Nothing nor Everything

I became too angry to care.
Anger dragged and crushed every emotion with it at this strange, new height.
My sobs became dry.
My heaving became breathless.
My tear ducts empty.

Call me hypocritical, but what can I do?
I am one person. My anger does nothing.
My anger at the moment when the city of lights grew pitch black. It did not bring those lives back.
At the tyranny upon the streets of Beirut. How little compassion there was for them.
At the people who daily fight the battles of depression. Loss. Worthlessness. All battles of equal numbness.

Anger does nothing. Numbness does nothing.

Where do I stand?
Isn’t it impossible to stand at both far ends of a spectrum?
I am cut in half. Both halves struggling to meet each other
To become whole again.

Oh, how I want to feel.
Neither extreme anger, nor extreme nothingness would do.

I want to feel again.
Lord, I want to feel the equilibrium you feel.
The anger, but the hope Christ has.
The weariness, but the perseverance Christ has.
The sadness, but the joy Christ has.
The hate against evil, but the love for humanity Christ has.

I want to feel
even though I am dried out.
I want to see puzzle pieces of broken hearts put together.
I want to love those pieces.
I want to rise.

Help me to raise my right hand,
as the militant who takes the oath of faith, and say:
– I no longer accept feeling “nothing,” when Christ gave his everything.
– I no longer accept feeling “everything,” when Christ already bore that everything.

And since I have asked these things of you,
I, then, accept one type of extreme:
Extreme Desperation
For you, my God.
Lead me. Show me. Instruct me. I beg of thee.

Advertisements

20 Tips

Please check out my new blog page, 20 & Beyond, prior to reading this post!

Today is my 20th birthday, but before the day ends I have a little something of my own to give to everyone and those in the Mental Health community. These are 20 tips for those who struggle with depression and/or anxiety, or for those who would like to learn more coping skills. I’ve come up with these tips from the past 20 days of SOAP devotionals, experiences, and therapy/psychiatry sessions. I really hope this blesses you, and thank you for even checking this out. Thank you, also, to those who wished me a Happy Birthday!


Day 1: BE STILL. Find your quiet place. (Psalm 23: 1-3)

Day 2: SEEK His face, and His voice. Let your hope be in Him “all day long.” (Psalm 25: 4-5)

Day 3: Declare yourself VICTORIOUS in His Name! Have confidence in God’s faithfulness. (Psalm 26: 2-3)

Day 4: You are a WINNER. As long as you claim Jesus as Lord, all things against You will “stumble and fall” at His feet. (Psalm 27: 2-3)

Day 5: PRAY & PRAISE. He hears You! (Psalm 28: 6-7)

Day 6: Try again. If for some reason you have an anxiety/depression attack one day, don’t give up.

Day 7: FORGIVE yourself. Do not dwell in guilt and shame (Psalm 30: 5)

Day 8: Feel yourself spiraling downward? Find a new angle. My psychiatrist told me to work on “finding a new angle” against my anxiety and depression. Find a new way to fight, rather than constantly giving in to it.

Day 9: Find something fun to do on this day, just for yourself! (I was told to actually try attending hip hop classes)

Day 10: CBT anyone? Back track from your overwhelming thoughts. (Check out my recent blog post on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/Negative Thinking)

Day 11: Practice MINDFULNESS. Try setting aside 5 minutes of your morning to still your body and mind, and to focus on words of truth (“you are worthy,” “you are special,” “He has new mercies for me everyday,” etc.)

Day 12: Watch your words. Do not shout lies from your lips, but whisper loving words of truth (Psalm 34: 12-13)

Day 13: Be willing. “I can’t,” is a lie. “I will,” is truth.

Day 14: Buy an adult coloring book. This may sound silly, but settle and calm your mind by focusing on one of these per day. (My family loves these!)

Day 15: Get to know others who are “in the same boat.” Encourage one another. Keep each other accountable.

Day 16: Make the most of your therapy sessions. Try not to give “I don’t know” answers. Sometimes my sessions tend to be emotionally draining as my therapist weeds out my thinking, but I know I can’t give up.

Day 17: Be willing to learn. Keep an open mind during your sessions.

Day 18: You may feel like staying in bed for the whole day, but get up. (I once had a friend come over to literally drag me out of bed)

Day 19: Know you are loved. By friends, family, therapists, social workers – but above all by the Lord.

Day 20: Impart that love to someone else. You may be a very sensitive or emotional person, but use this to see what you are passionate about, and how you can creatively give back to someone else.

With these tips and by God’s grace, I hope that you, too, can celebrate the gift of life that God has given you. Cheers to 20 years of life & beyond!

Happy Happy Thinking

Hey all! In this blog post I want to simply share a tool that really helped me tonight. Tonight, I felt my depression kicking in. I did not want to do anything until I thought of this. I filled out a sheet for Cognitive Behavioral Thinking (CBT). I first learned about this in a positive psychology class and in a few therapy sessions. There are three columns: your situations, the automatic – and usually negative – thoughts that come out of the situation, and your new – and positive – thoughts. I filled this out to help me track where my bad feelings stemmed out of. I surprisingly feel much better. I strongly encourage anyone – even if you’re not dealing with depression/anxiety – to fill it out. It takes about 10 minutes. I share mine below as an example:

CBTHope you get the chance to fill this out! You can find several copies of these online, or simply create your own chart. Style it, color it, and make it pretty for your bedroom wall or something!

With much love,
Ariel

Your Worth in the Attack

Sometimes depression and anxiety can keep you from doing so many things. When destructive thoughts come into my mind, I feel no strength to do anything. And to think, the Lord has called me (someone who cries all the time) to lead a congregation into worship??

Friends, I’m coming to terms with the fact that the Lord really does equip the called, and does not call the equipped. I wrote a SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) devotional today that I would like to share with you. It shares the fact that I am never defeated, no matter how powerful the feelings of depression may be. It shares the fact that with God, all things are possible.

SCRIPTURE: “But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.” – Psalm 22:19-21

OBSERVATION:
– The Lord is the ONLY source of strength. It cannot be found anywhere else.
– He is Father. He will come quickly when He sees His own child in distress.
– “my precious life” – a life is precious in the Lord’s eyes. It is his treasure.
– He will come to rescue at ALL times.

APPLICATION:
– My body feels “poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint” (verse 14). But I will still call on the Lord.
– As long as the Lord is in my heart, as long as Christ still stands as Lord, and as long as I call on Him, I will NEVER be defeated.
– The Lord comes to MY rescue at all times.

PRAYER: My God, I call on You right now. My body has felt weak with anxiety. Weak with destructive thoughts. Weak from constant tears. But, like David, I still call you Lord. I ask you to be my strength. To come and rescue me from all things that are against me. Tell me that my life is precious, that I am Yours, and that You love me. Keep me in your arms and under Your protective wing. Comfort me in the fact that I will ALWAYS be your child, and that Satan will ALWAYS be defeated. I love you Lord and in your name I pray, Amen.

I pray that you find worth in yourself even if you do deal with battles of depression and anxiety attacks. You are worthy to take part in any form of leadership, as long as you are always willing. Ask God to give you an outlet into that strength. I am with you as I try to continually remind myself of the victory. Through Christ, we can do anything.

Jesus on World Suicide Prevention Day

Hey all 🙂

It’s been a long while since I last posted on my blog. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been praying for a message that God would like me to share. My prayers were ironically answered as I checked the New York Times website. I found an article about Japan’s “World Suicide Prevention Week” plans. I Googled the day and there it was: “September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day.” God, you are too good.

I’m so grateful that all around the world different countries are doing what they can to raise awareness about suicide and mental health. Russia, the U.S., Japan, Nigeria, Canada, Germany, etc. are all doing amazing things. They tell the world that the numbers of suicide/suicidal attempts in their home countries have been increasing like wildfire. In Japan, 25,427 people took their lives last year. It’s thousands, thousands, and more thousands. Thousands of more lives. Thousands of more souls.

Although I was at the psychiatric unit back in April, I can’t lie and say that I am completely healed and have “reached the other side.” These thoughts can still be really hard to battle with. There are times when all I want to do is stay in bed, and pray for the good Lord to take me home with Him. Luckily it’s not only just my battle. With the help of family, friends, my church and the Word of God as my support system, I still stand. I fight. And if I ever enter into that mood I tell the depression, the thoughts, the weights on my body that they have no place in me because with Jesus I am victorious. As David said,

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping, and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
– Psalm 6:6-9

Friends, I’m grateful to have the people and the God in my life that I have now, but there are others in this world who have no one, nor God. They have never heard of the One who took their pain away. They need the support system. I challenge you to show Christ’s love and tell someone, anyone on this day who He is. Suicide numbers are on the rise, so it is time for you to rise. The numbers of those who hear the Good News could be even greater. 

With much love,
Ariel


For more info on World Suicide Prevention Day/National Suicide Prevention week, check out:

WSPD-for-website

Slips and Kids

And he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 18:3

I’ve been working at a summer camp for kids of ages 2-4 (they’re basically babies). Each counselor is assigned one or two children to take responsibility over. So yesterday, as my little 2 year old baby girl entered the room, she got so excited and ran so fast that she suddenly slipped over a piece of paper that no one knew was on the floor. She was so shocked that she just buried herself into my arms out of embarrassment and small fear. This precious child didn’t cry. She’s a trooper.

Friends, to be completely honest I’ve been avoiding this blog. I’ve been avoiding all talk about “healing” for sometime. I avoided my daily SOAPs/devotionals. Let’s face it, I avoided God. I felt so ashamed, having been all “yay, let’s spread the word about healing” one day to shutting down completely the next.

Working two jobs for the past three weeks took a toll on me physically. I also neglected taking my medication for the past month, which was a really dumb mistake I made. (If you’re prescribed antidepressants, please. Just three words: Take. Your. Meds.) I was angry all the time. I had the same thoughts and feelings that I had prior to entering into the psych unit. I kept punishing myself again: “I don’t care anymore. I’ll never get better.” In reality, I was simply tired and wasn’t taking my meds. I slipped, but hey, that’s just life. You get up and move on. You can’t ever control what happens.

What I love about my baby girl is that she’s always giggly and smiley. She was shocked when she fell for only the slightest bit, but she was also immediately comforted as I held her tightly in my arms. God the Father is an even greater example of someone who offers so much love and comfort. I failed to let myself be comforted by Him when I slipped. I turned the other way from Him and resorted to chronic numbness. This is simply not the way to go.

Let yourself be a child, just like my precious little girl. Ask Him to comfort you. Let Him. He is always willing to despite what you may think about yourself. Our Father loves you that much.

With much love,
– Ariel

To See and To Understand

“‘He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn — and I would heal them.'” – John 12:40 / Isaiah 6:10

As I prayed for certain people and about certain things tonight, the Lord brought this verse upon my heart. Then I thought about other stories in the bible that I’ve read several times before:

  • The woman who bled constantly for 12 years, but strived to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe. (Luke 8:43-45)
  • Mary, who used the most expensive perfume, and massaged Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. (John 12:3)
  • Thomas, who touched Jesus’ hands and believed. (John 20:27)

The most beautiful thing that I once overlooked in these stories is the power of touch. With Jesus’s touch, we are healed.

When I admitted to myself that I was depressed two months ago, I asked the Lord for healing. Since then, everyday, He never ceases to extend His loving hand out to me. He always has in my life, but the difference between then and now is that I finally see how my hands look in contrast to His own. His hands are pure and beautiful, but mine are dirty, cut, and bloody.

We sing worship songs in church or in prayer meetings that literally have the words “I want to touch You.” But when we do touch Him, are we seeing the difference between His face, and our hands? His pureness, and our filthiness? The woman who bled for 12 years knew she was sick. Mary knew that she was in pain from the death of her beloved brother Lazarus. Thomas knew, once He touched Jesus’ hands, that he was guilty of not believing. They saw their sicknesses, their sorrows, their doubts, their sins for what they truly were. Jesus still loved them and accepted their touch.

Healing is so beautiful. With The Lord’s healing we are no longer blind to our sins nor hard-hearted. We can be honest with ourselves, humble, and cling to Jesus all the more. Ever since I touched the Lord and saw myself for the first time, He has continually showed me my wounds (my sins, my sorrows, even strong bitterness about certain things, etc.). Each time is simply just another wound He wants to patch up. (It’s so awesome!)

I encourage you to ask the Lord to see yourself the way He sees you. Ask Him what He believes you need healing in. Please, do not be afraid to truly see, as I once was. It’s okay to look at yourself and to see the faults. You are still beautiful. There is true beauty in your faults because of Christ, His love, and His healing.

With much love,
– Ariel