Friday, August 29, 2008


Did you know that one in eight women will be abused in her lifetime?
Did you know that there is no social, ethnic, cultual, religious, or financial boundary that defines an abuse victim?
Did you know that not all abused women are ugly, uneducated, weak, shy but that most of them used to be described as smart, funny, strong, well-liked, confident, pretty, beautiful, happy?

Did you know that while there is no single trait to make one vunerable to abuse, there are some common factors?
  • Growing up with an abusive or domneering parent (while a major factor it does NOT mean she has to spend her life in abusive relationships)
  • Physical or emotional distance from family and friends
  • Low self-esteem and/or chronic depression
  • Strong desire or need to be in a relationship
  • Almost blind trust of others; sees only good in people
  • Shyness or timidity
  • Insecurities abaout self nd abilities
  • Feelings of loneliness or a fear of being alone
  • Kind-heartedness, especially toward unpopular or unwanted people
  • Avoidance of making own decisions
  • Strong belief that the man is the "head of the household"
  • Recent traumatic experience such as a death of a loved one
  • Sense of perfectionism-- always wanting to be and do their best

A woman can go from the happy, cheerful, outgoing person she has always been to the scared, timid, lonely person in just a matter of a few short weeks. However it usually takes longer for friends and family to see how serious the situation is. The sooner the signs are noticed, the sooner intervention can happen. There are some common characteristics to look for.


  • Suddenly changes her dress/appearance
  • Avoids contact with friends or family
  • Suddenly changes behavior; stops doing things she used to enjoy
  • Spends all of her free time with him
  • Cries a lot over insignificant things; has trouble focusing on normal tasks
  • Complains abaout her abuser but gets defensive when someone else does
  • Believes she is the cause of the anger/violence
  • Feels guilty about the relationship
  • Is stressed often with physical symptoms
  • Accepts violence or anger as normal or denes that it exists
  • Panics when asked to make a decision or give opinion, especially about the abuser
  • Fears worse violence or death if she leaves
  • Holds to the "good times" and believes that is who the abuser really is

Because you can't determine if a woman is being abused by one single test, you must look for things to tell you what is going on. Look for changes in her behavior, mannerisms, and feelings. These are good warning signs. Pay attention to how you feel. If you feel that something is wrong, it probably is.

*Taken from the book "Not Another Sarah" by Sarah E. Southerland ch. 25

Friday, July 18, 2008

This is the hardest post of the abuse types to write. I have left it to last because of this. (I also needed to wait until he was out of town. This form of abuse has affected me more than any of the others.

Unless stated otherwise, this post is taken directly from the book, Not Another Sarah pgs 133-134

Sexual abuse is the least reported but most insidious form of abuse, and often has the most devastating effects. It arouses powerful feelings that are then distorted and manipulated to make the victim feel guilty. Sexual abuse leaves horrible feelings of shame and mistrust that often inhibit a victim's ability to maintain a close relationship (physically intimate or not) wih another person. The scars of sexual abuse frequently linger far beyond any physical injuries and go beyond damaged self-esteem. It may take years before a victi is able to recognize and understand the distorted feelings and perceptions she carries in response, and even then it often requires specialized counseling to create a healthy understanding of intimacy and sex.
An abuser will seek to maintain control over the victim through:
  • Forcing or pressuring her to have sex
  • Stimulating sexual felings within her through unwanted touching
  • Pinching, slapping, grabbing or poking her breasts and genitals
  • Forcing her to view pornography
  • Degrading or ctiticizing her sexual ability and/or body parts
  • Using sex as a manipulation, punishment,reward or argument
  • Forcing her to participate in perverted, unusual or painful sexual activities

End of quotes from the book. The rest of this post is mine.

I married a man that was victimized by a neighbor when he was 6. I didn't know about that until 18-20 years after the marriage. I did, however, know that his father gave him pornographic materials when he was 12. I was young and thought that marriage and love could overcome his addiction to porn and sex. How very wrong I was. It has now become his favorite abuse form.

Some examples of his early abuse: he would get up in the night and go to his hidden stash of porn and then come back and undress me while I slept. I would wake up to him doing this. I then had to finish what he started or he would wake the baby with his anger and keep me awake until he got what he wanted.

He left me alone with 5 kids under the age of 8, me pregnant, sick with toxemia unable to get out of bed without going into premature labor and/or dying while he went to a strip club.

He has snuck into the bathroom while I was showering and took a picture over the shower rod. I happened to tip my head back to rinse my hair just as he did this, so I was able to confenscate the camera and delete the picture.

If it is the weekend, you can be sure there will be a fight about sex and how I "have to give it to him because he wants it" If he has been viewing his favorite sights it can get bad fast. When I say no, he starts pressuring and threatining and getting more and more angry. If you have ever seen an addict in the throws of needing a fix, then you can imagine his anger and lust at this moment. He will do and say anything to get what he wants. If he is just arguing and pleading, then I ignore him and go about my day. It is when his need for a fix turns him angry that I cannot ignore it because he will take it out on the kids.

I really really hate it because I am the one that ends up hurt, angry, defiled, sad and I feel like a common prostitute, except without the money to show for it. I know that there are many that will ask again- why do you stay? But that is again, a private matter between me and the Lord. There is a reason, I don't have to like it, but He (the Lord) helps me to make it bearable until I can leave.

I say often how much I hate men, how horrible they are and that once free of this marriage I would never marry again. But in my heart I know that is not true. I love men and know that many are kind and good. It is this one part of a new marriage that scares me the most because I am used to being compared to the perfect airbrushed women.

He attended a meeting for sexual addicts for about 3 months as a condition of him being able to come back into my life. He then decided that he wasn't like those men, he wouldn't do the homework assigned, and then he just quit going because he was "cured". I could tell for a long time that he was not "doing anything" but the stress and tension was very strong. I could also tell as soon as the viewing of porn started again. And then about 2 weeks ago I walked in the bedroom and he slammed his laptop shut. After some "discussion" he opened it to let me see what he was "working" on. He tried to turn it off before I could see, but I finally had the proof that I needed. No longer is it my word against his. I feel that the time for leaving is close now.

As Sarah stated, this is the most under reported type of abuse. For me it is because we are married and those that you report it to don't always believe that it is abuse. Police often say that it is just the wife being angry at her husband and using this as a way to get back. Often times a councelor will say that the wife has issues and needs to stop using not having sex as a way to get back at her husband or as a way to control him. Even bishops do not understand this problem. They don't understand how a man that goes to church and helps so many in the congregation could be doing something that is horrible and then the wife gets blamed and told to change her attitude. And then we are the victim all over again and so we stop talking.

But when we stop talking, we allow the abuse to keep growing. I have learned that I need to document every incident, tell whomever I need to tell (parents, bishop, friends). Educate myself and pray, pray, pray. I know that this is wrong, I know that it is not about me even though it affects me and my children. I also know that it does not have to continue and that he will be held accountable for it. As soon as the things that I am putting in place are there, I will leave. And it will be ok.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Not Another Sarah

I got this e-mail from Sarah Southerland, author of "Not Another Sarah"

Dear Sandy,

A few weeks ago, my publisher notified me that they plan to clearance out the remaining 2,000 copies of my book, Not Another Sarah, in an attempt to free up warehouse space. The publisher has generously offered to sell the books to the NAS Foundation for $2.00 each, well below the cost of publication. The only requirement is that payment must be made by the middle of July.Since the book came out three years ago, I have noticed that the organizations that need the book the most are the least able to buy copies. With your help, the NAS Foundation can buy copies of the book and get them to these organizations (women's shelters, juvenile detention centers, prisons, victim's advocates, etc.) at no cost in an effort to help victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. The NAS Foundation is currently accepting donations that will be used to purchase copies of Not Another Sarah from the publisher for distribution. Will you help by sending a small donation of $5 to $10 (or more if you are able) to the NAS Foundation at the address listed below? All donations are tax deductible. If you would like copies of the book sent to a specific organization, please indicate this with your donation.Thank you so much! With your contribution, these books will go to the people who need them the most!

Sincerely,Sarah Southerland

NAS Foundation
PO BOX 557
Bountiful, UT 84011

Friday, June 27, 2008

Physical Abuse

When we think of abuse, physical abuse it what usually comes to mine. However, this type of abuse is actually the second most common type of abuse, emotional being the first most common. The amount and kind of physical abuse varies from perpetrator to perpetrator as well as incident to incident. It can be as simple as a slap or push or as complicated as using a weapon. The whole point of this type of abuse is to control the victim. When the abuser feels out of control, violence is used to scare the victim into submission. If the yelling and threatining will do the job, then fine, but if not, then violence can occur. And the harder it is to get the victim to fall into line, then the more the violence will escalate. The violence usually gets worse the longer the victim stays in the relationship.

I believed for a long time that I did not have this type of abuse in my life. I thought that I could just deal with the words and ignore him. However, he would use physical abuse on the children. Again, for a long time I felt that it was just because that was what was modeled in his home growing up and if I could just be patient and teach him other ways it would change. This kind of thinking is common in victims. I didn't see that this was another way of his controlling not only the children but me as well. I took over all parenting so as to keep him from hurting the children. I, essentially, became a single parent until something would make him angry- and we never knew what it would be.

One Sunday we were attending Stake Conference. I was at the end of the row and he was at the other end with the children between us. One of the boys, E, was fidgeting and sorta bugging the brother next to him. I kept trying to catch E's eye to get him to stop. It was not a big deal, but definately not the perfect, wonderful, no problem picture that we were supposed to present to the public. I saw my husband stiffen up and the look of pure rage on his face was something that I had never seen in public before. I remember thinking, "Too bad we are sitting clear back here in the overflow where it is dark and no one can see him." He grabbed E by the arm and whispered something to him. Later when we got home, I took out the camera and took pictures of the bruises he left on E's arm. I sent copies to my parents for safe keeping and gave a copy to my bishop (who just brushed it off).

Another thing that he has done is throwing of things. One evening he got angry, opened one of my drawers and threw things all over the room while he was screaming at me. That was the first time the police were called to my home for domestic violence. I am not proud to say that it occured after 22 years of enduring this type of abuse. Another time he threw my pillow out of the bed when I asked him to please scoot over so I could get in. It hit my jewlery holder on top of the dresser and my earring went flying all over the room. Many were broken beyond repair, many were twisted and bent. And there is one, my most favorite 14k gold studs that I have had since I was 13 that I still to this day cannot find one of. He has never apologized and in fact told me that I probably threw the earring away so I could blame him.

He has taken my purse, my wallet, my driver's license. He has jerked the phone out of my hand, disabled the line, hung up the phone while I am on it, so that I cannot call for help. The night the police came, they told him that that was a felony and he could go to jail if he ever did it again.

Here are some examples of physical abuse:
again taken from the book "Not Another Sarah"

  • Kicking, punching, hitting, and slapping
  • Shaking, shoving, and pulling
  • Cutting hair, skin, or other body parts
  • Throwing things at or on her
  • Preventing her frm leaving and/or getting help
  • Using weapons in an attempt to gain control
  • anyting that is intended to cause her pain or discomfort in an attempt to control her.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing these things, get help immediately. (I will address how to help someone you love in a future post)

Again, you may wonder why I am still here when I know what is going on. Again, there is a reason, I am just not sure what it is just yet.

I have had some response from these posts and some new resources that I will beging posting in the sidebar.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Emotional Abuse

I am taking parts of this post, and following posts on abuse, from "Not Another Sarah" by Sarah E. Southerland. This is one book that I feel is a must read for anyone that has someone in their life that is possibly being abused. There is a link in the sidebar where you can purchase your own copy or donate a copy to someone that is in need.

Abusers need to have control over everything in their environment. The intention of emotional abuse is "to destroy the self-esteem and self-confidence of his partner" He will use subtle manipulation to gain his goal. It will not take long for her to start doubting herself. Before long the woman is not the same person. She slowly changes into what she thinks will stop the abuse. And then she lets all her feelings die, because it is too hard to feel, to think, to care. She is empty and hollow and tries only to please him and keep the peace at all costs. She says nothing, because who would believe her? He is such a nice person, after all, mostly. Don't believe it? Just listen to everyone around you tell you how lucky you are to be married to such a man. Even your bishop.

"Depending on the severity of the abuse, an abuser:
  • Yells or screams
  • Calls her bad names or criticizes her
  • Humiliates or degrades her, at home or in public
  • Ignores her when angry, "the silent treatment"
  • Nelects her or withholds things/information from her
  • Forces her to do things she doesn't want to do
  • Is jealous and possessive, isolates her from all others
  • Lies to her and about her
  • Threatens to commit suicide and/or murder
  • Threatens to hurt others, ie, pets, children, family members, etc
  • Intimidates her
  • Won't listen to or let her express her felings and opinions
  • Always has t be right.

An abuser will use every means possible to maintain control by making the victim feel worthless and totally dependent on him."

I could give you many personal examples from the above list, but the abuse has dwindled since I started standing up to him. He does, however, still try. Saturday we were at my niece's lovely wedding reception. We were there from beginning to end as I very rarely get an opportunity to visit with my family. He was following me around like a puppy, stepping on my heels, breathing down my neck. (he is 12" taller than I am and weighs 120-130 lbs more than I do). I turned and asked him if he needed something. He said that we needed to go through the line. I told him that he was welcome to go, we didn't have to go at the same time, after all it is family. He punched his fist in the air and said, "Fine. I hope you have a way home. Actually, don't bother coming home because all your stuff will be in the street if you ever show up. I'm done with you." then he proceeded to stomp off to the car where he sat the rest of the time we were there.

I didn't follow him and apologize, beg him to come back to the reception, say I was sorry, carry on and make it my fault. There was a time I would have, especially since we were more than 100 miles from home. I turned my back and had a good time with my family while he pouted in the hot car. I refuse to give him what he wants.

When he came back later asking if we were ready yet to leave he made excuses for his abscence- the mosquitoes were biting (true, everyone is covered and I had to take my youngest to the dr. today, but everyone else wasn't complaining), it was hot, the sun was bothering him, it was too crowded, he didn't feel well, he was tired, you name it trying to get my family to feel sorry for him and ask me why we stayed so long when he was not well. He was not happy when they walked away. There was a time that they would have played into his hand. The next day, he acted as if we had all gone to a party and had a great time together and doesn't even remember this incident (one of about 4 that night).

That is one of the small examples of emotional abuse that I could tell you about. When you are living it, you don't see it at first. I didn't. I had no experience at all in being treated that way and it confused me. I couldn't see it for what it was. I was hundreds of miles away from family and everyone that met him thought he walked on water, so surely the fault was mine. Obviously I just needed to repent and change. So I tried to be who I thought I was supposed to be.

You may wonder why I stay, even though I am aware of what is going on. There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is this- the Lord has not told me that I can go, yet. Through the years of dealing with this (as well as the other abuse I will post about later), I have had to learn to rely on the Lord in a way that I did not know was possible. I have had to learn to listen for the still small voice amidst turmoil and chaos and fear. I have had to learn to trust when it felt that the darkness was about to swallow me whole. I have had experiences that have served me when councling with young adults. I have been given an empathy for things that books would never allow me to understand. I can look at some of these young girls and say, "I know. I understand. I know how you feel." and I do.

Perhaps I still have things to learn and do. Perhaps I need to learn how to not be so rude in response to his tirades. Perhaps.... I don't know all the perhapses involved. I do know that there will come a time that I no longer live this life, that I am happy and well loved and treated truly as a daughter of a God. But that time is not yet. And until it is, I will continue to try to learn and grow, despite or maybe in spite of, the circumstances I am in at the moment.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Depression- A Symptom of a Bigger Problem

By Christine Thackeray

Have you ever had an earth-shattering impression to do something that you just ignored? I've had many but this week one of those impressions reawakened and I'm not going to let it fall away this time. I'm going to wrap my arms around it and get it done.

About a year after the birth of my fifth child I went crazy. I had had a couple of early term miscarriages and my hormones were totally out of whack. I could feel it. I was laughing and crying at the same time every day all day for no apparent reason and I basically couldn't function. It was not pretty. One day I called my doctor's group frantic and asked for an immediate appointment. They sent me to their new nurse practitioner who in retrospect should have her license revoked. (I LOVE some nurse practitioners- it was just this woman.) When I told her my problem and that I felt like my hormones weren't readjusting, she told me the answer to everything was anti-depressants and that there were no side effects whatsoever. She said it was the best medicine ever created, and all I needed in order to take this secret to joy was a pregnancy test.

Well, I failed. I was barely pregnant (by two days) so I got an appointment with my normal doctor who told me that my hormones weren't adjusting properly and gave me some progesterone cream to help. Within a few weeks I was back to my semi-normal self and it felt great. That same year I had a visiting teaching companion who had a mean husband and a son on drugs. She separated with him and was trying her hardest to save this wayward son while singly raising four other demanding children but the oldest was becoming more and more violent. It was tearing her apart, as it would any mother. One day she came over to my house with a huge smile on her face. She had been to see a new doctor who told her that her only problem was that she was depressed and gave her medication. I remember her smiling and saying how wonderful her life was going to be now that she was not sad anymore. Her son was still in jail, her husband was still refusing to divorce her because while they were only separated he didn't have to pay child support, she still had no job and four other difficult children. It is right that she should still capture joy in her relationship with the Lord, in her personal accomplishments and in her role as a mother but it is OK for her to be justifiably upset, sad and fearful about her situation- it is called being normal.

I met another woman that I adored. As a young mother she struggled with feelings of inadequacy and perfectionism. On the advice of her physician she began taking a low dose of antidepressants and they helped take the edge off. She goes off them in the spring summer and goes back in the cold months and has been very grateful for a medicine that has allowed her to keep her emotions and mental stability in check. Another friend after suffering childhood abuse has found great relief with medication, while making use of a light box for seasonal issues and a careful diet to offset blood sugar-induced mood swings. She has built a stable foundation and has been able to function despite the neurological scarring of a difficult childhood.

Through these experiences and others I felt so strongly that depression be not better understood but better EXPLAINED. Normal, healthy people should and do feel depressed when they encounter huge obstacles. Depression like elation, anxiety, excitement, concern, fear and contentment are normal emotional states all humans will encounter in their lifetime. If you are in a tough marriage, if you have a child who is rebellious, if you have lost a friend or relative to death, if you are under constant pressure, a normal reaction is for your body to shut down so that you can recover. This shutting down can be different for different people but the lack of will or joy, the inability to make decisions and the desire to isolate or withdraw are typical. Sometimes the sadness can be so extreme that a person wants to cease to exist or to hurt themselves just to feel something. If these thoughts persist, it is imperative they seek professional help. But for the others who find themselves in this abyss, medication is only one option and won't fix the other stressors or triggers causing the depression. Like putting a band-aid over a splinter, the offending matter will only fester until it must be dealt with eventually.

On the other hand, genetically some people are neurologically fragile, some are scarred by abuse and others have experienced depression so many times from external sources that even after those stressors are relieved, their minds repeat this state of emotion on its own. There are also over seventeen true medical conditions that imitate depression.

Each person may find a different answer for coping with their individual struggle. Though their answers may be very different, one thing I truly believe is the path to finding those answers is the same. If they seek with the Spirit, they will find the doctor or the article or the principle that will help them. But really that is the easy part. The true struggle begins after you've figured out the cure, because for most mental health issues, the remedy is a process, not an event. Whether it is changing bad habits, shifting negative scripting either in a relationship or in their own head, creating barriers that keep you safe on the path to healing, breaking the chains of addictions, diet, exercise, medication or herbal supplements, all of them take time to implement and relief only comes with consistency, which stands at the complete opposite corner of reality than the depressed psyche. It's hard stuff but it is so worth it because when you are on task, you can tell you are your best self.

After all this, I guess the bottom line is I really want to organize and prepare a clear premise for dealing with depression through gospel principles. So when we face depression, we are empowered. We need to seek to figure out the source of our feelings and then assess if it is something we can cope with by means of diet, exercise or increased positive experiences in our life or do we need more help through counselling or medication.

I look forward to Sandra's relationship insights, working with feelings and thoughts from the inside out but I also think we need to keep our eyes open from the outside in and figure out what these experiences can teach us We also need to discover how we can increase our ability to be healed by using the gifts of the gospel of Christ because I believe that is what it is for.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And They Lived Happily Ever After

"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." (The Family; A Proclaimation to the World)

You know when you are little how you dream of your wedding day? The dress, the flowers, the bridesmaids and you plan and refine and everything is perfect? Then you play dress-up and house and again everything is perfect? Too bad all that playing and practicing doesn't carry over into reality.

You see, for me marriage and family life has been nothing short of hell on earth. Without going into details, he is a bully, an addictive personality and a wounded soul not willing to look at himself and change. The sad part? I no longer care. I used to care. I used to want to help, to try, to do whatever it took to make things work, or better, or whatever. Now? I just don't care. And that makes me really sad because I really am a kind, caring, loving person.

Now, I don't want to lay all blame at his feet because in response to his faults, all of mine are magnified, and they are not pretty. The worst part of all of this is that it is the children that suffer the most. I want them to experience a loving, safe family life where home is a refuge, a safe haven, a place to get away from the stresses of earth life.

I divorced him once. But after being apart for about a year, he made some promises and looked like he had made changes and I was suckered back into his web of lies and deceptions and re-married him. It was mere weeks before I realized that nothing had changed. My mom told me that she realized that I must have still had some feelings of love for him when I married him again.

About 5 months after the wedding, he had an aneurysm. I rearranged my life- work, school, children- to take care of him. I spent 4 months and all of our savings nursing him back to health. And I realized that I just did not care anymore. I no longer cared if he was in pain, or hungry, or hot, or cold or tired or....... I just did not care. Everyone told me that by taking care of him that way my love for him would only grow and be stronger. But it did not. All it did was drain our finances, grow our debt and make me realize how much I did not care.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I really do still believe in happily ever after. The other day I had the bishop give me a blessing. I was having some health concerns and just needed some help coping with that. That was all I asked for, a healing blessing for a specific concern that I was having. However, during the blessing, the bishop blessed me with some other things that I had been concerned with- one of which regarded this situation. Without going into the details, because they are special and sacred to me, I know that everything will work out ok. Actually more than ok. In fact, I am going to get to live happily ever after after all. I don't know all the details and timelines and all of that. What I do know, though is this: Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to be happy. He knows how unhappy I am. And scared. And tired. And He cares. And it will be ok.

I wrote this post and could not figure out why on earth I would put this out there for any and all to see. So I saved it in the draft section and decided that when I figured it out, I would post it. I have decided that the reason I wrote it was not to get any pity or "I feel sorry for you" comments, because I don't want them. But I have decided that the reason I wrote it is so that I can now do a series of posting on things I have learned in the last 20+ years. Things I would not know otherwise but things I need to know in order to do what I need to do here on earth. Things need to help others navigate life. I also want to write some on relationship abuse- verbal, mental, emotional, physical. These are also things I did not know and now have an intimate knowledge of. Moreso than any text book could help me understand. And this knowledge has serve me well in my chosen profession of helping others. Girls always say to me, "How did you know I was feeling _________?" Because I know. So, here we go. Some of these posts will be easy and clinical, some will be hard for me to write and some hard to read, but I am feeling that they need to be.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A New Definition to Self-Mastery

I confess! I was listening to Dr. Laura the other day in the car. She mentioned how dogs often take emotional cues from their masters, just as kids may be afraid of something because their parents have "warned" them it will be scary. The idea of taking cues from our "masters" and subconsciously mirroring those feelings sort of stuck with me.

We just returned from a trip and getting back into the swing of things has been stressful. My husband has been irritable, short-tempered and no fun to be around as he has had to deal with making up for all the work that has stockpiled while he was away. Yesterday I was so weepy and I couldn't understand why I was so down until I stopped and put one and one together. I was personalizing so much of my husband's stress, just like the dog taking cues from his master.

I thought of teens who get pulled into behaviors they wouldn't have otherwise chosen or women that become destroyed by emotional abuse. They allow someone else to become their "master" and have undue control over what they feel.

I once saw a newscast about a woman who was kidnapped and raped for two days before she was released. The journalist questioning her asked if this would destroy her life but I remember her bravely shaking her head and saying, "This man stole two days of my life, why would I let him steal one more second." She vowed that she was going to put it behind her and live every day she had left to its fullest. For her, she was the master. That type of emotionally "self-mastery" is a powerful gift that we can each aspire to.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How Much Diet Soda Have You Been Drinking?

By Christine Thackeray

I have this close friend that hasn't been feeling well for months now. It started with muscle weakness with her hands. She would just drop things. One day she was holding one of those small bottle of bleach and it suddenly felt too heavy. She dropped it on her family room carpet and ruined it. Then she began to be sick to her stomach. At first is was just loose stools but soon it was full-out diarhea for week, into months, which made her feel tired all the time.

Then her eyes felt funny. She was worried something was seriously wrong with them. They felt itchy and swollen and soon after she woke up and couldn't see at all. She thought she was blind. It happened three times. She started to get really scared and finally went to the ER who told her she probably had MS. She made an appointment with a neurologist a few months out and then she started having episodes where she couldn't talk. She knew the words but it was like her body was off-line for a few minutes. At this point she kept telling me she thought she had cancer, like a tumor in her brain and was going to die.

From her ER visit they told her that her potasium levels were low. She should eat banana's and have no caffeine. She began feeling much better and assumed it was the potassium until today. This morning her daughter was sick with a low grade fever but no other symptoms. When she called the pediatrician, she asked if my friends daughter was drinking any diet drinks or aspartame products. When my friend asked why, she told her there had been at least four reported deaths from aspartame poisoning and probably many more. In some people it can cause muscle weakness, seizures, lethargy, diarhea and blindness.

So it wasn't the caffiene, it was the ASPARTAME! I know with me that I really liked black cherry Fresca when I first tried it but after a handful of cans, I couldn't put one near my head without gagging. It is incredible to me that this product could be that bad for you and not be pulled from the shelves. I was in shock.

I just want to say that when people talk about many of these health alerts, I roll my eyes but this, I saw with my own eyes. For some people ASPARTAME is a POISON and the fact that two sets of doctors never caught it is scary. How many people feel weak, tired, said or depressed- it could be caused by your favorite drink.

So right now put down that diet soda and swear to me you will not have another- or your children.


This is going to be sort of a whining post, I'll try to keep out too much of the whining, though.

One of my daughter's friends is getting married next week. My daughter and her other friends are very upset over this. Here is how this played out:

Three of these girls have been friends since elementary school. They hung around together, did birthday parties together, played together during and after school. Then when our ward (church congregation) boundaries were changed, all three of them were together even at church. In high school, another girl moved in and joined the "gaggle of girls" and it was fun had by all. They supported and helped each other through the normal wear and tear of their growing up years. Then they graduated from high school. Not much changed. Two went away to college in a neighboring town and two, (my daughter and the neighbor girl) lived at home and worked and went to school.

There were new jobs, new routines, new roommates, new friends, and new boy friends. But still these four girls spent as much time together as schedules would allow. There were still get togethers and parties and fun times. The last good time, though, was about New Years Eve.

Then it happened. One of the girls had "the talk" with her good guy friend. He felt he was holding her back. He wanted to date her and probably even marry her, but he wanted her to experience life and grow as a person. She wanted to be married before she was 20 (which will be in a couple of weeks from now). She was sad. She was hurt. She doubted that her life plan would work out the way she wanted it to.

She met the new guy at church. This was approximately Jan 3ish. His fiancee had just broke up with him that day. He asked her out. They went out that night. They were engaged 1 week later. And now they are getting married next week. They have known each other for 3 months.

And that is not the scary part of this whole story. He hates her friends. They are not a good influence. She needs to learn to cleave unto him and him only. She is no longer allowed to talk to my daughter and the other friends. He had her tell them, "I know longer need friends now that I have Mr. Walks on Water. He is my whole and complete life and you just drag me down. I am a woman now and need to put away childish things. You (said with derrision) are children and childish. We need no one but each other. Our whole lives will be wrapped up in each other and we will spend every spare moment with each other."

{step one of the abuser- isolate your victim}

This girl is a cute, cute gal. She is a bit quirky, but that is who she is, it makes her endearing. She never, ever wears matching socks. Never. And panty hose- are you kidding me. And all of her dresses are cute prarie style skirts- simple and non fluff, but they are totally her. If you were to picture her, you would see- a gingerbread cottage, but not too fancy, simple and plain. She is one of the most gorgeous girls on the earth, without makeup. Her chestnut colored hair is long and straight, but shiny and under control, with no product to make it that way. A true earth mother. She wanted to be a botanist.

I saw her at Easter when she came to our church meetings with Mr. Walks On Water. Her hair was curled and pulled back in a semi- updo. She had on a cream colored suit dress, panty hose and high heels. She was wearing make-up. She was pretty and well put together. A true garden party, country club mistress. Who is this girl?

And Mr Walks on Water? He looked like he could have stepped out of GQ. He sat behind me in Sunday School and kept up a quiet runnin commentary about how none of us in the classroom knew what we were talking about and he was the only one in the classroom that knew anything at all about the scriptures. He emminated a strong "holier than thou" feeling.

I felt the same vibes from him that I feel from other abusive men that I know. I felt sick to my stomach just sitting by him. I truly tried to not let my daughter's opinion of him color my judgement. If you have ever had much to do with abusive men, be it physical, emotional, verbal, s~xual, or mental abuse, you will know what I mean. You can feel it radiating from them. When I encounter these men, I run as soon as possible and have as little contact with them as I can. I even warn my children from them. Even if I have no evidence to support my feelings- I am almost 100% right. I am sensitive to the auras surrounding them. He had the aura in great big flashing neon signs.

My daughter and I talked about this after church. She is as sensitive to them as I am. She told me that the girl had changed her major because botany was too time consuming. And my daughter could not believe what her friend was wearing. That change was new in the last couple of weeks. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she felt that she needed to act more like a grown woman and that clothes were a needed change. I know I don't wear the same style that I wore when I was 18. It is possible. I keep telling my daughter and the other girls that if this marriage is a mistake, then it is hers to make.

The girls had given this friend a bridal shower on Saturday. Mr. Walks on Water attended to make sure that they didn't do anything degrading or stupid. Mr. Walks on Water told my daughter and the other original friend that he cannot trust his fiancee around them because they might influence her to be unrighteous. These two girls (who were giving the shower) left early.

Monday night it all came to a head. My daughter sent a text message to friend asking how her day had been. Friend texted back "Why are you asking? What are you trying to do to me? You know what, you and neighbor friend are unwelcome at my wedding and my reception. Mr. Walks on Water says that you are evil and vile and he gets a sick feeling when you are around and he also feels evil spirits when you come around us. Do not speak to me again." My daughter cried for 2 hours.

I will not be attending the reception, I do not want to make a scene, but if I were to come face to face with this horrible excuse for a man, I would give him a piece of my mind and I don't use that kind of language. Truthfully, I hope that my daughter and I are wrong. For friend's sake, I really hope they live happily ever after and that she has the life that she believes she is getting. But deep down, I fear that she is trading friends and family for years of saddness, neglect and abuse. I really think that in 3 months, she will be another statistic, another abused wife, another ER visit. I am going to give her mother a copy of the book, "Not Another Sara", because I am afraid that they are going to need it to help them get through the next year.

I hope I am wrong.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Real Friendship!

I'm supposed to be working but a friend emailed me this and it was just too good not to share. Why is it that when your dealing with yucky stuff in your life that some people make you want to rip their heads off and others can help you heal in ways you never dreamed?

Perhaps a little of the answer lies in the following silly couplets of what real friendship is all about.

  1. When you are sad -- I will help you plot revenge against the sorry jerk who made you sad.
  2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodgewhatever is choking you.
  3. When you smile -- I will know you are thinking of something that I would probably want to be involved in.
  4. When you are scared -- I will rag you aboutit every chance I get until you're Not.
  5. When you are worried -- I will tell youhorrible stories about how much Worse it could beuntil you quit whining.
  6. When you are confused -- I will try to useonly little words.
  7. When you are sick -- Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
  8. When you fall -- I will laugh at your clumsy butt, but I'll help you up.

This is my oath.... I pledge it to the end.'Why?' you may ask; 'because you are my friend'. Friendship is like peeing in your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

To me, this sentiment says a lot because real friendship isn't always hugs, smiles and chocolates. I remember hearing about a couple whose baby stopped breathing. They gently lifted the infant and dashed to the hospital, holding the small struggling baby up to the ER nurse. Instantly she grabbed the child and held it upside down, smacking its back and bottom. The baby began to scream and the horrified parents snatched back their child but the nurse realized that was what the baby needed to survive.

A true friend gives you what you need, not what you want. C. S. Lewis said, "We are bidden to ‘put on Christ,’ to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want."

It's a real gift to find a friend who understands this concept and is willing to laugh at you and shake you up a little bit when you need it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blame the Weather

By Christine Thackeray

When I was young, my grandmother often stayed with us. Some mornings she would get up stiffly and say she knew it was going to rain because her knees were talking to her. I wasn't quite sure what she meant until years later when genetics had finally done its work. Now I know what she is talking about. When there is a significant pressure change, my knees swell up like basketballs. After talking to a variety of specialists the best thing I can do, if I like my liver and kidneys, is just put up with it until the next day when they are pretty much back to normal.

This internal barometer has taught me something. For people who are neurologically sensitive either due to genetics or injury, their brains act like my knees. On days where my knees swell, I'll often call friends who struggle with depression or mania and find they are whacked out, feeling either exhausted or extremely moody that day.

Interestingly, it even has a name "Barometric Depression Syndrome." Not much research has been done on this problem but I can tell you first hand that it exists because I've seen it. The last week in Portland it has gone from sunshine to hail to snow and back to 60 degree weather in a single afternoon. It's so bad I can barely walk up the stairs. I've got one friend who is struggling with migraines, another who came over yesterday in tears and a third who can't get out of bed. I keep telling them not to personalize it- it isn't their fault. Blame it on all these freak storms.

In 1979 a group of "brain-dead" scientists did a study of 72 people with severe headaches in the Boston area to see if their headaches were affected by the weather. Based on this single, poorly conceived study there are a group of medical professionals who will tell you that you are crazy if you see this correlation. The huge holes in this study are that Boston is not an area really well known for severe pressure changes- try Texas or Kansas right before a twister and see how you feel. Secondly, if your population is chosen from people who already have severe headaches on a regular basis, they have a different trigger. Finally, there is far more evidence to support the truth. One medical site states that the most common type of headache is due to pressure changes in the weather. If you do a google search you'll find dozens of people who discuss this very topic. Fibromyalgia is also proven to be triggered by barometric shifts. There is even some evidence that SAD (seasonal affected disorder) may be linked to barometric pressure changes. So the next time you wake up feeling off, remember it may not be you at all. It is probably just the weather.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Creating Happiness when Life doesn't bring it Naturally

By Christine Thackeray

A few months ago we went to a "Bunko" party. Bunko is a lot like Yahtzee- it is all luck. The luckiest people at throwing dice move up and the unlucky ones move down. It should be a totally random process but surprisingly its not. The same people including my husband seemed to be constantly at the front table and I with a few other pathetic individuals spent the night at the dregs. It was humbling but enlightening.

As we left for the evening some of the people at the last table had great fun, no pressure, only felt they could go up from there, where as one woman was truly upset and felt like she was a total loser. (I'm not going to tell you which was me.)

Too often life is like that night playing Bunko or like the parable of the talents, the lucky people get everything. Why did the Lord give the one talent to the guy that had ten and not to the one who had five. It's like some people just get all the luck- you know?

Last week I lost at the "Bunko" game of life. Our house was supposed to sell, but the buyers walked away last minute. I had a manuscript rejected for copyright and the work to fix it is going to be emotionally wrenching and physically exhausting, and some people yelled at me because I was late to an activity. My feelings were hurt and I was publically embarrassed. The next day I was totally "dish-rag woman"- depression oozed from my heart in its silent blanket of apathy. I couldn't force myself to smile or cry, I just didn't care. I didn't answer the phone and I didn't act responsibly. Knowing myself, I could stay in a "funk" like this for days if I didn't do anything. I was an empty well and it was time to fill it.

SO- (I'm proud of myself because I don't always do this) I did fun stuff all day long! I played Literati on the computer and won like five times. Then I called four of my sisters and gabbed about kids and life and I laughed! I took my son to lunch and then came home and watched a movie with my children slouched all around me. By the end of the night I was so much happier and felt I could at least begin to conquer all the mountains that had defeated me the day before.

The next morning I rolled up my sleeves and called my sister Marianna (who is practically perfect in every way.) We are writing this book together and I wanted to see how she felt about the rejection since I only emailed the info to her (and was putting off facing her because if she blamed me, I would have crumbled into nothingness.) When she answered the phone, she confessed that she was so upset about the rejections that she had spent the day reading the book, "Eclipse" to get away from it and give her brain a rest.

I thought that was totally unfair. She had figured out that sometimes when life is too much to handle, you just need to step back and feed yourself. Wow, she had figured that out and didn't even have to deal with the grumpy monster that lives in my brain. Maybe that's why she doesn't have a grumpy monster in her brain.

Hormonal shifts, neurological injury or illness aside, when our depression is triggered by externals, we need to remember we have the power to change our input. We are not trapped in a single position, being force-fed life. We can sometimes choose what to participate in to bring us back to center, where we can deal with life. If I could do that one thing better, I may never get to the point where I fall apart. That's the hope anyway.

Back to the parable of the talents in the Bible, the interesting thing that does make me happy is that the guy with ten talents and the one with only half as much both got the same reward. It is OK if we do less, as long as we do our best and sometimes that best means taking a little breather now and then.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why am I here?

When I started this blog back in August, it was a way for me to gripe and complain about my life. Basically it was a pity party blog. I really didn't want to do that in my main blog, because who would come back to read it? So I started this blog and didn't tell anyone. But making it a blog kept me from being too graphic about my life, but it still allowed me to wallow.

Then one day someone found the blog and commented. Soon after that I decided I didn't want to wallow so much anymore, but I did still want to acknowledge that sometimes life is just hard and maybe even unfair. But I also wanted to acknowledge that I could overcome the yucky parts of life, or at least make it through them with my head held high. More people came and commented.

I then thought that maybe I could use my college degree as well as my life experiences to help others going through the same muck. That maybe we could all stop wallowing and hold our heads high, put our hands out to each other and get through this life in the best possible way. But you know how life is, I got overwhelmed with everything and my posting was hit and miss whenever I was so moved or time permitted. I started thinking that perhaps I should find someone to help me. But that is all I did, think about it.

One day as I was reading my e-mail, I had a note from Christine. I had commented on her blog and for some reason it connected with her. She checked out my blogs, saw this one and wanted to contribute. What did I think of that? I cried. The Lord had sent me a blessing and I had not even asked for it!

I told her yes, yes, yes I wanted her help and contributions. I also asked her for time to pray about exactly what our objectives should be. This is how I knew I needed to add her- as soon as I sent her that e-mail and then prayed about it, I did not have a single moment to just sit and be quiet and contemplate the purpose. Every single moment that in the months before were filled with boredom and thumb twirling were all of a sudden filled with stuff I had to deal with right then. This went on for 5 days! This is usually a sign to me that Satan is trying to sidetrack me and stop whatever I am considering. I added Christine and figured I would sneak the purpose contemplation in when he least expected it, then he couldn't stop it with trivia.

So here we go:
Purpose of this blog
To acknowledge that life is not always beautiful, it has some ugly parts to it
To acknowledge that life is sometimes hard, sometimes not what we envisioned
To acknowledge that you are not the only one going through whatever you are going through right now
To lend a hand to pull you up
To lend a hand to support you when you think you are going to fall
To help ease your burdens
To help you find a place to turn to
To help you learn to lean on the Lord or even to learn how to want to

That will do for now.

Are Your Friends Making You More Miserable?

By Christine Thackeray

Last night I was talking with a group of teenagers. Although they were focused on a single activity, there were three who refused to participate. They sat in the corner and then in the hall and eventually ended up outside. I went out to talk to them and asked why they didn't want to play. They felt that they weren't accepted and no one liked them. I know these girls well and each comes from a very difficult home, wrought with substance abuse issues, neglect and instability. After bribing them, the girls agreed to come in for five minutes. We entered the gym and the game stopped for them. Teams were changed up so they could be included and for those five crazy minutes it was great. But when the time was up, they hurried out the door to listen to a new CD in another leader's car- that was the bribe.

What really got me is that my daughter was sort of upset on the way home because she felt these three girls had pushed her and her friends away. She had asked them to play earlier and their reply was something like, "fat chance!" She thought they considered themselves too good for her.

Often when we have been hurt we become more cautious of new relationships and build up barriers to protect ourselves. We sometimes surround ourselves with people who understand us because they are equally broken. A recent study was done of 170 pairs of roommates and 153 dating couples over a three month period. The conclusion was interesting. Emotional contagion is is real. When someone has a severely depressed roommate, their mood is more likely to decline. Luckily, it is short-lived. When they change their situation, their feelings often lift. So our associations can greatly affect the way we approach life.

The scary part of the study was to find out that long-term relationships mirror each other. Often people that are negative are with another person that is negative or positive people are with someone else positive. Chris Segrin said, "I was surprised by how similar the partners' moods remained over time. I thought there'd be much more fluctuation." It would seem when a group of people living with negatives stay together, they do not change but weigh each other down.

Although it is important to have people in our life who we feel can understand our perspective, if our goal is to heal and improve, each of us must look carefully at our associations. Do we have friends that we consider healthy, who are lifting us emotionally? If not, we need to reach out or we could get stuck in our rut for a long time.
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Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Great Place To Be

by Christine Thackeray

It is amazing how we are "guided" to some people. I recently moved to Oregon and within a few weeks felt comfortable with a circle of new friends. But then this woman who seldom comes to church accosted me in the grocery store. I had been wanting to go walking and she mentioned it and before long we began walking together every morning. It was an odd match because our backgrounds and personalities were as different as two could be, but we have become the best of friends- I just love her. We really exercise our jaws as much as our legs every morning and laugh that we have become each other's therapists.

One morning I was telling her about an old friend that I had met unexpectedly. I honestly felt like I had been guided to find her. That's when Sonja laughed and told me how we really met. That morning that I was shopping, she had noticed me almost an hour before we spoke but didn't want to talk to me. She thought I was one of those perfect "Molly Mormons" and tried to stay out of my way, but every time she would turn down another aisle I would be there. She said that she even tried to go out of order and I was still there. Finally she said to herself, "Okay, Heavenly Father, I'll talk to her once, but that's it." Now we see each other every morning and it's great.

Meeting Sandra was like that for me. I recently started a blog and often check my few comments. Sandra visited and left a brief note but something in it touched me. When I checked her profile, I was really impressed- and then I read this blog and really wanted to be part of it. I'm so looking forward to getting to know Sandra better and to sharing my experiences in facing challenges, healing from emotional and systemic physical wounds, clarifying the extent of our personal power for change and sometimes simply surviving until "the thorn in our side" is removed.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I'll tell you a little about me. I grew up in a loving home. My parents had twelve children and I was in the middle. I had an older brother who tortured me with the typical annoyances of an older brother, nothing horrible, but hurtful. As a teenager we moved to a ward where I was blacklisted partly because my brother didn't want me going to the same parties as him and partly because I had become friends with a girl whose best friend was terribly jealous. When my only friend moved away, I spent the next two years as the brunt of everyone's jokes at church and it still hurts to think of it. We moved but the family of the girl that had been so unkind moved down the street. We were civil and spent a lot of time together but it was difficult. When I got ready to go to BYU, her mother came to me and begged me to be her roommate. I felt obligated to say yes (AHHH! I was a total spineless victim- never be that!) Within a few weeks everyone on the floor of our dorm thought I was Methusala based on the gossip sessions of my roommate and I flunked out of my first year of school.

The saddest part is that I think I brought out the worst in a wonderful girl. It is like when you meet a child that is really ticklish and has a funny laugh, so you love to tickle them because the response is so satisfying. But if you tickle them too much, it is torture. Well, I think I had too many irresistable buttons that upset me and it was so easy to get a response that neither one of us improved by our relationship together.

What is tragic is that the emotional injury of that relationship haunted me for years. I always felt that no one really accepted me and were saying things behind my back because for so many years they were. I always related to the abused and outcasts because that is how I identified myself. And the worst part is that my parents thought those feelings were ridiculous because I had been raised in a wonderful, happy family and been given every privilege.

Today I'm grateful. My heart is filled with empathy and my life is filled with joy. I married a Rancher turned Engineer who is my emotional rock and puts up with all my quirks. He endures the laundry mountains and dirty dishes that get stacked up because I choose to fill my life with creative pursuits or silly expeditions. But with all of that, the Lord keeps sending me challenges. I've had to deal with loss, grief and numerous health issues like CMV, PFS (bad knees), chronic fatigue and fibro myalgia. Yuck. Through friends and those I've served I have been deeply involved with anxiety, depression, suicide, severe abuse and addiction.

So women's health issues have become my hobby and I had hoped my post-baby career. I planned on attending medical school as soon as my youngest went to kindergarten but got called as Relief Society President the day I enrolled in pre-requisite classes. Then I moved and got a part-time job at a local university so I could get free tuition as I pursued my doctorate in Psych, but again I went to the temple the day before I was to begin and felt black inside. When I told Greg, my husband, he encouraged me to listen to the Spirit. I quit and a few days later my sister approached me with a manuscript she was working on. I editted it and it was accepted for publication. She convinced me to send in an old novel that I had given up on and it was accepted too. So I suppose this new path was meant to be and that path has taken me here.

Sandra, I'm thrilled with the opportunity and can't wait to meet all of you.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Do you feel a little blue in the winter?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a form of depression triggered by the shorter periods of light in winter. Annual episodes usually begin in the fall and end in March or April, with the coming of spring. according to NIMH estimates, some 10 million Americans have SAD. Sufferers feel helpless and guilt-ridden and have difficulty thinking and making decisions. They typically crave carbohydrate-rich foods and gain weight during the cold months, and spend many more hours asleep, yet feel chronically exhausted.

Symptoms of SAD

  • Sleep problems: Desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake, but in some cases disturbed sleep and early morning wakening.

  • Lethargy: Feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine.

  • Overeating: Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually resulting in weight gain

  • Depression: Feelings of misery, guilt and loss of self-esteem, sometimes hopelessness and despair, sometimes apathy and loss of feelings

  • Social problems: Irritability and desire to avoid social contact

  • Anxiety: Tension and inability to tolerate stress

  • Loss of Libido: Decreased interest in s*x and physical contact

  • Mood changes: In some sufferers, extremes of ood and short periods of hypoania (overactivity) in spring and autumn.

Most sufferers show signs of a weakened immune system during the winter, and are more vulnerable to infections and other illnesses. SAD symptoms disappear in spring, either suddenly or with a short period (4 weeks) of hyperactivity, or gradually, depending on the intensity of sunlight in the spring and early summer. SAD may begin at any age, but the main age of onset is between 18 and 30 years. Daily exercise has been shown to be helpful, particularly when done outdoors. For tose who tend to crave sweets during the winter, eating a balanced diet may help one's mood. Conversely, as the mood improves, craving for sweets may abate. Briht Light Therapy is one of the most common ways to counteract the symptoms of SAD. There are many lights on the market, but here are a few things to look for when searching for a lamp:

  1. UV-shielded for safety

  2. EMF- shielded for safety

  3. Flicker free

Friday, January 18, 2008

When is it more than a "bad day"

In the school district where I work it is Depression Edcation and Awareness month. The next 2 posts are taken from an article in the district monthly newspaper.

What is Depression?

Everyone at one time or another has felt depressed, sad or blue. Being depressed is a normal reaction to loss, life's stuggles, or an injured self-esteem. But sometimes the feeling of sadness becomes intense, lasting for long periods of time and preventing aperson from leading a normal life. Depression that has these characteristics is a treatable medical condition called Major Depressive Disorder, one of a number of depressive illnesses. According to a report from the National Institutes of Mental Health, nearly 18.8 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from major depression Suicide, closely linked to depression, is the third leading cause of death in 10-24 year olds. Unfortunately, most people never seek treatment. Left undiagnosed and untreated, depression can worsen, lasting for years and causing untold suffering and possibly even resulting in suicide. Serious depression does effect all ages, even children. Watch for syptoms of depression. If you observe someone close to you with symptoms of depression, contact someone that can get them the proper medical intervention. With proper medical intervention, depression is very treatable, especially in children.

What are the symptoms of depression (in children as well as adults)?

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of depression that you should be aware of:
  • Sadness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Stomache and digestive problems
  • Decreased s*x drive
  • S*xual problems
  • Headaches
  • A change in appetite causing weight loss or gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Attempting suicide

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, seek your health care provider's advice for treatment or referral to a mental health professional. All mentions of suicide or violence must be taken seriously. If you or someone you know has a plan to commit suicide, go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Life with depression

Today starts a series of posts on depression, anxiety, panic attacks and the like.

The alarm clock goes off, waking you from the sleep that took you most of the night to find. You rub your eyes and try to stretch, but stretching just makes you aware of how tired you really are. You rub your eyes again trying to clear the sleep induced fog from them. Maybe a shower will help.

After your shower, you rub your eyes again. Must be the steam from the water. Maybe breakfast will wake you up. You stand in front of the cupboard looking for something to eat. You don't want to eat, but you have to, your stomache is protesting being empty. You have a bowl of oatmeal, you hate oatmeal. You used to like food, didn't you?

Teeth are brushed and makeup on, you didn't have to think about them, they are automatic movements like breathing or you might never do them. They really take a lot of energy. You are so tired and just want to go back to bed, but life is calling. Go away and leave me alone, I just want to rest, you have to tell that voice to leave, you have life. Clothes. Pick jeans, any shirt will go with jeans and one more decsion that you don't have to make.

You wipe at your eyes again. Why does everything still look like a sleep induced fog?

Gotta go to work. Paste on the fake smile, the life is good mask. The, I am so blessed to be alive lie. Step into the big plastic bubble that you walk through life in. And wipe your eyes again.

Kids, work, questions, reports, filing, driving, bills, phone calls, e-mails to answer, I just want to go to bed, I am so tired.

Oh, the floor needs mopped- again. You are too tired to lift the mop, you'll get it tomorrow.

Is it time for bed yet? Rub your eyes.

Finally, everyone is in bed and the hotspots of the home are out, you can go to bed. You lie there, exhausted, but sleep is playing hide and seek again and you just cannot find him. Why won't he ever play a quiet, laying in the bed dreaming game?

The alarm clock goes off, waking you from the sleep that took you most of the night to find...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sabbath days

Wow, it has been two months since I posted here. I had a bad case of depression and it took a lot out of me. It seems to be lifting, though. January usually does bring the beginings of the end of the seasonal depression.

I was thinking today about the because of things. Our Sunday School teacher asked us what we would miss if we took away The Book of Mormon from our religion. I stated that, flaws and all, I would miss me because almost everything I am and do is because of my faith and knowledge of the gospel. Without it, I would be someone else. And so with that, I am going to post a somewhat different "Because of You" post.

Because of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I can repent and try to right my wrongs.
Because of my Savior, I can be better today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today.
Because of Him, I can return to live with my Father in Heaven.
Because of Him, I can be with my family forever.
Because of Him, I will again be able to see my friend that died on New Year's Eve.
Because of Him, someday my pain will be gone and I will be able to understand why I went through it
Because of Him, I have 7 wonderful children
Because of Him, when I am sad or lonely or depressed, or in pain, I know that I can pray and ask for help. The help may not be the taking away of the pain, or sadness, but a giving of strength to help me make it through. And that is ok-- eventually.

So, thank You for giving me this knowledge and this life. I may not always like it or appreciate it, but, because of You, it will be ok.