The Deception of Depression

“I did not loose my tools!” I said with confidence as my caseworker took notes from the last two weeks of my program.    “Matter of fact, they were there all along.”  I took a deep breath as I smiled and shared.  Funny thing about depression, it has away of deceiving one into believing that everything one knows to be true has gone forever.

I had just finished up with my OB when I decided to pop into the psychiatry office as if I had an open-ended invitation.  Who does things like that, one minute at the gynecologist the next at the physiologist?  Me, that is who does something like that.  With a background in recovery, depression has away of sneaking up on me and ten years of tools had told me to get it checked out. 

Fear of going backwards in my recovery made me confidently show up at the counter in the psychiatry department without an appointment, asking to see someone, anyone who might be able to help me with my anxious feelings that led to my depression. 

Maybe it was the tone in my voice or the look in my eyes, whatever it was, and the woman behind the counter took my cry for help seriously and within in minutes I was led to a room to meet with a therapist to be evaluated.

She was gentle and kind and by the looks of the books on her shelves, I could tell we had something in common.  As she spoke, it came out, our faith.  We both agreed, if I could pray it away, it would be gone by now.

I could feel her faith come out in the way she encouraged me through the questions she asked.  No shame or guilt but rather encouragement, stating I had taken the right action, reaching out for help.

She directed me to an intensive out patient program for people just like myself.  Two weeks of tools, ding, ding, that was just what I needed to hear.  Ten years of collecting, training and applying tools, she spoke my language. 

I cried a lot as I told her that I felt like a total failure and that I honestly felt like the last ten years of hard work and tool collecting had gone out the window. I felt like they did not work anymore; I was lost and could not find my way out.  That was how I felt.

She listened well and encouraged me to enter into the two-week program, explaining to me that much of what I would be taught would be lessons I had most likely heard before.  We both agreed that a refresher course would be good.

When I walked into my first session, my anxiety was high, it felt familiar, like my first group meeting in rehab, all I thought was, how did I get back here?  As if I was back ten years ago sitting on the couch among strangers struggling to just breathe.

I was sad, angry and feeling like I had failed my family and God again.

I was assigned to a recreational therapist, a nurse, doctor and psychiatrist as well as a caseworker who looked at my whole history. Not just the symptom in the moment.

As the days progressed and I participated in the group activities and discussions, I came to the realization that my depression had played a big role in me feeling as if I had lost my way.  That the truth was my tools were still there, not one had been lost.

By the end of the program, I also realized that I needed to modify some of the tools and even replace some of them, as my family and I have become healthy and whole, tools I needed ten years ago were not needed today, at least not in the same way. 

Ten years ago, it was about surviving; today it is about maintaining, different tools for different reasons and different seasons.

Another realization came to me while in the program.  There are times I get this overwhelming feeling that I loose my voice when depression sets in, this triggers anxiety and I spiral down even deeper into depression.  The thought of not being heard overwhelms me with anxiousness. 

However, one of the activities I had done was art therapy where I had to make a collage of where I was in the moment and where I wanted to be. 

I had done the exact same activity ten years ago in rehab.  Ten years ago, my collage was filled with pictures no words at all.  I had no words to describe how I felt or where I saw myself going.

Now ten years later, my collage was filled with words.  I did not loose my voice; it was there stronger then ever.  It was an amazing gift that day.  Sitting in front of my glue stick, and magazines to realize not only had I not lost my voice, it was stronger then ever.

Thank you God for this amazing program and those who pour into it.  There was no amount of praying this away, I tried, and it was not a lack of faith but rather a lack of correct use of tools.

I love what Rick Warren said recently.  Broken trees still bare good fruit.  Love love love…..

Though I feel like a broke tree I am baring good fruit, all I have to do is look around.  Though at times I feel lost and lonely, I am not!

Remember, if you get anything out of this entry is that depression causes deception.  Reach out to those equipped to help in this area. My prayer is that everyone who suffers from any kind of mental illness would have the resources to get the help they need.

Please, if you are suffering and need help, send me a private message and I will be able to direct you to some incredible resources. 

Thank you for letting me share.

Spots and Lines

Spots and lines add character not distractions.  I look in the mirror and peer closer into the reflection.  I see tiny lines appearing around my eyes and lips as well as brown circles on my nose and cheeks.  My face is a good indication of a life I have lived.

My grandmother Price called them laugh lines, she laughed a lot.  I do not like how the media tries to get me to believe I am less beautiful because of my lines and spots.  When in fact I believe if woman would embrace their lines and spots as like I saw my grandmother do, we would all be much happier with ourselves. 

A false sense of holding on to our youth by hiding our spots and lines is what or world has come too, at least in the American culture. 

This is where I have learned to apply rule # 6.  What is rule #6? “Don’t take life to seriously?  I look in the mirror, smile, but seriousness is not what I am aiming for, more like the real me.

Learning to become more secure with who I am as a woman who is aging has taught me to embrace the beauty of life experiences that cannot come with youthfulness. 

Questions, when did aging become a negative occurance?  Aging means I am still alive, the alternative could be worse, right?  I am always encouraged when I meet older woman who are not trying to hide their flaws but rather clebebrate their imperfections.

I don’t want to be a woman in my 60’s who looks like I am trying to be 30 again which means I must practice what I preach now to reach what I want later.  Authentic beauty is what I am aiming for as I embrace my lines and spots. 

I love my lines and spots.  They bring me comfort and memories of a childhood lived out in the desert an on the beach.  It was a time where sunscreen was more of an option then a requirement and baby oil was worn like a pair of sunglasses. 

Could you have changed my mind back in my youth, no, never?  What choice do I have today?  I can either curse the consensuses or celebrate the memories.  I choose to celebrate. 

I refuse to buy into the marking message that tries to sell beauty in a bottle, making people drool over the young, skinny blonde models that have not yet experienced life, no liens, circles or flaws. 

True beauty my friend is not about an age but about courage to embrace ones imperfections and all and stand up against a system that tries to hide what I choose to celebrate.  My lines and spots they make me real

Spots and lines are not distractions but rather attractions when we embrace the real deal.

Thank you for letting me share.

Thoughts To Think About And Ponder

 I am learning to not judge my feelings when they come up, which is helping me to not react in moments when negative emotions arise.  Reminder to self, my feelings are neither good or bad they just are.  

Sometimes I just feel the urge to kick people in the teeth when they ask stupid questions, can you relate?  When they are coming at me from a jovial superficial place in the same moment that I am in a deep and contemplating place of working toward inner healing.  

My reaction can come from a place of anxiety and depression, and thank God I have a good support system to help me walk through these feeling or guilt would be leading me by the nose.  

A good friend shared with me that she feels like she could throw up on people’s shoes in certain moments when stupid things are said.  Of course, she does not and would not say that to a person. Yet, we do have these feelings and emotions that rise up inside us.  We do not call them out, they just appear.  We are not guilty of doing anything wrong, well of course unless I kicked the teeth or she intentionally vomited to make a point.

However, don’t "good Christian girls" have better reactions.  On the other hand, is our lens dirty and are our ears muffled with the sounds of a faulty belief system?  Thoughts to think about and ponder.

Maybe it is time as my friend put it, to stop looking at everything through the lens of Christianity.  Wow, that sounds almost sinful, yet freeing. The lens of Christianity as it exists in our modern world is without question a dirty lens.

The lens of Jesus should be more like it.  Jesus would approve and appreciate our honesty in not hiding from ourselves who we are and in recognizing how we feel in a given moment, whatever that truth is.

I just love the fact that I can have this kind of conversation with my friend and sister in Christ.  We share a similar path from our past to our present.  We are able to talk openly and honestly about our struggles as well as our victories without judgment.

I promise you do not have to be afraid of me kicking you in the teeth or her vomiting on your shoes, well of course unless you are around her when she has the flu, but I am sure she would find her way to the john before letting your shoes become her barf bag.
Barf Bag

Just know though that there are those of us out in the world who are working on healing and wholeness.  We wish we had better internal reactions to the seemingly normal things of life that come our way, but that just may not be possible now. We are healing as we give ourselves permission to feel what we feel without judgment, as we learn who we are and why.

Be kind and gentle when you see what appears to be a blank stare in our eyes.  I assure you it is anything but blank.  We are thinking, processing and making sure our lens is more clean and clear so we can respond in an appropriate way.

And, if I do respond inappropriately, I ask for forgiveness now, as I know I am a work in progress.  One day at a time, moment by moment I am figuring out that taking every thought captive means way more than what I have been taught.

Thank You For Letting Us Share.
Cristina and JT

Value Me Value You


  My value is not visible.  Who I am and my net worth is not something the human eye can pick out like an item on a shelf or a picture in a book.

  As I continue to walk by faith and let go of my things and stuff, I have come to see the true value in who I am and it is surely not my things and stuff.

  I have learned through my struggle that my value is not even something I can put into words, hold onto or touch.

  Letting go of believing that my value is in all the tangible things and stuff in my life has allowed me to be free from judgment over myself and others.

  When I finally embraced the truth of value, my eyes were open to a deeper more realistic way of living. It gave me an amazing amount of peace that  allows me to overcome the feelings I have of being less then and not enough.

  If value is not visible then how do I know that I have it?  Being still, that is the key.  Knowing the creator of this universe and looking for value with the eye of the one who made me allows me to see beyond my own opinions of my struggles and judgments. 

  When man was created it is written, “it is good.”  I am valuable because HE created me, simple but profound truth.

  Value is not in the visible.  I will not try to hold it, wrap it, or sell it.  I will live in the mystery of the unseen and look at the results instead. 

  When I value me, I value you that is the result of this truth.
  I will pray for peace, for pure revelation for this world that is in need of the mystery of the unseen value in every human being.

Thank you for letting me share.

Cristina Nole

Committed, Admitted and Invited

  I am a woman who has been committed, admitted and invited into places most people do not even want to talk about.   Psych wards,  rehabs, prisons and jails.  Through these EDucational experiences, I have learned the human heart is fragile, easily broken when rejected, neglected and abused.

  I have learned that one can only take being beaten down so many times before they cannot get back up on their own.  Interventions need to take place so restoration, recovery and redemption can be embraced. 

  I have learned through my EDucational experiences that whether you are committed, admitted, or invited you are just as valuable,  no matter how you made it through the doors of the places most people choose not to go.

  I have learned that mental breakdowns, drug addictions and prison  all feel the same.  They rob one of their dignity and strip them of their identity.

  The human soul longs to be free yet frailty and shame keeps the spirit shackled.  Would one choose the road of despair on purpose?  I would say not so.  A result of the hands of those who should have loved, or strangers who should have known better. 

  Then on day, you are handed a get out of jail free card.  All of a sudden, the freedom you had been praying for and dreaming about does not look so inviting.  The get out of jail card looks scary from behind the invisible, predictable bars you have been hiding behind most of your life. 

  The freedom being handed to you looks heavy and hard, the fear of the unknown scars you more then the chains you have become accustomed to.  You squint, you peer into the future and you see is in the distance familiar faces of those who had gone before you.

  No chains, no shackles no bars to be seen. Thoughts swirl around in your head, “how can I walk away from the only life I know?” Then you say to yourself,  “If they can do it so can !.”  Courage wells up deep inside, you grab the get out of jail card and you run as fast as you can.  You call out to those ahead of you and they turn around to greet you, arms wide open.  They gently whisper, “follow us.”

  Thank you for letting me share.

Cristina Nole

Looking Backwards-Moving Forward

Sept 2, 2013
Dear Friends,
Happy Tuesday.  Hope all of you had a great labor day.  I am having fun forging my way through the last 12 months of my journal entries.  Watching the process of transition unfold through my words and stories has given me a greater appreciation for the need to live a slow, simple, small life so that I can embrace what really matters most.  And that is, people, plain and simple.  

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Have a beautiful today.

  The first rain of the season has just begun. The gutters are filling up and draining back and forth.  The wind blows through the cracks of the doors and windows of the house we are about to leave.  I wait for Vito to wake up, happy that this time of year has begun.

  Just like our move, a new season is about to arrive.  Change is good for the soul.  Change is good for the mind.  What is it that I need to learn today as I sit in my home sheltered from the storm.

  Lesson learned.  I have been prepared for such a time as this.  No need to worry or fret, I am prepared more then I know.  Like the china that came crashing down many years ago, this move will give me the ability, the compass to see that I am not attached to my things and stuff.

  I have done a great job at learning to let go and lean into what matters most.  I trust my creator will be with me as I move and make new friends and create a new life.  I trust my creator will always be by my side. 

  When I am feeling sad and homesick for what was and use to be, gentleness will be the tool to help me through.  I AM is always with me.  I am not alone.

  The journey has just begun.  I have not seen anything yet.  People, places, community, leadership, I am prepared to continue where I have paused.

  Created inside of me is a spirit of strength, I am brave, bold and beautiful.  There is nothing me and my creator cannot handle together.  I will keep my eyes focused on my faith.  I will watch mountains be moved, seas parted and burning bushes as I look with eyes of belief. 

Journal entry Oct. 2012

 Thank you for letting me share.