenting.  It was an “Aha” moment, a God inspired comment from someone that is directed to you, God speaking directly to you: She said it was time to put the anchor into the water.   How apt that image is.

The anchor became a key Christian symbol during the period of Roman persecution. As Michael Card observes in his recent album, Soul Anchor: “The first century symbol wasn’t the cross; it was the anchor. If I’m a first century Christian and I’m hiding in the catacombs and three of my best friends have just been thrown to the lions or burned at the stake, or crucified and set ablaze as torches at one of [Emperor] Nero’s garden parties, the symbol that most encourages me in my faith is the anchor. When I see it, I’m reminded that Jesus is my anchor.”  ~Christian History

Jesus calmed the seas, Peter tries to walk on the water to Jesus, Jesus tells the apostles to haul in their nets when they were sure they weren’t going to get any fish; how much like parenting situations these are.  My friend has teens, but this is just as fitting for any mother of any age child.  We often find ourselves in rocky, turbulent waters of life.

We try to have faith to walk out in trust onto those churning waters of troubled parenting waters.  We try to stay strong, to keep our eyes on the parenting prize: having children who are what God calls them to be., but there is always that rogue wave that knocks us off our stride.  we begin to sink, and find Jesus’ firm, steady hand reaching out to us.

He asks us why we have little faith?  Faith in our own instincts as mothers, faith in trusting God.  Faith in our judgement that when and what resources we need we will get.

Jesus doesn’t chide us for our mistakes, fears, doubts, he just asks us to cast out our net again, to try again, to keep going, keep trying. He knows that positive emotional movement forward is the best way to help turn everything around.

We are the anchors in our children’s lives.  We are the secure link between the fear they have of becoming adults and the roaring need they have to be adults.  We need to be stable, secure, strong and calm in the face of their uncertainty about life, who they are and how to live life.

Jesus is our anchor, our strong link, so we may be all our children need.

Always look to the big picture, the pain will lessen as long as we are anchors, anchored to Christ.

Here is a post of a mom dealing with the same thing. Elephant dedicated to mindful life.

Today let’s pray for a positive big picture of our lives.

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FYI Wednesday: Prayer and Personality

It’s FYI Wednesday and I have asked fellow Catholic moms for questions that they might have on such topics as motherhood and spirituality, children’s spiritual development, finding time for yourself, or just to learn more about Spiritual Direction; here is the latest question asked by Michelle:

I would like to know more about prayer and personality

Michelle,

A wonderful question!  Here is a booklet I have written on Prayer and personality.



with all my heart

OMG do I know how Jesus must have felt

Mommy Mantra July 15, 2014 MT 11:20-24
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Jesus is rebuking the towns of Galilee where he preached and did great deeds and those towns did the so what shrug.
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I am sharing what a friend has posted about her experiences of today and I wonder if Jesus wasn’t thinking exactly the same thing when he confront the people of Galilee:

I am so annoyed with everything today. Stupid government websites and error codes; stupid people doing yard work with the most noisy machines possible while (my child) is napping; irritating statements being made by numerous individuals. Can I have a reset button please?

Was Jesus standing in the road pulling his hair out muttering to himself: “Why don’t they get it!”

How many times have we done that?  Stood in our kitchens so frustrated at what is going on in our lives that we want to push the rest button.

But maybe that is what Jesus is asking us to do, push the reset button.

Let’s take the day and look at all the blessings we have gotten. All the answered prayers. All the situations changed, and stay with that for a moment. It will help us all feel better.

It will also awake us to what Jesus has done for us and how much more work there is yet to do to help Jesus in his mission.



Peter and Paul…Conversion, creation, transformation can not be done alone, it is always communal, God, you and your neighbour!

10306081_657017577719251_4288221757988880042_nThis picture I downloaded from a friend on Facebook, she and I both consider ourselves very spiritual people; the way we express that aspect of our lives is very different: she is more new age, (which frankly doesn’t bother me; didn’t Jesus come to bring a new age?), and I am Orthodox Irish Catholic, (we tend to be “new agey”).

I was scrolling my timeline after Mass and found this picture, it struck me how it fit in so well with today’s reading at Mass.  I agree with 90% of it.  We, as Catholics, are called to believe in ourselves as children of God, a priestly people, and to love God, our neighbour and ourself.

Our soul is precious, but they are not divine; as a Catholic I believe only Jesus/God is Divine, I am an imperfect person striving toward perfection; something I am not going to reach on this realm.  When I got to the “you’ll automatically be converted to a being who can create miracles”, my heart skipped a beat!

Peter, who becomes the rock onto which Christ will build his church, denies him three times; this man whom Peter in today’s Gospel calls Jesus the Christ, the living Son of God, will falter, must lose heart and deny him before he can be converted to his calling as foundation of the faith. Then, there is Paul, a tax collector, a persecutor of Christians, who even puts Christians to death, gets thrown from his horse and temporarily blinded by God before he can “see anew” and be converted to preach with such love the faith he sees so clearly.

The picture extols us to believe and it surely is the most important aspect of any conversion.  Jesus asks his disciples who they thought/believed he was.  So, it seems to me that conversion has an inherit believe that God sees such great potential in us, and that we must believe in something larger than ourselves, (God), whose faith and love for us and in our potential has no limits, no bounds!  It is this Divine force outside of our very flawed and limited selves that creates the power to convert from thinking so little of ourselves that we don’t realize, or accept, or honour the miracle that is us, the new day, the transformative power of us working united with God to seeing each day as a miracle of new beginnings.

There is also the stripping away of the old to be able to accept the new.  Both Peter and Paul’s transformations came only after the old life was stripped from them: Peter denial, Paul’s persecuting Christians.  This transformation did not come alone, it came about because of God’s power and the relationships that both men had, and changed.  Conversion, creation, transformation can not be done alone, it is always communal, God, you and your neighbour!

As human beings, and most definitely as mothers, we can not truly live life alone.  It takes the transforming power of two people to create a life, but the Divine power of God to infuse that life with a soul.  It takes the power of two to guide that new life toward a path, but God to infuse that life with a calling.   The miracle here is the conversion of the raw potential that is a child into the miracle of person with a calling and purpose.

Something that we as mothers must recognize as well.  The conversion of ourselves from who we were before our children to who we are with our children.  Like Peter and Paul this experience has changed us forever! We will never be who we were, would we want to be?

We have created the miracle of new life in our children but they have created the miracle of new life within us!  It is our responsibility to allow this transformation to change us into the people, mothers, woman God has called us to be.

So let us pray that we believe in the Divine transformation that converts us into miracles!  And let us pray for those moms who have yet to believe.