Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guest Post by Sandra

I put back up the last two posts, in part because I received this instructive and encouraging email from Sandra (you can read her blog, Chronicles of a Christian Heretic here). She gave me permission to publish it, so here it is!

Also, good news, as my husband returned to his former dosage his joy in living has returned as well. He still needs to make an appointment with his doctor to let him know that coming off the meds was not working well so he went back to the old dosage. I'll be praying for him that he will be able to do that soon and with no shame. For whatever reason, there is a lot of shame associated with needing medication for anything in his family. Fundamentalism is so weird. Without further comment, I give you Sandra's email:

And why is it the depressed can't just say "I'm not doing so well today. I'm sad and I don't know why." or "I can't stop thinking about xyz and it's really bumming me out." ? Doesn't my husband know by now that I can be counted on to be compassionate, understanding and lower my expectations accordingly?


You took down your posts this morning but last night's was still in google reader this morning and this paragraph jumped out at me.

I can only speak for myself and not your husband, but I know that when I am "in a state" (whatever not-healthy state that may be), I literally and truly don't usually know it for a long time--well past when it is glaringly obvious to everyone around me and even to myself in retrospect. In the moment, I am literally blind to my condition. And when it is pointed out to me, even in all civility, I turn on whoever is unfortunate enough to have thought I could be civil in return.

It would seem like the simplest of things to make one the statements you suggest above and I know my family would be incredibly gracious if I could bring myself to make them. But I can't do it very often. Most often, I can't because I can't see that I'm creating a problem; when that is pointed out to me, I refused to admit that I've been creating a problem (it's ridiculous and REALLY makes things worse but it is just how the chemistry works). Partly I am so embarrassed to have been caught in a state I was unaware of that I am furious at myself and I take it out on whoever brought it to my attention (kill the messenger). Of course, I know that my family is (still) loving and gracious enough to accommodate me when I am "not myself" (certainly not the self I prefer to be) if I could just give them the chance to be. But when I am not myself, I literally am not rational, I canNOT think in such a straight line.

In another paragraph, you mention "faking it". Mostly, I don't realize that I am faking it (although, again, clearly I am). "Fake it 'til you make it" has become more than second nature to me--it has been my default position for so long that I don't even know what not faking it looks like. I have to think really hard to find my real response to things (and that's when I'm in a rational state). The learned behaviors were learned so well, so young, and at such cost to my Self that I can't NOT respond with them when I'm in "a state".

Much love and "been there, done that" grace to you and yours.



  1. Thank you Sandra for being so transparent and courageous. There does need to be more understanding about the brain and how it works. Not everything is merely a moral issue. Biology has a lot to do with what we think/feel/do. And yet the brain also responds to (for lack of a better phrase) personal programming, though as an adjunct to biology, not in spite of it.

    Medications and meditations both seem to be useful and in some cases both are necessary. May the peace of God guard and keep all our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. =) SS

  2. Shadowspring,

    Thanks for the kudos and the prayers. I should go write something for my own blog now that you've linked me!