How do we talk about mental illness?

When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I was shocked. It was good to have an answer to why I was feeling the way I was, but I didn’t know how to process the news. I remember sitting in the psychiatrist’s office, stunned into silence, as she began to explain the first steps in my treatment. A part of me was relieved—an answer, finally!—but the rest of me was completely numb to what she was saying.  Continue reading “How do we talk about mental illness?”

Do not covet?

It’s just a number. It’s just a number.

That’s what I was telling myself yesterday when I was pulling on a pair of jeans in the dressing room. Size doesn’t matter. Who cares if you’re now a bigger size? It’s just a number.

I have to give myself pep-talks whenever I go shopping. When I pull on a pair of pants in my ideal size, I hold my breath, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’ll fit. When the pants don’t fit, I pull them off and reach for the bigger size, all the while commanding myself not to cry. Continue reading “Do not covet?”

“What do you do?”

I usually like going to church. Rob and I go to an Anglican church, so we get to experience the liturgy and Eucharist every week. I like the simple music; I’m moved by our pastor’s sermons. When we first got married, we church-hopped quite a bit. We couldn’t seem to find a church where we “fit.” But now, I actually look forward to Sundays. This Anglican church means more to me than any other church has in the past.

But there is something I dread about the service. I look at the clock often, knowing it’s coming: the passing of the peace.  Continue reading ““What do you do?””

HEALTHY™

For only $200.00 a month, receive an all-inclusive membership at HEALTHY™ and full access to HEALTHY™ level 1. Continue toward premier membership level 2 at $400.00 a month and join the nationwide HEALTHY™ movement

I tossed the pamphlet to Jack. “See? I told you it was a good deal.”

My husband stretched and then settled back into his pillow. “What are you talking about? This not a good deal. The regular gym is cheaper than that.”

“This isn’t some ordinary gym. This is, like, a lifestyle. It’s exercise and nutrition all built into one.” I struggled into my leggings, pulling the high-waist elastic over my belly, and reached for my shoes.

“So that’s what they call it these days?”

“Look. The pamphlet says it isn’t a gym or a diet. It’s different—new. Everyone is talking about it. I’m just getting a tour. Is that so bad?”

Jack pulled the covers up over his head. “Okay, go. But I’m staying in bed.”

It took me longer than expected to find my keys (they were in my jacket pocket) so I grabbed a muffin and stuffed it into my mouth on my way out the door. If Jack didn’t want to come, then whatever. I’d go by myself.

It was a short drive to the massive new building on the north corner of State street. It was five stories high, covered in large gray reflective windows that reminded me of the interrogation room mirrors in police TV shows. A little intimidating.

“Welcome, welcome to HEALTHY™. You must be Julia. I’ve been expecting you.”

“Uh, yeah.” I was taken aback by the beautiful woman with a clipboard accosting me at the door.  Continue reading “HEALTHY™”

Pray for me

“What can I do?”

That’s a difficult question to answer when you’re depressed. You want to say a magical formula—“do this for me and I’ll feel better”—but there isn’t one. You want to be able to respond positively since you’re grateful for the care that went into that question, but you can’t. You even feel a little guilty that you can’t give a satisfying response.

“What can I do?” is probably the best question my husband can ask me when I’m depressed. It’s unassuming and empathetic. It’s also incredibly frustrating, because sometimes there just isn’t anything he can do. But what else is he supposed to say? I guess I’m glad he asks it, even when I don’t know how to respond.

I was recently asked what depression feels like. I didn’t know how to answer. I told my friend that it it’s a physical feeling, a heaviness—if hopelessness was tactile, that would be it. I didn’t know how else to describe it, except in obscure metaphors that might only make sense to me.

So it’s difficult to answer “what can I do?” when I can’t even articulate what my depression feels like. Usually, I end up answering the question with: “Just pray for me.” Sometimes, that’s the only answer I have. Continue reading “Pray for me”