• Faith,  Work

    Overcoming Distraction (Squirrel!)

    If you have seen the Disney/Pixar movie, “Up“, you probably caught the reference in today’s post title. Yes, I’m talking about… what, again? Oh, right — distraction.

    Overcoming Distraction (Squirrel!) | She Will Rise

    The Dark Side has many tricks and tools in its arsenal to keep us from living the full & abundant life God promised us. Some of those schemes include:

    Discouragement | Fear | Procrastination | Gluttony | Apathy | Convenience | Mediocrity | Doubt | Ease | Instant Gratification | Laziness | Overwhelm | Pride | Greed | Lust | Anger | Jealousy

    …and, of course, DISTRACTION.

    The devil knows that we are easily distracted, so he uses this to keep us from doing what God asks us to do, and he slyly makes us forget what is really important. If he can distract us, then we don’t complete the mission we were sent here for (to make God known & bring Him glory). And that makes the devil really happy.

    I have been falling prey to distraction, a lot, lately. This is part of why my blog post schedule has been somewhat erratic. I’ve gotten distracted by the side-hustle I’m building, the books I’m reading, and the worst culprit of them all — social media.

    Revelation Wellness shared a quote, the other day, that really hit home, for me, on this. It said:

    “My concern is that our generation will miss their destiny because
    they are too busy scrolling through everyone else’s.” (Christine Caine)

    Whoo-boy!

    So, how do we combat this distraction? How do we wake up? Is this even possible?

    It is absolutely possible. “With God, ALL THINGS are possible!” And it starts with prayer.

    Actually, let me back up a bit. In reality, it starts with knowing that you have committed your life to God, by accepting His free gift of being saved from sin, through faith… which then gave you the Holy Spirit within you as your Counselor, Guide, and a sort of holy GPS system!

    The Spirit will nudge you to pay attention (maybe He’s using this very blog post!), and that is how you start “waking up” to the devil’s schemes. Once you start to become aware of what’s going on, then you can start fighting back! And, prayer is a good place to start.

    Prayer is our call to God to say, “Hey, I could use some supernatural help here, please!” Because really, we cannot fight the devil on our own. We can try, but it won’t last — it doesn’t really work. We need God’s help in this battle.

    So, we pray and ask God to open our eyes to all of the ways that the Dark Side is trying to distract us and keep us from our destinies. And we ask God to give us focus and strength to combat the temptation toward those distractions. Then we need to trust that God will help us (for when we ask for something that is already God’s will for us, we can have FULL confidence that we’ve already got it — it’s a done deal!).

    And finally, we then need to get to work, and DO what God has been asking us to do…pursue that which we have been distracted from.

    So again, to overcome distraction (or, any of the Dark Side’s other tactics), we need to:

    1. WAKE UP
    2. PRAY
    3. BELIEVE
    4. TAKE ACTION!

    A quick example for you:

    That quote from Revelation Wellness is what the Holy Spirit used to start waking me up. I recognized what had been happening (that I had been doing other things, rather than what God wants me to do), I prayed for focus and believed God would help me out, and then I took action — I left my computer turned off, this morning, in order to get this blog post written FIRST, before the online world could suck me into its distractions.

    Like I mentioned earlier, maybe the Spirit is using this very post to get your attention! If so, don’t hesitate… pray, believe, and take action, today. It’s the best way to fight back against the enemy. Don’t let him steal another day. You’ve got this!

    PS… As I wrote this post, my pens kept dying! I had to switch them out twice! Obviously, the Dark Side was working hard to keep me from sharing this with you! 

  • Health

    Let’s Talk About… Depression

    This isn’t an easy post to write. I’m about to get super-real with you, peeps. But I feel that this is a really important conversation to have. So, let’s talk about… Depression.

    Let's Talk About...Depression | SheWillRise.ca

    I have suffered from depression since I was a young girl. But it wasn’t until April 2013 that I finally started taking medication for it. The reasons for my delay were these:

    1. I had been misinformed / ignorant about the different types of depression that exist, and therefore didn’t feel that I was a candidate for medical help. I didn’t fit the description of someone with major depression — though, I did have some of the symptoms — so I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously.
    2. I had long been under the impression that antidepressants are habit-forming, so I didn’t want to take them for fear that I would suffer awful consequences when I tried to go off of them.

    What changed for me is that, in 2013, I read an eBook called, “Pros of Prozac” by Beca Mark*. In it, Beca outlines her own struggle with anxiety and depression, and how much taking antidepressants had helped her. Reading Beca’s story, I could relate to so much of what she described of her life before taking medication. As such, I started to –once again– really research depression and antidepressants.

    Side note: I’ve also struggled with anxiety and panic attacks since 2001, so I have done a lot of research on these topics over the years.

    Thanks to my new research, though, I learned two things that I’d missed before, that made all the difference for me:

    First, antidepressants are not habit-forming. If you follow your doctor’s instructions for how to take them, and for how to be weaned off of them, there shouldn’t be any major issues.

    Second, I have what is called, Dysthymia, also known as chronic low-level depression. That’s why, although I have some of the symptoms listed for major depression, I don’t have all of them. Yet, my form of depression is no less serious, and can still benefit from the use of antidepressants. Here is the description {source}:

    Persistent depressive disorder, also called Dysthymia (dis-THIE-me-uh), is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression. You may lose interest in normal daily activities, feel hopeless, lack productivity, and have low self-esteem and an overall feeling of inadequacy. These feelings last for years and may significantly interfere with your relationships, school, work and daily activities.

    If you have persistent depressive disorder, you may find it hard to be upbeat even on happy occasions — you may be described as having a gloomy personality, constantly complaining or incapable of having fun. Though persistent depressive disorder is not as severe as major depression, your current depressed mood may be mild, moderate or severe.

    Because of the chronic nature of persistent depressive disorder, coping with depression symptoms can be challenging, but a combination of talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medication can be effective in treating this condition.

    Armed with this new information, I went to see my doctor to talk with her about trying antidepressants, and she wrote me a prescription.

    It took a while to figure out the proper dosage, and which brand of antidepressant worked the best for me (turns out, it’s Zoloft). But I just have to tell you: choosing to go on antidepressants was the best thing I ever did for myself. It has made a world of difference in my life. Some of the benefits include:

    • I can have important conversations with my husband, or family, without falling into tears, and then being unable to continue the conversation
    • I’m no longer irritable, grouchy, and snippy with everyone all the time
    • I can respond, rather than react, to stressful situations
    • I don’t cry over the stupidest little things
    • I have battled my anxiety and panic attacks… and (still, by the grace of God), I won! {see below}

    This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these things are the major highlights, for me.

    When I first started taking the medication, I didn’t tell my husband about it. Reason being, he is one of those people who doesn’t agree that depression is a mental illness. He thinks it’s just “all in one’s head” and can be overcome through “mind over matter”, diet and exercise {side note: yes, a healthy diet and regular exercise have been shown to lessen the effects of Depression, so they’re still highly recommended}. In order to “show” my man that I actuallywas helped by the medication, I waited a few months of being on it before I let him in on this choice of mine. And, when I finally did tell him, I asked if he’d noticed a change in my personality over the previous few months — he had. So, he agreed that maybe this was an important choice for me to have made.

    Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma attached to depression and antidepressants. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and also a lot of misunderstanding. People who have never suffered from anxiety, or never had a panic attack, don’t fully know the horror of it… the feeling of being so very out of control, and the feeling of utter terror. Anxiety and panic attacks are notjust “all in your head”… they are physical manifestations of a chemical imbalance in your physical body. You can know all of the statistics and information, but your body is going to react (usually there are “triggers”), regardless of your level of knowledge.

    For example, in 2001 I had my first panic attack. My family and I were eating dinner, when all-of-a-sudden, I heard a helicopter flying over our house. And much as I knew it made absolutely nosense (mentally), I was utterly convinced that that helicopter was going to come and crash into our house. I ended up excusing myself from the table to go to the washroom, where I collapsed into a shaking puddle on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably. I was scared-to-death, because this had never happened to me before, and I had never heard of panic attacks. I thought I’d completely lost it, and that I was going to have to be locked away in some mental institution. I’d gone off the deep end. (Thankfully, this wasn’t the case!)

    From that point on, I couldn’t hear any aircraft going by overhead without seizing up in a fit of anxiety. My heart would race, my fists would clench, and I couldn’t think of anything else.

    Thankfully, my faith has helped a lot with this… I’ve learned to pray through the attacks, asking God to protect both my family, and those on the aircraft.

     

    Mind you, the 9-11 attacks certainly didn’t help. Especially since I’d had some eerily “prophetic” (for lack of a better term) dreams about them before they even happened! Put it this way: I sawwhat the people in the World Trade Center must have seen, seconds before the plane went crashing through those windows.  This still shakes me to my core.

    Anyway. Like I said, my faith has really helped me in overcoming my anxiety and panic attacks. But I also believe that the antidepressants have, as well. As proof, I can proudly say that — thanks be to God! — I was able to get on a plane and fly out to visit my sister, last summer … and I didn’t even have to take anything (tranquilizers) for the trip, either! Was I still scared? Absolutely! I was very, very nervous. But, would I do it again? Yep — in a heartbeat!

    To wrap this up, let me just encourage you in a couple of things:

    1. If you, yourself, suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and/or depression (in any of its forms),please don’t hesitate to get help. Research it, if you need to. Talk to friends or family, or go see a counselor. Talk to your doctor. It’s not worth it to continue to suffer alone. You don’t need to… Heck! Send me an email if you need to talk, and feel you have no one else! I’m here, okay?
    2. If you have, or are considering suicide, PLEASE call this number, right now:  1-800-273-TALK (8255). Reach out — you are NOT alone!
    3. Ignore the haters and those who tell you that it’s “all in your head”. Do what you feel is the right thing… for you. That’s all that matters. You are the only one who truly knows your body, and what you need. You are the only one who needs to make this decision {with the help of your doctor, of course}.
    4. If you aren’t opposed to it, seek God in the matter. Tell Him what you’re struggling with (He already knows, but He wants you to come to Him with this). Ask for His help in overcoming this. It IS possible… Did you know that the Bible encourages us by saying, “Do not fear”, 365 times?  You could also go talk to a local pastor or priest. They are trained counselors.
    5. Help spread the word! The more people who talk openly about mental health issues like Depression, the more we can get rid of the “stigma” that surrounds it, and the more we can help those who truly need help.

    ETA: Have a look at this article, on the Health Ambition website, all about the top 10 anti-anxiety foods that help reduce stress… it may be of some help to you, as well.

    HAVE YOU GOTTEN HELP FOR DEPRESSION? DO YOU TAKE MEDICATION FOR IT? SHARE WITH US A BRIEF SNIPPET ABOUT YOUR STORY IN THE COMMENTS! LET’S SHOW THE LOVE!