Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: dysthymic disorder (page 2 of 8)

With Unveiled Faces

I’ve always been taken with this one phrase from scripture…

“… with unveiled faces.”

It comes from a couple of verses in 2 Corinthians 3, verses 17 and 18 and they always sounded so uplifting that during one of my heavier bouts with my Dysthymic Disorder years ago, I taped it to my journal at the time and it became a kind of lifeline for me.

It spoke of freedom, which anyone who lives with depression can tell you is the ultimate goal, and transformation via the Spirit, the Great Comforter, which is also something we cling to as we battle the ups and downs of mood disorders, and I always took solace in the passage on that very specific level.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s Glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory also, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

So for a great while, it was a lifeline during dark days and even darker nights.

And for the longest time, unveiled faces was a phrase that gave me hope.

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All Things In Him

I’m starting to think I can’t do today, Lord.

The day started with a bag leaking garbage stuff across my kitchen floor before it got to the curb.

It started with the last two pieces of bread burning in the toaster after the phone rang.

It was a telemarketer.

Yep, I’m really starting to think I just can’t do today, Lord.

The dysthymic disorder connections in my head, Lord, are sluggish.

So much so that I can’t remember if I said yes to a last-minute lunch yesterday for today. Who knows if I can even get there now.

So much so that my hair got a double dose of slick conditioner but no shampoo. And now my brain is stumped by the choices to try to go through the day like there’s nothing wrong, or to wash my hair yet another time when the first two times were such a chore for this chronic D laden body.

Yep, I’m pretty sure I just can’t do today, Lord.

And when I put on my shoes to go for a small walk to try to snap out of the dysthymic fog and feel even just slightly better, I look down and one heel of my shoes is coming away and is barely hanging on. Kind of like me. And it’s almost like a sign that says, “just stay put, you’re not going anywhere today.”

I sit on the top step at the back door and listen to the street doing it’s thing and watch clouds move in and out, some bright, some not, and I try to breathe a prayer. Seems like the only thing I can get right.

And it’s enough. A prayer breathed is the flag waved for a heavenly help. I’ve known this almost all my life. And know it still.

And the verse I’d read yesterday drifts in on the prayer breathed. A verse often tossed around generously and so when you finally read it in earnest, you almost miss the rich depths of it waiting for the weary and worn down soul.

“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13

My heart hears this whisper;

All things are in Me. And everything you lack is here in Me. And everything you are is here in Me. Child, are you saying you can’t let me do this day for you?

I’m right here in the day you can’t do.

Let Me. Let Me do today.

And every day.”

All things in Him. I can do all the rest of this day through Him.

That I can gladly do.

Through Him. See through His eyes. Feel through His unshakable spirit. Do through His hands. Live through His strong beating heart.

Not even a heavy dysthymia can hold back the Giver of Life.

The Resurrected One affects everything His touches. And my synapses, my body, my outlook, my faith… is resurrected in Him.

All Things In Him! (And Giveaway)

I dig around and find this verse with a new appreciation for it, with eyes that have glimpsed the Holy again. I was much younger when I highlighted it, placed a star beside it with pen, but decades later it is still a holy highlight and commentary on Who my faith is anchored to. And that He will forever be the difference. What my quality of life is hinged on. I breathe and I get on with the day He created for me to go through with Him.

Alongside Him.

In Him.

I know you may not be dealing with my mood disorder. But some of you are having the same kind of “I can’t do this” day. The board meeting was a disaster for no real reason. You didn’t need that flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Your parent/teacher interview felt like you’re failing and not your child. That diagnosis laid you flat-out of the blue. Your fifth sleepless night has left you in a fog.

But it’s okay. Because we breathe in and exhale a prayer. We raise the white flag and surrender that which is hard and He  becomes our day. All things in Him, right?

“Lord, if there’s one thing I know with my whole being, it’s that You can do this.”

{ Today’s post is part of the #livefreeThursday linkup linkup with the marvelous Suzanne Eller. Will you click the hashtag and check out all the goodness being blogged today? }

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Because You Were Here

Four little words but they changed my perspective.

And my mood.

Something delicious inside me flipped.

Something lifted. Something healed, even.

How could so much goodness come from four little words?

I roll the words through my heart even now, and wham, they do more than any outward show of love or appreciation could.

The week had been a battle. Just my chronic D acting up, but it can pack a punch. And what people don’t understand sometimes, is that self-worth and confidence are what your faulty neurotransmitters attack with a vengeance, a chemical shift that brings an emotional upheaval that does not respond ever to a “get over it” approach.

You are literally swamped with failure at every turn, defeat stares back at you in every reflective surface, and your brain and your disorder concede over and over that things will never feel right again because your synapses begin to play like a broken record that you have absolutely zero control over.

I pray we exhibit compassion and understanding the next time someone says they feel so overwhelmed they can’t go on. Because they honestly “feel” that they feel that way.

So there I was, desperate to keep going, feeling more and more the oozing helplessness as all of these things crept into every part of my day, looking around and seeing everything that was wrong, and for the life of me, so disabled by the dysthymia, that I couldn’t find where the function for looking upwards had gone to.

Blogs I couldn’t finish mocked me.

Dishes piling up threatened to swallow me up.

Every inch of me felt like it weighed a ton, (which is an actual physical symptom of my particular brand of disorder) and I couldn’t figure out how to do anything at home without wanting to give up.

Putting away mail. Impossible.

Sort four towels still on the bed. Couldn’t deal.

Order a pizza for dinner. (Please, there’d be no cooking in my state.)

I would read chats and messages four or five times before I could extract real meaning. Eventually I gave that up too.

And with every acknowledgement that I was useless, the pit became deeper and wider and more threatening.

Until the four words.

My husband (we like to call him *Perry for fun or *Wilson, sometimes both though neither are his name in any sense. And if you check out my instagram account you’ll know he likes to hide from the camera), ANYWAY, my husband had been racking up long work hours, much-needed, and suddenly had to make an hours-long drive right after all these hours in the shop to make a delivery in another city.

Made longer by the fact the weather was bad and they’d not given him clear directions.

He came home from a 19 hour day exhausted and wiped. And all I could offer him was cold pizza and a hug I almost couldn’t deliver.

And I tried valiantly to be present instead of in the pit, and caring, and concerned even though my brain was doing its wonky dance inside.

And as we laid there after only really seeing him for 5 minutes because his day started in 5 hours again, I told him I was sorry.

Sorry for his long hours. Sorry for the drive. Sorry for the pizza.

And already half asleep, he peeped one eye open and said it was okay.

That the whole awful drive in circles and home again, he knew he couldn’t wait to get home.

“Because you were here.”

Because you were here. *Perry didn’t know how much my soul needed such words. He was just being the nice comfy husband that he is, and saying four words out of our 21 years of love.

But God knew. Knew my heart would grab and cling at words my brain would’ve ignored.

And those four words.  Within the guidance of the Holy Spirit released something.

Chains fell off.

Fog lifted.

Very slowly, I laid there in the dark and grabbed for them. Hung onto them. Fed off them.

Came alive with them.

And maybe the dysthymic episode was already lifting around the same time, and maybe God had decided enough was enough?

All I know is that those four words released the doom and invited in purpose. Foiled the brain chemicals. Paved new tracks for my train of thought once on depression’s schedule.

Because you were here.

I think of the Psalmist. How many times he threw out words and thoughts of despair and defeat and hopelessness.

Four words that changed everything.

And then how often he grabbed for and clung to the promises and the precepts of the Most High who is incapable of leaving us high and dry and allowed the words of the Lord propel him into emotional and spiritual health again.

“Lord, because You were here..!”

“Lord, because you saw me in my affliction!”

“Lord, because of Your precepts and all the things that make You God, because You were here, You preserve my life!”

Peel back all the layers of Psalm 89 or 119.

See how when life becomes endless circles and hard work and nomadic, the very fact that I Am is with us and never leaves us and is waiting for us changes everything.

Today I start my prayer for the day with “Because You are here Lord, I know You’ll preserve me, no matter what comes.”

Thank Him for being faithful to cut through the fog and crush of life.

We become proof once again that He will be proven faithful.

It’s our four words of declaration, of thankfulness from the pits of life.

“Because You were here!”

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Today’s post is lovingly tied to #livefreeThursday with Suzie Eller and Bonnie Gray’s #BelovedBrews!
Please, click on a hashtag above and join us for all the goodness happening today.

His Portion

Easter weekend has drawn to a close, and I realise two things.

One, that even with all the planning and prep in the world, mood disorders will still never acknowledge a holiday. It doesn’t get the memo to take a break. OH how I wish.

And two, that in spite of that fact, when asking for extra portions of patience, energy, focus, and peace, so as to counteract the dysthymic episodes threatening to emerge from the flurry of a busy weekend, God doesn’t just give you ‘a’ portion.

He gives you His portion.

And what a difference that makes.

We need HIS portion of the things we lack. So we can enter into the land of the living this week, and the next.

If you need to counteract the balance of all the symptoms of a brain heading towards another flare-up of chronic depression, as a believer, you need something that will overwhelm the symptoms that overwhelm. It makes sense if you think about it.

And as I was navigating the Easter weekend, trying to keep my mind on the significance of it all, and as well, the tasks and errands and gatherings of it all, and wondering how to shake the growing feelings of mental exhaustion and anxiety and the ability to cope and doubts that were surfacing in a way only chronic D can, I found the following words in my Bible.

And so, appropriately for Easter, I took them to the Cross. The words and the moods and mental faltering. I took them both to the Cross and found what I needed.

“LORD, You are my portion, my inheritance, and my cup of blessing; You hold my future.” Psalm 16:5

Lord, I need You to be my peace when everything seems off. I’ll say with Your Word that You alone are the portion I need, and the blessing waiting for me as I give you my anxiety and exhausted moods that threaten.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” Lamentations 3:24

Lord, I’ll wait on You while I function through this day. You will be more than enough for me. You will be the portion of confidence and rest, and I can place my weary hope there and it is renewed.

“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”
Isaiah 61:7

Lord, I’m just going to claim this promise. No shame for me anymore in stumbling hard through the chaotic weekend or week, just a double portion of all things that are You. No embarrassment that I won’t be able to cut it, just strength and ability in You, and the joy that comes with that.

“I cry to you, LORD; I say, “You ARE my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5

Lord, your Word says You are my protection, from myself, from my disorder, from the fears. I can do all things in You, within Your amazing shelter.

I wanted to shake off the portions of dysthymia that were settling in, and simply enjoy the easter victory we were celebrating. I was never going to be able to do that on my own.

Maybe you know that feeling.

I needed His portion of that Easter Victory.

I will continue to need His portion of that Easter Victory.

Every day.

The Cross and empty tomb promises we will. All year-long.

His portion is ours.

His portion never runs out.

His portion does not disappoint.

If you stop what you’re doing right now, and approach the living God for more of Him, you’ll get a portion that will defy anything the week can bring you.

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Today’s post is gladly part of the #LifeGivingLinkup with Sue Detweiler! Would love to see you over there! Just click on the hashtag above to open the link and have an amazing day!

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