Life Through The Eyes Of Shakespeare

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

(Hamlet Act 1, Scene 3)

I probably could guess what my high school english teachers would say about my grasp on the writings of the one and only William Shakespeare, more than likely poor would be the answer.

For as long as I can remember I had a deep inner need to feel accepted.  Maybe, that is a given for any number of men, women, boys, and girls.  Try as I must I felt I could never live up to standards of those around me.

It was the same when I was active in ministry.  Oh, I could hold my own in the music department, but when it came to standing behind the pulpit I felt inadequate.  I strived to master my technique in the delivering of my messages. Yet, at times I felt so out of place.

This feeling of being out of place became quite intense when I first started experiencing panic attacks.  From this, all manner of other things seemed to flow.  I found myself becoming quite reclusive.  It was the complete opposite of my character as a Gospel musician and minister of the Word.  Back then I was not bothered by being out front of a crowd.  Now I totally become nauseous at the thoughts of being in a crowd.

I have been battling and am still battling some inner conflicts.  Conflicts that stemmed from all I was raised to believe.  This is why I made the decision to leave full time ministry.

Maybe, William understood this internal battle of needing acceptance of being true to oneself.  We can feel it through all his writings.

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

Pamper Yourself!

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Sometimes I find myself consumed with my problems that I tend to forget that there is more to life than what ails me.  It takes all of my mental strength to push my problems to the back burner and just pamper myself.  My favorite thing is Cookies & Cream Ice Cream.

Here are some things you may want to try.

  • Go to a movie or a play
  • Order in or go have your favorite meal
  • Invite your friends in for an all out celebration.  Use moderation!
  • Relax at your local spa
  • Ladies have a manicure, have your hair styled

These are just a few that comes to mind, maybe you have your own.  The point is, take some time to enjoy life and all that is around you.  Take your focus off your challenges!  

Go ahead, pamper yourself.  You deserve it!

What’s In A Name?

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“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”  William Shakespeare

I have been thinking about this post for several days.  I hope I can put it in writing like I am hearing it in my mind.

There are names that when they are mentioned you have a distinct definition of what they are.  Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Blindness, all these we at least have a general knowledge about them.  All of them can be shown in x-rays, bloodwork, and other detection methods.

However, mention the term ‘bi-polar’ most are not sure exactly what it is.  For others they seem to have an image that is totally wrong.  Bi-polar is a distinct as the person who is suffering with it.  It is a disease that as of this moment does not show on a x-ray, or under a microscope in a blood test.

Bi-polar does not define who I am.  I am more than the disease, I am male, fifty-seven years old, and has various interests ranging from Gospel Music to Sherlock Holmes.  I am a father of a daughter, a grandfather to three grandchildren.

It does not determine my future, nor keep me trapped in the past, for I determine my day by placing my feet on the floor each and every morning when I awake.

I would like to challenge every reader to define yourself, do not let the disease difine you!

Same Dull Routine

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My life is pretty vanilla in that I don’t have much excitement each day.  My day to day life is predictable.

While in treatment you soon learned a daily routine.  Meals were at set times, you were expected to be out of bed have breakfast.  Somewhere between breakfast and the first group take a shower then get dressed. 

Groups were at set times in the schedule.  The only thing that would change from day to day was the subject matter.

The scheduled events of the day were to give you a sense of direction.  Planning was the key.  

At home in my day to day routine I try to stay on track.  Take medications roughly at the same time, going to bed takes on a definite pattern.  All of this keeps me from acting eracticly.  Even shopping, doctor appointments, I plan them carefully.  One reason is so that I do not over due causing tiredness which triggers panic attacks.

I cannot say whether this method would work for others, but, for me keeps me on track.  It gives me a feeling of normalacy.

It is the same dull routine, but I guess I love it.

Road To Recovery

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It now is twenty plus years since my journey began.  Attempted suicide using the sleeping medication, “amitriptyline”.  Extreme mood swings and a feeling like I was alone, that no one understood what I was going through.

2004 my depression mixed with the grief of my grandmother broke my spirit completely landing in the mental health ward of the local hospital.

For the longest period I was constantly asking the question in my mind, ‘why me’?  I was raised to believe that God worked miracles.  I still believe it but I had to go back and study the Scripture again.  I finally reconciled that God sometimes let us go through trials.  I no longer asked the question of why me.  God sent help my way in the form of my psychiatrist.

Now I am on the road to recovery accepting the fact that it may take many years. It took over thirty years for things to go off track. I have reached the place I call acceptance. The anger I experienced left when I did accept with what I was going through.

So, I will keep on this road, staying the course determined that I do not want to fall back into the abyss of depression.

If you are like me just keep going on your road to recovery and you will be totally fine.

Triggers

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Photo By: Thomas H.: Pixabay.com

For this post I will forgo using a portion of Scripture.  There are probably some that would be appropriate but none come to mind.

I would remind the reader I am not a professional, psychiatrist, etc.  I am just a fifty-seven yr. old man sharing my journey through years of depression and being bi-polar.

Here is what I have learned about handling both of these mental challenges.  There are what professionals call ‘triggers’.  These triggers can cause relapse in our progress to a more stable health mentality.

1.   Nutriton –  I would call this a major factor in your battle.  In my times of treatment we had to eat three well balanced meals.  Our mind is an organ in the body and for it to function at it’s peak it needs proper nutrition. 

I start every morning with a bowl of cereal.  Dinner is a balance meal.  Before bed just a light sandwich(probably Tuna – a source of melotonin).

2.  The one thing that many who suffer with depression, panic attacks, and just plain nervousness is coffee and smoking.  For many that is all they have for most of their waking moments.  Both are stimulants and also create a sense of calm masking the root problem.  These should be limited, I can drink more coffee than what I really should.  Smoking is not an issue for me, I recognize this is a very hard thing to quit.  Many try several times before being successful in this venture.

3.  The next two things that my doctors stressed to me to keep away from are these: Alcohol and Marijuana.  The main reason is interactions with medications. 

These are not hard set rules, but they are subjects I have learned along the way.  Triggers will vary from person to person.  There are probably many more that could be discussed, but you will know a trigger when a certain situation causes you to regress back into depression.

The best advice I can give is to create a plan and a list of your triggers with help from your doctor/s.  Then find people who can help you maintain keeping away from triggers between doctor’s visits.

Take your first step now!

Prescription For Panic Attacks

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Psa 1:1-6 KJV
1  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.(emphasis mine)
3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4  The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6  For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

No matter your career, stay at home mom, retired, etc., life today is so hectic and chaotic.  Everyone is on the fast lane with very little down time to gather our thoughts, take a deep breath and calm our inner being.

I still suffer panic attacks, mainly when shopping, they are not as disabling as when I first started experiencing them in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  

While in treatment one method they would use while in group was called relaxation.  A compact disc would play and a commentator would speak in a calming voice guiding you through descending a stairwell.  Each step would be to calm your breathing, by the end of the bottom stair you should be in a total relaxed state of mind.  For the most part of the group it did what it was intended to do.

Here is a Scriptural remedy for panic attacks.  It does require some prep work by memorizing Scriptures.  For myself this started when I was still a pre-teen.  At Bible camp we were taught the Books of the Bible.  To this day I can still state them in order.  It is a great tool.  Now instead of a relaxation disc all you need is your memory which is with you 24/7.

The whole first chapter of Psalms can be used as a tool to combat panic attacks. It is verse two that I will comment on.  It is meditation.  God had it first, others picked it up and added there own flavors.  This meditation is not Yoga, just pure Scripture.

It may be just one verse that is your favorite such as; “I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee”(Isaiah 26:3)

So, when you are facing a panic attack instead of giving in to fear use instead Scriptural meditation.  

Give it a try, it works!

 

It Is The Mind & It Matters

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 Php 2:5 KJV
5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Col 3:1-3 KJV
1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

I want to tackle a subject that I have strong feelings about, for me it is personal.  This subject among Christians is the elephant in the room.  At one time some preachers would have called it “demon possession” .  I do not!

For those who at one time followed me on social media know that I have spoken about mental health many times.  You see, I am bi-polar.  In the early nineties I fell into deep depression and I tried to overdose on sleeping pills.  If someone around me when I was a teenager/young adult that had some knowledge about this disease they would have recognized that I needed help.  For those years I went through manic swings of emotions. I could be feeling tremendously great and within minutes almost raging mad.

Pastors need to aquaint themselves with this subject, it would benefit them greatly in counselling parishioners.

In the King James Bible if you have access to the Strong’s Concordance you will notice that the words ‘mind’ and ‘your affections’ are exactly the same word

God created us in His image, thus like Him we are a triune being.  Body, Soul, and Spirit.

1Th 5:23 KJV
23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now let me say, I am not a professional counsellor, or an educated psychiatrist, or a psychologist.  However, I am speaking out of experience and hope that maybe someone who is experiencing mental health issues will take a step and seek out professional help.

These mental health issues are treatable.  I take prescriptions and they have done a world of good for me.  Gone are the extreme mood swings, days of not talking to anyone, to feeling like a could conquer the world.  Those around me never knew which I would be.  

Also, I suffered with panic attacks.  One instance a supermarket opened just one block from where I lived and was opened twenty four hours a day.  I was having panic attacks so I decided I would wait until after midnight to do my grocery shopping.  A very good friend accompanied me.  I was almost done my shopping, cart full of food, I had a panic attack so bad that I left the cart and my friend running all the way home. 

Panic attacks feels like everything and everyone are closing in on you.  I still have mild ones, usually it is when I am slightly tired.  I sought help and was admitted to the mental health ward in the local hospital here.  Now, I realize for those living in America that this option is not available to you because of costs.  While in the hospital over several stays for several years I learned from the doctors and counsellors things I can do to get me through these attacks.  One other area that sometimes makes me panic is just riding in a car as a passenger.  I know that there are those who think these things are imaginary. Friend, I am saying here, they are very real and they need to be treated.

Maybe you are reading this and you know someone who is having difficulties with depression, panic attacks, suicidal, do everything within you first to understand this problem, give them your support, and if at all possible encourage them to seek help.  Maybe, offer to go with them for moral support.

Now, there is a myth out there about suicide that if the person is talking about it they won’t do it.  That is so far from the truth that I have no words to bring it home to you.

It is not sinful to seek professional help.  Some preachers have not helped the cause with their rhetoric.  They talk about faith and that if we have enough faith God will do it for us.  Yes, God did it for us by giving some the desire to become physicians, psychiatrist, etc., and they are placed here on earth for our benefit. I have heard some rail against even taking an aspirin that it is a sign that we have weak faith.  If you are listening to those, you need to run in the opposite direction.  There is no need to suffer needlessly! When we are saved and filled with His Spirit no where in Scripture did God command us to check our brains at the door.

It is a spiritual battle also and the Scripture gives us wisdom and knowledge about these Spiritual laws.  Here is what the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isa 26:3 KJV
3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Please, this is mind and it matters!

I know someone with more training than myself, a high school drop out, could go into the meta-physical about how are minds have chemical balance.  When it becomes unbalanced then we start to have our problems.

So, lets kick out the elephant in the room and let’s have a conversation about our mind!