Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rest in Peace, Robin

Robin Williams.
Iconic. Comedian. Actor. Generous. Beloved by millions…and had all the world could offer. Depressed. And now he’s gone because his sadness overcame him.

Just watching Robin Williams in action, you’d never have imagined he had a problem with depression, would you?

If you know me at all, you might be surprised to know that I began struggling with depression when our little family made a move in 1991. I thought it was just sadness because of leaving what I'd known and loved for 11 years…not being able to find a job in radio there because the one station in town was all sown up with home-town boys…and the nearest place to look was a town that would have cost me more to drive to than I'd have been paid.

I'd also been taking fertility drugs again, trying to give our daughter a sibling. My track record wasn't too good, but I'd succeeded once out of several pregnancies (one a set of twins). All of a sudden, a problem was found that brought that pursuit to a dead stop. I was devastated. I sunk a little lower.

I spent four of the longest years of my life trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I prayed. A lot.

Then we moved again. I thought my problems were over. I loved where we lived…was able to get back into radio…and, most of all, I had this amazing husband who loved me through the worst time in my life. And he still loves me!

But my problems weren't over. Clinical depression had set in, and in my ignorance…figuring it was a spiritual problem…I ignored the signs. When I saw my gynecologist, he and I had a heart-to-heart. After he prescribed an antidepressant, I never had it filled. My thought was that I was a weak Christian and needed to draw closer to God. Seriously!

As a Christian woman, I thought if I was lacking joy in my life, I needed to do whatever it took to get back on the right track. Taking one Bible study…teaching another…participating in prayer time, quiet time, as much as possible. Yet I was still sinking.

I finally did what my doctor lovingly said after my second appointment declaring that my problem was spiritual: “Shut up and take your pills.” He knew me well. He was a Christian, too. And he was a friend. He got pretty blunt with me. Convincing me to try taking the antidepressant for three months, I began feeling like “me” again. We worked with the dosage. Finally, we found what worked for me.

And, spiritually? I’ve had moments in the desert and moments on the mountain-top. Thanks be to God, He’s been faithful to me even when I haven’t to Him. I love Jesus. And He loves me through every moment of my life…no matter what that moment might bring. I’m not a weak Christian because I receive treatment for depression. That used to be my mindset. Now, I’m thankful that God gave knowledge to those who developed the medications I need to keep me on an even keel. This wasn’t a spiritual problem for me. My hubby compared it to the fact that I had low thyroid and needed Synthroid to help it be normal. Just like when I found out I was pregnant with Hannah and needed the HCG hormone in order to keep my body from rejecting what was growing inside my uterus…I needed help. And, thanks be to God, I got it.

There was no reason to be as secretive as I first thought I should be about my depression. You know what happened when I began to talk about my treatment? I found out there were other people in the same boat! I wasn’t alone at all!

Don’t let the enemy of our souls rob you of real joy in your life. And don’t let depression rob you either.

Maybe you’ve read about Robin Williams and all of a sudden, depression is a topic that’s being talked about. Let some good come of this to honor his memory.

Do you know the Signs of Depression? I went to The Mayo Clinic website so I could share them with you…

Although depression may occur only one time during your life, usually people have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:
• Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
• Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
• Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
• Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
• Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
• Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
• Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it's obvious something isn't right. Other people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.
To learn more, go to:

And now (more than ever) let me remind you yet again that if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Live and Learn

I had a birthday in July...turned 61. My daughter gave me a new bicycle, complete with a basket and the promise of my very own bell. My husband gave me New Balance walking shoes. These gifts came as a result of my newfound freedom with a knee replacement in March. I didn’t know my leg could ever feel this good again! 

As we age, we learn things...
One thing I have learned is not to put things off. If I’d known how much better I’d feel with a new knee, it would have been replaced when it was first suggested by my surgeon. But, wanting to hold out as long as I could (thinking that was the right thing to do for me) caused me to miss out on a lot of life.

Something else I’ve learned over the years is that doing things the easy way isn’t always the best idea, or even a real time saver. If I can carry four of those plastic shopping bags into the house at one time...then why not eight? Chances are I’ll make it to the kitchen without one of them breaking and dumping my groceries on the front porch. But overloading my arms seems to always mess me up because time is NOT saved when I have to backtrack to pick up the dropped items.

Holding onto your laptop while readjusting the bed pillows can result in dropping said laptop on your face. Yes. I did that. Twice.

Last night, I learned another lesson.
I was in bed. My computer completed it’s charging, so I thought I’d lean over to unplug the charger and plug in my cell phone charger. Seems simple enough. Unless you’re me.

My cell phone charger was tough to get in those little outlet holes, so I leaned farther to assure it was in correctly. That is when my whole body slid off our exceptionally high bed. As my face headed toward the floor, I was unable to catch myself. The space between the bed and my big overstuffed chair isn’t very wide. Not only did I move that chair with my body, but I had this wonderful little decorative wooden box that was there to stop my head. It didn’t. Not exactly.

Try to imagine a really large mammal attempting a dive into a bucket. Do you have that picture in your mind? Not pretty is it? Well, the box was just big enough for my head to cram through the lid...and tall enough that it stopped at the bridge of my nose. Lying on the floor, all I could think of was calling my sweet husband for help. But, alas, he wouldn’t have heard me without his hearing aides. And besides, seeing his wife on the floor with her head in a box would have been hysterical to him! He’d have likely found a way to work the whole scenario into a sermon illustration. (He’s been known to do that sort of thing.) Instead, I managed to get up from that confined space without doing any further damage. My new knee was fine! But that place on the bridge of my nose? I’m convinced that icing it immediately kept it from turning black and blue. And I’m thankful I can hide the puncture wound with my eyeglass frames.

Friends, when you have a job that can be done better without cutting corners...don’t cut them. Learn from my mistake. The easy way isn’t always the smartest.

My mother-in-law used to tell me I’m an “accident looking for a place to happen!” She knew me too well. I’m one of those people who will never be remembered as being graceful. I trip over air...if it’s thick.

Recently, my friend Becky Bird posted a funny thing on facebook that I completely related to! It read, “I would like to think I will die a heroic death. But it’s more likely I’ll trip over my dog and choke on a spoonful of frosting.”

Remember...if you have a pulse, then you have a purpose. Make your life count!