A NEW DAY

He is risen, he is risen!

Tell it out with joyful voice:

he has burst his three days’ prison;

let the whole wide earth rejoice:

Death is conquered, we are free,

Christ has won the victory.

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Yesterday I was reminded of how grateful I am to be alive.  I have four beautiful, healthy children, a wonderful husband and an awesome extended family.

I got a second chance.  God gave me the disease of Bipolar Disorder/Depression so that I would live to tell my story and help others.  He gave me the gift of being able to write my story so that others may feel through my words what I went through and what others feel as they battle the depths of depression.  My battle is a gift.  Alleluia.

“We do not presume to  come to this thy Table , O MERCIFUL Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in they manifold and great mercies.  We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.  But thou are the same Lord whose property is always to have MERCY.  Grant us therefore, GRACIOUS Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us.  Amen.”  Book of Common Prayer, Holy Eucherist I.

This is my favorite prayer as we prepare for Communion.  It always gives me peace.  When do you feel closest to God?  Taking Communion and saying this prayer is when I feel His presence the most.  It reminds me that, in spite of my flaws, God loves me.  He loves me enough to give me a  second chance at life and share myself openly so that I may help others.

For so long I thought my disease was punishment.  That was my depressed brain talking.  That little man was doing everything in his power to break my spirit.  Many people would say that Satan was getting a foothold in the door.  He succeeded for a while.  However, as I lay in the hospital with nothing else to do but think about what I had done to myself and my family, I realized that I could wallow in my misery or take back my life.  It has been a hard road.  Some days can be a roller coaster for me.  I have to push myself to get up out of bed, get dressed and face the day head on.  I have to remind myself that some days that is all I can do and that is ok.  Tomorrow is another day and I can fight a little harder.

As a good friend of mine is suffering right now, I find myself wanting to shake them and tell them to snap out of it.  I know what they need to do to take the steps to get to a healthier place.  When I am down, I sometimes wish someone would give me just a little nudge.  They can offer to take a short walk with me.  I know this person knows the tools to help them be a little healthier.  I want to point that out without being insensitive to their sorrow.  It is hard.  I spend a lot of time worrying and praying for them.  I can tell them I love them but their depressed brain is telling them that I don’t really care.  They think I don’t understand what they are going through.  They think that I am the only one who can gets depressed.  I’m not.

This friend feels hopeless because they can’t get in to see a doctor.  It is so frustrating when every doctor you call cannot see you for at least four to six weeks.  The gatekeeper for the doctor doesn’t understand the urgency of the sufferer’s needs. They feel no one understands their misery.  They give up and suffer in silence.  This is the problem with the mental health system.  I don’t know how to fix it.  You wait four to six weeks to pay $150/ “hour” when in truth you see the doctor for only about 15 minutes.

My psychiatrist in Fairhope retired last year and I had to find a new one. He didn’t take my insurance but he had treated me after my first attempt in Fairhope because he saw the patients in The Harbor, the outpatient program I was in after my acute care stay in the mental ward of a nearby hospital.   I had to find one that took my health insurance.  I wanted a woman this time.  I was lucky enough to find a good one.  When we moved to Birmingham, the psychiatric “company” had a branch in Birmingham.  That was a horrible experience.  The doctor I finally got in to see, was Indian.  I could hardly understand a word he said.  I have nothing against the Indian culture but I felt as if I was run through a meat factory.

I turned to Grayson and Associates where my first Therapist works.  I was “lucky” enough to get in to see a great one.  She is personable and it didn’t take long for her to get to know me and she knows the ins and outs of all the psychiatric meds and how the cocktail I need can work best to keep me stable.  Again I say to myself I “lucked” out.  In reality God had a hand in this.  He works in mysterious ways:)

I am not sure how I got off track but I think my story earns merit.  It is so hard to get the right help.  Having a good fit with your doctor is crucial.  It often means a trial and error approach that can be so frustrating that you want to give up.  Please don’t.  While you are waiting to get in to see a doctor, take small steps to get better.  Start out by exercising.  If you can’t seem to muster up the energy, just take a small walk around the block.  You may find yourself wanting to walk just a bit further every day.  The endorphins will kick in and before you know it and without even realizing it you may feel a little better each day.

Pray.  You may feel God is not on your side and you don’t deserve His help.  But you do.  You are worthy.  God loves you even when you don’t love yourself.  He is MERCIFUL.

I love you too.  I love you enough to bare my soul so that I may help you fight for another day.  I know you just want to pull the covers over yourself.  FIGHT.  Fight for your family and friends.  They feel just as helpless when you suffer.  They are going to say and do the wrong things.  Forgive them, forgive yourself.  God forgives you ever day.

I hope each and every one of you had a blessed Easter.  I hope you reveled in God’s love.  I hope you looked in awe at the beauty that is around us.  Spring is a time of renewal.  It is a time for resolutions to better yourself.  I quit making New Years resolutions.  They never stick. I quit trying to give something up during Lent and started doing something.  Doing something is giving up something.  It is a chance to make a new habit stick.  Starting a new and healthy habit is hard but rewarding.   I try to make a promise to myself for my family and friends to better myself this time of year.

I will stop rambling now.  Enjoy this beautiful time of year and this glorious weather. Get out and get some vitamin D.

Blessings,

Lulu