Moving One Last Time

Hi to my 121 followers.  I so appreciate you!  I’m overjoyed that you follow, and hope I can provide you with help and hope and good information.  But I find that I want to do this in another place.  

It’s my other blog, HisBusiness.  I can’t separate anymore the things I write about from God’s Business in my life and yours.  You can find it here.

I hope you will move with me, and continue to follow.  I’d like to get to know you better. 

Stigma and Mental Health

Social Stigma

Social Stigma (Photo credit: sea turtle)

Here’s an article today about the stigma attached to mental health and violence issues.  Considering the tragedy recently in Connecticut, it’s important that informed discussions about these topics occur.

Mental Health Stigma Mixed Signals

What do you think?  Is there too much misinformation out there about violence being associated with mental disorders?  And how can we better identify mentally ill people who do have violent tendencies, so that they get the appropriate help before a horrible tragedy occurs?  And one more question: is the appropriate help available?  I personally have found doctors, both physical and mental, to be highly variable in their diagnostic skills, therapies, and follow-up.  Should mentally ill patients with potentially violent characteristics be forcefully institutionalized until deemed non-violent?

These are tough topics.  They deserve tough answers.

Financial Help – Resources for Bipolar Medications

It’s been a while since I posted to this blog.  My anxiety has been high since just before Thanksgiving.  There’s  a lot of extra stress these last several months.  One of those stresses has been financial.

At Christmas especially the stress to buy presents and feed extra people increases.  When your budget is a limited as mine, worry consumes a big part of each day.

That’s the reason for this post.  I’ve found a couple of things that have helped me tremendously in the last few weeks.  One is a natural therapy for anxiety and depression, the other is financial.

Last July a new psychiatrist I saw in the county health department prescribed a medication for my bipolar anxiety which had a horrible possible side effect profile.

So I refused to take it and requested a newer medication with less side effects.  Of course, the county doesn’t pay for the newer medications.  They cost more.  So I continued to suffer.

Until, that is, I tried an herb my sister started to use for her anxiety.  Ashwaganda.  Sounds like something from Africa.  Maybe it is; I don’t know.  All I do know is that it helped a little.

Then I ran out of it and couldn’t buy more for a month.  The anxiety got worse again.  Then I bought more the first of November, and increased the dose to 1200 mg per day.

I haven’t had a seriously anxious day since.  It’s so much better I can’t believe it.  The bucket I had with me all the time to catch my anxious tears has gone dry.

Ashwaganda has evened out my moods and significantly reduced the anxiety.  I had the most restful and happy Thanksgiving I’ve had in years.

The second help I found was a few resources for financial help with medications.  Here’s a link to the resources that help millions afford the often prohibitively expensive meds prescribed for Bipolar and anxiety.

 

http://bipolar.about.com/od/financialassistance/Financial_Assistance.htm

Hope these help your holidays like they did mine.  Merry Christmas!

 

Pain; It’s Personal

I know the experts say to make each post about your readers.  They say not to get personal.

But here’s the rub.  Mental illness is personal.  To me.  To you.  To all who suffer with it in all its delightful forms.  To all who love or live with someone with it.

Today is personal.  I suffered.  Did you?  Maybe my personals today will resonate with someone.  You are not alone.

Times are tough for me.  Stress is high.  The people I live with don’t get it.  To them, I’m just being lazy and irresponsible.

My kin doesn’t get it.  I was irresponsible 15 years ago, and didn’t pay back what I had used.

She’s right.  I was irresponsible.  My behavior, then as now, was not socially or financially acceptable.  But when cancer hurts and there’s no painkiller, you scream and write a lot and spend what you have on release, not duty.  You get desperate.  You don’t connect now with later.  ‘Wait’ is not a space of time; it’s just a ‘weight’ on the soul.

I don’t think she gets her own child either.  Genetics played a nasty joke on her progeny.

Now I need a job.  I look some, but focus is almost impossible and distractions abound.  The emotions partly born of insecurity, fear, worry, and loneliness wring out the last dregs from my cup of possibilities.  The first dregs got drained by my own duplicitous brain.

I pour forth detailed plans in monster waves.  They crash and foam and never reach shore.  I can’t carry them out.  Dust bunnies get in my way.  Dishes and grass clippings and expectations attack. Desire is legion, but priority is AWOL. I’m trapped; no car, no way to run, so few tools to help.

Insurance was nice.  The county sucks.  It’s not their fault.  There’s just too many of us.  Why?  What did people used to do back when?

Today’s last straw was just a pin-sized twig, but it broke this ass’s back.  It’s always that way.  Little stuff is seen through a magnifying glass every time.

I truly didn’t want to live.  I planned on it to help get me through, but it refused and now I’m limited to the struggle.  I need another shot of safety; just for a week.  I can’t stand the limits!  Not again!

I scream, I cry, I question and storm and beg for release.  I hate this pain that drills deep. I can’t filter out the pain of the past or the pain of the future or the pain of entwined others either.  It won’t let me go.  It’s always peaking around corners and saying ‘boo’ just when I’ve turned the corner.  I’m always ready now to jump.

Oh if I could snuggle!  Arms with skin on help so much if they are gentle.  The arms of faith have disappeared today.  I’m so guilty because I’ve seen them so big before.

So where is the glass half-full?  I dropped it and it broke, long ago.  The shards got stuck in my foot.  The liquid evaporated.  I should try I guess to levitate with my mental magic prowess the cup there in the cupboard over to the faucet pouring with water.  But today, magic doesn’t exist.  Does it ever?

There’s one boon today.  Satan was winning.  He loves to tell me that God won’t provide like He said.  After all, look at the widows in India.  They beg for their food.  Their husbands have died and their sons disown them.  Some starve and their bodies are thrown in the river.  Why not them, God?  Paul went hungry, cold, and naked.  Why him?  He was yours!

Maybe me.  But God said.  If the walls fall inward, thunder rolls, the mountains move into the sea, and fire rains down, God still said.  I don’t want to live this.  But God said.  I don’t know how.  But God said.  I don’t feel able, but God said.  I don’t get it, but God said.  I’m blind and deaf and dumb and burning, but God said.  So somewhere so deep even I can’t know it, I believe.

Mental Fight

Rarely is my mind ordered and my emotions even.  Most days the battles rage.  Priorities fight indecision.  The winner fights with distraction, and time outflanks them all, throwing in the flaming arrows of interruption, irritability, and anguish.  The work I’m trying to do just doesn’t get done with any speed or efficiency.

“Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank my God through Jesus Christ our Lord…” Romans 7:24-25a

Ephesians 6:12 says our struggle is not against “flesh and blood”.  It is against “the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The work I want do each day I do for my family, my friends, and ultimately for God.  Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,…”

Satan hates this way of thinking.  He plays on our weaknesses to pull us away from anything that magnifies God.  The weaknesses that pull me away from the work of living and earning and writing are mostly above the neck.

The things that try with all their might to depress, confuse, paralyze, destabilize, and distract my attention from my work and my passions are purely mental.  The labels for mental attention thieves can be multiple; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, Autism, and many more.  Maybe your distractions are physical; chronic pain, disease, physical disability.  Maybe they are both.  Definitely they are real, biological, disorders of mind and body.

Definitely sin pulls us away from God.  Sin is not the urges, the thoughts, the fears, the visions, the pains, the emotions we feel.  Sin is what we do with these things if what we do is not Godly.  And God says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Christ died to remove the punishment of our sin from us, taking it on Himself.  Satan hates this too.

With mental disorders that are expressed behaviorally, what is the point at which our behavior becomes voluntary and our sinful nature our own choice?  I don’t know.

But this I do know.  This excerpt from Elizabeth’s Ramblings on August 18 spoke to me about our mental and heart fight with all that pulls us away from God.

I woke up this morning with the chorus of this song/hymn singing in my head…

Bring me my bow of burning gold: Bring me my arrows of desire: Bring me my spear: O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire! (Elijah) I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand…

And I respond, “I will not back away Lord. Equip me, and help me stand.” 

What about you? Are you facing a fight today? Is there some dark, dread-filled cloud hanging over you? Fear not! Ask God to equip you with His Armor and take a stand knowing the battle is His and not yours. He will make a way and bring you through the dark and out into His glorious Light. All you need do is stand. 

The Armor of God (from Ephesians 6:10 – 20)

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

The words that first caught my attention were “mental fight”.  That’s what I do all day most days.  Fight the battle with thoughts, with anxious or sad or downright excruciating emotions, with fears, with feeling alone in my struggle, with many tears, with indecision and confusion and un-productivity.

I don’t get how these verses work in practicality, but I know they’re true.  It is true that:

  1. We can stand strong against any kind of pain, mental or physical, with God’s power in us
  2. We can thwart the devil’s schemes, those principalities and powers and spiritual forces in the heavenly realms; by using the armor God gives us.
  3. This armor enables us to stand our ground against all that is against God, whether inside of us (in our minds and hearts) or outside of us.
  4. This armor requires that we do everything we can, to the best of our ability, to use it.  I believe this ‘everything we can’ includes using the resources God has put on this earth to help our infirmities.  Doctors, medications, therapies of all kinds, good nutrition, exercise.
  5. The storage house of this armor is in the Word of God; His written word, the bible, and His ‘Word made flesh”, or Jesus Christ.
  6. Stored in this house is truth, righteousness, the good news of peace in Christ Jesus, faith in God, salvation through Christ’s blood, the Holy Spirit, which is also the “word of God”, and prayer in the Spirit.

Indulge me.  Let me repeat what Elizabeth wrote:

And I respond, “I will not back away Lord. Equip me, and help me stand.” 

What about you? Are you facing a fight today? Is there some dark, dread-filled cloud hanging over you? Fear not! Ask God to equip you with His Armor and take a stand knowing the battle is His and not yours. He will make a way and bring you through the dark and out into His glorious Light. All you need do is stand. 

I don’t know how this works.  I don’t know why or how some people have diseases and troubles they live with, sometimes for life.  It’s a world fallen from God’s ideal, and full of the consequences of sin.  The creature groans.  But God says we can stand, and that’s enough for me.

I just have to put on God’s armor and watch it fight the battles for me.

Please let me know what you think.  How do you stand?

The Beast in My Mind’s Eye

I was trying this morning to unravel a jumble of electrical cords in my garage.  They were both bright orange and hopelessly tangled.  I needed one to plug-in the tire blow-up thingy (be amazed, men and mechanically inclined women, that I know automotive terminology) because someone was coming over to see the old car we’re trying to sell.  I only wanted one of them!  I finally found an end, plugged in what I hoped was the beginning, and turned on the ‘thingy’.  It worked.  Pure dumb luck.

I’m going to try to describe a jumble of feelings.  They are so intertwined that I can’t find the real root or the end.  And I don’t know if it’s the ADHD, the Bipolar, the anxiety, or all three combined, that made me feel so desperate to run away, hide, and throw things.  I suppose it could just be life as it was not meant to be.  Whatever.

The feelings weren’t from the incident with the electrical cords.  But it felt like the same jumble.  They happened in the early evening as the sun was setting.  I was talking to someone close to me, and the beast of circumstance, jealousy, loneliness, and mistrust rose from his stinking grave to grab my heart.

Once when I was working full-time years ago, I wrote a very short story.  I was on the job one day in the afternoon.  I had to get up from my desk and leave in a hurry.   I was in the middle of an anger episode.  Extreme anger!  Total frustration.  Desperation.  Sadness.  Restlessness.  At life, at circumstances, at God, at myself.  It was petulant, childish, and so unstoppable.  So me.  So consuming.

I sat in my car in the parking lot and wrote for maybe 10 minutes. When I got through imagining the path and actions of my story’s ‘hero’, I felt so much calmer.  His actions were my actions.  His blind fury was my fury.  His total lonely destruction was my soul.  And for a while, it helped. Here’s the story.

In My Mind’s Eye

I’m that huge green man-beast, and I’m so full of anger, so overwhelmed by raging frustration that I lunge at anything in my path and smash it, tear it, rip it into a thousand pieces.  I stand for a millisecond and scream my rage at the thing I don’t understand.

I’m running through an empty department store at night, tearing clothes off the rack, smashing dishes, wiping everything off the display case.  Then I pick up the whole case and throw it across the isles into shelves full of crystal goblets and vases.

This rampage goes on and on with blazing intensity until finally, my breathing labored, sweat dripping down my back like rain, I begin to calm.  The sounds of destruction and the frenzied movement begin to satiate the beast inside.  The running turns to a jog, the jog to a walk, and I head off into the night to my secret bed.  I fall there, exhausted, into a dreamless sleep.

They will never know it’s me because when I awake in the morning, I look and act regular again; too mild to ever have felt that bloody, raw tearing in my soul.  But he’s there.  And when the pressure begins to build and the wolves can’t be kept away by simply closing the door, he bursts out with eyes blazing, looking for a thousand sacrifices that will cause the demon god to sleep again, restlessly.  For a while.

Win with ADD and Freelance Writers Den

Think All, Focus One

Think All, Focus One (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a writer with ADD, attention deficit disorder.  Thus the name of my blog, addrangerramblings.  That’s A. D. D. Ranger Ramblings.  I’m not trying to add to my family of rangers by rambling.

If you know anything about ADD, then you know that most of us are exceptionally creative people who have a problem focusing our creativity on one task or project for any productive length of time.

Also, if you know about ADD, then you know that sometimes hyper-focus can be a problem.  We get so focused on what we are enjoying doing that we can’t stop and switch to another task without major irritability.  At least I get irritable.  My son says that when I’m reading, the house would have to be burning down around me before I took notice.

The point is, winning one year of membership in the Freelance Writers Den is worth the struggle to focus, then hyper-focus, on this blog post.  It must be sparkling!  It must be witty!  It must be the anti-sob story of the century!  It must inspire such hope of mentoring success that it WINS!

Really, all nauseous frenzy aside, I want to earn this membership for several reasons.

First, having ADD, I need structure to succeed.  I’ve been somewhat successful providing this structure for myself, but learning opportunities like the Writer’s Den Membership resources provide are a major source of motivation for my chaotic focus-challenged brain.

Second, my goals demand immediate productivity.  I want to be a successful blogger and author who makes a living by helping others find solutions to their mental health challenges.

Bipolar, ADHD, ADD, anxiety, and depression are all things I’ve dealt with over the years.  I know how hard it is to overcome these problems, and I want to show those so afflicted that it can be done.  And done with style!

So whether you are one of my multitudinous readers or from the Den, check out my blog.  It needs serious help.  It needs your comments or your teachings.  It needs you to tell me what you need to make this site something you can rely on to help in time of need.