Friday, May 30, 2008

As my Daughters were Saying . . .

Elder Henry D. Moyle said:
"I believe that we . . . might well take to heart the admonition of Alma and be content with that which God hath allotted us. We might well be assured that we had something to do with our 'allotment' in our pre-existent state. This would be an additional reason for us to accept our present condition and make the best of it. It is what we agreed to do . . . . We had our own free agency in our pre-mortal existence, and whatever we are today is likely the result of that which we willed to be heretofore." [(Conference Report, Oct. 1952, p. 71) as cited in Book of Mormon Student Manual (1996) p.86]

(See here for context.)

Thank you to this photographer.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

For They Know His Voice


1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the asheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his avoice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and bleadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they aknow his bvoice.

Thank you to for the scripture passage online.
Thank you to this photographer for the sheep.

Recommended: Me!

It was very tough waiting among other people, and all I could do was cry when the Stake President came and shook my hand and asked kindly how I was doing. But I had my second interview last night. The counselor to the Stake President was very understanding.

I have my new Temple Recommend. I feel so much the love of the Lord. I am very blessed.

Thank you to this photographer for the beautiful picture.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Buoyed Up by Love

I am feeling lighter, buoyed up by love.
Thank you to those who left the kind comments on my "Dead Little Birds" post.

Thank you to this photographer for the "Love is in the Air" picture.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dead Little Birds

I had a dream last night, in which I was helpfully reaching down the throat of a little girl, and pulling out things which were congested and crammed together in her after she had eaten, but never digested, them all. There were many things that came out of her, but the only thing I remember specifically pulling out of her were several birds. These birds were perfectly whole in every way, with feathers and claws and beaks intact, but they were very stiff and dead. It was a strange dream, to be sure, and I wondered about it all day.

Now I know what the dream was about. The little girl had taken the birds into her because she loved them for their carefree, high flying spirits. But, because they were inside of her, when they came back out of her they came back dead.

I was that little girl. The birds represented my children.

I loved having my babies, and I loved my children for their carefree, high-flying spirits, which I am sure they had before coming into mortality, and which they continued to enjoy through early childhood. But, because they were born through me, as young adults they have inherited my propensity for life-snuffing depression.

It is easy to say to myself that it isn't my fault that I have the genes that I do, and that I didn't purposely annul the song and flight of those I most dearly love by passing those genes on to them. I know that in my head. But, obviously, deep inside I feel that, in my innocent delight in bringing these little birds of my own into the world, I inadvertently did something very bad to them. That is why I am weeping tonight. I am sure there is more to the meaning of this dream, and maybe there are some positive things that I am missing. But for tonight, I am mourning for those dead little birds. I am sorry, so very sorry, for the difficulties of my children.

(Thank you to this photographer for the picture of the dead birds.)

Chopin Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28, No. 4

And there is God.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On Feeling Isolated and Misunderstood

"This is the tuna casserole problem. People who have psychiatric illnesses don't get tuna casseroles and flowers. They don't. And this is why we still know we have work to do to make these conditions, which are just as legitimate and cause just as much, if not more suffering, on the same basis, on a par with the other processes."

Dr. Ken Duckworth

From PBS' Take One Step: Caring for Depression, with Jane Pauly.
See more about Dr. Duckworth at NAMI. org.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Very Much Agree with Mr Solomon

"I always say that the opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality, and that depression has to do with finding all of life totally overwhelming."

From the transcript of the PBS special "Depression: Out of the Shadows".
The photograph is from this website.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Depression: Out of the Shadows"

I stumbled upon this program on PBS yesterday and I found it to be excellent. Today I have discovered that it is available to watch in segments online. Thank you PBS! Thank you to all of those who care and are reaching out to help. Click here to go to the video page for "Depression: Out of the Shadows". The NAMI article about the program (which is the page from which I got the picture above) is here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Humor Helps

Here is a video of just some of my family who do a great job of keeping me smiling. The singer is sight-reading a new pillowcase he received as a gift in the mail.

Thank you, Emily.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Scriptures for the Wandering Mind

I love the holy scriptures. I want them to fill my mind and heart. I am convinced that much healing comes through internalizing the word of God. Sometimes, however, my mind wanders so much, when I try to read, that I find studying an unproductive and frustrating endeavor. For times like that, I need more than the written word to keep my attention. I am thankful for resources such as the online Book of Mormon Stories. Yes, they are designed for children, but I find it very helpful to look at a picture and read the synopsis of a scripture passage, then to click on the link and go to the scripture text to read it in full. I don't know how much my need for stimulation and small bites of things is due to mental illness, and how much is due to my AD/HD, but I just know that this method works for me. Maybe it will help you, too.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Rose, a Thorn

I ventured out last night for dinner and live music.

My son played his trombone with a jazz band, and sang scat solos with a choir. I was so glad I was well enough to be there. At the end of the evening I got to be part of the "congregation" while jazz artist Louise Rose sang and played and talked and-- well, ministered. I was genuinely blessed to spend an hour in her presence. Her performance had a healing power for me.

Today, however, the resultant clouds of depression are gathering. There is a price to be paid for pushing my limits.

And so it goes.

Credit goes to her website for the picture of Louise Rose and to this photographer for the thorn.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Temple Recommend Interview: No Snags

I had a temple recommend interview with a member of the Bishopric last night. Anticipating this visit, I did not feel particularly apprehensive about meeting with just this one kind man, but I did fortify myself with anti-anxiety medication for the inevitable interactions with various other people at the meetinghouse. I did all right, and was able to hold myself together until business was done, but I broke down afterward, and had to wait in the car for my husband to finish his interview and quickly drive me home. (He was very kind to drive me, rather than have me drive myself, as he had to turn right around and go back for meetings which he needed to attend.)

As I anticipated the recommend interview, I was blessed with the Lord's witness to my soul that He considered me worthy to attend the temple. All that troubled me was just how I would answer one particular question, the one about whether I attended all of my meetings. That would take some explaining, since I currently don't attend anything, due to the state of my mental health. Like so many, the Bishopric member attributed my lack of ward attendance as necessitated in the fulfillment of a stake calling. He was not aware that I was released, due to illness, many months ago.

The questions came, and I was able to answer each in the affirmative, with conviction. But, in the back of my mind as the interview progressed was: How would I answer the one about meeting attendance? Just how much would I have to explain?

The question finally came. It was not what I had remembered. In my healthy state before, an essential word had been expressed time and again without my ever noticing. The question was not "Do you attend . . .?" but, rather, "Do you strive to attend . . .?"

I was once again touched by the awareness of the Lord. That question I could easily answer in the affirmative, as much as the others.

I continue to marvel at the often subtle nuances in the operation of the church, which time and again testify that the Lord loves each and every one of us, and understands our many challenges, and sees our hearts. I become aware of this again and again as I study the scriptures. My exposure to handbooks and manuals has proven that such awareness permeates their pages as well.

(Thank you to this photographer for the picture.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day and Imagination Run Amok

When I was a little girl, I was easily frightened by imaginary things. I couldn't handle watching even the old "horror" films with Bela Lugosi or Lon Chaney, Jr. I couldn't watch without repercussions The Wizard of Oz. My imagination ran wild. This episode of Twilight Zone, depicted above, terrorized me more than anything else. The very worst moment (oh, why was I watching it?) was when William Shatner's character, who has closed the curtain of an airliner window after being frightened at the sight of a gremlin out on the tip of a wing, pulls the curtain back to take another look and the monster has his face pressed up against the window pane! I was terrified, and remained so, lying awake in bed night after night, imagining a monster lurking, with his face against my bedroom window pane, just on the other side of the closed curtains.

So, obviously, I have a vivid imagination. I have known that for a very long time. Why, then, did it take me so long to realize that I imagined a lot of things about people with whom I have relationships? Bad things. Things that were no more based in reality than the old television shows and movies I used to watch. Simply imaginary things.

I have such a strong desire to see things as they really are and as they really will be. This hope is one of the strongest motivations I hold for seeking the Spirit in my life.
. . [For] the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are , and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation [and the joy] of our souls." (See Jacob 4:13.) (Italics added.)

On this Mother's Day, I am thankful that, pulling back the curtain from where I now sit, my imagination has been quelled and-- in the light of truth-- I see the grateful and loving faces of my children. I am thankful for them. I am thankful for the gift of The Spirit. And I am thankful--and this has not always been so, perhaps due much to that which was only imagined-- for this day of reflection we call Mother's Day.

Mock me if you will, but here are clips from shows which tormented me in the past. First of all, this scene from Jerry Lewis' otherwise hilarious Nutty Professor. I have been ashamed about my fear over this one until this very day. Watching it again as an adult, I found myself tearing away at my fingernails. It is no wonder to me now that, as a little child, the night after watching this movie at a drive-in, I awoke in terror and forced my nearly-paralyzed-in-fear legs to take me to my parents' bed to crawl in between them. This compilation of scenes with the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz still scares me as well. And these clips, no longer scary, but now clearly related to apprehension about mental illness and the loss of personal will: Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolfman; Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula; and William Shatner (and could that be Raymond Burr in the furry suit?) in Twilight Zone: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.

(Thanks to for the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" image at the top of this page.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Listening for Peace

Here is one place I turn to to listen for peace. Maybe you will find something there for you, too.

Thank you to this photographer for the sheet music photo.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Love and a Lily

I went downstairs last night after having evening bedside prayer with my husband and saw on my table a gorgeous pink lily plant. Just seeing it touched me deeply, as I was greatly surprised, having not heard anyone come by. In those few moments I was upstairs, our daughter had answered the door to our kind bishop who had come by to deliver the plant and a note addressed to me. It read: "Thank you for holding down the fort and allowing your husband to serve! Happy Mother's Day."

I wept. Our dear bishop has not put any pressure on me whatsoever to be or do anything, he just loves and accepts--and trusts-- me. That is exactly what I need right now: love without qualifiers. That is what I feel from the Lord. That is what I feel from choice individuals who are in tune with His Spirit, like this wonderful man.

Thank you to this photographer for the picture.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Swinging Upward into Hypomania

Must remember to eat.
Must remember to bathe.
Must remember to budget.

Must remember that others have both feet on the ground.
Must remember to ask what they see.

Thank you to this photographer.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Why File When You Can Pile?

This is not my desk, but it represents what my desk feels like. In this bout of illness I have managed to keep the bills paid (thank goodness for online bill paying), but I have not managed to file anything. My motto: Why file it when you can pile it? But I am not happy living with such chaos.

There is a glimmer of hope. I am beginning to imagine that I might someday (soon?) organize that pile.

Here's a tip that I heard somewhere, which I plan to try: file by month rather than by biller. Just throw everything received in May into a May file, June into a June. You can still find things, and it is much simpler than the other method. Sounds good to me.

P.S. This is pretty much what an AD/HD brain looks like. Lots of information, but a very inefficient retrieval system. At least, that has been my experience.

Thank you to this photographer for the picture.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Forging Chains or Breaking Chains?

Today my new medications helped to connect some wires in my brain, which in turn enabled me to handle going to church for the first time in a long while. That. Felt. Good.

I know that the use of pharmaceuticals for treating depression is a matter of some controversy.
Well . . .

"Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil."--Moroni 7:14

Considering the desires of the adversary versus the purposes of the Lord, the question to ask oneself is:

Is a chain being forged here, or is a chain being broken?

Today medications helped me to break a chain. That--I judge-- is a very good thing.

Thanks for the beautiful photo belongs to Jan Tik.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Where Am I? Bipolar 2 Self Assessment

I feel well today. I feel quite well. I am thinking that maybe I am really getting better. Scary. What if I think I am well, and I find myself out and in over my head? How do I know how I really am? Where is here?

(Scroll down the left sidebar for more about Bipolar 2.)

(Thank you to this photographer for the great photo.)