Depression

With the news of actor Robin Williams’ passing my attention is drawn to the pain he must have endured. I don’t mean the physical. I mean the aching emptiness that surely consumed him as he took his own life. I’m not sure that anyone who has not experienced this type of depression can wholly understand the abyss that one can fall in.

I’m sure that as the next few days and weeks pass there will be some real dialogue about depression and suicide, and I hope that it sparks some thoughtful contemplation. My purpose of this post is not necessarily to bring attention to the issue, Robbin’s act of desperation already did that. My purpose is to try to bring some understanding and compassion to those who have never experienced this enslaving disease and therefore discount or minimize the overwhelming subjugation  of depression.

Too many times I have heard people-celebrities, politicians, neighbors, and friends-place the blame solely on the sick. I’ve heard comments like “They just need to get up and stir around” or “It’s all in their head”. I’ve sat by silently as fellow Christians make comments like “They just need to turn to God” or “They are being selfish, life is not all about them. What about their family and friends?”  I can promise you, readers, that depression is far more than any of these opinions grasp.

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Before I address the above comments, though, let me try and create a visual analogy to help y’all better understand.  To me, depression is like a sea-coast fog.  Not the kind of fog that we experience here in the south that comes in the early morning morning hours, softly blanketing the fields and slowly floating across the roads.  No.  Depression is like the thick, clinging fog.  The kind that prohibits real vision beyond a foot or two and leaves a damp footprint on everything it touches.  This fog lingers for days at a time.  It awakens and caresses every one of your scenes and enters you with every breath.  The clarity that you once viewed life with is now hazy and blurred and no matter what you do, the fog lingers and clings on.

Imagine that instead of living in a town where this happens for a few days and then a strong wind and bright sun come along to clear the way that this fog is part of your every day life.  Now imagine that your daily life is spent walking through a hazy mist, that no matter how hard you try the fog of your life wraps around you and crushes you a little at a time.  If you can picture this then you might get sense of what it is like to walk through life while battling depression.

Now, let me take a moment to address those comments from earlier.  I think that for some reason because depression affects one’s emotions that people don’t see it as a “real” disease and that is where the ludicrous comments originate from.  Let me set that falsehood straight.  Depression is as real as cancer or diabetes or even a broken bone.   In an article on the Psychology Today website entitled “The Modern Mind” Dr. Liah Greenfield describes depression as being [...a real disease, severe and often fatal...]“

Would you tell a cancer patient to “just stir around” or read their Bible?  While both of those probably have major benefits, they are not the solution.  I know that God can heal and that keeping Him close brings comfort, but He created people and called them to disciplines so that they can continue His ministry in a physical form.  Just like a cancer patient needs to go see a doctor and get on a treatment plan, those that suffer from depression need help.

When a depressed person succumbs to their disease and takes their life there is no way that any of us can know what goes through their mind.  While those of us looking in from the outside may see their life as filled with wonder and love, they (obviously) did not.  While we may see their death as an act of cowardice there is a good chance that they see it as the only solution or as a gift to their loved ones.  When a person is in that state their view on life is warped, like a fun-house mirror.  They may see their life as a complete drain on others and they may genuinely think that their family and friends would be better off in life without someone to constantly bring them down or drain them: or, their vision may be so clouded that they do not see the love and admiration that others hold and feel so alone and lost that only one solution seems viable to them.

Whatever the reason may be, remember that when a person is in “that place” they are lost in the fog and genuinely cannot find their way out.  Those that suffer from depression need our sympathy and love, not our judgments and ad-libbed, sure-fire cures for whatever ails them.  Depression should not be a disease that is hidden under the rug and discussed in hushed tones.  It should be talked about and fought against as much as breast cancer or Parkinson’s disease.  There should be marathons, bumper stickers, and ceremonies honoring those who have succumbed and survived.  We, as a society, should treat those who suffer from depression with as much sympathy and dignity as we do any other person who suffers from any other disease.

I believe that until we actively remove the stigma that is attached to depression that recovery in large will always be stymied.  Treatment cannot be received if people are afraid to tell others that they are suffering and people will always be afraid as long as we allow depression to be ridiculed, mocked, and dismissed.  It is time for a change; a change of attitude and a change of perception.  I am praying that by combining our small voices we can create a roar that echoes for centuries to come.

I am ready to fight and I will do that by refusing to be ashamed and no longer treating depression as if it is a dirty secret.

My name is Melonie and I have suffered from depression since I was twelve.

 

With all my love,

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James 1:1-14

Last week our Bible study was on James 1:1-14 (we’re going through the book of James). James is one of my favorite books of the New Testament. I love how plainly the wisdom is laid out. James was/is thought to be the half brother of Jesus and though he was a stringent follower of Christ growing up, he did become one after the resurrection.

To me, the main theme of James is “faith”. The book lays the premise not just to have faith in God but how our actions should be guided by that faith. James starts out strong by reminding us that even in our toughest times God has His reasons and we will be better people-better Christians-because of them.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials,   knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

Then he moves to “praying with faith”.
James 1:5-8 HCSB
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.   But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive  man is unstable in all his ways.
Now, I think that too often we imagine God as some genie in a bottle. Praying “with faith” does NOT mean that we pray believing that God WILL do whatever we ask. Praying with faith means that we believe He can but we trust in Him and accept His answer.

Back in the day Garth Brooks came out with a song Unanswered Prayers. Since then I have heard many people use his phrase “thank God for unanswered prayers”. This is one of my pet peeves. If my four year old comes up to me and asks if she can have a popsicle for breakfast and I say “No” then I have answered her. In the same way God gives us answers but sometimes that answer is “no” or “not now”.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed to His father asking God to “take His cup” and ending the request with “not my will but thine”. Does any of us seriously doubt that Jesus prayed with faith or that God didn’t answer His own Son? No! Jesus KNEW God was listening and God answered His Son; He said, “No”. Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand why God would say no; but the thing about faith is that I don’t have to understand, I just have to trust in God and His reasons and move forward.

Love,
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Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

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How mouth-watering does this look!? I got the idea from a recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it to make it my own. The original directions said to “puree the bacon and make a paste out of it” but that just seemed un-American. Why mess with perfection?

So, you want in on this? Well strap on your best flag-themed apron, turn on your patriotic playlist, and grab your lighter cuz we’re about to do some good, old-fashioned American grilling. Here’s what you are going to need:

1. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2. Mrs. Wright’s bacon (there is no other kind)
3. Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
4. One of these hammer-thingies

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Ready? Ok, here we go.

1. Take those slimy chicken breasts out of the package, throw them on your cutting board, and beat them (more like a Gibb’s slap to the head than an arch – nemesis butt whooping).
2. Grab a fork and jab some holes in the breast so the glorious bacon juice can seep into the chicken breast.
3. Reverently drape a piece of bacon around each chicken breast.
4. Slap those bad boys on the grill.
5. When each side has slightly browned brush some of that aptly named Sweet Baby Ray’s on each side.

(If you let your grill get hot this should only take about twenty minutes to cook.)

6. Admire your awesome work while the meat rests for a moment.
7. Take a picture and post to fb for all the world to drool over while you enjoy your ever-so-American dinner.

The End.

Love,
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Selfish, Weak, Unfaithful, Immoral, & Just As Forgiven As You Are, My Friend

Mel:

Some poignant thoughts about church today.

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

funny-church-signs-5I’m having a little spiritual battle in my mind these days about churches. My daughter, Rebekkah, has joined a non-denominational church.

Yikes.

I know all the stuff people are always saying about church…”don’t forsake the gathering”, yada, yada. I agree in theory. In reality, I have had some real issues with churches in my own life, and even after 30 years, I still find myself uneasy about stepping into any of them. So, when my daughter comes home and tells me that a woman has implied that my daughter was not saved because once upon a time she smoked pot, all that anger at the presumptiousness of self-righteous twits comes rushing back to the surface.

It is exchanges like the one Rebekkah had her SECOND week at this church that make me not want to attend any. Why do people think they have a handle on other people’s salvation? You…

View original 553 more words

Why I choose Joy

This morning I did my first, bi-weekly devotional at the local Senior Citizen Center.  I was extremely nervous, not only because I am a bit of an introvert but also because I felt inadequate to speak to such a group of people.  I was, after all, taught to respect and honor the elderly.  I was taught that they have wisdom that we should cherish and are often the ones I’ll seek out when I have a problem. Therefore, trying to choose a topic that would be relevant for them yet that I felt “qualified” to speak about was quite daunting.

I prayed about this for weeks and (literally) at the last moment God used my humblest quality to open a doorway.  My ability to find joy in sometimes the bleakest of circumstances.  Now, mind you, I am not perfect at that this.  There are times when I get overwhelmed with the sheer 2%ness of my life, but overall I do my best to look for the humor in situations.  I have this saying that, “life is about the choices you make and the perspectives you take”.  I realized a while back that while there are many things that we cannot control in life, we can control how we respond to life’s situations.

We may not understand why God allows the tragedies of life to occur, but we can choose to have faith in our God and in His plan.  Sometimes I empathize with Mother Theresa when she said, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

James 1:2-3 tells us to, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  In other words, whether we see it or not there is a point to everything and our trials will better prepare us for the future.

When we are in those trials, and it seems as if the struggles will never end, remember Psalms 30:5b, “[…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” and Proverbs 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

We may not be able to change the path we are on, but we can choose how we face it.

Love,

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Christmas at the Hixon’s

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Next to Autumn, Christmas is my favorite season! I love the unique melodies, the cheer in most everyone’s tone, and the baked goodies that so often come along with. I love that we have a whole season centered around giving and based on our Lord. While we embrace the fun of Santa and elves and reindeer; Chuck and I do our best to make sure that this is a season filled with family memories and God’s love.

To start the season off right we all pitch in in the decorating of the house. It is always an event filled with laughter and unique results. While we still want to add a few more things, we’ve pretty much finished adding the physical cheer.

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I think our tree turned out pretty good! We prefer the simplicity of a bare tree enveloped in meaningful ornaments.

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Chuck always does my Christmas village for me.

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Our nativity and family willow statues.

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The stockings are hung by the fireplace, waiting for Santa to fill them.

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Hila Fay insisted upon having her own nativity. When she realized we only had one stable she ran to her room and came out with this. I think it made a beautiful addition.

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Last, but not least, my Alabama gnome wanted to be a part of the good times.

How do you make Christmas Special at your place?

Merry Christmas!
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The Adventures of Puck the Elf

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We awoke to a WONDERFUL surprise this morning! Puck the Elf has returned to watch over us (and get into mischief) until Christmas. We’ll do our best to keep y’all posted on his silly antics.

Love,
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P.S. 10 points to whomever knows where Puck gets his name! 

12/4
Oh my wowness! Puck was busy last night! Good thing we woke up when we did!

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What have y’alls elves been up to?

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12/5

I think that Puck is playing the field!

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Does your Elf interact with others?

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12/6

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Puck decided he needed better shoes to weather this #zombieapocalypse #icestorm!

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My Top 10 Rules/Mottos for life (as I see it now)

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1. Life is about the choices you make and the perspectives you take.

2. Break it, buy it

3. Pot/Kettle

4. Dancing in the rain is better than pouting in the dry.

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5. Family is forever; never forget them or push them aside.

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6. Real friendships take as much work as real relationships; neither of which should be cast aside lightly.

7. Divorce is not an option. Never let the thought enter your mind. Just go in the other room, chill out, and then work it out. People don’t go around divorcing their siblings or parents every time they get ticked off. That is proof enough that crap can be worked out….in due time (and with lots of prayer).

8. The moment that your first instinct, when dramatic news comes your way, is to text/call your sweety (instead of your bff or mom) is when junk just hot serious!

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9. If your instinct to call/text your spouse first ever changes you might want to re-evaluate your relationships.

10. Faith in God is not saying that He WILL do something but rather that He can. Praying with faith does not mean praying with the belief that God will answer how you want. It is praying knowing that God can and asking if He would. Jesus showed us this when He asked His Father to take His cup.

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The Life & Times of Mandy & Mel

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This afternoon I attended the wedding shower for my girl Mandy. I cannot believe how quickly time has flown. As with any “step” relationship we have had our rocky spots. However, I absolutely love her and cannot help but get a bit sappy at the thought of the impending wedding. So in honor of the blushing bride, and without further to-do, I present “The Life & Times of Mandy & Mel”:

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Our first snow day. We also pre-made about 500 snowballs and had them ready for when Daddy got home from work. It was a battle of epic proportions.

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One of our favorite excursions, the Memphis Zoo.

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Look at that beautiful smile!

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One of my proudest moments, her baptism.

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Stealthy ninjas!!!

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“One small step for man…”

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This is one of my favorite “sissy” photos.

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I love how they had identical expressions.

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I am woman, hear me ROWAR!

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Serenity

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A special memory, just for her.

I love you, Mandy.

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