Longing for the fleshpots of Egypt

Ex. 16:1   They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

I find myself longing to go on disability again, from time to time.  When things get crazy, when the pressure is on, when I feel like I can’t handle all of the stress, I long for the fleshpots of Egypt.  “Would that I could go back to lying around sleeping all day!  Would that I could go back to no responsibilities, free to do whatever I want or feel!  Would that I could ignore my family, my wife, my children, my church, my friends, my everything!  Oh things would be so much better then!”

Have you felt that way?  I have.  I get that way when the going gets tough.  I get that way when I just plain don’t want to deal with the stuff of life.  I want to run.  I want to hide.  I want people to LEAVE ME ALONE and not bother me. Oh how I long for the good ole’ days of being sick.

Of course, what I forget is the despair which was my constant companion.  I forget not being able to move, feeling like I lived in molasses, and that I couldn’t string two thoughts together.  I forget that I couldn’t be in a “crowd” of more than about one person.  I forget the suicidal thoughts, the darkness that covered me, and the utter impotence of life under the weight of depression.  I forget these things only too easily.

God has blessed me with healing and hope.  He has given my a family who loves me, a church who loves me, and many friends who have been there through everything.  He has given me all of this, and more.  He has given me His Son, who has gone down into the depths of despair and abandonment for me.  He has given me His Holy Spirit, who comforts me when I am faint, and who prays with me and for me, even if I have not the words.  All this and more He gives me.

What He gives to me, He gives to you.  Do not be afraid of the darkness.


Losing Weight & Depression

One of the many things that went in the tank when I got sick three years ago was my general health. There was a time (quite literally!) when my wife and I would run marathons. Okay, so I ran one marathon, but she’s run a bunch. When I got sick, physical health took an absolute back seat to mental health. What that mean is that i ballooned up about 60 pounds, which has caused a host of other problems with my feet, back, etc etc etc.

So now that I’m off of most of my medication, my wife and I decided it is time to begin losing this weight and reclaim another part of our lives.

The way that we have been most successful at eating well has been Weight Watchers. It’s concrete, they set limits and freedoms, and we have had a great deal of success with them over the years.

One of the things that is important about WW is attending the meetings every week. They are somewhat similar in nature to an AA or NA meeting, although I doubt they would ever admit it. So as I was sitting in our meeting this past week, I was struck with the parallels between losing weight and fighting depression. Here are some of the ones that popped into my head:

  1. Triggers. Certain events can serve as triggers for depressive behavior. The key is to A) recognize what they are and B) Develop strategies to either avoid the triggers or how to deal with them in less destructive ways.
  2. Take each day at a time. I know that for myself, I tend to globalize things. If I am having a bad day, it really doesn’t take much for me to convert that into a bad week or month or year. True for food, true for mental health. By looking at each day in itself, it helps one to keep focused, and minimizes the down times. “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
  3. Plan. By acting in a purely reactionary mode, you can easily be caught off guard and get stuck in a worse situation that is really necessary. Recognize your limits and your strengths, and evaluate on that basis.

Those are three off the top of my head. Any others come to mind?