Anxiety and depression – My son’s story

Some of you know and have supported Logan and I recently so I’m sharing this with you in the hopes that someone else will be helped.

Depression doesn’t always make sense and many people don’t understand it. I’m sharing because of that too. Thank you for your support whether you’ve understood or not. I’m happy to chat anytime.

Please share with anyone you think will benefit from knowing.

I’ve copied and pasted an email I wrote to some people who knew more of this earlier, in the middle of 2014, so it may not all be relevant to you, but the info and sentiments are.

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Because we’ve spoken about this before and you are aware of what’s been happening for Logan, I want to keep you updated on Logan’s situation. I’d appreciate it if you could continue to keep your eye on him, like you’ve already been doing, and let us know if you see any changes.

I took Logan to a psychiatrist on Wednesday and she agreed with my ‘mum diagnosis’ of chemical depression within 10 minutes of us all talking. After a thorough discussion, she’s prescribed him a 12 month course of daily Zoloft, which she will monitor closely with us. She believes that we will see, and Logan will experience, positive change within 3 weeks. All going as expected, he should be functioning normally within three months and in six be back to where he ‘should’ be. This is wonderful, prayed for news, which is exactly the outcome I had hoped for from yesterday’s appointment. Thank you for praying with me.

As with any medication, there MAY be some side effects and although these are mostly minor, we want to be onto them. Especially these next two to three weeks, Logan might be more tired (not sure that’s possible); have slight headaches; have more ‘body irritability’ like jumpy legs, unable to sit still and tightness or clenching of jaw or grinding teeth. None of these presents a problem, it’s just a settling in period. As I said, she’ll be monitoring him every few weeks in person to make sure that’s all. After the initial few weeks, most people have only positive change and because we often don’t see small changes from so close, you may see these more than Logan does at first. I’ll be noticing every tiny thing, I’m sure, which will be a nice change to noticing the decline, but I’d love your feedback too. Logan knows that you are aware of the continuing story and is, even now, willing to talk to you about it all. He has briefly mentioned his anxiety to his friends, but has trouble knowing what to say. As you can understand, some people have negative perceptions in relation to psych-anything, so he’s nervous about judgmental reactions.

This next is probably the most important part of my explanation today and what I hope will help others. It’s only due to my first hand knowledge of chemical depression that I’ve seen beyond what often presents as grumpy, ’emo’ teenager,Neanderthal behaviour and really known he wasn’t ok. It took a close friend’s amazing transformation recently from severe, self harming depression to normal, functional, and finally happy person, for me to seek a psychiatric referral. The psychiatrist had worked with my friend’s medication over months to achieve this and it’s been a miracle. It’s the best discovery I’ve made. I’ve been diagnosed, and improperly treated for, various types of depression for the past twenty years. I’ve been to multiple GPs and referred to counsellors and psychologists and have attended each session feeling like a fraud and a ‘mental case.’ I rarely had anything to discuss and my catch cry has been, “There’s nothing wrong with me; why is there so much wrong with me?” Why did I still feel so hopeless, helpless and lacking in any energy or motivation?

I have tried a number of anti-depressants with varying degrees of un-success, prescribed by GPs who have tried. When one suggested post natal depression when Toby was 4 years old, I wondered if I really was in the ‘too hard’ basket. My latest GP, just prior to finding out about Theo, was the first and only person to use the words, ‘chemical depression’ and she told me it wasn’t psychological, but my body’s inability to manufacture Seratonin, among other things. She said I’d likely have to be on anti-depressant medication for life and likened it to some diabetics having to inject insulin. I felt such relief at that, finally having an answer that wasn’t a mental issue. She’s been amazing, guiding and supporting me through what’s been a rough few years with pregnancy hormones and true postnatal symptoms. I’ve taken my medication as prescribed and have been ok; but only ok. Theo’s nearly two and I’m still only ok. I am so used to being flat that I’ve only really recently realise that I’m probably operating at 75% of what’s normal for me. My head’s above water, but it’s easy to go under. With the change I saw in my friend, I’ve self-referred to this same psychiatrist Logan saw. I’ll see her next week but through the tiny bit of my information I gave her today as background for Logan, she’s already determined my medication is wrong for what I have and that I have been improperly diagnosed and treated for 20 years. She has said that most people can be treated for chemical depression like this in a relatively short, finite period, easily with the right prescription; which is a psychiatrist’s specialist area. I’ve never felt such relief and frustration and anger at the same time!

Although I knew psychiatrists could prescribe medication, I had the mistaken, but disturbingly common, view that psychiatrists were the top of the mental health hierarchy: the more crazy you were, the further up you went. The thing that’s perpetuated this myth and given me what I feel are wasted decades is that no one, not GPs, counsellors or psychologist – NO ONE has ever suggested I seek a psychiatrist’s help – and they SHOULD HAVE. If they had, I’d have done so. If they’d suggested amputation, I would have gone there too in an attempt to feel ‘normal.’ I tell you this because I know I’m not the only one in my situation and although I’m finally going to get this all sorted starting next week, I’m angry at such wasted decades. The only thing I can see that makes it ok is that God has a plan for this knowledge and experience. Because of it, I’ve been able to get help for Logan early and not shrugged it off as grumpy teen. Because of this, I may (and hope to) direct others to seek the right help. And you’re some of the first I’ve told. Maybe you can pass this on to help someone else.

I so appreciate that I’ve been able to honestly share this and my experiences with you all individually over the past few years. It seems trite, but isn’t, to say thank you so much for your support and observation and care of both me and Logan. It was so good to know others saw what I did in him and cared enough to tell me. Thank you for continuing to pray for us. Please ask about and share my journey with anyone who needs it and WATCH THIS SPACE! for new and improved Ross’. Bit scary, hey?

Veritas, Eski

Tough life!

It’s a tough life!

I’m on an excursion today with my Year 11/12 English Communication class. We are here because we are learning about persuasive speeches. Yes, really.

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I know, it sounds unlikely. But despite appearances, this is a valid excursion. I’ve tried something new with my class this term. All the info I gave them was that we had to complete a persuasive speech for our assessment and they planned the term in a way that they would like to learn. Of course, they were quick to point out that they’d NEED to visit a theme park at some point.

“Persuade me,” I said.
“We could write about which is the best ride or theme park,” they said.
“Ok,” I said, “I’ll try.”

So I spoke to our Head of School, explaining the importance of the students taking control of their learning and being inspired to learn. I think I was a bit surprised when he said yes! The condition was that I have the requisite paperwork in the very next day and that I make use of MY persuasive skills to write the letter to parents. I’m pretty impressed with my efforts…

Excursion – Wet n Wild
This term, 11/12 English Communications are involved in the creation and monitoring of their term plan. During the first lesson of the term, students collaboratively developed a Term Overview and detailed what they felt they needed to learn in order to complete the assessment during the exam block. To motivate and inspire them to write an interesting persuasive speech for the exam, they decided to spend the day at Wet ‘n’ Wild on Thursday, 22nd October. Due to the in-class nature of the planning, this is an optional activity which is not included in our excursion schedule. We encourage you to allow your child to attend to encourage them as they take responsibility and ownership of their learning.

What do you think?

I sent some of the photos above to the HOS with the message,
“Wish you were here?” He was thrilled. This is the message I received in return,
“It’s important, she says…It’s for the students, she says…it’s valuable learning time, she says…💩.” Such support! 😜

I also received a few messages from my Year 11 class (or what was left of them; there were a number of excursions today).

J: “theirs only 3 of use that are in english… yay [sic]…do we still have to do today’s work?”
{I reply in the affirmative}
“Oh.”

G: “Here’s my work from today. It’s a bit quiet.”

G: “Hello again, I would just like to point out how creepy the front page of the pdf document is…sorry if I ever look like this in class 🙂 Feel free to add a caption.”

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I nearly fell off my banana lounge with laughter! That kid looks positively murderous! I’m sorry if ANY of my students feel even the remotest reason to look like this in my classes!

Caption away! I’m very much looking forward to what you all come up with.

So there you go. My day; my students; only 3 of whom decided to line up for a ride at the exact time we were to meet, were 42 minutes late and held up the whole bus full of those waiting. And they did apologise. After asking if they had time to grab a quick frozen drink!

And my new swimmers were a great success – to me.

Veritas, Eski

Guest Author – Freaking people out since ….?

I’ve been invited to read a memoir I wrote a number of years ago to our Year 12 English class later today. My previous teaching partner asked me to do so as I’m not teaching Year 12s at present and they’re learning to write memoirs. This was a pleasant boost to my ego. However, I’m not sure the students will feel as excited. Here’s why:

They’ve been told they’re being visited by a “Guest Author” capital letters and all. They have NOT been told it is me.

In my Creative Writing class on Thursday, one of the Year 12s said to me,
“Apparently we’ve got an author coming to speak to us on Tuesday.”

Just before I open my mouth…

“I hope it’s someone interesting, not just some random.”

Well, my dear boy, you have about 10 hours to hold onto that dream. Then, prepare to be disappointed.

Not great for the ego! However, life is full of surprises – for me as well as students – they might like it.

More on the memoir in posts to come.

Veritas,
Eski 🐛

Veritas, Eski

Open Invitation

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You are cordially invited….

To basically everything I do. Ever.

I have confused people over the past few months (possibly for years, I don’t know) with my mass invitations. If I’m doing it, you’re invited. In an attempt to make my thinking transparent, here are the reasons why.

1) I’m an extrovert. Now for some, this may need no explanation, but for others, it does. In psychological testing, I am above the 88th percentile in extroversion. I need people around me. A lot! In the first part of the video below, it describes an analogy of introverts and extroverts which I just love. 

Video – Introverts and Extroverts

2) My Love Languages are Quality Time and Acts of Service. (Gary Chapman’s Love Languages here) This means that having people around me, doing things with me or for me, charges my batteries. I feel loved and my tank is full.

3) When I am energised, I talk. And I talk. When I spend time with people, I speak. A lot. I ask questions of you and answer ones you haven’t had time to ask of me. We share of ourselves to a certain degree and we become closer. I haven’t so many friends in my life that I don’t want more. 

Anti – depressant Verses

Depression Bible Verses – Discover the Bible says about depression and how to fight it. Find Scripture that will encourage us to find peace and joy in the midst of depressing circumstances and feelings. Overcome depression with the help of God and His Holy Spirit!

http://www.tosavealife.com/bible-verses-on-depression/

Philippians 4:8
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Deuteronomy 31:8
8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Psalm 34:17
17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

Psalm 40:1-3
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 3:3
3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

Psalm 32:10
10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.

Psalm 42:11
11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Psalm 37:23-24
23 If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; 24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

Isaiah 41:10
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Veritas, Eski

@eskicaterpillar hits Twitter!

I’m a #GenNext2015 Generation Next – Health and Wellbeing of Young People today and they’ve introduced a Twitter feed. I’ve never ‘done’ Twitter before, and to tell the truth, I still don’t totally understand how it all works. I’m a reasonably tech savvy person, so please comment to help me understand it.

Check out this awesome conference and…

Follow @eskicaterpillar on Twitter.

Veritas,

Eski 🐛

Veritas, Eski

Grow – Reconcile

A few weeks ago, I posted about being an extrovert and sometimes missing having extrovert friends who would invite me to things or want to be doing things as often as I do. (Read about that journey here.)
I had a friend respond to me in the middle of the night (immediately after she had read the post) with, “Me, me! Pick me!” She felt the same. A day later, I was invited to Grow 2015. And here I am.

I love watching the gathering on days like this. Women of all walks of life mingle, their colours flashing and clashing and brightening a cool Brisbane morning. Short, tall, dark or blonde, we are all here to listen to the same message. Glints of silver stranded hair reflect the same light as multi – pierced ears, noses and lips.

After worship in song, we are brought a message by Lesley Ramsay.

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 MSG
http://bible.com/97/2co.5.16-21.MSG

“God acts to end the war.”

Lesley tells an almost unbelievable story from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, South Africa. I have found a copy of the story to retell here:

I quote an episode from “Call Me David” by John McSweeney to clearly understand the “understanding” required for reconciliation through a TRC.
“A frail black woman stands slowly to her feet. She is over 70 years of age. Facing her across the court room are several white security officers, one of them, Mr. Van de Broek, has just been tried and found implicated in the murders of both the woman’s son and husband some years before.

It was indeed Mr. Van de Broek, it has been established, who had come into the woman’s home many years back, had taken her son, shot him at point-blank range and then burned the young man’s body on a fire while he and his officers held a party. Seven years later Van de Broek and his cohorts had returned to take away her husband as well. For many months she heard nothing of his whereabouts. Then almost two years after her husband’s disappearance, Van de Broek came back to fetch the woman herself. How vividly she remembers that evening, going to a place beside a river, where she was shown her husband, bound and beaten, but still strong in spirit, lying on a pile of wood. The last words she heard from his lips, as the officer poured gasoline over his body and set him aflame, were `Father, forgive them.’

And now the woman stands in the courtroom and listens to the confession offered by Mr. Van de Broek. A member of the commission turns to her and asks, `So, what do you want? How can justice be done to this man who has so brutally destroyed your family?’ ‘I want three things” began the woman, calmly but confidently. `I want first to be taken to the place where my husband’s body was burned so that I can gather the dust and give his remains a decent burial.’ She pauses, and then continues, `My husband and son were my only family. I want secondly, therefore, for Mr. Van de Broek to become my son. I would like him to come twice a month to the ghetto and spend time with me so that I can pour out on him whatever love I have remaining within me.

‘And finally,’ she says, `I want a third thing. I would like Mr. Van de Broek to know that I offer him my forgiveness because Jesus Christ died to forgive. This was also the wish of my husband. And so, I would kindly ask someone to come to my side and lead me across the courtroom so that I can take Mr. Van de Broek in my arms, embrace him and let him know he is truly forgiven. As the court assistant comes to lead the elderly woman across the room, Mr. Van de Broek, overwhelmed by what he has just heard, faints. And as he does those in the courtroom – friends, family and neighbours, who were all victims of decades of oppression and injustice – begin to sing softly the great hymn, `Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…’

Truth told. Forgiveness offered.

Bigger and grander is God’s reconciliation with us.

This is not always the first thing that comes to our mind when we share the gospel. It’s because we have a problem – God is not good enough and we are not bad enough. The gap between us is huge, but we don’t see it like that.

We see God as a suped-up version of us. BUT!

Here’s the reality. God is holy.
Isaiah 6:1-5

We know what holiness is because God is.
1 John 1:5
Something is good because God does it.

Righteousness is holiness in action.

God comforts Israel. Isaiah 51:5.
Why? Isaiah 5:16

Love. 1 John 3:16. Love changes everything because God demonstrates His righteousness and holiness through His commitment to reconciling with us; His enemies.

Us. We are very bad.
Romans 1:18-32
No redeeming features here.

Thanklessness is at the heart of humanity’s moral bankruptcy.

We are pretty horrible really. Without understanding this, we won’t understand the love and reconciliation of God.

We hide sin, rename it and ignore it as long as possible. God does not.

But there is nothing we can do to regain God’s favour and friendship. God has to do it. Romans 5:6.

We have a big sin debt against us. We can’t pay our debt, but God does. By the death of Jesus, our debt is paid.

We get to swap our sin for Jesus’ sinlessness. Romans 5:1, 6-8.

If you accept God’s offer of reconciliation, peace is declared between us.

Have you accepted this offer? Do you understand the breathtaking magnitude of the chasm God had to cross to reach us?

What a brilliant message from Lesley Ramsay.

And what a wonderful day out with my friend; who responded to my honesty with action. While the day was fantastic in itself, the very best bit was the drive to and from the event; drinking coffee frappe and discussing the messages of the day and the weird, freaky honesty that is only possible in a REAL friendship. I was able to share a real concern in my life – perhaps a story for another blog post – and feel safe in the sharing. What an awesome gift.

Veritas, Eski🐛