Most of my life I have struggled with anxiety and insecurity. There were days, if I could get myself out of bed, I would not leave my home afraid of what evil or injury may befell me. Honestly, there are still days my Germaphobia paralyzes me at the entrance of a building afraid to touch the door handle or hinders me from even shaking people's hands. When fear is not wrestling with me insecurity is. Unsure of my abilities and fear of failing has left many a dream incomplete or unfulfilled.
Discovering the Word of God has been this empowering gift! While I continue to battle my fears and phobias, the Scriptures have given me strength that nothing else was able to. I can stand on the Word of God to battle those demons that threaten to steal my joy and derail the plans God has for me. Listening to Jesus in the Gospels teaches me how to trust in Him, have hope and discover that I am loved beyond measure. Those battles that have lost in the past are now squished beneath the weight of the truth the Scriptures speak to my heart.
Discover the Power of God's Word for yourself ... Read More
Set up your Environment to Reward Rather than Deflate.
"To understand what a deflating environment is, all most adult ADD'ers need do is think back to school. Now that you have the freedom of adulthood, try to set things up so that you will not constantly be reminded of your limitations."
During the last 3 decades since graduating from High School, I have dabbled in many different professions with the best fits being the careers with task versatility and work from home capabilities. Not coincidentally, these are also the choices where I am essentially my own boss. The downside, these come with the most responsibility to create a work environment that promotes sustained focus necessary for completing tasks. It also meant moving from the desk I had built in our kitchen (file that under "what the heck was I thinking") to a standing desk near a window in our living room. I also make use of a cozy place on couch, though some days it can be just a wee bit too comfy!
My Ad/hd went diagnosed throughout my childhood and young adulthood. Unfortunately, that resulted in some major self-esteem issues, among other things we'll be discussing in this series in the weeks to come. The realization that I was blessed (and it is a blessing) with Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder came in my early thirties when I was a young mother and an early childhood educator. My oldest was showing signs of Ad/hd so I began researching to learn more about the signs and symptoms. I started with the book, Driven to Distraction by Ed Hallowell, in audio version on cassette from the library. Clue number one this wasn't just about my son should have been my reliance on audio books to finish books as staying focused reading has always been one of my biggest challenges.
I will never forget having to pull over and rewind the cassette to re-listen to Dr. Hallowell list the 15 possible symptoms of Ad/hd. I took out a scrap piece of paper from my purse and counted up, not my son's symptoms, but mine! At that time, I could identify presently displaying or having displayed 13 of the 15! I was shocked. Believe it or not, it had never even crossed my mind that I had Ad/hd. That is the day I became an expert, literally.
For More on What Will be Covered in this New Series visit: RECONCILED TO YOU All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
Although most respectable members of our parishes try to look healthy and content in public, mental illness is as common and invisible among the faithful as it is in secular circles. I would wager that mental health issues are especially prevalent among the devout who are serious about their inner life; when people tackle deep inner issues which prevent God from working in their lives, their inner equilibrium is upset by stress, anxiety and depression. This probably explains why most saints experienced profound periods of depression when they finally looked beneath their pious actions to face the reality of their own ingrained sin and subsequent need for inner purification. continue reading
Anxiety makes us ill in body, mind, and spirit. Yet worry is ingrained in our nature from the moment we are born, part of original sin.
Babies are not simply empty slates; they are complex little people who just happen to be preverbal. Babies are born with more than simply inherited physical characteristics but personalities and even inherited blessings and curses passed down through the generations.
I must let go of worry and control, even though it goes against every fiber of my being. My Lord is God and I am not. I am simply His child. I love to control so God often must shatter my safe little world because this is the only way I would step out of my comfort zone.
As wives and mothers, we often carry worries and anxiety about many things. If we're not careful these can often take hold of our heart and leave us in an even worse state than when our troubles began. Here is St. Francis de Sales' advise concerning anxiety of mind and how to handle it from Introduction to the Devout Life.
"Anxiety of mind is not so much an abstract temptation, as it is the source from where various temptations arise. Sadness, when defined, is the mental grief we feel because of our involuntary ailments;--whether the evil be exterior, such as poverty, sickness or contempt; or interior, such as ignorance, dryness, depression or temptation. When the soul is conscious of some such trouble, it is downcast, and so trouble sets in. Then we at once begin to try to get rid of it, and find means to shake it off; and so far rightly enough, for it is natural to us all to desire good, and shun that which we hold to be evil. If any one strives to be delivered from his troubles out of love of God, he will strive patiently, gently, humbly and calmly, looking for deliverance in God's Goodness and Providence rather than from his own industry or efforts; but if self-love is the prevailing object he will grow hot and eager in seeking relief, as though all depended more upon himself than upon God.
I’m winding back to the United States with this book. The first takes place in Israel and the second in Rome. The reason I share all this with you is that in this last book, the main character Sophia (who is Elizabeth’s daughter and Miriam’s goddaughter) suffers from post partum depression—a topic that is very personal to me and one that I want to approach as honestly as possible in the book.
My hope is to gather some feedback from different women who have suffered through any of the symptoms of this illness, regardless of the degree. I want to offer Sophia’s experience with PPMD as a ray of hope to women everywhere; the questions for which I am asking feedback on are designed for me to draw knowledge from for the character.
If you would consider emailing me at Cheryl at Bezalel Books dot com. I would be very grateful—and I pray that your feedback will help another woman. And by all means, don’t feel you have to answer all the questions or even follow them precisely; consider them just a guide as I believe others will be blessed by your willingness to help understand this often debilitating disorder.
first twelve stanzas struck me as "angsty" and full of longing and
distress. Anxiety permeates the entire section. The "bride" has seen
God, who is "the bridegroom," only for an instant, and then He was gone.
If she had not seen Him or known He was there, she could not feel the
pain of loss, and because he caused the sense of loss, only He could
The phrases of the Canticle are intense and dramatic,such as, "If you shall see Him Whom I love the most, Tell Him I anguish, suffer, and die," and, "all wound me more and more, and something leaves me dying, I know not what, of which they are darkly speaking."
Anyone who has suffered from anxiety disorder or panic attacks
knows that feeling- the fear that you will die. When we are infants, we
cannot be abandoned, or we will certainly die. People suffering from borderline personality disorder have
an intense fear that others will abandon them, often because one of
their primary caregivers did as a child, so this type of anxiety is
common. Threats like, "Don't leave or I will die," or "Come back or I
will kill myself," are based on the same primal terror.
Lately, I've had a lot going on in my
head. For those who remember, in my last blog post, I was stressed
and overwhelmed. I have good news for you that I've been resolving
things. When I first published that post, I wanted to take it down.
It seemed too personal. Yet, when I received comments on Reddit that
people really related to what I was going through and that it helped
them, it was worth it.
I thought I was doing too much, pushing
too hard. I even thought I was on the verge of hypomania. I saw my
psychiatrist yesterday and he said I'm doing better than he's ever
seen me. He said the last thing I need to do is worry about how I'm
doing. But, growth hurts sometimes. It's tough.
Last week, I wrote about trying to
learn how to stop myself from driving myself crazy. The odd message I
felt God wanted to give me is that I didn't need to stop His love.
What I felt Him say confused me. It made no sense and wasn't the
answer I was looking for. But, now, I understand. Let God out, let
Him run free through my body and soul. Give God unbridled access to
living through me. Then, I don't have to worry about stopping. I just
need to let Him start and not stop HIM.
This doesn't mean I don't take breaks,
rest, meditate, pray, know when I've gone too far and quit activity.
It means exactly that I DO need to do all those things. I need to do
those things because if I don't, I put limits on God and what He can
do. Just like He told us, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
I'm an intense person, no doubt about
it. I have the wide feeling range of a bipolar, the laser like focus
of an autistic and sometimes, anxiety attacks on top of it all. So, I
can relate to just about anybody who is a little crazy.
I remember years ago, when I worked as
a mental heath case manager, I had a client who called me up and
said, in a terrified, gasping voice, “Laura, I NEED you, I need
you, come here.” I asked her why and she just cried and repeated,
“I need you.” So, since I made home visits, I drove way out to
her trailer in the Appalachian mountains. When I opened the door,
there was my client, with a shotgun pointed at her mother. I won't
say much further except to say that all survived, she went to jail
and I quit my job.
Sometimes, I have felt that way myself.
Now, I don't mean I've felt like I would point a gun at anybody, but
I've felt that desperate, terrified need. So many times, I pray to
God in that voice, “I need you! I need you!” I will often flash
back to that client when I feel that, thinking, “Wow. The pain!”
Anyone with anxiety disorder can relate, I am sure. It isn't even
I used to approach communion like that
quite a lot. I wanted to be fed with God's comfort and love. I would
return to my pew and sometimes cry with joy. Jesus became a drug. So,
my spiritual director asked me, “What kind of way is that to treat
anyone you love? Next time when you receive communion, pray that the
sacrament will give you the strength to serve Him.”
Wow. That was around nine months ago
that we had that conversation and I have always said those words in
prayer before communion and after. It's made a huge difference in my
life. I've learned things this year about the great sacrifice Jesus
made for us. He gave us everything. My job is to learn to give
everything back, to learn to give as He did.
I've had thoughts spinning around in my
head this week about how Jesus told St. Peter that if he loved Him,
he would feed his sheep. In other words, if St. Peter loved Him, he
would show mature love and give until it hurt.
Over the past nine months, I've learned
more every day about how to grow in maturity and love. The secret to
my happiness is to push forward instead of sliding into anxiety
verging on despair. For instance, instead of crying, “Jesus! Jesus!
Jesus!” as if in panic from the bottom of a well, awaiting rescue,
I've learned something that feels really novel and unique to a former
I've learned how to offer Him up. I can
lift up my arms to God and hold Him high and say to God, “Behold,
your son. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! There is nothing worthwhile I can
offer you except for this.” Jesus died because we had nothing at
all to offer God without Him. If I don't offer Him up, I still have
nothing. To give Jesus to God, as the gift Jesus wants to be, is
amazing. We do it every time in the mass. We do it every time we pray
the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Jesus is the only worthy gift to give
to God, but if we seek to merge our lives with His, we will grow in
holiness and love. How do we merge with Him? Give like Him. Give like
he does, and that means all we have and all we are. Yet, I have to
remember that when I'm keeping myself insanely busy, trying to
justify myself and prove myself, impress people and get approval, I'm
not making any room for Him to live in me. Everything I do is
absolutely worthless without Him. Remembering this is a constant challenge for me.
There is so much pain in our world, so
much tortured misery. We have extreme violence erupting all over our
planet and we have since the day we left Eden. We cry out to Jesus,
“We need you,” and then we make ourselves crazy with activity to
try to kill the pain, when really, we need to learn to serve Him.
Only then can we have peace.