Freaky Friday


If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be, and why? If that seems too easy, try this one: who would you like to have spend a day as you and what do you hope they’d learn from the experience?

I wouldn’t want to be anyone else for the day, but I would love to see what someone makes of me from the inside if they were to spend the day as me.

I would especially look forward to the debrief session afterwards where hopefully they would offer some sort of insight into how I could be “me” but a bit better.

Let me explain.

As you may know already I have experienced several bouts of severe depression in my life and every now and again it rears its ugly head again and I feel myself descending on that black spiral to a horrible place. That horrible place where I don’t even want to breathe in because it means living for another couple of heartbeats longer. The front door on my house grows bars and the thought of stepping over the threshold fills me with such dread that even going outside to put something in the bin feels like a major ordeal. Once or twice in my life I have been at the point where I just don’t want to carry on living because it all seems just too much. I am lucky that I have the loving support of my family and a few close friends who understand me and give me gentle encouragement to keep going, and I am forever grateful not only for that support but also for my faith in God.

Depression is a multi-layered beast and I wish I could understand it more so I could deal with it better when it creeps up on me. Along with the things I’ve mentioned above there is a huge amount of guilt that goes with it too. I know my family and friends hurt when I’m in the depths of it, which although I’m aware of I am powerless to do anything about. As with anything, when you’re loved ones are hurting you hurt too, but when you are the cause of that hurt then the guilt trip is massive.

I feel guilty about the waste too. Waste of time (spent lying shaking in bed, sat deciding whether a shower is worth the effort or not, looking out of the window at nothing); waste of sunshine that could be enjoyed in the garden – if only it wasn’t outside; waste of opportunities to have fun with the kids, which ironically would be a massive step to recovery from the darkness; waste of opportunity to reach out to other people to help them through their difficulties; waste of just so much.

I can tell when I’m at that certain stage of depression because I mourn the sunshine and celebrate cloud and rain, and it happens more often than I’m happy to admit.

Even when I’m not in the depths of depression I find myself riddled with anxieties. Totally riddled. I get anxious even when there’s nothing to be anxious about….because I’m worried that I’ve forgotten something that I should be worrying about and I get anxious about things popping up to surprise me. Which makes me scared. You can see how one thing feeds another? I wish I could break that cycle.

I can’t get my head around why I’m like this and I would love someone to live as me for a day or so to see if they could give me some insight as to why everything is a source of stress, anxiety, worry, fear and ultimately depression.

It recently dawned on me that to live my life the way I do, filled to the brim with worry and anxiety, is a demonstration of lack of faith in God. Which, guess what, has put my on yet another guilt trip. I thought that if I am truly faithful, which I profess I am, then I should be able to turn my life over to God and to just relax, let him take it and leave me to just live my life without the miniscule anxieties that define me.

I would love someone to come and help me with it because the fine line between “living” and “getting through life” sometimes gets so fine it disappears altogether. I would love it if someone could come and taste my life from the inside of me, step outside again and then say “Look Pam, it’s not worth the energy to worry about it, just let it go because you’re losing your focus on what matters and you are missing out on so much”. People have told me that already but again, my anxieties take over about their motivations – “why did he say that?” “Why does she think I’m not good enough for that?” “Why don’t they recognise my talents in this??” etc, etc.

Having written what I just did, I’m rethinking the question again now and I think I would like to swap places with someone who is confident and who doesn’t let their anxieties dictate their life and I’d like to see how they deal with them. I know that everyone has anxieties and stresses, but not everyone deals with them in the same way and I would love to learn from someone who can manage theirs successfully and maybe adopt some of their techniques and thought processes.

The issues around my faith are something else – a brand new anxiety for me! – and that needs a little bit of thinking about yet before I tackle that one. Perhaps if I can sort that bit out then the rest would fall into place?

Perhaps I could do a “Freaky Friday” with someone who could short-cut my thinking and just help me solve it overnight. Please!

 

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14 thoughts on “Freaky Friday

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  1. I admire the honesty in your posts, Pam.
    Just the courage in sharing these moments suggests a depth of strength.
    My feeling is that contrary to your thinking that these feelings suggest a lack of faith, on the contrary they demonstrate a very great faith- that despite all your feelings of doubt and uncertainty, you carry on. Demonstrating a faith in life, and a faith in God. And it is from this you get that strength to share. The light in the darkness.
    Maybe, what do you think?

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    1. I’d not thought of that before Andy. You’ve got me thinking now! I saw it more that because I can’t hand it over to God and therefore stop stressing about it it shows I don’t trust him, but what you’re saying is that faith is trust that God is always there for me no matter how much I worry about things. It’s going to take a bit of thinking and praying about this one but thank you for making me feel less bleak about it 🙂

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      1. One further thing- in 2009 I went to Rome with my local church. While there we met with a long time friend of Mother Teresa. You may recall that after her death it came to light from her writing that Mother Teresa suffered for a long time from what she referred to as her darkness, a deep interior spiritual suffering where she doubted God’s presence.
        I asked this Sister about this-her view was that this actually underlined for us how great Mother Teresa’s faith was. That all the time this was going on, none of her friends, who knew her better than anybody else, we’re aware of what she was going through. She still always greeted them with a smile, and carried on with her work.
        The fact that she continued with her devotion and work all through this ‘dark night of the soul’ shows us that conversely, in this moment of doubt, how great her faith was.
        If that makes sense.

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      2. It does make sense and it’s a great way to think of it. What truer demonstration of faith is there than carrying on as if you did have faith when you don’t feel it inside, all the while knowing that underneath it your faith in God is still there, just buried. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

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  2. Know what you mean Pam about the depression, the rain/ clouds / cold etc. can easily give an ‘excuse’ to stay in and alone.

    Also the idea of not sweating the small stuff sounds EASY, but it’s not.

    Like you, I fret about what people might say/ think about me, even though I try and give the outward impression that I couldn’t care less.

    I do have faith, and would LOVE to be able to live like in the saying from Matthew “Look at the birds, they do not sow and reap etc.” however whenever I try… there’s a bit of my brain that remembers that joke:-

    A man of faith is sitting at home when it starts to rain… it rains and rains and it gets upto his waist. A rowboat comes along and the rower says “Hop in”.”No”, says the man “God will save me!” It carries on raining and he has to move upstairs and as he sits on the window sill, a lifeboat comes along and the lifeboat captain says “Hop in”. “No”, says the man “God will save me!” It rains more and more, and he ends up sat on his roof, a helicopter comes along and the pilot says “Hop in”. “No”, says the man “God will save me”.
    A few hours later the man is at the Pearly Gates and says to St Peter,
    “Why didn’t God save me?”. Peter replies “He sent two boats and a bloody helicopter, What more did you want!?”

    I don’t think that makes me ‘doubt’ my faith, I’m just not perfect! Despite all my efforts.

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    1. I remember that joke!! It’s bob on.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts too – I think you and I are alike because people look at us, see this “formidable” figure (not my description but someone else’s) and they think we are with it, and confident and in control and all that but it takes a bit of scratching beneath the surface to see that we’re not like that at all on the inside. I’m glad I’ve got a friend who also recognises the guilt about sunshine. It’s not easy to describe it in a way so that people who don’t get it would understand, so to have someone who gets it straight off is a huge relief. Thanks buddy!

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      1. There’s me thinking that it was just me!… So (no offence) … it’s ‘nice’ to know I’m not alone in my down and doubts.

        Thanks for your thoughts and support Pam, I wish you n family could come and share over here!

        If you could scrape up the air fare I would be more than happy to accomodate you 🙂 ferry you round, show you the sights etc.!

        One of the things I am so grateful for here is:- that I live in a beautiful and safe environment, we don’t always have to lock all the doors, turn on alarms etc. My neighbours know me, watch out for my house (in our area there is very little crime because the criminals know which areas look out for one another: such as ours, and avoid them.)

        I do miss friends and fellowship though. I had a brilliant night playing with your band! Over here I have no band, (the ONLY local brass band within a 2 hour drive is Sally Army – an me n Tee Total ain’t NEVER happening)

        If Emma or Ethan are looking for a ‘year out’ either after graduating (Emma) or before going to University (Ethan) I’d be more than willing to put them up cos I think that the experience of a different culture / background can be a real eye opener. So let them know the opportunity is there uf they want it !

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      2. That’s fantastic, thanks Mich!! I’d love to come and spend some time in Canada and it would be a great experience for the kids too. I know what you mean about missing out on fellowship – it was something that had me on my knees when I was first ill and out of work. I don’t know how you managed to cope going out to a different country and being totally on your own, you’re a braver gal than me! It’s great that you’ve carved out a niche for yourself even if it doesn’t include a brass band (boo!) or a football team (double boo!). I can imagine that a Sally Army Teetotal setup wouldn’t be ideal 🙂

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  3. This post of yours, Pam, and the following discussions brings on a lot of feeling and thinking on my part. I cannot write about it now. But I hope to come back to it later on.
    So long for now. Love, Uta.

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      1. No worries, Pam. I feel okay. It’s just that I’m impressed with all the contributions to the discussion. I would like to express my feelings about this. But for me it is a bit difficult to say everything in a few words. I feel I could say quite a bit about all this. But where to start? I need some time and concentration to write about all this.
        I reckon we can’t always work out things rationally. And as far as feelings are concerned go by what you feel God wants you do. I think you know, If God sends you help to get out of the floods, you shouldn’t reject this help! 🙂

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      2. I understand what you mean, and I’d love to hear your thoughts when you have had time to digest them.

        It’s difficult to know what really is God calling and what is my own vanity and dreams talking but I’ve learned that if God wants me to do something then he also gives me the strength and opportunity to do it. Things just kind of fall into place and it’s easy to find the right path, and it’s a joy to do it. If it’s something that I would like to do but am not sure if it’s God’s will or not I have found that stumbling blocks and trip hazards litter the pathway and it never turns out how I expected it to either! I know people always say that God doesn’t give us things to deal with without giving us the tools to work with too, but it really is true. He never asks us to do things without giving us the lessons on how to do it first 🙂

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