Being Busy vs Being Productive

More and more I encounter people who talk about how much they’re involved in and how many things they do.  Quite often this is delivered in the form of complaint.  I have to wonder, who is it that puts these burdens upon them?  Is it not they themselves who choose to engage in so many activities?

I also note that some of these people are not especially good at some of the things they do.  Some seem to be forever working toward things they never actually achieve: chasing after something that eludes them because they’re weighed down with too much detritus not related to that goal.

too many projectsOur modern world sets this scenario as being the norm and anyone who is not over-burdened is lazy.  I see sayings like, “If you want something done, give it to the busiest person you know.”  At first glance that seems to make sense, but upon deeper examination it falls apart.  Is that person “busy” because as soon as they finish one task they take on another or because they accomplish little: just trying to keep all the plates spinning?  Too often it is the latter. Continue reading “Being Busy vs Being Productive”

Confessions of a Clinical Depression Survivor

Another article on Clinical Depression from long ago, posted for the benefit of those who need it now.

We see many stories from survivors of cancer, heart failure, addiction and more. Here is my survivor story. But first some factual background.

What Is Clinical Depression?

Crisis Ahead, clinical depressionClinical Depression is a progressively deepening melancholy accompanied by an increasing tendency to withdraw from social activity and eventually even personal relationships. In advanced stages the victim is so disinterested in everything that they neglect personal hygiene and meals and begin to shut out everyone and everything as they focus entirely on their own self-loathing. Suicidal tendencies are common in this stage.

Contrary to popular opinion, clinical depression is not a purely psychological disorder. Like schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, clinical depression has an organic basis. Depression has been tied to low levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. This agent bridges the gaps between ganglia in the brain and allows the proper “firing” of nerve impulses that make thought possible. Serotonin is a short -lived compound because the body breaks it down; if this breakdown process exceeds the body’s production of serotonin, a shortage results.

It is not clearly understood whether depression causes low serotonin levels or whether low serotonin levels cause depression, but the two are definitely linked. Continue reading “Confessions of a Clinical Depression Survivor”

Fighting Clinical Depression

I wrote this article on depression long ago and it was published in HealthMad e-Zine.  They have since rotated it out (can’t keep everything forever, can we?) so I am free to repost it here.  This is not an issue I am currently dealing with, but I have been in discussion with some who are.  This is for them.

depressionMy journey through depression began long ago, way back when I was ensnared in servitude through employment. I suppose I had always been prone to bouts of melancholy; they were troublesome but, with one or two exceptions, never amounted to much. But there came a point where my life had for some time been wracked by a slow series of personal and spiritual failures culminating in the collapse of my “house of cards”.

A co-worker, my supervisor actually, who had made this journey herself recognized the signs in me early on and encouraged me – repeatedly – to seek help while I could. She was my light on the path and I will be eternally grateful to Anna for her vigilance and gentle persistence.

My climb back to the high ground was a long one. But once a spiritual reawakening flamed up and drove back the mists, I have been diligent to keep that fire fueled.

On occasion, when I become distracted and the flame burns low, the tendrils of depression and desperation close back in surreptitiously. But I see them now – I did not recognize the danger initially – and I am reminded to gather dry wood and stoke the fire to dispel the demonic fog. Continue reading “Fighting Clinical Depression”

Putting the Past In the Past

0102 Don't Let the Past Control Your FutureWe have all made mistakes. We have all celebrated successes. The mistakes were painful, the success joyous. Then time continued to flow and these moments became part of our past. If we have learned from these experiences, they will help us shape a bright future. If we get mired in these past experiences we stagnate.

Past success is great, but we cannot rest on those laurels for long, we must move on and work toward more successes.

Past mistakes and disappointments will hold us back and prevent growth if we do not leave them in the past. Granted: some mistakes will play a larger role in our future than others. God can and does forgive us of our sins when we confess to him and repent of them (repent means turn away from them, change our mind about them, not just feel sorrow over being caught), but man is not so forgiving. Some mistakes may yield prison time or damage to our bodies that will play a role in the rest of our mortal life. Still, we must accept that responsibility and move on.

Philippians 3:13-14 says, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (ESV). Just as a boat cannot be steered unless it is moving through the water with the rudder getting a purchase, God cannot bless us with growth if we are drifting along with the current. Don’t let the past become your spiritual Sargasso Sea.

Life Is Too Short For Regrets

regretsRegrets do serve a purpose.  When we regret having done something, we learn from it so we can move on and do better.  It’s when we decide to pitch a tent in those regrets and live there that they become destructive.

No matter how bad we messed up, wallowing in our sorrows will not help us, or anyone involved in the situation.  Reparations may be due: make them.  Apologies may be required: offer them.  Then move on.  At some point we have to lay aside regrets and get on with the business of doing better. Continue reading “Life Is Too Short For Regrets”

The After-Christmas Blues

antidepressant and Christmas BluesPsychologists say that after-Christmas Blues (or post-holiday depression, in their nomenclature) is a fact of life for an increasing number of people each year.  The reasons for this include:

  • Unmet expectations
  • Deflation
  • Guilt for over-indulgence
  • Unfavorable realizations
  • Anxiety over impending normalcy

Unmet expectations result from not getting something you want.  It may have been a single extravagant item or hoping for a bevy of techno gadgets and receiving socks and underwear instead.  It can also be a less concrete expectation: perhaps you hoped that, this year, the whole family would get together in the spirit of love and peace and no fist fights would break out. Continue reading “The After-Christmas Blues”

Growing Satisfaction

People garden for a lot of different reasons: reducing household costs, increase food quantity, increase food quality, providing food for the less fortunate of their community, those who tend flower gardens seek to beautify their property, give shelter to certain insects and birds, and improve the aesthetics of their life. But one common thread that runs through it all at some level is that we do it because we enjoy it: when we grow flowers or vegetables we are also growing satisfaction and contentment.

satisfaction, gowing, gardening, dirt
Image courtesy

There is something therapeutic about working the soil with our hands, watching as seeds we planted push up through that soil, develop into plants and thrive under our attentive care. Then we EAT THEM, mua-hahaha! Sorry, I got carried away there. (read more…)

Being Thankful Isn’t Just for Thanksgiving

thankful, thanksgivingToday is Thanksgiving Day, a holiday we set aside to be thankful for all we have.

Human beings are not wired to be consistently thankful or content with where and what they are.  Humans tend to be ambitious: seeking ways to be or get more than we are or have.  This is the driving force that has made us (in our opinions) the top life form on this planet.  But there is a down-side to this ambition: it fuels unhappiness.

To find happiness we must cultivate contentment.  Contentment is an appreciation of or gratitude for our current situation.  Every November Americans tend to think more about being grateful because of Thanksgiving, but it would be better if we could be thankful all year long. Continue reading “Being Thankful Isn’t Just for Thanksgiving”

Debunking Myths About Introverts

Originally composed by Carl King I expanded upon it.

introvertsMyth #1: Introverts don’t like to talk.

This is not true, not true at all. We just don’t see the sense in talking unless we have something to say. We hate small talk. Hate it! But if you get an introvert talking about something we are interested in, we may not shut up for days. Continue reading “Debunking Myths About Introverts”

Learning What I Already Know

storing (and misplacing) what we know

Because I get into a lot of social media stuff, in addition to the traditional reading I do, I come across a lot of “inspirational” quotes and sayings.  Most times, these do not reveal to me some previously unknown celestial truth.  Instead, they remind me of something I know but have been ignoring.  Sometimes I just misplace these nuggets of wisdom, other times I deliberately tuck them out of the way because I’d rather wallow in my inadequacy for a while.  That is not a good thing, but we all do it from time to time. Continue reading “Learning What I Already Know”