Archives For stepfamilies

Finding Joy In Depression

Heather —  March 16, 2012

What are your thoughts about depression?

Honestly, I feel very uncomfortable talking about depression. Over the years, I have had many health issues and one doctor did attribute them to depression. I found that frustrating, because deep down, I suppose I see depression as a weakness, something I could fix if I “just tried harder.”

At the time, I went ahead and was treated for depression using medication. I disliked that very much and did gain some weight. To make a long story short…well, I am not sure that I ever really was depressed. I still have some health issues. My current doctor is very helpful and has helped find some other solutions for my health issues, such as figuring out my gluten intolerance and a couple other things—this has improved my quality of life.

And, yes, I feel happier. I wonder about all this sometimes. Am I really depressed and it manifests as immune issues? Or do my immune issues cause me to feel bad and so I seem depressed? I mean really…which came first, the chicken or the egg? You know?

And, I am not a doctor. I know there are some types of depression that can be clearly diagnosed and treated. I certainly do not think depression should be some sort of white elephant in the room.

The reason I am talking about this today is because I was able to get a copy of Amanda Pelsers new ebook, Finding Joy in Depression. I enjoy Amanda’s blog and her wonderful book clubs, and when I saw she had a book coming out about depression, I was super curious to see what she would say…because I also know that she has a BA in Bible from Anderson University and a MA in Old Testament Studies from Talbot School of Theology.  (She is a former church communications director turned stay-at-home-mom.)

So, I thought, what would she say? I mean, the fact that she is in ministry adds a whole other layer to this discussion. Because some people feel that depression is a heart issue, and that if you are depressed maybe you need to go to God to resolve something. Personally, I do not agree with this take on depression. I know that Jesus is our healer and nothing is impossible with him. But I also believe that depression can be a medical issue that God can use doctors and medications to heal.

So…anyway, all this led me to read Finding Joy in Depression.

I found Amanda’s take on this subject refreshing. Just the title clues you in that she is searching to honor God through hardship, finding the joy in the midst of trouble.

Overall, I feel that Amanda really wants to throw open some windows on the topic of depression. Especially for Christians. For people who have been through a traumatic event. For the young, stressed moms who wonder if they are depressed or just a bit overwhelmed.

Often, when I read a book like this, I look hard for solid solutions to issues. I like how clearly Amanda described her journey and tries to give answers that can really help others.

In a down to earth fashion, she talks about the options of medication, the importance of a caring spouse, natural remedies, knowing triggers and dealing with bad days.

It is fascinating to think about the connections between our bodies, minds and spirits. I really encourage you to read this book.

Click here to view more details

Finding Joy in Depression, by Amanda Pelser, ebook/kindle/nook format, $4.99

Finding Joy in Depression.

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I received a copy of this ebook to facilitate my review. I am also an affiliate, now, because I like the book:) Buy it from my link…or hers…whatever:) But if you know someone struggling with depression, do check it out.

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday

Heather —  November 28, 2009
This adorable little bundle (my nephew) did not even get any Turkey!

This adorable little bundle (my nephew) did not even get any Turkey!

Happy After-Thanksgiving! Aside from being sad that I did not see the cutie to the left in person, we have just had a blast. Pretty often, I have gotten stressed or depressed during holidays–trying to get everything just so and be perfect, etc. Lately, though, I have been more relaxed about just having some fun. (yes, I had to plan to be fun–can you tell I’m the bad cop around my house?)

For this Thanksgiving, that was the mood. I barely cleaned and had a blast working through a bunch of Thanksgiving activities with my kids. Yes, I was sneaky in order to have a good holiday “flow”–with four teenagers, one little and some girlie drama, I find it helps to go ahead and plan some fun, distracting activities!

My teenagers made Pilgrim Hats the night before Thanksgiving, and I let them eat them all…and sent them directly to bed. So, they thought I was wonderful…and I did not have to deal with the sugar rush:)

My 4 year old and I explored the Mayflower, thanks to some great links (see here for next year) I made myself not get up and “be busy” we made the Mayflower game and made our hats and did a pilgrim play….we even made little place cards using a dumb little Microsoft template. (I was going to make those edible napkin rings but I’m saving those for Christmas)

On the one hand, I am sorry we did not travel to see family, but on the other hand, we were able to relax and do some things we would not have done. The kids did nice cards to send to grandparents and really helped with the thanksgiving cooking (another nice thing about having older kids!) Note: every time we go out, I am making everyone use Purell from my purse before we get home. So far, we have been healthy, hoping that lasts!

The turkey actually turned out lovely and I made enough carbs to sink a ship…a big hit. My one son made the mashed potatoes, another the rolls…I let my daughter make something she wanted, which was not very Thanksgivingy–a pistachio marshmallow pudding thing. The color was awful!! It was funny though, and the kids had fun making fun of it, including her. We decided to use that at St. Patrick’s Day in the future. The Pecan Pie (I just use the simple one on the back of the Karo syrup–it is so good) & Pumpkin Pie Spectacular (from the recent issue of Southern Living –this was pretty but so rich–too rich) pushed everyone over the edge sugar wise, and we then crashed all over the house.

Now, I have to add that I usually do not cook so many things that are sugary and calorie laden…I called this Thanksgiving our last Hurrah. My husband does have a genetic liver condition that causes him to have gout (which is increasing…so my cooking for him will need to be designed with that in mind) and my four year old appears to have many allergies…so, my upcoming quest for Christmas is to prepare a lovely and mind-blowingly healthy Chritsmas meal. (Although I will still get my teens a secret honey baked ham–that is their favorite at Christmas)

chris&iThen, on Friday, instead of trying to shop, we took the kids on a family trek–we went to see the Luray Caverns. What an experience! I had never been inside a cave/underground, etc. I really thought it would be damp and dark and creepy. Instead, what I found was amazing–the air in the caverns was so fresh–weird! As we went on a tour, everything was lit up and we followed a very safe path–the stalagmites and stactites and “draperies” were incredible. I was so intrigued, that I am going to begin a course on geology with my kids soon.

jacqui in Luray

Then, the next day…which is today, we are sending most of our kids off to a local indoor waterpark for the day and husband and I and the little one plan to do…NOTHING!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a good, relaxing week. I pray for those who have had to deal with family drama over the Holiday (I know a bit about that, also…blended family here:) And, many “experts” say mixing up a family can take about 7 years before it is even comfortable to sit together in the living room. We laughed at that 7 years ago…but yikes…they were right.

So, things come and go and I find the older I get, the more I can trust in the Lord for all my parenting needs…so instead of yelling, I can pray. Instead of stressing, I can go hide in the bathroom…or…I as I am getting more boundaries–make my family go hide:)

My verse for Thanksgiving this year was an odd one, but one I love:

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we  trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” Psalm 20:7-8