Thursday, November 30, 2017
Then you add factors such as being unable to speak and cognitive impairments... we are undoubtedly perfect victims for abuse. At age forty eight, I still question what is appropriate in relationships, and so I isolate. Some people are in abusive relationships because they believe they can't get anyone else. And sadly, some must stay with abusers out of financial and/or physical necessity. During my twenties, I settled for a lot of abuse thinking "if he can overlook my disabilities, I can overlook his abuse". I am writing a book about my life, including a chapter on this very topic... the risks I took for the sake of feeling damaged because of my cerebral palsy. The greatest being having unprotected sex with a man who had a sexual disease 'because he loved me enough to be with someone as damaged as me'. (It was quite a scare so be sure to buy my autobiography when I finish it.)
Looking back, I see each of those men as monsters. That is why the firing of Matt Lauer has me... I don't have a word. Due to my chosen limited social interactions, celebrities play a primary role in my life. Second to Gabriel Byrne, Matt Lauer is my favorite male celebrity. How can he be a monster? My heart literally aches.
We are all humans. None of us are flawless. People criticize me for sharing too much personal information when my transparency is what keeps me accountable. Few would be shocked if I was found strung out on Xanax or dead from a drug overdose or jailed for assaulting someone who hurt my cat and dog. I'm human.
Matt Lauer is human. Those who abused me are human. As a society, we have got to be more transparent about our temptations and weaknesses. We cannot turn our head out of personal discomfort. We have to listen and act when people are violated. Regardless of disability, race, position, gender...we are all human.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
EXACTLY! And the uncertainty of how my abilities will be in the future, the near future, is a great source of anxiety, then Crohn's, then depression... it all spirals down for me. This is why I am so hypersensitive about my fear of bothering people. I have no family to care for me. But I remind myself I have Jesus... and He is Jehovah Jireh.
He knows how it feels to be alone in a sinful world. Christ was rejected, despised, and deserted by those closest to him. Our pain and distress is NOTHING compared to the abuse and scorn Jesus experienced. Still, he woke up each morning to spend time alone with the Father. Whether they were out to stone Him, seek Him to be healed by His touch, or simply praise Him, Jesus always started the day in quality time with The Father. I want to be just like Jesus.
He wakes me up, morning by morning, like one being taught... I just wrote about this myself, then read what you wrote... and thought, "What Beth said!".
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
A reader responded to one of last year's entries on anxiety and Benzodiazepines. *By the way, I am looking for health blogs so please let me know if you have a related blog so we can connect. Thank you!
Here is my update on anxiety:
I know from experience that getting off Benzo's is torture. You are such a strong woman for getting off the meds. Do you have compassionate support system? Your introduction was inviting, and I wanted to read more about you. I couldn't find a blog. Do you have one? Currently, I am using a diffuser with Lavender *have always been a skeptic of aromatherapy, but it works! Also, my anxiety has been really bad lately, so I have been reading the Recovery Bible and meditations for the Twelve steps. It helps reading about hurt people helping hurt people.
Monday, November 27, 2017
Thanksgiving is over. Back to semi-normality if you can survive the Christmas season. No, I won't tell you it's about your attitude. I won't tell you to be grateful for what you do have. I won't tell you to get out and socialize. I won't tell you to have more faith. While those strategies help for some, each of us were creatively, uniquely made. There is no one universal answer to dealing with mental health issues. If there were, there would be no more mental hospitals, psychotropic drugs, or suicides.
When I meet people who start entering the friendship zone, I make it clear upfront I am not good with socializing. I always feel like a burden. I have a lifetime of baggage that is deeply embedded into my perceptions. Isolation is safer for me as I read books about others who have the same issues as me. Relationship issues.
The best way for me to stay healthy is to stay true to my gut feelings rather than going with the flow, following society.
Jesus had 12 disciples who followed him, a few followed Him all the way to the cross. Yet there were also 3 women who followed along, "some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases". Luke 8:2
Beth Moore suggests the 12 men followed Jesus because they were called, while perhaps the women followed because they were cured.
The women followed Jesus... either because they were so thankful He cured them, or because they had illnesses... or maybe because they loved Him.
Place me in all 3 categories. You see, we have to find coping mechanisms based on our limits, and we know our limitations better than anyone.
And that is why I devour my Bible rather than getting out to socialize.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Yep! Look how quicker I rebound now as opposed to 7 years ago. I don't let life keep me down. I may fall, but I get right back up. The past two months have been one heartbreak after another... yet NOT ONCE did I question my relationship with Jesus, and I ALWAYS like who I see in the mirror because I am true to who God created me to be.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Yesterday was awful, so I here is last Thanksgiving's post, which still applies today..
Happy Thanksgiving! First, I apologize to the Native Americans for how my ancestors treated you and continue to treat you. This is your land, and I never forget that. Second, I thank Jesus for my life... it's not what I wanted, yet it has brought me closer to You. It has made me rely on You for everything from walking to speaking to pooping to breathing to getting out of bed. Thank You, Jesus. You are My Everything. I am thankful for Jireh and Addy who bring happiness to my days, making me laugh and love. I am thankful for my safe home in my favorite city in the world. I am thankful for friends who put up with my moods and my unpredictability. And I am thankful for my relatives... all of them... who have made me one strong, stubborn, determined, independent woman.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I read an article on "Spiritual but not Religious" that fascinated me. After spending my life attending church, having others tell me their interpretation of God's Word, I now prefer to read it myself and let the Holy Spirit speak to my heart. Maybe that's why I gladly spend an average of four hours per day studying the Bible. Maybe that's why I chose to be a hermit. I feel Jesus with me when I am alone, as opposed to when I am socializing... after long periods with other people, I miss Him. The world comes between us, and I am unable to hear from Him and write for Him.
Since my dad died 2 months ago, I keep getting kicked down again and again. I became SEVERELY DEPRESSED again, and had to stay off social media along with turning my phone off. Retreating is where I find peace.
Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing how thankful we are to be able to understand one another's perceptions. We are both at the same level of Spiritual maturity after infinite hours of Quiet Time. She walks along with me because she has been through the journey (which continues until we go to heaven) of a personal relationship with Christ.
The way I explained it to her is driving to Atlanta (which is where she was heading when we talked). I cannot expect to be as far as she was by getting on the road after she has been driving 6 hours. No, I have to take the time to follow the same path in which she has already invested. When you reach that level of spiritual maturity where a friend "gets it", it is priceless.
So I guess, to me... religion equals set rules and rituals, which are the building blocks of spirituality. Once I followed the rules and rituals, I was able to discern what was coming from my Heavenly Father versus what was coming from the world.
And for that, I am thankful.
Monday, November 20, 2017
"Almost There - Searching for Home in a Life on the Move" was written by Bekah DiFelice, a wife to a former Marine. Since I have had the utmost respect for those serving in the military, I was excited to read about the life of a soldier through the eyes of a spouse. What a pleasure to read this personable story of the realities of belonging to a military family. The author uses descriptive, heartfelt honesty describing the uncertainty of where "home" will be, at least geographically. DiFelice gives the reader stories including the anxiety of waiting for her husband's phone calls, fear of hearing the news (praying an officer does not show up at her door with bad news), transient friendships knowing neighbors are regularly moving, and the cycling of missing her husband, then getting reacquainted with him with each assignment.
The author felt like a friend, sharing her vulnerabilities as she describes how God is the only stability in her life. I learned we find home in God alone. And I also learned to not only respect our military soldiers, but also their families. In fact, I have sent copies to friends both in and out of the military lifestyle. The bottom line is, with God in one's life, wherever we wander, home is almost there.
*I was given a complimentary copy of "Abandoned Faith" by Tyndale Publishers to review this book.
So I am seeking like-minded individuals who "get me". Maybe this can also help other believers who tire of people telling them to "just pray about it" or "have more faith".
We seem to have a lot in common... maybe we can pm each other, without judgement, preaching or minimizing. Just listen, and have someone who cares. Jesus is my everything. But sometimes, prayer is not enough. Those who say otherwise have never had severe clinical depression.
Don't let anyone tell you "you need to get out more", because some of us just weren't wired that way. After isolating all weekend, I fought my gut feelings and went out. It set me back immensely,
The following was written after I spent several days in isolation:
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Currently, I am not doing well at all. Another severe knock down... I am too weak to reach up to Jesus. I will... after my bruises and broken bones heal. My heart is shattered into infinite pieces... let me rest. Jesus is holding me. I am in His lap. Until then, here's a blog entry from a few years ago.
Since I was born with cerebral palsy, being viewed as ‘different’ by those who do not know me is the only life I know. Throughout my life, I’ve heard many comments about how tragic my disability is including a visit to Disney when I was about 8 years old. A couple walked by, pointed at me and said, “They should’ve let that one die.” At the time, I was too young to understand what they meant, but I never forgot that and many other comments suggesting I was a burden to society. As I matured and socialized in various groups, I realized that I was viewed not only as different, but as damaged and blemished.
So many times I have written in my journal about how confusing it is to be seen as lowly yet to feel the complete opposite. I would write, “If they only knew the trouble I have with pride, with knowing I have a special relationship with Jesus that I would not have if I did not have a disability. Jesus took extra consideration with me, not creating me like the norm… how cool is that!” He only gives us what we can handle, and considering He has given me multiple disabilities, that tells me He has extraordinary confidence in me… confidence that I must use with others to glorify Him.
Jesus placed great value on individuals with illnesses as evidenced by the fact that they were involved in most of the miracles that He performed. The crowds and skeptics believed only when they witnessed a blind man see, a paralyzed man walk, and a deathly ill child healed. Scripture describes numerous lives that were changed through God’s use of individuals with disabilities.
Even Jesus Himself became afflicted as prophesized by Isaiah and faced the same issues that individuals with disabilities are confronted with on a daily basis. “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and form marred beyond human likeness” Isaiah 52:14. It goes on to say that people looked the other way when He walked by, and He was familiar with suffering… a man of sorrows. That pretty much describes feelings experienced by people with disabilities.
Think about it: the Savior, God’s own Son, the King of the universe was scorned and persecuted because of His ‘different’ appearance. They completely missed his being the Messiah because they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see past His appearance. To state the obvious, preconceptions can be detrimentally inaccurate. How many people have I passed over because of their ‘differences?’ How many times have I insulted Christ by looking over someone with a disability, discounting their worth to society? And how often do I forfeit being blessed by someone’s gifts because of my busy time schedule or mere discomfort?
Granted, because I have literally spent my entire life around people with disabilities, I don’t have the anxiety that most people have with the disabled. Yet I am still amazed at how much more I am blessed by people who I reach out to serve. I could write pages of how God has used individuals who the world overlooks to dramatically impact my life, but I will only share three examples from forming this ministry.
With the intent of serving as Jesus did and to follow a stirring in my heart, I offered to sit with a young lady named “Mandy” while her parents went out on “date nights.” I had no idea how much I would be the one blessed and served by Mandy instead of the other way around. Mandy doesn’t verbally communicate and is fully dependent on others for basic needs including needing medication to tell her brain to go to sleep and rolling over in bed. Yet Mandy is always smiling… and she knows what is going on around her. She laughs at jokes on TV, she gets excited when she hears her parents walk in the door, and she looks into my eyes intently when I confide in her. Personally, I believe Mandy is always smiling because she has the joy of Jesus inside her, and I just know that she and Jesus share an incredibly intimate relationship. How else could she be so happy knowing she has lost all the friends and freedom she had before her accident? I find myself jealous of Mandy and the joy that she has… I want to know her secret. Isn’t that how we bring others to Christ, by exhibiting ‘something different’ that makes people want to know our source of joy?
I’ve also recently met a new friend named Mac who, like Mandy and myself, the world views as ‘blemished.’ Mac loves to worship Jesus and doesn’t care what people think about him when he claps and dances at church. Again, I want to know Mac’s secret of how to put aside my prideful inhibitions and focus solely on worshiping God. How freeing it would be concentrate completely on worshiping Him instead of worrying who was looking at me and what they were thinking!
Finally, I’ve met an 11 year old named “Nathan” who has trouble making friends because of his disability. Nathan has difficulty with social skills and prefers doing things by himself as opposed to being in a loud, noisy group. Yet he has the intellect of an adult, using vocabulary that I, a college graduate, have to ask him what the words mean. And Nathan hasn’t allowed the negative criticisms of others to steal his childlike belief in dreams and aspirations. While my peers tell me I am not being ‘realistic’ in my goals of publishing children’s books, Nathan challenges me to earn the Pulitzer Prize for my writing. Just another example of how I end up being the one who is blessed when I reach out to individuals with disabilities.
In order to reach out to individuals with differences, we must focus on the interaction with the person instead of our internal discomfort. Just because I have a speech impediment and walk with an unsteady gait, that doesn’t make me immune to making false assumptions about people with disabilities. While it’s natural to be nervous or at least uncomfortable around people who are different than us, it is not natural to voice one’s fears and anxieties for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or looking ignorant and cold-hearted. Perhaps I have more leniency to admit my discomfort around people with certain disabilities because of my own disability.
So what are some basic guidelines for interacting with people with disabilities? How can you calm your nerves enough to actually focus on the person to whom you are corresponding? As with any other dilemma, the answer is found in Scripture.
Think of how Jesus reacts to you when you fail to miss what He has been telling you. Perhaps in retrospect, you can now see clearly ways that He has been speaking to you or showing you the path toward His will for your life. He understands our hearts and, unlike the ‘world’ we live in, He sees what is on the inside, including our motives and good intentions. Therefore, He loves us regardless of how many times He has to patiently remind us what is right and wrong. He takes us by the hand and shows us things He has shown us time after time, but we just can’t seem to understand, hear, or see as He would like. That is how we can respond to those with hearing and/or vision impairments; see them for the person they are on the inside rather than the differences you view on the outside. Patiently love them unconditionally, knowing they are doing the best that they can do at that moment, and support them in being their best.
As for individuals with cognitive and/or mental disabilities, consider how Jesus responds when you keep doing the same sin over and over again. Everyone has an area of sin in their life where they struggle and want to stop. If you are like me, you pray for forgiveness, believing with your entire being that you won’t commit the sin again. Then life gets in the way and He has to remind you yet again not to do that anymore. Individuals with mental impairments struggle in this area more than those without such impairments. Some of the best people to pray for you are those who have to consciously and continuously rely on God for everything, these are the people who personally know the power of His hand and regularly witness His miracles when the ‘impossible’ becomes reality…these are the people who have hope when all hope is gone as they reflect on the numerous ways God provided a way when there appeared to be no way… and these are the people whose faith is secure in Him after learning by personal experience that He will never leave nor forsake us.
Christ said that the insults of those who insult us fall on Him. That means that when we insult other people, even in our mind, we are insulting Him. He has no favorites, neither should we. In fact, to place less value on someone because of their differences and limitations devalues God’s creation. The church is made up of diverse individuals to meet the diverse needs of the world. When we exclude a group or individual because of our ignorance, discomfort, and assumptions, we are neglecting a crucial part of the Body of Christ.
“Remain true to the faith. We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God…” Acts 14:22
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Really, I should care, I have not washed my hair.
My looks – I am aware, simply I DON’T CARE!
Just leave me with my Mac. Eventually, I’ll be back-
Escaping into my mind, where there is no such thing as time.
No pettiness, no shallowness…goal of purpose is mine.
Why am I here? What can I do? To better this world for me and for you?
Your foolish arguments, causing me rage… no more from me, I refuse to engage.
I struggle with Christ keeping me grounded, when my fleshly nature becomes expounded.
You can’t join me, you do not belong… still, don’t judge me as if I’m wrong.
Washing my hair? Oh, PLEASE! I’m too busy on my knees.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Think about this... wow. Gives me chills. I am so thankful for Cathy and Karen, who walk the path, His path, with me... and understand me...and KNOW Him, the way that I know Him. And love Him, the way that I love Him. And experience and interact with Him, here and now... reading His Word as a spring of living water refreshing the soul.
Truly, "to live is Christ, and to die is gain".
Monday, November 13, 2017
Sunday, November 12, 2017
When people - my closest friends- don't actually reach out to me when I post something that triggers my PTSD, that tells me a- you are too busy with your own life, and while you care, you have other priorities right now, or b. you don't know what to say, so you'll just pray about it. Both cases tell me our closeness has run it's course. When I didn't hear back from people, I texted them on the phone. And I saw who was still by my side by who responded. Cathy is going through something now and we just FaceTime, sometimes with 10 minutes of silence. Sometimes, that means MORE than anything! Just be present. If you can't make time, it’s okay. I understand life takes precedence over friends. Yet as the Phil Collins song says, "you have no right, to ask me how I feel" after being absent when I needed you most. So as All American Rejects sing, "Move Along". Let me go! Someone's niece was abducted the day we were supposed to talk... she didn’t call, and it wasn't a date set in stone so I didn’t think too much about it. THAT SAME EVENING AFTER MEETING WITH THE COPS, she called to explain why she didn't call! That shows me how she values me. That is the kind of "close friends" I want. Otherwise, you pray for me, I will pray for you... and move along.
But after I move along, you will find your name is off the access to my life and has been replaced by a wall.
Me holding on to people who have more important things in their lives is a burden to them, and heartbreak for me.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
I've had significant life changes recently, triggering PTSD, anxiety and depression. The anxiety has taken over a chunk of my days as I leave behind the familiar (albeit, dysfunctional) to a new phase.
My mother's birthday was a few days ago, and I thought how she'd be relieved if she no longer had to deal with her "vile" daughter (her description of me) would be the perfect birthday gift. Ironically, Bobby Bowden's birthday is the same day. I realized I am no longer (was I ever?) part of the genetic family, Rather, I am part of my Tallahassee family. (Coach Bowden's IS Tallahassee.).
After trying to go back to Central Florida for the holidays, I have decided to stay here. In fact, I am finding peace and comfort in my soul, where I am ultimately part of God's family.
He is showing me it's all Him. I am His. I have no reason to fear, for nothing and no one can touch me without going through Him. He is in my tomorrow's, as He was in my past. He never changes - which gives ME the confidence to change. To be even more authentic. To disregard societal expectations. I am finding myself lost in my thoughts, my own little world... rather, my Father's world. Thy will be done.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Another wonderful time with my new friend and her daughter, just chatting around her tranquil home. As much as I hate to admit it, it does me good to get out. My mind is on something other than my current situation.
Migraines have waken me every morning for months, prompting my doctor to order an MRI, which I could not afford the co-pay. I have been up since 3am with major pain. I am writing this in the dark, and I am thinking the blue light thing may have some factor.
So this is a short check-in.
My friend knows I am having ambivalence facing the holidays. Currently, it's affecting my writing and I refuse to elaborate... she took a chance and got me a BEAUTIFUL nativity set. The lump in my throat prevented me from speaking. I am keeping it up all year.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Most mornings, I wake up with severe anxiety after several nightmares due to PTSD. Fortunately, I no longer suffer from seizures and night terrors like I did for 4 years following Benzodiazepines withdrawals. As I write this at 8:30 am, I am having my usual chest pain, but my anxiety has lowered after Bible study. More specifically, after time with Jesus.
I don't like leaving my home because of agoraphobia. The most peaceful time of my day is after I pick up Jireh's poop every morning. Since I only go outside as little as possible, I walk the field to pick up everything she did the day before.
And I want Jireh to interact with others, so I try weekly to take her to Michael's and FSU. Throughout the day, I play with Addy and Jireh inside.
My favorite activity is studying the Bible, praying and worship because at those times, it is well with my soul.
I'm in the process of writing several books and looking for freelance writing column jobs since my income was recently cut by 20% - hence, my anxiety.
And I am in bed by 7pm. I want to SLEEP because that is the one time my anxiety isn't at the back of my mind.
So for those who feel sorry for my isolation and want me to get out more
... I am good, in my temporary home.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Staying positive by reaching out to safe people. Holiday season is an uphill battle, as usual. But my writing retreat with my friend last month was my Christmas. We celebrated and worshipped Jesus without worldly interruptions.
In my Timeline yesterday, a photo of the book I wrote about losing a parent to cancer appeared. I had forgotten I wrote it. You would think my dad's dying from cancer would have reminded me.
My memory is so bad, I recently posted a video on Facebook and said if I am such a burden (as I have constantly been told), I understood why people walk away. Well, stupid me didn't consider not everyone watched the video. So no response to me meant the end of friendships.
IT IS ALL A MESS.
I am sorry.
Monday, November 6, 2017
Scattered, where do I start? Jesus, Lord, speak to me…
Protect and guide my heart.
I come to you this day,
Please. Light my every way.
Keep me single-minded…
Sp often I need reminded.
This life is yours on borrow.
You own my today and tomorrow.
Lead me on… I’ll follow.
Sunday, November 5, 2017
So sorry to have confused everyone. I made the mistake of listening to mom telling me how vile I am and was in an extremely dark place. I was told no one likes me and I am crazy. Yesterday, I hung out with a new friend and had the BEST time! My mom is wrong. I am a good, likeable person. After all, I was created in the image of Christ, who died for me. I must be worthwhile. The enemy wants me to isolate and even kill myself, convincing me no one would care. Even if that were true, God created me for a reason. And I haven't completed my purpose.
My new friend is amazing. I told her how I sabotage friendships and hurt people to hide in a corner like a little girl, and it would be best if we did not hang out. She is a strong Christian and refused to take that as an answer. So reluctantly, I agreed to go to her home to watch the FSU game. It was wonderful. So engaging discussing FSU football with her and her husband. Then she showed me her backyard. PARADISE! A WRITER'S DREAM! We actually went kayaking! And we laughed. And we talked. And on my way home, my shattered heart was filled with hope.
Hope I CAN let go of the past. As my friend reminded me, I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.