Saturday, 23 April 2011

Just another Bank Holiday?
I don't always remember my dreams. Sometimes I'll wake up knowing it was a really strange dream but have no memory of what it was about. Others, I'll remember vividly and have to spend time working out it was a dream or did it actually happen. 
One morning last week was a bit like this exceptI sat bolt upright and heard myself saying "...but Easter is more important than Christmas". Haven't a clue why I'd say that. As I lay back down I thought about this a bit more.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Christmas is a great thing to celebrate - God becoming flesh and choosing to be born in a fallen world. He could have come to earth as a 32 year old male in time to gather His disciples and teach, heal and bring the Kingdom to earth. But he didn’t. He was born and grew up with experiences we can relate to over 2000 years later. It’s such a shame that for far too many Christmas is a break from work (if you’re lucky enough not to work in retail and other professions that have to work) and what presents are we going to get. How many people think about Christ being born?

Let’s think of Easter. What does it mean to you? Is it how many eggs you get? Did you receive more than your friend? Some people will think of images they’ve seen. How many thought about a cross with Jesus on it? To me, Easter isn’t about Jesus on the cross - that’s only part of the story, like watching a box set except the last episode which explains all your questions. It’s not about the tomb where Jesus lay. It’s about the empty tomb, Jesus defeated death, He died and rose again. Jesus gave His life for me - and YOU so we could live in the freedom of abundant grace and mercy.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Light in the darkness
So long has gone by since my last post. Being quiet on the Caf-front is not usually a good thing. I seem to hide away when things get challenging. Sometimes it's to get strength for the next day, others it could be because I don't trust how I'll be with 'you' and am not sure you can handle me. At least I think that's why!

I am trying to learn that being in a community, whether that's church or family, means the good and the bad side of people, healthy and sick - starting to sound like the wedding vows! Slowly I'm showing more people the real depressed Caf, not the put on a mask "happy" Caf.

I realised the other day that I'm on the highest dose of anti-depressants I've been on and they're not working as well as they could. Part of that is intentional. I know from the last time with depression that when they are at the proper level I felt spaced-out much of the time. Admittedly that got me through the days, weeks and months but I know I wasn't really there. This time round I know I have to be in touch with my thoughts and as I'm having prayer ministry I felt it important to be able to connect with feelings to deal with them. Having said that, it is extremely hard and very energy-zapping.

I feel quite amazed at how I am though. On one hand I do feel very depressed and worse than last time. But at the same time I'm (just about) holding down a full-time, full hours, job. Ok, that's just about it at the mo, no energy for socialising. I have to ensure I make it to work or things will change there. Last time I had to have time off work. Part of me is wondering if that'd be better but I'm not convinced it would help. I feel supported and lifted up. I know this is the Holy Spirit sustaining me. I am in a very dark, sad place but feel lifted up. I know some of you don't have the same relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as I do and may not understand how that can be. I cannot explain it. I pray that you'll come to know more for yourself (but not through depression).

I do recognise some of the darker thought patterns, unfortunately - well, in the sense that the thoughts are back, not that I'm recognising them! I scared myself a couple of months ago. I felt I could take no more of this and wanted it to end. I couldn't believe that thought was back. Thankfully I realised where this could lead and had to stop the thought process before it spiraled downwards even darker. I'm no Psychologist so not sure if this is true, but to me suicidal thoughts and wanting to commit suicide are two different things, although thoughts can lead into actions. I was distressed by wanting to end things.

Before suffering from this deeper depression I had the view, as it seems the majority of people do, that suicide is the easy way out and selfish. Well, during 2001 - 2005 I tried 4 times to end my life. To me, it was the most self-less thing I could do. I could see how much my illness was affecting family and friends and the pain I was causing them. I couldn't see a way out of the darkness and became so tired of it. I am soooooo glad I rejected most ways and only ended up taking too many anti-depressants. Part of me was wondering if it'd make me better and if I died it'd be a release for everyone.

So back to a couple of months ago, being a follower of Jesus and wanting to end my life caused additional conflict. It is not down to me to decide when I die, that's God's job. That's when I cried out to God with all my strength. I had to stop the spiral now before it got out of control. Thankfully it stopped. Also I know there is a way out of this darkness. I've been healed before, I will be healed again. I just need to keep on the rocky journey of healing - facing and opening up baggage I've been carrying around for far too long.
Prayer ministry is good. I find meeting up with Linda and Lila a catalyst to healing until we meet again. The time in between meeting up varies, 2 weeks or can be 3 weeks. Within that time I receive revelation or healing for different issues. In 2 weeks time I've agreed to have a long ministry session to see how much freedom I can receive and see which walls will come tumbling down. I'm excited and anxious at the same time. Although I don't like how I feel it's familiar. I've been like this to some degree for the past 2 years. To think that in 2 weeks time I can be healed is a strange feeling. I've put my life on hold during this depression and now need to think about my life again. I do have sight of the bigger picture of this depression and that's been keeping me going. To think that the bigger picture could be around the corner is strange.

These 2 weeks will be filled with preparation for a new me. A time to think again what I want to do in Northern Ireland, a time to get creative again and connect others to their creativity, a time to have fun and lots of it. There's so much I want to do here and it's just around the corner.