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

Advertisements

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.

Why

I love my journal. I write my prayers, my SOAP devotionals (Scripture, Observation, Application & Prayer – thank you Pastor Joey and Pastor Gigi!), my thoughts, random lists, and once in a while I’ll sketch in it. I strongly suggest anyone to take out a piece of paper and pen and to just write. Get your thoughts down and write what you’re truly feeling.

One day after work this week I sat at Washington Square Park and pulled out my journal. I made a quick sketch of the arch and the fountain. As I sketched I took note of the quote engraved on the arch by Washington:

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”

The quote simply solidified thoughts I’ve had for sometime. I keep thinking about the importance of honesty and knowing the “why.”

For example, you post a beautiful but filtered picture on Instagram of a moment in your life. Why? Is it really for you to keep track of your own memories, or is it for the rest of the world to see and to “like”?

Or you’re a college student who needs to make sure he/she is a part of this club, and that club, and that organization, and that non-profit. Why? To “look good” on your resumé?

As I also read the bible and write more of my SOAPs, I notice how honest and how real Jesus was. When He saw that his temple was being used as a market place, He was so angry and drove all of the animals and all of the people out. Jesus saw injustice and was angry. It was okay for Him to feel that way and to do what was right. He didn’t care if others disapproved of His actions. (John 2:15-16)

Can we all please take a step back and just be real? Imagine how much more productive your community would be if everyone looked inside themselves, rather than looked at what they believe others want to see. I realize more and more, too, that authenticity was the thing I once lacked. I had taken on responsibilities and lost myself along the way. I’d do all that I could to put down my “negative” emotions of anger and sadness, instead of giving it to Jesus. I was so controlling of my own emotions. I took the wheel. By the time I entered the psych unit, Jesus finally pushed the brakes and had me come to a short stop.

I drew this because drawing anything with an amazing view is one of my favorite leisure activities. It helps me to calm and wind down from long days (we all need something like that). I share this picture with you now to get you to think about why you do the things you do. I refer back to this page in my journal to ask myself the same.

IMG_6174 copy

My “why” to everything is now in the hand of God. With much love,

– Ariel

Ladies – Just have Fun

Just wanted to share that I treated myself to a pedicure for the first time yesterday. My feet and toenails are gorgeous now.

Ladies – don’t forget to treat yourself and relax every once in a while! We’re all God’s princesses. We deserve the best 🙂 With much love,

– Ariel

—ness

Thankfulness and Mindfulness are my new favorite “–ness”s since I’ve been out of the psych unit 😄

Yeah, a lot of things may have happened before to have gotten me to feel fed up with life: school, relationship problems, hurting myself because of doing things that I shouldn’t have done, stressful responsibilities – but can we just stop and think about where we are now?

As I write this I’m currently on my way home from an awesome-sauce weekend in North Carolina with family. It’s been a week since I finished with classes(!) It’s a really beautiful day out. The skies are bright blue with puffy, dragon-looking (sorry – I’m a childhood/special education major) clouds. I’m thinking about the many people in my life who love and support me. I’m even thinking about how thankful I am for the people who were supposed to be there for me, but weren’t. They helped me to see who and what it is that I really need in my life.

Stop and think for a second and ask:

Where does God have you right now?

  • Where are you standing/sitting?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are you thinking and/or feeling, and why?

If you’re thinking about something and letting it catastrophize into x, y, and z, then stop. What was your initial problem? How can you deal with that, and that alone?

Just slow down, and think about it for a second. God has you where you are for a reason 🙂 With all my love,

– Ariel