LIGHT for MI

Love that Inspires Growth and Hope through Trials

Love that Inspires Growth and Hope through Trials

Mental Illness and Our Take on It
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Our Struggles, Our Testimonies, Our Hopes, Our Dreams

I love the fall. Even when I'm depressed. This is usually a time for people to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to the shorter period of daylight. Me? I think I get MORE light during the fall. Seriously! I live in the southern portion of the United States. The oppressive heat of summer (which starts in about March or April and ends in September or October) keeps me inside as much as possible. I hate the heat. It sucks all energy from my entire body. It affects my brain. If I'm hot, I'm irritable;I'm angry. I can't regulate my reactions to outside stimuli. In short, it makes my depression much, much worse.

If it's cool, or cold, I'm a much more pleasant person. I relish in the cooler temperatures. Furthermore, I love the smell of Autumn! It's sublime! I love the colors as the sun hits the leaves on the trees. It's great. In short, I'm refreshed, and it brings hope into the depths of my depression. Why, yes, I'm alive and I appreciate that.

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These past weeks I've been in a deep pit of depression. I never thought I'd reach to this point in my entire life. I am the optimist among my friends most times. I encourage, exhort, raise up, and always remain hopeful and joyful... I'm always told that it takes strength to smile even in the midst of trials. But these weeks I kept falling into the same traps everyday. I began to despise my existence for things I was partaking in... looking into lust-filled stories and photos, selfharming and looking in the mirror to see me..."the weakling" looking back into me... I began losing hope, losing faith... "how can God get me out of this mess?"... I felt lost for good and unforgivable... then the final blow hit... I did something directed at my baby sister...and then everything shattered..."that's it! I really AM a monster!"... I didn't know what to do anymore, I gave up... But then, yesterday...something almost miraculous happened...
 
It started out as an evening stroll down the street like any other stroll that I've taken. But, then I felt a drawing towards a steeple, to my left. I gazed at the cross on the steeple tower, feeling a drawing taking over me to walk over. I was hesitant, and I shook from head to toe, as I drew near to the lot, torn between entering in and running away. Something held me in place. This was the last place I wanted to be standing near... a baptist church. Now, don't get me wrong... I know some awesome baptists and there are some true Christians in baptist circles... but there also were some baptists that have inflicted some hard blows against me and my family... So, as I was about to turn to leave, somebody took a step out of the back door. So, having been spotted, I am led into the church, it wasn't what I expected. And to top that blessing, I ran into someone I knew in elementary school. So that brightened up my week...
 
And after starting back up my dailyaudiobible, and communicating with God, I feel the tunnel ending. God reached out to me through that church...Through the years He has reached out to me through photos, sermons, art, writings, and music of others, and friends, family, etc. He touches my cold and hardened heart, shattering it to pieces, after breaking me down, then He raises me up...  He's done this so many times... and being drawn to this church reminded me of where He has brought me out of... And though my mind still doubts if I really have Christ by my side at times... My heart knows where it stands. So, I've learned by experience that no pit is too deep for God's love to shine through...
 

My Prayer of the Day

Dear God, I'm afraid that I've gone too far deep into my darkness. I have a fear that when you return I'll be facing you and you'll tell me to depart from You. I fear that the things I keep doing will pull me completely away from Your mercy... I know that in Your word, You will not allow me to slip from Your love. You cannot love me more and You refuse to love me less... And when I sin, it breaks Your heart, but it never withdraws Your love... You died for me. There is nothing more powerful than Your sacrifice on the cross... Who do I think I am if I say I cannot be forgiven? Are my sins more powerful than Your love? No! You're greater still and Your love endures forever and ever into an infinity... You stand. Your love stands unchanged... Though my sins warp me and I'm constantly changing everyday... You are unchangeable... You are wonderful, You are incredible! You are the Eternal! You are. You are! YOU ARE! Forgive me for making myself out to be some tragic heroine... Forgive me for claiming full power over myself! I cannot even hold water in a firm grip...so how could I ever overpower You? forgive me for aiming to be an earthbound god... There is none over You! There is no other name, no other blood that can redeem our burdens and forgive us our sin... Who among us can best YAWEH the KING OF ANGEL ARMIES? No one. No one! You have bested our sins... But sin could never best You... I believe in You! Lord, help my unbelief! Reignite my heart! Recapture me! Revive me! In the name of Jesus Christ and by Your mercy guide me to return. Amen. [Source: Facebook Arianna Joy Schaffer] 

 

 

 
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God's timing is perfect. Sometimes it may seem like it isn't, but He is always on time, and I don't know why it amazes me.

Yesterday, I came across a twitter post from one of the people I follow on my @LIGHTforMI twitter account.

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This week has been very stressful job-wise. It was one those impossible weeks where too many things had to be completed by an absolute deadline. I think I could have handled it very easily just a few years ago. However, with all the depression drawing me down into the deep, dark pit, I was almost paralyzed with the stress of it. My body, although really NEEDING sleep, would not ALLOW me to sleep. I dreamt about the work that had to be done. Believe me, waking up from a night where one has worked in dreams is very frustrating. It didn't do much for my depression, either. However, equipped with my trusty task list, I was able to finish designing the pens, ordering the pens, the tablecloths, and the pencils, designing the posters, and punch a lot of manipulatives (with the help of a co-worker). Not bad, I finished well, and on time. That's the great thing. The only problem is that the adrenaline keeps pumping through my body, which makes everything else worse.

That was work. Now think about how hard all that was, and just imagine what it's like to come home to a depressed husband, an unstable daughter, and the rest of the household. There is homeschooling to get through, dinner to eat, and a bunch of useless thoughts in my head of all the things I have to get done, worrying about how it's going to happen. I have a son who can't find a job, a budding teenager who is starting to have a lot of attitude, and then there is Arianna. Arianna is a lovely person, but she's not always happy, and she's often hard to deal with. When she's not depressed, and not overly manic, she's very pleasant to be around. When she's overly manic, she's irritable and quite argumentative. My husband takes the brunt of this, and it's very hard for him to deal with when he's depressed as well. This is just a picture of our normal. Well, it's been more intense lately than it usually is. Really, it's the truth.

However, even in the storm, there are the bright lights of friendship and laughter.

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Last night, I was discussing with a friend a few of the things I have been going through. She used the analogy I'm relaying(and adding onto) for you all. Most of the populace of we, youngsters quite enjoy video games, aye? Well, this analogy will be on video games. Okay, for those of us who struggle with addictions, depression, suicidal idealization and self-harming. Every time we pull ourselves from that struggle and overcome and victor over it, there is a rejoicing we lift up for but a time. Now, our enemy(in this case) is our said struggles. And our Enemy can use them against us... Everyday, he does.

 

Okay, we are going to picture this entire world a video roleplay game. You have two sides to pick from. Good or evil... Christ or Satan? When you enter this world, you are in training under your parents/guardians. What they believe affects your training. So, as you pledge your allegiance to your struggles, then you are bound by their rules. But when you break free from that bondage, and you take on the identity of  a child of God you bind yourself to the love which he will lavish. So, when you began your walk with Christ, you automatically became a "level 1" Christian. You just entered the Game on Christ's side. Now, a new training has begun for Christ's blood frees you from all iniquity. Alright, so Satan doesn't like that, so he sends all he's got at you... your weaknesses from your past is a perfect place for him to start and continue in.... When you start in level 1 your struggles(that is your "boss") is hard for your level, but soon you find yourself growing stronger through your trials... Soon enough that boss will be easy to wipe off the map...

 

When you reach level 20 in a game, level 10 bosses are easy-peasy, right? Well, the same can be said of depression, if you've fought it a long time, when the same problems come up, you can overcome it easily, soon enough you've stood victorious. When you think you're fine, that's when you have an enemy whose quite ticked... so they throw the level 20 boss at you. All of a sudden, you're struggling in the fight again, because you're fighting at your own level again. But, that doesn't mean you are weak when you are fighting harder to not give in...quite the opposite, you're getting stronger...

 

So, when you're back on your knees, crying every night, or fighting strong the urges to self-harm, or partake of your addictions... and you fail once... remember you're building up your endurance and strength, and that always happens after errors in which you begin to learn to correct. But, you are not weak for it at all. Just keep up the fight, dust off when you fail, and carry on and you'll receive the victory. Just remember to celebrate the times you win, and rise up again when you lose. Don't give into your depression. So, game on, mates!

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Who We Are

Arianna
Arianna LIGHT for MI

Arianna is a proud authoress, artist, and musician, but the most important thing about her is; she seeks the hidden face of God with a passion. A lover of culture, art, music, and all things geeky and Celtic, her writings are often greatly impacted by these things.

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Valerie
Valerie LIGHT for MI

Valerie is the wife of a remarkable man, and the mother of three children, with two of whom having various degrees of mental illness. Valerie is no stranger to mental illness herself as a sufferer of depression on and off for years.

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