Saturday, August 1, 2009

Grief, Depression, Anxiety, & Fibromyalgia

Hello Everyone,

It's been some time since I last posted. Thank you for your messages. I love every one of them and they mean a great deal to me! Let me reassure you that I'm OK. I needed to take some time to do some spiritual and emotional work for myself. When that happens, I generally go "away" for a time while I'm learning a life lesson. These times are precious to me because even though they may be difficult and/or painful to go through, the result is that I have more to share with you from my experiences. More often than not The Lord uses them to help someone else know that they are not alone in their suffering and that He loves and cares for them very, very much.

Today I want to talk about grief, depression and anxiety. I've posted about it before quite some time ago, but I want to talk with you about them again because they are very real and very important topics. When these situations are piled on top of dealing with Fibromyalgia and/or Allodynia or CFS they can become monumental.

I recently have been going through another stage of grief over the death of my younger brother. I have to say that I was surprised because he passed away after a motorcycle accident a year and a half ago, and I thought most of the grief stages had passed for me. However, I was very very wrong and I went through a stage that felt as new and fresh as if I had just got that knock on the door and was standing there being told very gently by a police officer that my brother had been killed.

Something happened to me when Neal died that I didn't expect. I thought that surrendering my life to Christ over 26 years ago and having a deep and meaningful relationship with Him somehow made my outlook on death...different. I have always longed for Heaven and to see Him face to face. Heaven was an exciting prospect for me. When Neal died....all of a sudden Heaven became an "in your face" reality for me and the place my little brother now lived in.

I couldn't get to him, talk to him, touch his hand, or see his brilliant smile. I didn't know what he was seeing, experiencing, feeling, or anything. Could he come back to earth and see us? Did he miss us? How long until I can see him again? What does he look like now? Is he 32 in Heaven? He died 2 days before his 33rd birthday.... All these questions came up for me. I have periods when I break down in utter grief and desperation and B-E-G The Lord for just a glimpse of Neal so that I can say "goodbye for now, and I love you so much". Nothing. No glimpse, no sound.... just a deep knowing in my inner spirit that The Lord has said "No" but that He is keenly aware of how deeply I hurt and that He's right there with me. He has a reason for saying "No" and I yeild over and over again to His wisdom in the matter. (It doesn't stop me from asking from time to time however)

Several things have happened to me since Neal died. I have come face to face with some very real truths about myself, some fears about the future with my parents (taking care of them alone without him), some memories from our childhood that were painful, memories from our childhood that were warm and wonderful, some new experiences with The Lord that came out of it, some new lessons to learn about my trust factor in The Lord, and some physical and emotional burdens and bondages that have catastrophically hindered me.

This last part is what I very carefully want to share with you. It is not easy for me at all. I don't want to talk about it or reveal it, but I know that there are many of you out there silently suffering inside and you NEED to know you are NOT alone. You need to know you are NOT crazy, overemotional, weak, stupid, or any of the other things you've been telling yourself that you are. No.... there are answers and there IS a way OUT.

My way out began last week when I was up late with insomnia yet again. I was thinking to myself that a hair cut or new style might make me feel a little better and that I needed to re-focus and keeping myself up again. (Boy had I let myself go..... whew) So I was looking for information on cutting my own hair. I've done it before and wanted to try something new. This time I was looking for video instructions rather than just written instructions.

Long about midnight (and I know now that it was The Holy Spirit who sent me there) I found a website that I'm going to share with you. The lady who owns the site is Carolyn Dickerson and this gal is one sharp and compassionate little fire cracker let me tell you. She is not a fancy shmancy woman. She is tangible and beautiful in her own way. She is accessible and believable. She gives good, solid, practical, and REAL information with an honest to goodness understanding of the inner person who wants to feel good about them self.

The Lord has given her an amazing ministry, and it’s so awesome how He’s done it. It reaches everyone, in every situation, on every budget. It doesn’t isolate anyone and it’s not preachy. In fact she barely mentions The Lord at all, but if you are a believer, you can see and feel it in her. She is like a treasured long time friend who invites you over for a slumber party and shares all of her tips and secrets for looking great and feeling good about yourself with you. After I watched several of her videos on hairstyling I just fell in love with her personality! (Here’s where I landed on her website first: http://www.lookgreat-loseweight-savemoney.com/hair-tube.html )

After an hour or so, I looked around the rest of her site and found her “About Me” page. I read and read, and was so absolutely blown away by her story. The Lord used her story to help me put a piece of my grief into place. I wrote her a letter and do you know that she wrote me back the very next day?! I couldn’t believe she took the time to write me and not only that; it was a very personal, very encouraging, poignant letter too. Once you read her story you will see that to take time out to do this for me was truly an act of selflessness. I told Carolyn I got “hair tips and a heart fix all in one night”!

Well, The Lord gave me two gifts that night. One was the realization that He looks at each one of us as individual, beautiful, creations of His and that to take care of our looks is not a sin when done with the right attitude. In fact to NOT take of our looks is like spitting in His face actually. When we take care of ourselves it makes us feel good, feel more confident, and it brings glory to our Creator. “Consider the flowers of the field” Jesus said. Flowers are like G-d’s jewelry on the earth to me. They are all different, gloriously colored, and they are demure. They stand there in their glory giving off their aroma and never being ashamed to show off their beauty. Their very presence shouts “Glory to G-d in the highest!” They burst with beauty, glory, undiluted pride, and humility don’t they?

He gently showed me that as His daughter, He takes delight in looking at and gazing upon me no matter what the state of my condition is, but that when I take joy in taking care of myself, His beauty and glory shines through me outward toward others. It’s a “love thing”.

Through Carolyn’s website (of all things hahahaa!) I was inspired to take some practical steps to get back to ME. What makes me feel solid, confident, beautiful, graceful, womanly…?
If you are facing depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, stress, anger, sadness, loneliness, or other bondages in your heart and head, take some time out to let your mind be focused for a while on just watching Carolyn’s videos. See if you don’t feel inspired to try a new look or a new trick with your hair for fun. See if you don’t find a new make-up tip or weight loss or skin care technique that makes a difference in how you feel. You need to and SHOULD take some time to focus on something that makes you feel good about who you are as an individual creation that can never, ever, be duplicated 100%. No other person has ever been, nor ever will be YOU. YOU are a gift to life and you deserve to show off your exquisite and unique beauty and celebrate your pricelessness. That is one of the messages that The Holy Spirit shared with me that very solitary night.

The second message He gave me was one that helped me put a piece of my grief in place. Through Carolyn’s story, He showed me something that was stuck in my head and heart that was causing me confusion. I couldn’t put a finger on it or even label it with a word or phrase. Carolyn’s testimony did that for me. There was a part of her story where she wrote about losing family members and how when you are the one left behind, it sometimes feels as if you never existed. The reason why is because they are the ones who were there going through those times with you, they are memory keepers. Without them there, it’s almost as if it didn’t happen because there is no one left to verify that it DID.

It is a weird thing. It may not be rational, but it feels VERY real. That is EXACTLY how I feel without my brother here. In some ways I feel orphaned and alone. He was my memory keeper, my “go to” buddy, and my validation. The Lord used Carolyn’s experiences to put a phrase on what was stuck in me. I was released to feel the feelings, question the questions, cry, think about, and finally give in to His hands what was something that had been weighing me down for so long. The Lord was and HAS been with me through each and every phase of this. Through this grief process, His strength and His “solidness” have been made more real to me. My ability to trust Him in all things has been strengthened and solidified within my soul. My self validation has steadily been changing over into His hands alone rather than trusting in the people around me to “define” who I am. Because G-d can’t die or cease to “be”, and since He has been with me since before He placed me in my mother’s womb, (Psalm 139: 13-16) HE alone is TRULY is the keeper of my memories, my validation of existence, and the source of my strength and ability to just “be”.

I want to share with you three links that are very helpful in dealing with head and heart bondages. They are three tools in the way OUT of these bondages. I implore you NOT to sit there and suffer in silence any longer. Just reach out a little bit and let the rest happen as it may.

The first link is to videos and tools from Robert S. McGee. I read his book The Search for Significance and I was utterly amazed at how much I needed to learn about G-d’s REAL perception of us as human beings. How does He REALLY feel about me? What does He REALLY think of me? Am I just a number to Him or something more? Why am I even here???? For me, this book became the second most important book I’ve ever read. The first one being The Bible. Later on I searched the website for more information on the author. I was pleased to find that he was the founder of RAPHA. This organization was very instrumental in helping my little brother when he was at a very low point in his life several years ago. At any rate, these videos are free and can be viewed in private so you don’t have to share anything with anyone if you don’t want to: http://mcgeepublishing.com/videosolutions.htm

The second link I’m going to give you is to a program by Lucinda Basset called Attacking Anxiety and Depression. Now, if you sign up for Lucinda’s newsletter, you will also receive a free mini course as well. Her program is pricey….but…I have a friend who has found a great deal of help through her program and also I have received a great deal of help as well just from the FREE things she offers and from just reading on her site. I looked and found out that her program can also be found on eBay and on Amazon for starters if you cannot afford the payment plan she has available for her customers. I’m saving for this myself. She also offers a free evaluation test so that you can see exactly where you are and can put some solid foundations down about what is happening to you and why. http://www.stresscenter.com/mwc/

The last and MOST IMPORTANT link I’m going to give you is a link to BibleGateway.com. (http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/) On this link you can look up any word you want and see what G-d has to say about it. For instance if you search “thoughts” you can see what He has to say about your thought life, and what He has to say about HIS thoughts. Have you ever wondered how G-d thinks??? The link also allows you to look up these keywords using several translations of the Bible as well. You can see what it says in the King James version or the Message version for instance. I learned that G-d is very understanding of us and if we need “plain words” then The Holy Spirit will show us in plain words and then lead us to learn exactly what they mean.

The Word of G-d is the first place I turn when I’m looking for answers on anything. Only after searching out what He has to say do I start branching out and asking Him to show me further information I can also trust and use along with what He has to say about the subject so that I can get the most out of what He is leading me through.

What have I learned so far?

1.) Depression, anxiety, stress, etc. are all head and heart bondages. Very much like having your head, heart, and soul rotting in a literal jail cell in solitary confinement. No person has the key to let you out…in fact there is NO key. The door is open, and we keep ourselves in this prison ourselves through free will.

Only when we learn the truths about why we are in this state, do we begin to take the steps to let ourselves out of bondage. This is not something G-d takes joy in seeing us go through, but He is there every second of every minute of it with us, whether we acknowledge Him or not. We are precious to Him and He dotes on us more than an over protective mother or father….He counts the very hairs on our head for crying out loud! If 2 or 3 fall out, He knows. He knows our thoughts before we think them, He knows our past, our past memories, our “now” and our “now” predicaments. He never sleeps, never quits, never forgets…. The only time He forgets is when a human being confesses a wrong to Him and repents (or turns away from doing it again). Then the Bible says He forgets the sin and remembers it no more.

2.) Depression, anxiety, stress, etc. are ALL spiritual as well as emotional and physical states. If you are going to fight against it, you must address this truth.

3.) I learned that there are some human beings in our life who love us very much and would do anything for us….but they CAN’T do a THING to help us out of these bondages because they don’t understand them, haven’t experienced them, or don’t have the tools necessary to help us out of our prison.

This DOESN’T necessarily mean they don’t love us or that they are rejecting us. It just means that they do not have the same experience to draw on. We must find help where help is available and allow our loved ones and friends to be released from the job of rescuing us. They can’t. WE must be our own rescuer.

There is ONE Creator who has the manual on us. How we work, what makes us tick, how to exist at our optimum potential and so forth. With Him, we can find the way out. He will lead us to the people He puts in place to get us out. Sometimes it will be a family member, a loved one, or a friend, but sometimes it is not. Remain open and receptive to help where help comes from. Don’t blame and get bitter at those who cannot understand or maybe even ….refuse to understand…where you are right now.

You have to decide for yourself that you want to open that jail cell because NO ONE can open it for you. We ourselves are the ONLY ones that can push that door open.

4.) Sometimes there are going to be setbacks, but we have to say “This is a setback, not a trench or pit I can’t get out of. Tomorrow will feel different and I will have made it through this day.”

You’re going to have angry days, sad days, desperate days, silent days, scary days, lonely days. You are going to feel like curling up in a ball and screaming or crying your guts out. THAT’S OK. It’s supposed to happen that way. That’s getting the poison and garbage out of your head, heart, and soul. It’s like sucking out the poison and excrement that has built up inside you. Let it happen and don’t stop it. If you feel unsafe at any time or like you are losing control in a dangerous way… get help immediately! Call someone to help you whether it’s a professional or a close personal friend or family member. Just get help to get through. There is NO SHAME in doing what you have to do to remain safely able to get through your situation.

The MOMENT you tell yourself all hope is lost, you are making the CHOICE to sit in that filthy, putrid, lonely, isolated, jail cell with your chains secured firmly to the wall ALL ON YOUR OWN. You are choosing to do that to yourself. There is no person you can blame at that point, no matter what has been done to you by others. If you don’t reach out in order to get yourself free of all that, then you and you alone are responsible for letting yourself die inside and out. You let them win. (Just in case you are wondering… I speak from personal experience. I have extremely traumatic experiences that were done to me by others several times over a number of years so I know of what I speak)

You can choose to rip those chains out of the wall and stand up (or even crawl if you have to ) and push that door open and NOT GIVE UP. No matter what…. YOU WERE MADE TO LIVE. The Lord G-d of Heaven CHOSE YOU DELIBERATELY. He chose to make you, form you, create you, and find pleasure in you. NO PERSON IS AN ACCIDENT OR A MISTAKE. If someone has told you that’s what you are…they LIED. (Psalm 139)

5.) Getting out of these bondages and getting out of grief, is a process that takes time. “How much time Sherri??????” As much time as it takes. AS MUCH TIME AS IT TAKES. Only you will know when you’ve broken through and NO ONE has the right to tell you that you can only have this amount or that amount of time. Each person is different, each person’s needs and depths of pain are different. **The emergency is when the person refuses to try and open that door and instead they choose to wallow in their state of mind. If that is you…then you have a choice to make today.

6.) Sometimes you need to be silent. Sometimes you need to draw away from emails, phones, faxes, letters, notes, calls, and places so that you can put all of your attention on getting out of that jail cell in your head. It’s OK to take time out. You can tell people what’s up later or explain it later. You can take care of them later. Right now, you need to put your attention on getting out of the bondages of your head and heart. (I’m not saying to give up your responsibilities), but I AM saying that you need to take time out to make this a TOP priority. When you do, then when you’re done, you will be able to be your best self for those around you.

7.) **FIBROMYALGIA IS SEPARATE FROM YOUR HEAD, HEART, AND SOUL. You can’t use it as an excuse or IT wins and that jail cell remains your home for good!

You have to, on purpose, treat Fibromyalgia, Allodynia, CFS, and any other physical illness SEPERATELY from your depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and so forth. There are deeper reasons why you’re feeling this way.

*Fibromyalgia (or other illnesses) may be a catalyst, but it’s not the whole problem. Illness brings to the surface the feelings and fears deeply hidden.

(Finding a way to deal with your feelings and heart bondages will help you feel better and cause less fibro flares actually.)

8.) You have to find ways to feel good about yourself even when you are sick. Hair, teeth, clothing, entertainment, etc… it ALL counts. If you let yourself go, you will feel worse and worse. Ladies, even if you aren’t going anywhere that day, a little mascara and lip gloss goes a long, long way to keeping you feeling like YOU. Who cares what anyone thinks??? You look nice, because you WANT to look nice. If that means some makeup, or dressing nice, or getting a fancier cane, or your nails done… DO IT. You may not have tomorrow. Live one day at a time.

Yesterday I watched Carolyn Dickerson’s videos on hair care and cutting tips again and I gave myself a new hairdo, plus I highlighted my hair. Saved a good chunk of change, took my time to do it slowly, and afterwards, I felt SO GOOD. It was like looking in the mirror and seeing “Me” again. It was WONDERFUL. Last night my hubby was extra affectionate and flirty. THAT ROCKED MY SELF ESTEEM LET ME TELL YOU!!

Today when I got up, I put makeup on, on purpose. I thought, “Why not??”. I felt good doing that and the kids made me feel great too when they saw me. That was a little extra bonus.

The point is…. Who cares????????? You gotta do, what you gotta do. Fighting for your quality of life is what you GOTTA DO. If you don’t…you will die inside and the disease wins. You gotta get “Rocky Balboa” on this thing and take the first step in opening that jail cell door for yourself.

Am I all better now????? No.

I’m taking time, to take time and I don’t know how much time I’ll take. However, I’m determined to live and to keep fighting to be whole because I don’t want to die inside anymore. My brother’s death was just a catalyst and it opened up things in me that had been buried deep for many, many years. At the end of this thing, I expect to find life and a whole “me” when it’s done. I have a lot of healing to do and it’s hard, excruciating work. I think of an athlete training to do the Iron Man. It takes everything you’ve got, but when you accomplish your goal, you are deeply and profoundly changed.

NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT FROM YOU, EVER.

I care about each and every one of you. I think about you daily, though I may take spaces in time when I don’t post anything. I keep fighting to get better because I want to show you the path so you can do the same. I HATE Fibromyalgia. I make no bones about it. I HATE IT. However, without it,… I would never have met you and had the unique and valuable treasure of getting to know you and go through an extraordinarily difficult thing beside you. I would have missed out. So even though I hate it, I am deeply thankful for it as well. In that, I have won and Fibro has lost one more hold on me.

May you and your loved ones be blessed today.
Don’t forget…. You are NOT alone.
Sherri

2 comments:

Koiotic said...

Hello,

I love your site - and your words - I have also undergone Dr.Brices program - that is how I ran across your site - I also have a blog - if you have time check it out...www.fighting-hae-fibro.blogspot.com

I would love to chat - I have been following so much of the same protocols you have - Last year I walked a half marathon...walk/ran a 5k - Getting ready to walk/run a half marathon - and will eventually participate in a triathalon...I work full time as well.

Fibro has not taken my life, however I see so many that it has. I recently have had a couple friends diagnosed, and I am very worried about there state of health - I have always felt like I have a special place in my heart to help people who are suffering - that want to change, but do not know where to start...

You have that gift as well - I can tell from your writings...So happy for you that you are doing so well - and hopefully we can chat some time...

Take Care,
Koiotic

sue said...

I have been slowly, but surely making my way thru your site--very meaningfull to me--I am looking to the future to try Dr. Vickery'a protocall, I have been researching quite a number of them and it makes the most all-around sense.
May the Lord continue to bless you. There is a site I think you would enjoy, the author is a christian man and, well read his bio. It's called knowthecause.com .He has a ton of info on there regarding candida as well as quite a number of fungi we need to become aware of. sue