Tag Archives: rambles

Christmas list?

This post was originally published in December 2010, but I thought it could use an update. Even though I am working now, I still can’t help but feel like crap because half the time I forget things that are easy for everyone else to remember and I seem to always be doing something wrong. I’m not saying that because I get constant criticism, although it feels like that sometimes. I’m saying that because I’m oversensitive and tend to respond to things like the tones people use when sometimes it’s better to remember that that’s just how someone talks or that this isn’t a good time of the year for me in general. It’s better this year than it has been because I’m working and making money, although I do wish I could see my family and friends more often. Anyway, back to your regularly-scheduled whine-fest.

My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. The first things I thought of were a Bible with the Apocrypha in it and/or one of my favorite party games. Of course, we’d actually have to *have* parties in order to play said game, but that’s something else entirely. I can think of a few things I’d like, but I don’t think they would be something he could give me. For instance:

-He can’t give me my brain back. One thing I hate to no end is that I feel like I am ‘slipping’…everyone else ‘gets’ things that I don’t, and I keep missing and forgetting things. I don’t want to immediately say it’s because of my bipolar and/or ADHD, but that’s probably the most likely scenario. My doctors have told me that it affects the way I think; I test lower on IQ tests than I did before because my brain works differently (well, assuming it works at all 😛 ). Seriously. I’ve been told over and over again that I ‘don’t think’ or whatnot, but that’s not true at all. I *do* think, I just tend to think so fast that nothing really ‘sticks’. My last few employers-you know, the two jobs I was fired from in two weeks-can attest to that. It’s just so frustrating, because I feel like everyone else is smarter than me and understands everything much better. Maybe this is true, but maybe I’m just *different*, not any less or any more. I don’t know.

-He can’t help me lose weight. Maybe he can in terms of eating more vegetables and less fatty stuff, but he can’t exercise for me or stop me from liking things like soda and cookies. I feel like I’ve nagged him enough about that in terms of getting him to buy veggies and fruit for produce, although truth be told I really don’t push anywhere near as much as I could. Still, I know that money has been really tight for us and that he feels like the stuff we can afford is often the stuff that’s really the worst for us. He doesn’t say it like that, but that’s what it comes out to. We *do* get canned veggies but It’s up to me to actually *eat* them, or to choose them over other stuff when I have a choice.

-He can’t help me get motivated to do, well, anything. I have so many projects I’ve started that I haven’t finished and don’t really know if I will. A children’s book, a novel of sorts, a few other writing projects…at least I’ve had some stories published, although they haven’t sold yet and *ahem* aren’t the type of stories you let your dad read. I have a couple of tabs open in my browser right now for things I keep meaning to read, but somehow never get around to it because I’m so easily distracted. Maybe at some point I’ll stop playing Facebook games long enough to read the stuff I’m supposed to read on Beliefnet for my job, and Slater, get off the counter,then do some writing I get paid for and Dr Phil’s head looks particularly shiny today….oops, got distracted again.

-He can’t get me to stand up for myself the way I need to.

-He can’t ward off my depression or make other people do stuff with us. They have their own lives and I totally appreciate that, but sometimes I just get bored with the same old thing. Boredom often leads to depression with me and, since I don’t work outside of the home, I get bored quite a bit. It’s gotten better now that we’ve paid the car off and I’ve been doing more stuff at church. Just to get out among other people-especially more women since most of my friends here are men-really helps. Even so, sometimes I still feel really “meh”. Which leads me to my next point:

-He can’t make me feel like less of a piece of crap because I get disability even though a lot of the time I feel as though I can work. I know from experience that my mental issues cause major problems and my physical issues aren’t much better, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I’m one of those “sponges” or “cheats” some people rant about. I would never, ever say that to someone else, but I’ll say that to myself. Hmm.

He can’t change the past, which is ultimately what it would take to ward this off.

That’s just it. He can’t change the past. I know he would if he could, though. The only thing that can be done is to get to be more comfortable and content with the way things are and to try and improve things from there, but that’s something I have to do for myself. I have to ask God to help me with that every day, if I remember. That’s really sad, ‘if I remember’, but the point is that he can’t do it for me because it’s not *for* him to do. It’s for me, with God’s help. And I need all the help I can get.

*sigh*

Maybe I should just stick with new jeans and some bras to replace the ones I can’t wear anymore. That would require a lot less explanation.


Project Runway, S14 E5-Who Left, Who Didn’t, Who Should Have

(Disclaimer: Let me say that this is just my opinion-I wasn’t there. If you saw what I’m wearing right now-pajama shorts and an old T-shirt-, you’d see I have no business talking about fashion. Even so, I have a keyboard, which apparently makes me qualified to comment in some circles. I’m just writing this for fun anyway.)

I have to admit, I kind of hated this episode. It’s not the challenge I didn’t like or the clothes that came out of it, but that it was waaaaaaaay too much like high school for my comfort.

The premise was kind of strange-they broke into two teams and played a game of Capture the Flag, only the flag was rolls of fabric and the tagging was done with paintball guns. After the game was over, they were told that the material they’d be using for this challenges was what they were wearing, paint-splattered and all. The fabrics they “captured” were supplemental, but the bulk of what they used had to be the jumpsuits. O-kay. At least they got to paint what was left over.

Instead of using the button bag to pick the teams like they’d done before, the judges let Candice and Blake pick first. For some weird reason, Ashley was picked last. I know Candice picked Amanda first because she wanted to make her feel better and couldn’t have helped who the other people chose, but the girls were doing the exact same thing we would have seen in junior high-picking their friends as opposed to who would actually be good for their team. That’s not to say that the guys were any better; they could have picked her too. But both Blake and John pointed out that they were acting like the high school “popular crowd” asserting their “dominance” over the class nerd. That is not to say that Ashley is the “class nerd”-she most certainly is not-, but that’s how they made her feel. As “that girl” in high school, I feel for her.

Even Heidi called them out on this-Ashley had won *two* challenges out of the five they’ve had, so it was absolutely insane that she would be the last picked. Like I said before, I get what Candice was trying to do. Her heart was in a good place, and I don’t see her as being nasty at all. But the others-including the guys…I know a lot of the impressions we get is editing and things could have gone down completely differently, but I think this was part of why the girls’ team had so many problems communicating at first. When you have somebody with good ideas feeling as though she can’t express them without being shouted down-whether she actually was or not-, you can’t help but have a problem coming up with good group project. I didn’t see anyone shooting her down so much as her confidence being so damaged from being picked last that she wasn’t as upfront as she would have been otherwise. Again, I don’t know. Editing.

I can’t say I’d do any better. Hell, I can barely sew a button on correctly, much less an actual garment. But it was obvious to me that the guys (and Merlene) were communicating so much better because they focused on the task at hand and truly worked together on every piece of their collection;  Swapnil the Gorgeous (middle, leather jacket) even tells the judges this, and you could tell they appreciated it.

I just wish we could have seen his eyes. Blue. Maybe contact lenses, maybe not, but blue. Nice.

Here’s a slideshow of the completed looks: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/photos/season-14-episode-5-final-looks#id=1

By the way, Edmond won.

Regardless of which lady made which look, you could tell that something bad was going to happen. Closer to the runway show, we see Laurie telling Ashley that the others planned on throwing her under the bus for their collection. Ashley, obviously upset, starts talking about how she can’t trust anyone and doesn’t really know what to think. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her that she could trust me. Yes, it’s a competition, but I don’t play games with people. I don’t know-Laurie doesn’t, and maybe the others don’t either-but I don’t because I know what it’s like to be That Person.

None of their garments was very good, but that wasn’t any one person’s fault. Considering that a) they’d only grabbed orange and purple fabric, and b) they color-bombed all of their white fabric before deciding what to do with it, they did the best the could with what they had. I wonder if it might have been better to make the garments first and *then* use the colored paint, but whatever. Like I said, I can barely sew. After their stuff went down the runway (you can see it above), each one was asked who they thought was responsible for it-in short, who should go home. Sure enough, three of them picked Ashley. What’s bad was she had absolutely nothing to do with it-she kept telling everyone, no, don’t splatter the paint yet; no don’t cut the fabric yet; no, don’t [fill in the blank], but no one listened to her. Even so, three of the others threw her under the bus. I give her props for keeping it together-hell, I would have been bawling, at least somewhere backstage. Even Kelly Osbourne, who was judging, suggested it was a “bitchfest”, and I think that had at least something to do with their decision. Don’t get me wrong-Ashley *was* in the bottom, but hers wasn’t the worst outfit out there. The person they *did* send home-Amanda-was one of the “bus-throwers”, as well as having been in the bottom in the past few challenges.

I’ve said over and over again that I would be the most boring contestant ever because I wouldn’t want to talk crap about the other designers or their work on camera. That, and I’d be so bad that I wouldn’t be in a *position* to criticize anyone else. I think that last part might have been in the back of the judges’ minds as they decided who to send home and who to keep. It makes sense.

So:

Who left: Amanda.

Who didn’t: Ashley. Kelly was also in the bottom, with an outfit that reminded me of an action figure. Edmond won.

Who should have: They picked the right person. I didn’t hate her dress so much as understood why the judges felt the way they did. She *had* been in the bottom two times before.

Anyway, I’ll stop my rambling now. Like I said above, I have no business talking about fashion when my usual outfit consists of gray flannel shorts and an aging T-shirt. I just like the show and figured my opinion was worth as much as anyone else’s. Okay, maybe not, but at least it’s interesting. I thought so, anyway.

 

 


Why I’m *Really* Going to Hell (Or So I’m Told)

(I’m re-publishing this because I added an item. Hope you like it.)

Last year, I wrote a post joking about going to Hell based on a discussion thread I posted on Beliefnet.com. It was meant to lighten the mood on a normally-heavy debate board. It was mostly successful, but there were several people who didn’t appreciate my sense of humor and implied that God wouldn’t either; I *am* in the Bible Belt, after all. After reading a few responses, I figured I’d better write a something a bit more serious. According to some people, here are the reasons I’m going to Hell.

Having the wrong political views.

But Here’s 5 Reasons Why American Evangelicalism Completely Lost Me

I’m citing this post by Benjamin Corey because item #1 speaks directly to what I’ve experienced. The person I dated before my husband was a deeply conservative Christian. It ended for a lot of reasons, but I’m mentioning this because being with him got me sucked into the Evangelical culture and politics Corey mentions. It’s very disturbing how some people would judge your faith by whether or not you supported the Bush administration and/or the Republican party. It wasn’t as creepy as the movie Jesus Camp, but it still felt weird. As a then-Democrat, I learned very quickly to keep my mouth shut lest I be accused of “helping the Devil” or something like that. I can’t explain it any better than Corey does, but what got to me the most was that there really was a time when I thought God had abandoned me because of my beliefs. Before you scoff, consider that few things make you feel farther from God than the depression that comes along with untreated bipolar disorder. Why was it untreated, you ask? Well….

Seeing secular medical treatment. It wasn’t getting medical treatment that was the problem so much as the “lack of faith” that prompted me to seek said treatment instead of relying on God to heal me. In “Prosperity Gospel” circles (more on why it’s BS in another post), that can mean anything from having somehow lost my way to (gasp!) not being a Real Christian at all. The fact that I had gone back on medication after having tried the “supernatural healing” approach made it even worse because it was thought that I got sick again because I lost faith and God had taken away the healing. How this made sense to anyone I’ll never know, but it’s thoughts like this that can make someone already suffering from depression or something like it feel even worse. If even God doesn’t love you, you must be a piece of crap, right? I actually began to wonder if the “diagnoses” of me having an unclean spirit that needed to be cast out were true after all. Again, scoff all you want; When you feel like something else is inside of you controlling your thoughts and actions the way you would in “mixed state”, you’d believe it too.

Strangely enough, I never *did* lose faith. I still believed and sought God throughout all of this. Take that!

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Despite the fact that it comes right from the source , I haven’t heard this one as often as the others. The only reason I’m mentioning it is because no one can tell me what this actually *means*. Was it laughing when I saw, “I found Jesus-He was behind the couch” on a T-shirt? Was it playing Cards Against Humanity and giggling at some of the less-disrespectful cards? Some of them *do* mention God or Jesus. When I see a really rude one I’ll say “that’s just wrong” or “that’s sacrilegious”, but I don’t bow out of the game. Was it when I used to play with Ouija boards as a teenager? I won’t touch the damned things now; they creep me out. Was it when a boyfriend started exploring Paganism in college? When a Catholic one stopped going to confession? He said he’d been made to do the “church thing” growing up and was enjoying the freedom. Was it when my friend told God to “shove it” when her husband died shortly after their son was born?

The definition that makes the most sense to me is, strangely again, not the one I hear most often. The way my former Southern Baptist church explained it to me was that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an ongoing, willful rejection of God. It’s not something you do out of anger or youthful ignorance, nor is it related to your choice of entertainment; that’s another matter altogether. It was also said that it’s not something a Christian can do because, if someone is willing to completely deny Jesus, they probably weren’t saved to begin with. If you’re asking this question, you probably haven’t committed this sin because if you had, you wouldn’t care.

As for the aforementioned Catholic, he never left the church; as much as he liked sleeping in on Sunday, he realized pretty quickly that nothing can take the place of Jesus. I wonder if this minor “straying” was a way of showing him that.

I’m happy for my brother. Before you say “huh?”, let me explain. My brother and his now-husband live in a state (Hawaii) that, after years of debate, finally allows same-sex marriage. They have been together for nearly 35 years but, because of their genders, somehow their relationship is less “real” and worthy of celebration than celebrities who ask for divorce via text message or leave after six months because the “honeymoon phase” is over and it’s not fun anymore.

Some in the more conservative circles would say that homosexuality is an “abomination” and that, by being happy for my brother, I’m somehow “condoning sin” or, worse, participating in it. I think this is ridiculous because even if I did believe homosexuality was a “choice”-and the hell my gay friends went through in trying to “make themselves straight” tells me it’s not-, I’m happy that someone I care about is happy. Period. It would be one thing if this happiness hurt someone else, but it doesn’t. It’s just there for him, his husband and everyone they love to share in. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I’m a feminist of sorts. I think women are equal to men and should be treated as such. I don’t see why this is a big deal.

Not trying to convert everyone I meet. I’ve had friends of other faiths (or none at all) for a long time. This isn’t a problem for most Evangelicals, but I heard some pretty nasty comments about how I needed to “convert” certain people so they won’t go to Hell. I see two things wrong with this view: 1) I was under the impression that it was the Holy Spirit who converted people, I was just the messenger, and b) I know from experience that the harder you push something on someone, the more likely they are to push back. Harder. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your faith; in fact, I do it all the time. I’m not aggressive about it or bring it up in every conversation, but I love learning and talking about Jesus and religion in general. I wasn’t raised a Christian, so this is a big change. I just don’t know why I would need to be aggressive about it when the people who showed me to Jesus were anything but. They didn’t just talk about the Gospel-they lived it. Even if they didn’t say word one about God, you could see Him written all over their faces and in their lives. That is how I want to be. I want to bring people to God the way they did for me. Like I said, though, He’s the one who does the “saving”. I just want to lead people to the door. I suck at that, but that’s another post.

These are just a few of the reasons I’ve been told I’m going to Hell. I’m not saying that doing the right things isn’t important because it is, but I’m not sure if that’s really the “point” of Christianity. I don’t know; I just want to be like Jesus. Perhaps I need to be thinking more about *that* than what other people say. One day at a time.


Spitballs From Heaven

I apologize in advance if this post depresses you. It’s about the death of someone very dear to me and, while it is meant as a tribute, it’s…well, about death. You’ve been warned.

Every May you can’t help but see it-‘Happy Mothers’ Day’. Flowers. Cards. Mugs. Ads for the latest kitchen gadget. They’re everywhere. I suppose that’s all well and good for those who are trying to find presents for their moms, but it doesn’t do much for me. I know she’d hate this, but I can’t stop thinking about how I don’t have a mother. Not in this plane of existence. Not anymore. I don’t normally sit around feeling sorry for myself (well…), but sometimes it just comes.

I remember the day she died. It was December 12, 1998, approx 11:45 pm. Yes, I remember the time. I always will. She had breast cancer…she lived for about a year or so after she first got the diagnosis. For a while, she did relatively well. But then, she didn’t. I saw how the chemo changed this once active and vital woman I loved into someone who didn’t even want to move or eat. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she was in.

I guess one thing is good, though; she gained a completely new outlook on life. She stopped coloring her prematurely-gray hair. She would laugh and smile more. She stopped feeling depressed about things like her weight…yes, she lost a lot of it, but that’s not the point. The point is that she seemed to see each new day as a gift-a much more positive “lease on life”. I remember she would say that she didn’t want to color her hair anymore and if other people didn’t like it then, tough, because this was her. She did her best to instill confidence in my sister and me, even though she didn’t have much herself. I remember some of my friends were surprised to see me back at school for the semester after she died, but I didn’t know what else to do. It was my last semester of college, so I guess it would have been stupid for me to stay out when I was so close to finishing. But the thing is, she wouldn’t have wanted me to. She would have shot spitballs at me from heaven if I hadn’t gone back. To this day, that’s what I call hail-spitballs from heaven.

Come to think of it, that’s a good thing to do. Remember. I remember the Snickers bars. I remember that it was she who gave me my first Dr. Pepper, and I’m still addicted. 🙂 Dr. Pepper from a can, the drink of the gods. I remember telling her when I got my period. I remember that she had depression issues, and thus was a very good help to my sister and me when we had our problems. I remember how she didn’t want people to put themselves out for her, but would do anything for anyone else. I remember our ‘agreement’ that Pierce Brosnan was gorgeous…I’ve seen some unflattering pictures since, but there’s something about a man with an accent…:)

I remember the stuffed cows she gave me. We both loved cows. I remember how she once saw a stuffed cow in Walmart and bought it for me. What made it special was that she only had the money with her to go to lunch, but instead she used that to buy me the cow. She didn’t eat lunch that day. I’m tearing up a bit…I know It seems small, but it reminds me of what I *don’t* remember. I don’t remember a single selfish act on her part in all of the 21 years I’d had with her. Not one. She devoted her life to our family in a way we may not have noticed growing up, but that made a huge difference in our lives. We truly are better for having known her. If I’m lucky, maybe one day I’ll be *half* the mother and person she was. One can only hope.

Before I forget, here’s the cow:

20150216-201455.jpg

18 years later, I still have it.
I miss you, Mama. I hope I’ve done you proud.

Oh, and, one more memory-I remember how upset I was when I was told that she died rather than being healed on this planet because she didn’t believe God could heal her. That opens up so many other doors for discussion I’m not going to go through here, but I have one word for that-bullshit. She asked us to pray for her on a number of occasions, and prayed herself. Still, despite her treatment, she died. But if you think about it, she was healed. She suffered a number of things on this planet, and now she is somewhere where she will never want for anything ever again. Her depression is gone, her pain is gone, and she is with God. If that isn’t healing, what is?

Goodnight, everyone. Goodnight, Mama.


What it’s like to have ADHD as an adult

http://www.scatteredminds.com/ch2.htm

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/2081.html

I was writing an article for another site when I came across a lot of “testimonials” about ADD/ADHD…I figured I’d follow suit and write a longer and more descriptive piece about what goes on in my mind. Or, what doesn’t go on, and why I come across as a total airhead sometimes (or, at least, give an excuse).

The thing people tell me most often is that I do stupid crap because I don’t think. It’s not that ADD/ADHDers don’t think at all; quite the contrary. We think all the time and at warp speed, which is why we get distracted and can’t focus on things like directions, music, reading, etc. I used to love to read, but now I can’t get through a page online without skipping around. My Pocket app is always full. Ditto my bookmark collection because I add anything I think I’ll want to read later and then forget it’s there. I’ve been fired from two jobs in two weeks because I don’t “register” what’s being said to me for very long, assuming I hear it at all. Some of my friends act like I have dementia because I’ll compliment them on something that’s been there for years as though it’s brand new or repeat things without realizing it. I have about four-yes, four-different script projects I haven’t worked on, as well as a lot of articles or essays that I keep meaning to finish but I never do. At least, not on paper. Or computer. Or something. One of the worst parts about it is that it makes me feel like crap because I can’t seem to do anything right. At least, that’s how I see it. I just get so anxious about missing things that I end up missing even more things, screwing things up for myself even more to the point that I get so frustrated I want to give up. I never used to give up before.

It also bothers other people and makes them think less of me. If I hear one more person call me a “flake” because I can’t stick to anything, I’m going to…Slater, get off the counter…hmm, I need a pedicure…what’s that smell?…uh, what was I saying again? Typical.

I couldn’t sit down to do any sort of Bible study this morning and, even when I did, I couldn’t concentrate. Before you say, “of course not” or something similar, this is a problem for me. I haven’t been good about church/Bible/prayer anyway, anywhere near as much as I was before. There are a lot of factors that go into that, but it’s really hard to understand what you’re hearing when your mind insists on giving the priest pink hair or green-and-purple fairy wings. Yes, I’m aware how sacrilegious this is, but it’s not on purpose. The liturgy the Episcopal church uses helps a lot in that way because it’s interactive; f I were still a Baptist and heard preachers speak for 45 minutes, I’d be screwed.

Some people say I’m a good writer and I can’t help but wonder if this warp-speed-mind is part of it. Yeah.

You know how everyone else can “tune out” what’s going on around them? We can’t. In a sense you can say that we don’t have an attention deficit so much as attention overload-we pay attention to everything, whether we want to or not. For instance, I used to work in a furniture store that sold electronics. At any given time, there was a DVD going to help us show off the TVs and sound systems. Around Christmas we played “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”, which was fine with me because I love that movie…I would sing the rhymes to myself and, one day, I sang them to my boss. He thought I was talking back to him; after all, who likes to be told that their brain is full of spiders and they have garlic in their soul? He said something about how dare you talk to me like that and I explained that I was singing the songs from the movie and I just couldn’t get them out of my head. He didn’t know what I was doing because he tuned the songs out, but I can’t do that. Ever. Even if I want to. It’s not uncommon for me to get a song stuck in my head that I don’t even like and have it stay there until another comes along to replace it. For instance, right now I’m humming the background music to the Weather Channel that came up when I turned on the TV. This happened with the obnoxious hip-hop radio stations the customers kept putting the radios on-reason #375 Why I Got Sick Of Hip-Hop, even though I like some of it.

Some people say I’ll grow out of it. Seeing as I’m in my 30s, I think I’ve done all the “growing out” I’m going to do. I know some kids do better as they get older, but some of us just get worse. I used to take Adderall but it didn’t work well enough to make a difference. Concerta gave me a rash and my doctor didn’t want to try Ritalin for some reason. Not that it would have helped anyway.

Thank you for reading this far. I think that’s another thing with ADD-we talk all the damned time and can’t seem to stay on track…or maybe that’s just me. I don’t know.

I’ll let you go now. I’ve got some reading to do…or is it cleaning? Writing? Phone calls? I don’t know. I’ll figure it out eventually.


A Different Look At Being ‘Born Again’

John 3:3-[to Nicodemus] Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (New King James Version)

2 Corinthians 5:17-Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (also NKJV)

Hi, I’m [river in Ireland], and I’m not an addict. I’m not an alcoholic either, although such things run in my family. I’m not a sex addict, since it’s kind of hard to be one of those when you’ve only been with one person. I’m not a criminal, have never been homeless and had a pretty good childhood. And yet, I am what you could call a born-again Christian. In a sense, anyway.

When I first came to know God, I was part of a very small Independent Baptist church. I was fifteen. For most of the [censored] years since then, I’ve traveled in various Baptist and Pentecostal/non-denominational circles. If you’ve been there, you know that those churches tend to be full of ‘born-again’ Christians. One of the biggest things I’ve heard them say is how God brought them up out of the pit of Hell in the form of addiction, sex, abuse, crime, etc. I’m not discounting their conversions at all-in fact, I admire them. I can’t even begin to imagine what their lives were like or how difficult it has been to change. If this describes you, bravo-you are a better woman than I, my friend. Or man. Or whatever.

One thing I also saw, though, was how these were thought of as the only “real” conversions. It seemed that, the more dramatic the change, the more “legitimate” your faith. I heard it said that people who grew up in traditional churches or always lived on the straight-and-narrow couldn’t be really Christians because they couldn’t be “born again”. We weren’t ‘new creations’ because we have always lived the “Christian” life, even if we didn’t call it that. I wasn’t raised a Christian so technically my conversion “took”, but I had always lived like one. Leaving one denomination for another as many of my sorority sisters did counted because their previous churches were “dead” and they needed to go somewhere else for an “authentic” experience of God. I’m not saying that every new Christian I met felt this way or that this is the Evangelical “party line”, but it was something I hadn’t heard before and it made an impression. Some were downright rude about it, but others just spoke from their own experience. I see their point, but I think they’re missing something.

A big part of being “born again” is recognizing your need for God; that you can’t do it all by yourself. People being brought up from the depths of whatever usually acknowledge that a change is needed, that they are on a path that only leads to destruction. The “good kids”, however, usually think they’re doing just fine. That’s how I was, anyway. They might not see their need for God because, to them, He’s always been there; they’ve never known what it’s like not to have Him in their lives. They never “look for” Him because they don’t think they need to.

Then, enter college. I say college because this is a time that many people are away from home for the first time, but it can happen anytime a big change comes. At some point in our lives we will sit back, take stock of what we’ve believed so far and decide where to go from there. We’ll decide which pill to take and whether or not to walk through the door we’ve been guided to.*

For instance, take my friend D. He was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school the whole way and was pretty devout until he went away to college at 18. The first thing he thought when he got there was, “yay, freedom! I can stay up as long as I want, watch dirty movies and sleep late on Sunday because no one will make me go to church! Yay!” He thought he didn’t need to go to church or keep up a relationship with God because He was always going to be there no matter what.

He was partly right. God was there, just as He always is. However, it wasn’t long before he felt that something was missing in his life. Am I homesick? Not really. Friends? That’s what email is for. Is it a girlfriend? Maybe. When all those needs were fulfilled, though, something was still lacking. Then, he came across a Catholic campus ministry, found a church and resumed the observances that he’d been ignoring. The “hole” he’d felt was filled and he went back to the way of life he’d gotten “freedom” from before.

My point is that, despite his upbringing, he still had to make an active decision whether or not he still needed or wanted God in his life, which is the same thing I did when I “got saved” and my hard-living sister did when she found God and got onto a better path. It wasn’t a dramatic change and it didn’t look like the “brought up from the pit of Hell” things we often see, but he was still “born again” because he had analyzed his circumstances and decided that He still wanted to follow Jesus. However, a lot of people I’ve known would say that his experience isn’t “valid” because he didn’t “get saved” and make the 180° turnabout that many think is required. Even so, he still had to make that commitment, he still had to renew his focus on God and accept the charge that is given to all Christians to do God’s work on earth.

When I first learned about God, I was taught that our past wasn’t of concern to Him so much as our present and future. We often take that to mean that He can redeem even the worst of sinners because they are the ones most in need of it. This is true, but perhaps it’s the not the only “right” way of looking at it. Perhaps the past God doesn’t care about also includes our past of thinking we could earn “brownie points” by being good and of not thinking we need Him at all. Like I said before, the people who know they are on a destructive path usually know something needs to change and will do what they have to to make it happen. They’ll turn to God because they will learn that there’s really no other way. Those of us who think we’re okay without God might not see it this way. However, I still think you could say that we’re even *more* in need of being “born again” because then we will come to the realization that it’s Him that saves, not our good works. It’s not about what we do, but what He already did.

Each person has his/her own path to follow. Whether it starts at age four in Children’s Chapel, age 18 when entering a transitory period or age 40 after decades of hard living, each person experiences God and the message of Christianity in their own way. No one else can tell us whether or not our walk started in a “valid” way; it’s following Jesus and giving Him our whole hearts that matters most. I’m not the best at this, but I guess that’s part of the process that is the Christian life.

My cat Toby agrees, which I guess is as much of an ‘endorsement’ as I can expect. 🙂 He probably just wants me to feed him. Typical cat.

*Please forgive me the Matrix references. It was a big franchise when I was younger, back in the dark ages.


“People Just Don’t Get It”-reblog?

Last week or so, fellow blogger http://aopinionatedman.wordpress.com nicely offered up his space to those of us who wanted to post as a guest author. He has a *much* bigger following than I do, so of course I jumped on it. One of the people who commented on my post “How To Be A Good Friend To Someone With Bipolar Disorder” has a blog of her own called http://learningtobebipolar.wordpress.com. There are a lot of awesome posts there, but one particularly stood out to me. I’m not sure that this is re-blogging so much as “tag-team” blogging-using each others’ words as a basis for our own. Carrying on a conversation, if you will. The “unfettered” post is linked here as well.

I am so so irritated when people use someone’s mental illness as weapon in an argument. Sure, it might be true that I am over reacting but I don’t need you to tell me “you’re only acting this way because you are bipolar”. It’s possible that’s a true statement, but it is also painful coming from someone that you put your trust in. I personally don’t really care what anyone says. If you want to use my illness against me, then I don’t need you in my life. And if you love me you will take the time to learn how to be supportive without being nasty and making me feel guilty and like I am less than because I have these problems.

How true. Sure, sometimes I’m mad at you (generic “you”) because I’m having an episode. More than likely, though, I’m mad at you because you’re being a jerk.

One thing I miss about the times before my diagnosis is people taking my reactions seriously. I’m not saying everyone does this, but I think some people use the fact that I have bipolar as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for their behavior. I’m not saying they should have to walk on eggshells, but sometimes I wish they’d realize that the things I’m mad about are things anyone would be mad about; perhaps not to the same degree, but still mad. I am now and have long been very difficult to set off and very unlikely to participate in an argument or even stand up for myself. I suppose that is one reason some people don’t take the times I do show anger-or any emotion, really-seriously, but I wish they’d see that that’s just how I am. It is a very rare person that has that effect on me. Then again, I can’t fault people who didn’t know me before my diagnosis. Or the people who have that effect on me.

It’s so frustrating when I hear that people have been treated badly or that someone they love has used their worst fears against them. Admitting that you may have a mental illness is no easy thing, for most people. And when you are seeking and looking that closely at yourself it doesn’t help for someone else to push it in your face.

Hear, hear. Even though I was relieved to get my diagnosis (I was treated for depression first) because it told me that there was a name for what I was dealing with and a way to treat it, it really hurts when someone gets at you for something you can’t control.

And being supportive is so easy sometimes. Of course, there are times when it gets hard to be supportive all the time…

…especially when you don’t know what’s going on with us. Sometimes we don’t either.

But you know what….how hard is it to say “I see how hard you have been trying, and how you have been working on trying to do things differently, and I’m proud of you.”

People don’t usually find the strength to change when they are surrounded by people that don’t believe in them. I also know that for someone that has been harmed by someone with a mental illness it isn’t always easy to be supportive. Especially when you probably live with the fear that past experiences will come back again. But, I want to share something with you. We do have the strength to change, we do have the power to keep working and keep trying. Sometimes we just need to know that someone is going to walk the road with us, even if that road is hard at times.

This is very true for me. It’s difficult for me to change, mostly because I don’t know how. I know the things people don’t like about me and the things they want me to change, but I don’t know how to change them because I don’t know when I’m doing them.

For example, my parents would tell me not to whine because it makes me sound like a baby. I’d be glad to, but the problem is that I rarely know I’m doing it. I don’t know what it sounds like. The same is true for talking too loudly, which I also have a problem with. I can’t hear it. You can tell someone to stop something all you want and even tell them when they do it, but if they don’t know what it is they’re doing or what to replace it with, it doesn’t really help. This is true even for “normal” people.

We don’t want to be alone, the nature of the illness already has us spending so much time feeling alone, even when we are surrounded by people. And one small mistake will send us into a tail spin. We will spend hours or even days worried about some small infraction that the other person involved may not even remember.

This is exactly what I’m dealing with right now. As much as I want to, I just can’t forget about it. Long story short, it was an argument over a misunderstanding that probably wouldn’t have happened had I known when to keep my mouth shut and when to speak up. It blew up, carried over into the next few days and prompted me to seek therapy (long story). This happened about a month ago and I’m still reeling about it.

The thing that bothers me most about this is that I know that this sort of “reeling” isn’t something I should be doing. The thoughts and feelings I’ve had regarding this person (as well as toward someone else) smack of the sort of non-forgiveness Jesus explicitly warns against-the kind that could keep my sins from being forgiven. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, visit this site-http://www.gotquestions.org/QOTW.htm. I know I’m not expected to be perfect, but these sort of thoughts and feelings have come and gone for a long time.

It’s a sad and lonely place to be sometimes. But it helps, when someone says I know you over reacted but it’s ok. I still love you and I’m still gonna be here.

…or leave out that part about overreacting if it’s not applicable. It might not be.

Why would you want to purposely hurt someone you love. And why or why should I have to explain that when you throw my illness in my face when you are mad at me that that hurts!!! It should be common sense. Maybe you don’t understand what it’s like to be me, maybe you think I am using my illness as a cop out. But that’s not true. I have NEVER done that. And I never will, but I don’t need you being hateful to me when I am trying so hard to change something that I don’t even understand.

I won’t either, unless I truly know that it was the disorder talking. Bipolar mixed state (manic and depressive at the same time) makes you feel like something else is inside of you, controlling your thoughts and actions. I’m not saying I’m going to go all Chucky and go on a killing spree, but this is the rare time I yell or cry.

Honestly, most of the time I don’t have to blame the disorder because other people do it for me-see paragraph one.

Pay close attention, people with these illnesses DO NOT KNOW THAT IT’S NOT NORMAL!!!! It feels normal to me, I don’t know what I would do when my thoughts slow and i can pay closer attention. It kind of scares me because I know it’s going to feel so weird and I’m going to have to learn a new way to handle things. Why would I WANT to change something that is normal to me, except with the knowledge that everybody doesn’t have these issues and struggle everyday. I want that, but it still is scary.

Exactly. It becomes so ingrained in us that it can’t help but spill onto other areas of our lives. I’m told that I “label myself” and shouldn’t let the bipolar become who I am, but how can it not, at least some of the time? Plus, I’m not the only one who defines me that way.

I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, really.

I care, and it’s been my undoing. Many times.

But I do want people to understand. I want people I know who suffer or think they might have some issues to feel safe in their family and with their friends. I want them to be supported and loved no matter what. And I want to learn to gently and kindly help them see when maybe something needs to change. My husband has really been amazing about most of these things since I was diagnosed 2 months ago.

I was diagnosed for the first time in 2000 and started treatment in 2004 (long story). My husband is also incredibly understanding, more than I ever thought I’d find. His mother has bipolar and was in a much worse way than I am, so he’s had “practice”. I hate that for him, but I’m thankful because it makes me think we’re truly meant to be together.

He takes the time if I express a concern to tell me that it’s going to be ok and that we will work it out. But more importantly he has told me multiple times that he doesn’t want the best parts of me to change, he just wants me to be even better than I am now and on a lot more even emotional state. How awesome to know that he just wants me to struggle less and be happy more. That’s what support looks like to me. To give the good with the bad and to take the time to listen and talk about fears and concerns without using them as a weapon to cause more harm.

Same here. It’s a rare person who can live with us day in and day out, so hold onto them and don’t let go!

I guess that’s about it for today.

Until next time…Be Blessed!!!!!

Yes. Be blessed, my friends.

 

 

Bipolar Life

I am so so irritated when people use someone’s mental illness as weapon in an argument. Sure, it might be true that I am over reacting but I don’t need you to tell me “you’re only acting this way because you are bipolar”. It’s possible that’s a true statement, but it is also painful coming from someone that you put your trust in. I personally don’t really care what anyone says. If you want to use my illness against me, then I don’t need you in my life. And if you love me you will take the time to learn how to be supportive without being nasty and making me feel guilty and like I am less than because I have these problems. 

It’s so frustrating when I hear that people have been treated badly or that someone they love has used their worst fears against them. Admitting that you…

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