Monday, 27 May 2013

Trying to turn it around

I don't really have much to say at the moment. I mean...I have lots to say, I just (for once in my life) am not putting it all over the internet in gory detail. Just hinting at it here and there and I probably shouldn't even do that (you know, in that maddening way of tweeting or posting a passive aggressive or whingey status update with no context? I've tried not to but sometimes they slip out).

I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm tired. I'm frustrated. I'm flat.

I have some good girl friends who love me very much. For that I am grateful, and I am grateful that I am not so fogged out that I can't see that.

I am trying to be positive about romantic relationships but, at the moment, I'm wondering why on earth anyone would be in one.

But no, it's not all negative. I trust God, even though it's hard sometimes. In some ways it shouldn't be hard, because I know he is wisdom and love and he wants nothing but good for me. But I guess my rebellious heart wants to do its own thing even though its own thing is usually not very smart.

I listened to the wonderful Jenny Salt this morning, and loved the end of her talk:
I want to be remembered as one who, by the grace of God, was able to trust in him, trust in his will for my life, and know him as my heavenly father through Jesus Christ. By his grace I want to be remembered as one who submitted to his perfect will with a thankful heart and a growing desire to serve him wherever he places me. And for the time that he has me on this earth, which is just a blink of an eye, a blip on the radar, I don't want to be spending the time wishing for something that he never wanted me to have, that was never mine to have. I don't want to waste my time with it. 
I don't want us to be thinking of ourselves as primarily single or married. I want us to be thinking about ourselves as children of God, and live for him where he has you now. There is great joy in that. And may the cry of our hearts be, in the words of Psalm 73: 'whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.'
Okay. Something positive. Here's a picture of me and Jelssie on the weekend. We had a really great Saturday! Three sisters in Christ (who all incidentally happen to be single), enjoying a wonderful autumn day, doing creative things. God has blessed us richly.

heliostat-ed by the procrastinatrix

Friday, 17 May 2013

Love and depression

Just read this article: Why love won't cure your depression

Interesting perspective, though the whole hook up scenario she describes isn't valid in my case (it does, however, remind me of the counsellor I had once who said it was a shame I didn't agree with sex outside marriage because a good shag would do wonders for my endorphins...that was when I decided to stop seeing her and found a Christian counsellor. Clearly the 'good shag' solution doesn't work for the author of this article either).

I don't like the 'happy ever after' ending, which is probably a bit tongue in cheek but kind of reads like the author didn't know how to end the article. And doesn't really say anything about what if you don't end up in a relationship.

But I do agree it's important to work on depression outside of a romantic relationship (whether or not you ever have one) and not to believe that falling in love or even being in a relationship will cure you. It's also hard to know, when you're a depressive in a relationship, how much of the stuff you deal with is just normal relationship stuff and how much is warped by your depression (or their depression).

I would add to this, as a Christian, that it's important to keep speaking the truth to yourself that your identity is in Christ and not in your relationship. It's something most Christians are sure of, on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level it can be all too easy to get sidetracked and put too much value on what someone else thinks of you. That's not to say that what your spouse or love interest thinks of you isn't important, of course it is. But what they think of you (whether good or bad) does not alter what Jesus thinks of you. And he loves you, more than any human ever could. That is so reassuring.

Friday, 10 May 2013

not hyperbole at all

I know some of you have read today's Hyperbole and a Half post already, but I just want to point you to it if you don't follow Allie's blog. It's a completely unvarnished description of her experience living with depression over the past year and even though it isn't the same as my experience, there are some things that really resonate, particularly the crying thing ("Why are you crying?" "I don't know. It's just something that's happening") and the trying to make the appropriate expressions when talking to people but not being able to really engage.

I'm not sure if it's one of those things that I should say trigger warning about, but, well, there. I've said it (but it doesn't end badly). It's also a pretty huge read (both length-wise and emotionally), even though it has pictures, so maybe read it when you've got a bit of time. And stick with it to the end.

Depression Part Two

PS I laughed about the corn. Maybe it's like a depression shibboleth or something, if you understand her reaction to the corn. I also like that we both obviously have the same experience of the couch.

from Eating the Blues

As a comic or piece of writing, Allie's post sits alongside Kinds of Blue pretty well. I recall some of the feedback we got when we were asking for endorsements around the place was that parts of KOB were really dark and may not be helpful to those suffering depression. We countered that we were trying to reflect and describe the experience of depression to people who had no understanding of it, but also to encourage people who do feel that way that they aren't alone; I think Allie does that really well. I dislike that notion of tiptoeing around people who are depressed, as though talking in real terms about what it feels like is too dangerous. Although I guess I haven't had years as a counsellor or trying to help people who are much worse off than me and I guess many people do experience triggers that make situations worse for them. I don't know. But I guess that's where having your own blog is a good thing, because you can write and draw about what it's like for you, and you don't need anyone to authorise that.

Edit to add:
Someone told me about the encouragement that this blog was to a friend last night, especially in terms of thinking through living with depression as a Christian. I have to say that was the most humbling thing ever. If anything I've ever written has helped someone stick it out then it's been worth it!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Get the Bexfiles

I've just sent out my prayer letter for the first term/quarter/however you choose to mark time. If you aren't subscribed but want to get it, just pop your email address in the box below.

It's just kind of a digest of what's happening in my life that people might like to pray for. You do get minutiae here, but you might want the big picture view too.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Product placement: sugru

I started this post a while ago and never got around to finishing it. I wanted to sing the praises of my new favourite DIY thing: sugru. It's "self-setting rubber that can be formed by hand. It moulds like play-dough, bonds to almost anything and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight."

I read about sugru on Lifehacker and was intrigued...I loved the website. I loved the backstory. I loved that a woman invented it. It didn't take much convincing for me to order some to try on our dodgy fridge door handle.

When we lived in Maroubra, the way our fridge was positioned meant that it opened against a wall. A few too many careless openings where the handle hit the wall, and it started cracking. There wasn't much we could do about it except tape it up, but the tape got filthy. I even tried to pretty it up with washi tape but it looked lame.

So I bought some sugru. It comes in little foil pouches, and I only needed a tiny little blob to fix each crack.

I kneaded it a little, pushed it on, wiped over it with a wet finger to smooth it out and then just waited for it to cure.

And voila! Fridge door handle fixed (I did wash my hands before doing all this, but tiny bits of lint still got in's not as obvious in real life as in the photos). The result is smooth, durable and clean and the fridge no longer looks like a cast off remnant from a share household.

Now I just have to find other nifty projects to use my other packets for. There are plenty of interesting ideas on the sugru website; people are very inventive.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Just ask

I'm up at a camps training weekend for work, taking photos. When I arrived I had a good long chat with a colleague about depression; I feel encouraged that he frequently asks me how I'm going with it. As I've said in the past, it's often not an obvious thing (like a broken arm) that people will remember to ask you about. They forget you have it and then wonder why you want to sleep for 23 hours of the day.

Anyway he said he'd noticed I looked like I was deep in the hole lately. He didn't know about anything much that's been going on with me as he's been overseas. But I really appreciated him noticing, asking, listening and understanding.

So if you know someone who struggles with depression, no matter to what degree, ask them how they're going. You don't have to have solutions or try to fix anything. Don't underestimate how helpful it can be to let someone know you've noticed that they're struggling.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Cut it out - May challenge

If you're a reader of the excellent Jelssie, or know Jess G at all, you will know she is a fan of the challenge. Whether it's sampling every restaurant in a particular area, cutting down on spending or changing her approach to food, I have long been inspired by Jess's discipline in her challenges.

And so, because I have been eating huge amounts of everything lately with very little discrimination, this month I've decided to join her in her May challenge to cut out chocolate. As she says:'s hard to cut out all chocolate because chocolate is everywhere and in a variety of forms, but I basically mean no cadbury etc blocks or bars.
Unfortunately I already tripped up on day 1 because there were some mini Twirls in the kitchen and I ate some. But I actively resisted buying chocolate at the petrol station when I filled up yesterday so I feel like that it cancelled out the Twirl eating. Jess confirmed it as a win, so I'm gonna take it.

Further on that petrol station issue, it is very hard sometimes to avoid chocolate that you would normally not purchase. The mainstream petrol stations are always pushing their deals on you. When you pay for your petrol, the attendants are probably told they must quickly say "Would you like any chocolate bars, two for one?" as you present your money, as though you hadn't seen the signs plastered everywhere alerting you to the prospect of cheap sugar and fat.

Once this month is over, I'm planning to go back to my previous guideline of only eating a small amount of high quality chocolate (eg Haigh's) and savouring it, rather than scoffing a vast amount of inferior chocolate just because it was cheaper to buy in bulk.