the colour blue

"my heart is darker than these oceans
my heart is frozen underneath"

Friday night and my only company is a little music, ambient lighting, and as usual my runaway mind.

Thinking too much can be unhealthy, I've decided, although there was no real answer to the question I posed. (That's usually the way I operate anyways; I ask, and as soon as I have posed the question, the answer comes, as though I knew it all along.)

My conclusion is two-fold: Thinking too much becomes unhealthy when one becomes so immersed in self and absorbed in dissecting that reality is skewed. (You know, the whole, standing too close and not seeing the whole picture.) The other danger is, of course, when one is focussing too much on unhealthy thoughts.

So why am I thinking about all of this? In a way, it's a conclusion from a progression of thought. Is this making any sense? Hm.

I am no stranger to depression, my own and other's. Many of us aren't. In many ways, it's an age of depression. It's one of the top issues claimed by developed countries, and one of the leading causes of death in these countries. Suicide rates have increased dramatically in the last decade. Probably most of us are wondering why, too.

The prevalence got nothing to do with faith in God, or whether you are a Christian. It's just I don't think Christians and churches particularly like to talk about it. It doesn't jive with Christian values or expectations, and let's face it, if you're feeling blue you're not being much of a light.

More and more people are clinically depressed, and still more are prescribed antidepressants. Now, knowing what lucrative business drug companies do, (and often the terrible, lying, deceiving, people-sacrificing lucrative drug companies), I believe often-addictive antidepressants are an over-prescribed method of shooing people out of the doctor's office and into the pharmacist's line. However, if it weren't for antidepressants, I can't imagine where my family would be today.

My grandfather was what they used to term "manic-depressive", now coined bi-polar. Before antidepressants, he was "treated" via electroshock therapy and other methods of torture. After antidepressants, he balanced enough to, in a small part, regain relationships his behaviour had shattered. But his illness was hereditary; it was not a question of if his descendants would suffer it, but only which of them would.

Now, this is a reality for our family, as it is for many. I do not question the legitimacy of diagnosed mental illness, but the source and the prevalence.

:: Why are so many people depressed, and why do so many people claim to be depressed::
:: Why are more women suffering post-partum::
:: Do we just have more time (too much time) to contemplate our feelings and thoughts::
:: Are we dangerously self-absorbed::
:: Is the term an easy way of saying "my life sucks and I'd something to fix it"::
:: Is legitimate depression caused by chemicals, additives, preservatives, hormones, pesticides, and unknown crap we are ingesting::
:: Is our culture morphing into white collar societies with less and less phsyical work/activity::
:: Have we lost our grounding of faith as a culture::
:: Or that depression has little stigma::
:: Is it fashionable::
::Are we more depressed than ages before us? ::

Mental illness, is of course, no new thing. Definitely chronicled in the Bible. Definitely chronicled through the ages. Back in the day, sociopaths were harnessed as religious leaders, and psychopaths into military leaders. People who went mad because of trauma or war had no name for their unknown terror. Farley Mowat refers to it as "the Worm" in And No Birds Sang. Families like mine have violence, fear, and sadness in their tree because of it.

I am asking questions with no answerable answers. Especially answers that aren't stupid or clinical or black and white. But I would be interested in opening a dialogue here if anyone's interested.

"We are not merely imperfect creatures who must be improved: we are, as Newman said, rebels who must lay down our arms. The first answer, then, to the question why our cure should be painful, is that to render back the will which we have so long claimed for our won, is in itself, wherever and however it is done, a grievous pain." -- The Problem of Pain



So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth...For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Well. Haven't posted for awhile. Where to begin... It sank in tonight that I have been married for over a year now. The fact that it sank in tonight is weird, because our anniversary was last weekend. But I just got to thinking. Barely a year ago, Martin was on another continent, and we were crazy in love with an unfathomable future. How things have unfolded. I also got to thinking about what a gift we've been given. I had absolutely no idea how amazing it is to be married to someone. I never truely wanted to get married until I got to know Martin, and then marriage became the most natural, non-frightening thing to do. (You know, you'll know when you know. I explained it to my cousin this way: "You'll know when you know, and until you know, you won't know what it is that you'll know.")

These thoughts of marriage... I keep thinking about how God has worked in my life over the past three years. Drew and Beth: You should see my travel journels after I attended your wedding. I was sick with envy and heartache, so completely aware that in my present state of life I would never have what you had. I have never been so aware of two people spiritually in tune. And things went so wrong and so right from there... God getting my attention. My decisions forcing me to my knees, and what a blessed place to be. Forget anniversary presents! What could I be given to commemorate one of the most beautiful, tangible gifts of grace?

So things are good. Work is very hard, very physically and spiritually draining. I have been very tired and very frustrated, but tonight I have perspective and clarity of thought. The worst days have come when I have been so wrapped up in work politics and frustrations and feeling lost and aimless that I couldn't find God in the picture. It's so stupid! Just doing my thing, feeling more empty by the day. Feeling more cynical, forgetting who I am serving. Not myself, but that's easy to forget. It's nothing that I do.

It's hard, too, that Martin and I work very different schedules... You have to fight to not let your job consume you when it feels like it's all you're doing. It feels so good to just relax with each other and talk and laugh. It's taught me to appreciate his company so much more. But I just have to watch that I don't get too wrapped up in work, and to make sure I am doing other stuff when Martin's working.

A random thought: What good has the billions of books out there on management, and the gazillions of books on there about Christian leadership and management, done us? Nothing! My gosh, I can't even imagine how many forests we have raped and pillaged in the name of self-help. I was recently made to participate in a "strengths finder" evaluation. Ugh. It goes against my personal beliefs. I am afraid I will be next forced to have my spiritual gifts evaluated. Suffice to say, to use a Christmas analogy, I have never liked to "discover" my gifts until the day that I am meant to. I think He can reveal them in His timing. For me, creating that "consciousness" opens the door to self-gratification and wrong motivations.

What a ramble! How cathartic, this blog thing! I plan to do a few more cathartic things in the next while, including:

Drawing a bath with bergamot salts / Writing / Helping teach motorcycle lessons with my dad / Lying on the floor and listening to music / Reading / Praying / Eating yummy things, like cereal before bed

I'll leave off with this: Live feed from the Mustard Seed.


wanting it

Thinking time. Is too much of such a thing unhealthy? I wonder. I can see in myself the ability to immerse myself in thinking so deeply, reality is blurred.

It's a stifling September day. September. Time swims away. The summer already fades, the mornings crisp with that delicious coolness that speaks of autumn.

I've been working hard, and this weekend, the Labour Day long-weekend, offers a much-needed respite. Work has a frantic pace lately - spending very little time on any project, pulled in a million directions. The highlight of last week (and I am sure of the coming two) is being part of training sessions focusing on water and water filtration and improvement projects. The issue of global access to safe drinking water seems to fall away under all of the current madness of the world we live in. Yet, diarrhoeal diseases are one of the world's most devastating killers, behind only respiratory diseases and HIV/AIDS. It is good to participate in the sessions, learning how I can better communicate this issue, the intricacies of tackling access to improved water globally, the importance of teaching health and hygiene, culturally appropriately.

This subject, along with a host of my own personal issues, I have been mulling over. I get in these moods where even speaking one sentence pulls too much energy from me, where any social interaction is a bore, a pressure. Often it's connected to my spiritual well-being. When I am drained, nothing to offer, feeling like I have little love to give. We're having someone billeting with us before she heads overseas for a 6-month contract, and it seems like in the past few days its taken all of my effort to summon up the simplest of conversational responses.

It's easy to feel like no-one understands when I am in these moods, but I was reminded this week of how many people in vastly different circumstances feel the same. A friend sent me a beautiful, poignant email, describing her struggles with the pressure of her culture and that feeling of social incompatibility and loneliness.

"It seems like the farther I detach from them, the less they care of me and the faster they forget about my existence."

Her thoughts, so similiar to mine, made me mourn the distance between us. Too many people, too far away. There's no glamour in having oceans between you and your most beloved friends. On the heals of this thought, another. What really holds me to Canada? What are the bonds here? Mom, dad, brother, grandmother. That is one short list. Of course, Canada would be my comfort zone, but Martin completely shed his comfort zone, left what he held dear. I am beginning only in the last while comprehending the sacrifices he and others have made for him to be with me here. The sacrifical love of a mother and father knows few bounds.

It's reached the hottest part of the day, too hot to sit huddled over the keyboard. I think I shall bury my nose in a book for the remainder of the afternoon, remembering that no man is an island.

PS Drew, haven't checked out that band, but will, however, I am not much for 'borrowing' as certain members of the Aspegren household have strong feelings on that.