Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: rescue

More Rescue, Less Shame

More Rescue, Less Shame.

I remember the day three years ago now, that I sat in my doctor’s office, exhausted, so close to tears. After several sessions of questions and backtracking the ups and downs of my health, mental and physical, we finally knew what I’d suffered from.

I remember the relief that came with my diagnosis for Early Onset Dysthymic Disorder. The understanding that I wasn’t a horrible human being, awful mom, lazy wife. But a brave someone who happened to have a mood disorder for almost her entire life.

And I remember realizing that for much of my life, it was shame about who I was that kept me from seeking help.

Why is shame our go-to reaction to needing rescued?

Why do we wallow in our suffering while an answer waits?

Because in matters of the obvious, rescue is always the desired option, isn’t it?

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Revealed In The Impossible.

When God's Revealed in the Impossible

“This is feeling impossible!” I’m saying to myself in a fit.

My husband snores beside me, completely oblivious.

It’s 3 AM and I’m just… awake.

Thoughts, and prayers, and snores, and unresolved items, and worries surround my brain, no matter how hard I try to just be.

One of the many phantom pains that can flare with chronic depression, a physical symptom to the brain’s neurotransmitters off-kilter, sweeps along my right hip and back again, as it has all day.

And in the stillness it’s far more noticeable than during the day when I could distract myself.

“And it doesn’t help my situation any, Lord.

And I’m unsure if the latest bout of insomnia is a result of my chronic D or if it’s the first hurdle in a fresh episode of dysthymia on its way. There’s no way of knowing which one.

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The Inevitable

Well, it was bound to happen. Inevitable really.

The holiday thrusting extra stresses into the daily coping. The extra excitement bringing a mad sort of pressure with it, waiting to explode without warning, but ending up more like a not-hesitating to implode slowly from within kind of event.

And yes, you had a wonder-filled Christmas, or holiday. And yes, the love flowed, and the memories were made, and the giving knew no bounds, and the blessings were everywhere. But on top of that was a mountain of planning, and running, and waiting, and forgetting, and wrapping, and building, and smiling till your face freezes.

And eventually the slightest breeze threatens to snap your wholeness like a twig, and you’re down for the count. (Love mixing metaphors, love it.)

I call it The Crumble Down Effect.

And it’s what happens when you literally crumble down into a heap, and can’t think, can’t move, can’t respond, and can’t function.

Here’s what it feels like. Maybe you know it all too well.

Can’t think.
The brain, it can’t retain any more info, nor will it retrieve it at whim. I can’t answer your questions today. Your words, no matter how many times you say them to me, will not register. See that glazed, deer-in-the-headlights look? I can’t think of how to even BE today. If you approach me even one more time, I won’t just run for the hills, I’ll run for the hills, and collapse, while I scream. ‘Cause my brain won’t know what to make of any of it. At all. Zero processing. Numb. So numb, I won’t even be able to explain it to you this way at the time. That’s numb, people.

Can’t Move.
The body won’t go if the brain is paralyzed. Period. Since I can’t think, I can’t know if I can even leave my room, my bed, my house. If I do move, it’s in a fog, it’s in reaction to other stresses, and it’s out of the instinct to get low. To wait it out. To avoid another single person who might make my helpless brain hurt. And if you make me, you’ll see the Crumble Down Effect in effect with your own eyes.

And it won’t be pretty.

Can’t respond.
Kind of covered this with the whole disabled brain thing, but if you persist in dogging someone who is suffering with this, their brain will ignore it, and then be completely overwhelmed by it. So ask all your innocent questions about where the coffee got put away, how many times the dog’s been out, or when the next week for carpooling starts, but you’ll get a frustrated stammering response that sounds a lot like anger, or anxiety, and you’ll notice that your simple question becomes this complicated journey to an eventual “I… just… I… don’t know… right now… okay?”
Brutal. Brutal for the person in full-blown CDE, and brutal for the one who brings it to a head. Just warning ya.

And lastly. Can’t function.
I realise I look like something the cat dragged in after wrestling with it for hours first. I know I’m supposed to be doing something and that people need me. I know I’m just figuring out that a whole day has gone by. But that’s what the Crumble Down Effect does. You’re immobilized. Debilitated. Stuck. And it might look like I’ve watched 12 hours of t.v but trust me, I haven’t seen any of it, and it’s because I couldn’t move. It might look like I’m hours on the computer, but I’m not engaging, I’m not anything, I’m just darting mindlessly through who knows what, because it won’t register. You may not ever see tears. You may never hear anger. But it’s because none of it works right now. So despite what you see, know this….
I’m not functioning.

The Crumble Down Effect doesn’t just hit people like myself, living with Dysthymia or other mood/mental disorders. It can hit anyone who has been pushed to their limits, been asked too much of, has had too much required of them, emotionally, physically, spiritually… I see it in moms who go, go, go for the three weeks leading up to Christmas, then suddenly fizzle out, only to find themselves in a mysterious state of meltdown. I see it in people who lived 24/7 at the office or shop, then suddenly get a day off, and the weight of the employment world can’t be carried another day, and the simplest thing triggers a spiraling into anxiety.

It can happen to anyone.

But it’s hard when the Crumble Down happens to someone who manages a mood disorder. Because once that heaviness rolls in, you have a much harder time getting it to lift than the average person.

And regardless of your faith, and its status as strong or fiery, or weak and wobbly, and regardless of how healthy you are, or how many extra vitamins you popped, and how much sleep you get, it can build and build without knowing it’s coming.

And when it hits, you had better have warned a loved one that when the inevitable happens, they just need to trust that when you can, you’ll tell them what you need, and not before.

And that they’ll just need to understand how hard it is in the meantime. That prompts, and incentives, and positive little quotes will not coax you out of your dysthymic crumble. There’s no magic trick, or special chant.

That you just need to be. That’s all.

And as a believer, I have something unshakable for the times things are shaky. I have to fully know and trust, and stand on the unmovable promise from my Covenant God, that He never lets me Crumble Down so far that I can’t get back. Because He never leaves me or forsakes me. He never lets me remain in the pit. Tossed on a raging sea of depression without the Life Preserver. And never is there any condemnation or shame in the meantime. Because inevitably He desires to see restoration flow through every ounce of our lives in Him.

You restored me to health, and gave me back my life” Isaiah 38:16b

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong and do not fear’; your God will come,  with divine retribution He will save you” Isaiah 35:4

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

Have you ever noticed that a constant theme through the Bible is “do not be discouraged”?

Really think about that for a minute. The Father, our Soul-ution for every thing we will ever come up against, weaves for us a thread of hope. Of real Hope. A command and a promise for our battered souls. For when the Crumble Down Effect threatens.

Do not be discouraged. He has you. Isaiah describes Him at one point as the good shepherd who not only herds His sheep but carries them as lambs, against His chest, up close to His heart where they can hear it beat, and carries them where they’re safe.

So, go ahead and crumble. Does that shock you? Take today, allow it to be just you, in pajamas, with the phone off the hook, cease your striving, stop the stressing running rampant through your mind, and wait. Wait without guilt. Wait without shame. Know it’s time.

Wait for the Good Shepherd to come back along the impossible path, and pick you up, and press you to His gentle Shepherd’s heart, the one that beats in perfect time with yours, and carry you to better ground.

The inevitable Crumble Down Effect can’t touch Him.

He knows exactly what you need at all times.

He created it so that He’d always be the answer if we let Him.

Look for those strong arms. They’re reaching for you every time you think you’re going down, child of God.

It’s inevitable.

Blessed Are They In A Heavy Wet Blanket

The Parable Of The Big Blue Blanket

For all those struggling with chronic depression...

I need to tell you about two men. Two men and a blanket.

You might be familiar with one or both of these men.

They are both very determined, both are very persuasive, and both can be misunderstood. But that’s where the similarities stop.

The first man is usually in the way. He makes it impossible to have any fun. He’s not into fine details, into what makes things special,  or whether he’s worn out his welcome. He’s the one guy who cheers as it rains on the local parade. What a pain!

The second man is nothing like the first. Never has a thought for himself, this one. He’s the life of the party. If he can make you smile, then he’s content. And so sensitive… rushing to everyone’s aid, the first one to make sure everyone is taken care of, and he never forgets a face or a name. Ever. I should also mention that he never holds a grudge, exudes kindness everywhere he goes, and is big into compassion and dignity extended to all. What a hero!

The first man really isn’t all that remarkable looking, except for the fact that he never goes out without a blanket.  A big, heavy, blue blanket and it’s always soaking wet. Really huge. Really heavy. Really wet. Really blue.

Disconcerting to say the least.

The second man, he’s dressed simply, but his poise hints at something like royalty if you can imagine. In spite of the grace he carries in his walk, he’s not afraid to let his hair grow out like all the kids do these days. Completely approachable. Oh, and there’s one more thing that stands out… at any given point in time, as you pass him on the street, he’s always got a tree with him. Carries it with him everywhere.

I’m very much acquainted with these two men.

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