When Depression Looks Like Laziness

I went to bed last night at 6 p.m.. I got out of bed at 1 p.m. this afternoon. 19 hours. Sometimes it's longer. This time it would have been had not Briley, my 80 pound lab overpowered me with her playful bites on my hand and slobbering kisses across my face. Briley loves me very much and doesn't want me to add to the despair of my depression by wallowing on a bed of misery. Before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I attributed days like these to sheer laziness. I couldn't understand why some days I was so eager to start the day that I would wake up hours before my alarm. Sometimes not sleeping at all. Then other days it was like a Sumo wrestler sat on my gut, pinning me down with no chance of escape. How do I tell if I am buried in depression [...]

When Depression Looks Like Laziness2018-10-21T20:26:41+00:00

The Young and the Anxious: World Mental Health Day

I am a baby in the Baby Boom Generation, born in 1964. I remember doing drills where at the teacher's command, we would hide under our desks, get on our knees and cover our heads. The thinking was that in case of a nuclear attack, those wobbly cast metal one-unit desks would shelter us from radiation. We may have been foolish, but damn, we believed in the power of our own resourcefulness. Even though I came from a "broken home," I was encouraged by voices of teachers, coaches, and pastors around me that I could rise above my station and aim for a better life. "You are good student," "You understand the game," "God has big things in store for you." These voices filled me with hope during particularly dark days at home. Wednesday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The focus this year is "Young People and Mental [...]

The Young and the Anxious: World Mental Health Day2018-10-09T16:28:29+00:00

Baking Cookies; Confronting Abuse

by Amanda Ladwig... One of the many amazing things about truly working through childhood sexual abuse is the act of taking every single thought, and terrible memory captive and watching Christ redeem them. Facing them. Feeling them. Without making excuses. Without placing or taking the blame. The abuse and abuser no longer linger in the darkest parts of your mind controlling or tainting the memories you have. They are front and center. Begging to be defeated. Every day, and sometimes minute-by-minute, there are battles fought to reclaim simple things, innocent objects, smells, and sounds. Things that may seem trivial to others represent a great victory. That being said, today I fought a battle and won. Today, I reclaimed what should have been a pleasant childhood memory. Today, I ate an Italian wedding cookie and enjoyed it. That won't mean much to you, but to me, it is a significant victory. [...]

Baking Cookies; Confronting Abuse2018-10-02T18:09:56+00:00

A Rape Survivor Speaks… with Compassion

by Kelcey R. ... Right now, I am sitting on my couch while an “I Love Lucy” rerun plays in the background.  Here and there, my laugh punctuates the low volume of the TV, and the silence of an otherwise quiet night. It’s a nice moment. However, if all someone saw was the snapshot of this moment I am in, it would be leaving out the other roughly 10,920 days of my life. What I don’t share often is that half of those days have been freckled with nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, and other symptoms of ptsd. The snapshot wouldn’t be able to show that I spent a lot of those days, months, and years trying to white knuckle my way through grief and anger, before I learned how much more able Jesus is to carry those things for me. This week was a hard week, if you watched the [...]

A Rape Survivor Speaks… with Compassion2018-10-01T01:09:58+00:00

Guilt is Good; Shame is Sinful

Some time ago, a friend wrote to me a blog comment in which she raises a very tough question  She writes this -- We have a dear, Christian friend who has stage 4 cancer. Although he lives a good life, helping others and spreading the word of God, he believes that God is punishing him for his past sins by giving him cancer. Do you believe God punishes people for their sins? Especially after a person has found the Lord and changed his/her life?  I wrote back -- Wow, big question. It depends on how you define "punishment". Certainly, God allows natural consequences for our behavior. A life-long smoker may develop lung cancer and God may choose not to miraculously intervene. I would say, though, that in a case such as this we are really the ones who have punished ourselves, "fallen into the pit of our own making." The good [...]

Guilt is Good; Shame is Sinful2018-09-26T13:25:52+00:00

Living in Love

“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)   You don’t fall out of love Like a cradle When the wind blows And the bough breaks.   Love is in the broken bough, the blowing wind, the falling cradle.   Love lives in us When we live in love   We live in the hands of the cradle-maker, the breath of the blowing wind, the heart of the broken bough.   (dedicated to S.L.; 9.23.2018)

Living in Love2018-09-23T22:17:52+00:00

Godly Sorrow Over Deadly Grief: Reflecting on my Suicide Attempt

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;     my eyes grow weak with sorrow,     my soul and body with grief.  My life is consumed by anguish     and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction,     and my bones grow weak.  (Psalm 31.8-10) This week I shared my story with a youth group at Eminence Christian Church (IN). I started by having the youth turn to each other and say, "God loves you more than you can imagine," then, "God brought you here to be blessed." I then went through how God had orchestrated events in my life over the past decade to bring me there tonight. The event that almost prevented me from being there.  My despair over it. My book. The support of my family and friends moving back to Indiana. My blog post about suicide. The youth leader reading it and inviting me to come. The [...]

Godly Sorrow Over Deadly Grief: Reflecting on my Suicide Attempt2018-09-21T17:20:25+00:00

Bruised, Not Broken: Resilient Hearts

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (Isaiah 42.3) My parents divorced in 1975. From then on, I have been identified as a child of a broken home. This brokenness certainly describes the nature of the family we once had, or hoped to have. That image of family is forever broken, shattered, never to be fixed. But I am not a broken person. Bruised, yes. Even deeply wounded, but not broken. At least not forever broken. Fractured, but capable of being mended. In time, with plenty of prayer and much care, I have passed through stages of recovery to become a wounded healer who intimately feels the pain of others and, by God's grace, responds in love. In her soon-to-be published book Kicked to the Curb, Dr. Susan Lockwood describes resilience is the life of a young woman named Rose. Rose is a twenty-something [...]

Bruised, Not Broken: Resilient Hearts2018-09-19T11:53:23+00:00

What I Believe About Suicide

God is more just than I will ever be. And, God is more loving than I can ever imagine. For centuries it has been standard church doctrine that suicide is a shameful sin, deserving eternal punishment. Persons who took their own lives were restricted from church burials, families were ostracized, even excommunicated for fear this deadly infection would spread to the whole body. The teaching that suicide leads directly to hell is rooted not so much in Scripture as in a desire to deter someone who wants to end his life from doing so. Lately, with suicides of prominent church leaders and their family members, this teaching is being called into question. Most recently, Inland Hills Church put out this message: Inland Hills Church grieves with heavy hearts as our Lead Pastor Andrew Stoecklein was welcomed into Heaven on Saturday night after battling depression and anxiety. It’s not the outcome [...]

What I Believe About Suicide2018-09-16T05:48:09+00:00

Choosing Life Over Death

I've been asked to share my story with a youth group next week. Like many teens, they are facing intense issues. More than just what sport to play, who to ask out on a date, what college to choose. No, much more than this, they are asking life and death questions like: how can I cope with this pain, who can I turn to for help, why live. When I was in high school, I had much to live for, or so it seemed. I was a top scholar-athlete. I was in theater, student government, publications. One would think I didn't have a care in the world. But inside I was festering with despair. At high school, I read a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson called, "Richard Cory." It begins, Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole [...]

Choosing Life Over Death2018-09-13T08:02:51+00:00