Sunday, 31 October 2010

Too much stuff

The internet can be at once an inspiring and daunting place.  Looking through craft blogs for inspiration starts off well and makes me feel excited about the potential of creating things.  But as I click through, reading tips and tricks and admiring pictures of beautiful creations, it invariably leaves me feeling uncreative, useless and like I'll never have enough get-up-and-go to make anything ever again.  Which is rubbish.  I just need to know where that tipping point is between "yay" and "bluh" and close my browser before I get to it.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


I keep meaning to say that I have noticed something recently that is kind of a 'duh' realisation.  Although I have been taking multivitamins on and off for a few years, I had recently stopped for a while, simply because I ran out and couldn't afford to buy more at the time.  Over this most recent vitamin hiatus I had gone through a bit of a mood slump.

I started taking them again a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say that they have made such a difference to my mood and how I feel physically.  I know with a lot of those sorts of things it can be hard to tell whether they work or not ("where do we get these placebos?!!!") but in this case, Swisse Women's Ultivite is doing me lots of favours.

So note to self - vitamins are worth the cost.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Had a great dinner at Dave and Lisa's last night.  In true Dave style, he grilled me on all sorts of things, namely what the next few years will look like for me, what my plans are during and post-college, etc.

I do enjoy these sorts of conversations with him, because I know he is trying to help me think through the big questions and clarify my motivations for things.  And he also gently points out things he is concerned I haven't thought of (he doesn't think he's gentle, but he is pretty good at this and Lisa's around to soften the blows if required).

The main things we were trying to think through is what to say yes to and what to say no to, where my strengths lie, and what ministry might do to someone already struggling with depression.  I have the problem of negotiating the tension between 'this is what I'd like to do' and 'this is what I will have the energy to do'.  I tend to look at each prospective 'project' in isolation, instead of seeing the big picture and how everything fits into that, and although this sounds ridiculous, I tend to forget I'm dealing with depression and forget to factor it in.

So I think "hey I'd like to get more involved in youth ministry so I can start putting some of what I'm learning into practice."  And I notice there are gaps in the youth leaders' team at church next year.  So I volunteer to do youth ministry.

But I'm also still doing music ministry for church.

But I'll also be doing college almost full time.

And I haven't factored in non-lecture study time, plentiful rest time, exercise time, etc.

There is so much good work to do.  But I don't have to do it all!  And as Lisa pointed out, just because I say no to something now, doesn't mean I'm saying no to it forever.  It's just for this time.

Still chewing this over.  But I do greatly value the people God puts in my life to help me along in my walk with him, and to help me think through how best to do the work he has for me to do.

Friday, 8 October 2010


So the depression thing hangs around, and especially rears its ugly head for me when I am extremely busy, which leads to mega tiredness.  For short periods, I tend to be able to run around like a crazy thing getting lots of stuff done, but it usually tends to be the Stuff of Least Resistance.  If it's anything complicated or anything that will take me too long, I tend to leave it til later, and keep busy with the easier stuff.  Unfortunately, that means the harder stuff starts to pile up.

But I always think "I can do it, it's okay, I can do it...I've just got to extend that deadline...or avoid that person until I can get it done..."  This is a terrible technique for obvious reasons, leading to stress, anxiety and guilt when I let people down.  I had a friend who was waiting on something from me today gently rebuke me, saying "communication is the key".

I fully agree!  But when do I communicate?  Do I say at the outset, "look I know I'm fully capable of doing whatever it is you've asked me, but you should know that I might not get it done when I say I will, and it's not because I'm lazy but just because I struggle with depression"?  Do I just do my best and then when I find I can't manage, say "I'm having issues with depression at the moment, and I am sorry but this is going to be delayed"?

Both tactics make me feel guilty and like a total hypochondriac.  I know depression is real and I know it is something I am very slowly working through, and some days I will be good and other days I won't.  But it just feels like such a cop out to admit it.

Dave has said to me more than once that he's startled to remember I have depression because I seem so capable, like I've got everything under control.  That's because I want everyone to think that!  And, to some extent, I am still that person which is why I keep saying yes to things when people ask me to do stuff.  Because I want to still be involved, I want to contribute, I want to use the gifts I have.  And doesn't do anyone any good when I fall over.

If you were working with someone who had depression, how would you prefer to work around it?  Would you want to know upfront (and maybe choose to work with someone else)?  Would you want to be told at any stage of the process?

Edit to add:

I started to read CJ Mahaney's series on procrastinating and but stopped because I was feeling too guilty, then had to remind myself that a large part of the reason things slip by me is because I'm unwell (I also wonder about the whole 'procrastinatrix' title of this blog...this is constantly reinforcing to me that it's in my nature to procrastinate).  Probably where the guilt thing comes in is because there is some truth there; I do procrastinate.  But the depression completely warps it.

amusing grace

Have been enjoying music by The Autumn Film today.  They are the band behind Page CXVI (which for some reason I keep calling "page 26" - damn those roman numerals!), so although their music isn't always about faith and Christianity, that's the perspective they're coming from.  I always wonder what non-Christians do with 'crossover' artists like these guys and Sufjan Stevens; do they acknowledge the Christian perspective, ignore it, or not even notice it?

My attention snagged on their song Holding Ground from their So Loved EP, and I thought I'd look up the lyrics.  Of course you always get sent to those Free Lyrics Sites of Dubious Quality when you Google for lyrics, but the interpretation of this line particularly amused me (and all the different sites seem to have copied it from the same source):
Frozen here I wait for the warmth of your graze
To open my eyes to the light of your holding place
How can I sustain this never ending existing pace?

"Hmm.  What could that word be?  Something that rhymes with place and  Must be graze.  That doesn't really make sense, though I suppose grazes can be warm...that must be it.  Maybe it's deep or something."

But the reason I liked this song was for this section, which just hit me where I needed to hear it today:
'Cause you're patient with my impatience
And you tell me that I'm lovely
'Cause you're faithful when I'm unfaithful

And so I'll wait...and I'll pray
pray that I can wait...and so I'll wait.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The what effect?

I don't often get involved in letter writing campaigns or take a stand for much.  But as a Christian writer who thinks about the world she sees and is immersed in, I realise that this has been a bit of a cop out.  We were taught in an ethics class years ago that it is important to get your viewpoint out there as a Christian, because if we say nothing, then our worldview is not being represented.  I get upset and angry about some things I see in the world, but don't often act on them.  I might talk about it with mum or some friends, maybe even blog here, but I don't often write to politicians or corporations or the newspaper.

But only those who speak up get heard, right? I have many brave writers to inspire me, from my dear friend Hendry whose thoughtful, Christian-perspective letters are regularly published in the SMH and local paper, to people like Melinda Tankard Reist, who is a most outspoken advocate for women and girls (and must have an incredibly thick skin!).

Today I wrote a letter.

Lately I've been reading a lot on Twitter, on Melinda's blog and on the advocacy site Collective Shout about an extremely distasteful promotion for Lynx deodorant, involving a competition for men to win a trip to the Lynx Lodge, a place that purports to fulfil every male's fantasy of being surrounded by buxom women who want nothing more than to please them.  This was further promoted by a 'pop up hot tub' in Martin Place, where women in string bikinis cavorted in a hot tub and offered massages to passing businessmen on their way to work at 8 in the morning.

As I've been thinking about youth ministry at college this year, I've been thinking more about what it means to provide good role models for girls and boys about how to treat each other.  Unsurprisingly, this whole Lynx thing is pretty much the exact opposite of the lessons you would want to teach to young people these days, and yet it's just out there, insidious and yet supposedly humourous, slowly bleeding its image and attitude into peoples' brains without people even being aware of it.

So today I wrote a letter of complaint to Unilever, the company who makes Lynx.  Here's what I wrote:

[box]I have been reading, with growing concern, about the Lynx promotional competition involving the so-called Lynx Lodge at Lake Macquarie. It sounds to me like a brothel being targeted at teenaged boys and young men, and everything, from the concept itself through to the pop up hot tub promotion in Martin Place recently, deeply offends me as a young woman.

Whether or not the Lynx Lodge is an actual place is irrelevant - your advertising for this product is degrading and humiliating to women, who are being portrayed as little more than sex toys available to fulfil male fantasies. It is also insulting to men, appealing to the basest level of intellect and suggesting they believe that women are happy to be treated this way. Neither of these things has anything to do with the product itself, and although the advertising executives you hired may have thought the idea that a body spray or deodorant could attract women was funny, as it has gone on, the advertising campaign has become tasteless, demeaning and shameful.

The Lynx Lodge may have been conceived as a joke, but the sexist attitude behind all the advertising for Lynx products speaks of something that definitely is not amusing. It is teaching boys and men to view women as little more than sex objects, and suggests to girls and women that the only appropriate way to behave around males is to be scantily clad and always available for whatever sexual activity the male desires. Without trying to be alarmist, it doesn’t take a genius to see that this sort of thinking can lead to dangerous and frightening outcomes, ranging from women being leered at, to sexual attacks and rape.

As a result of this campaign, I have no hesitation in boycotting all Unilever products, and know many others who will do likewise. [/box]

Although I don't expect much of a positive response from Unilever (it will probably be along the lines of this), I'm starting to understand through reading about recent campaign wins on the Collective Shout website, that every voice counts, and if you have the ability to say something, it's worth a shot.

PS.  Oh and also, I used to share a flat with a guy who used Lynx liberally.  Let me just say that, from a woman's perspective, Lynx is more successful in its repelling qualities than anything else, much as this clip says: