Depression is not always seen

man suffering depression

Depression is most dangerous when ‘hidden.’
Why hide it?
Pride?
Perhaps so, especially if it is a man who is depressed.
Feeling worthless?
Possibly, if the person is in a ‘toxic’ situation, at work, at home, or both.

Sometimes depression is the result of something that happened in a person’s childhood.  Whatever the cause depression is dangerous. Suicides among Australian males have been escalating in the last few years.

Depression does not always lead to suicide

But many times it does. 

An article on news.com.au headlines “TODAY in Australia, six men will take their own lives.” It says later, “But the one thing they have in common is that almost all will leave behind grief-struck family, friends and colleagues who had no idea they were struggling.”

.

Did you see the last phrase in the previous sentence?  “Who had no idea they were struggling.”

Why?

The article answers that too… “That’s because men who die by suicide are significantly less likely to have sought help.”

Find the rest of the article click here to read it

depression, man hiding behind help sign

Why this subject?

Because I was pondering the intense trials and problems so many of my friends are going through.

There are people with cancer, others with extreme pain, and many mourning the loss of a spouse, a baby, or other family member. Or one of the many who care for someone who has forgotten them. Mourning the Living
In addition there are the ‘emotional’ stresses… being ‘dumped’ by a boy or girlfriend, being bullied, serious health problems, not to mention a whole host of other reasons.

Then, when having a quick look at the family Facebook page, I noticed this ‘meme,’ and it brought to mind the fact that perhaps the reason that men do not admit to suffering from depression is the ‘man up’ phrase.

Men get depression, meme

Depression is a thief

Even if it does not result in suicide, it robs people of…

  • Self-confidence
  • Motivation
  • Self-esteem
  • Interest in daily activities.

It can cause

  • Appetite or weight changes. …
  • Sleep changes.
  • Anger or irritability.
  • Self-loathing.
  • Reckless behavior.

In exchange, it gives feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, often made worse by anything on the foregoing lists.

Talking to someone with depression

Do you want to? I mean really want to.

A greeting here in Australia often used, is ‘how ‘r’ u mate?’ Most times it is not a question, just a greeting, and the response is supposed to be ‘good, thanks.’

If you do not have the time, or are not sure you could handle what the person says… don’t ask. You could make the person feel even worse.

  • Be ready – do you have the time?
  • Be prepared – are you ready for a difficult conversation when you might not have the answers?
  • Pick your moment – have you chosen somewhere comfortable to talk, and an appropriate time? (There is no use asking when you, or the other person is rushing to leave for work, or trying to complete a task.)

A current TV set of ads shows a depressed man,  and then someone who is concerned and asks, ‘Are you okay?’ The reply is a weak, “Yeah, mate.” In one of the set of ads the other person assures the depressed man that he is ‘here for you if you ever want to talk.’ There is nothing ‘pushy’ just an offer.

Identifying a problem

An interesting website is https://www.ruok.org.au/ There is a short video with little ‘scenarios’ showing changes of behavior.

As it said earlier, do you have the time? Another question could be, ‘are you interested in the answer?’

Don’t present the person you are concerned about with a long list of reasons why you are concerned. Ask a simple question… Do you want (need) to talk?

“I am here. I will listen.”

If you do listen, and have no idea how to help, it is okay to say so. You could always offer to help the person find a solution. Or it may be that all the person needs is a ‘listening ear,’ someone who WILL listen.

If you have the time, and interest you could offer to be…”here for you again if you want to talk.”

listen too hear

The gift of your time and your concern is no small thing,

Susan

For Better, For Worse

For better for worse, start in hope

For better for worse used to be part of the promises made when a couple married. With the ‘fluid’ attitudes to relationships these days, I am not sure this applies anymore, but I am going to look at some instances where it does, and not only in marriage commitments.

‘For Better, for Worse’

It is easy to keep a relationship puttering along when all is going well, when we are ‘in tune’ with each other. We agree, we plan, we do things. However, this does not always last… we are human.

Have you ever considered the parable of the wise and foolish man? The wise man built his house upon the rock.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Matt 7: 24, 25

I remember as a child singing the chorus, with actions like these boys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAjEjxX-DhA

But I want to focus on one section…  ‘The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house;’

Even though the builder was wise, it did not protect him or her from the rain and the wind beating against the house. This is when a relationship is tested.

‘For Worse’ Has Arrived

How will it be handled? All of us have experienced some of the ‘for worse’ in our lives. However, what about the people for whom the ‘for worse’ does not improve?

Many of these are ‘Carers’ – the men, women, and even children, who help a key adult in his or her life.

In the image the climber looks as if he will be successful. A great deal of effort has been put in to reach this point, but effort does not always change things.

The Life of a Carer

A Carer sees what others do not see. A Carer feels the helplessness of not being able to ‘fix’ the problem. It is not that they do not want to ‘fix’ what the other is suffering, it is that they cannot. Oh, there are little things that can be done to alleviate some things, or symptoms, but the underlying cause of the problem remains.

Sometimes the problem is definable and the sufferer and the Carer know the problem.

  • It could be pain so ongoing it affects every part of both their lives. I talk here about the relentless pain that disturbs sleep, and limits daytime activities.
  • For some, it might be caring for someone with a debilitating chronic illness that slowly worsens.
  • Perhaps it is caring for someone with cancer.

And what about those for whom there is no ‘diagnosis?’ Only debilitating symptoms. The Carer sees but there is no ‘label’ for whatever is wrong.

Each one of these, and many others could be a blog on its own.

Over the years I have written on some of the ‘for worse’ aspects of relationships. However, I could keep writing and never cover all of them.

Links to previous blogs

Dementia… https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/mourning-the-living/

Trials https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/trials-have-a-purpose/

And surviving loss https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/grieving-what-no-one-is-talking-about/

And many more writings dealing with the difficulties  of living, loving and caring.

Still, they only scratched the surface. How is it possible to put into words the pain, the exhaustion, the frustration, and even the guilt when you are a Carer, and choose to stay through the ‘for Worse?’

It is not possible, although sometimes the words can ‘touch’ the heart of someone going through the ‘for worse’ season.

Many of my experiences, my training, as a Mental Health Community Sister, a computer trainer and assessor, and my years of experience as a Carer, have gone into the books I have written.

If you know a Carer, reach out. It might not be possible to visit, but how about sending an email, make a phone call, send a card. This is how we love one another. If you have suffered you will know that THIS is when you most appreciate love.

Forget me not flowers

Susan

Don’t forget you can access the background materials on my Biblical Fiction series and hear news on the new series when you join the VIP Readers’ group. It is free, and you will not be spammed. As well as the Starter Kit, you will receive a monthly newsletter. You can sign up below.

Change and Choices

change direction

Change is difficult in any era, but in the past the alternatives were fewer, and the results could be dire. It did not even need to be a wrong choice, it could be something beyond a person’s control.

Early Christian era

Elizabeth has little choice. She is a widow and there is no welfare system in the 1st century AD, so she cannot set up home for herself. In Biblical times the family provided for the widow, provided she had one.
Well, Elizabeth has a family, but a divided one and she was the cause of the division. Rather, her change of faith was.

When she converted from her Jewish faith to that of the ‘Way’ it cost her a daughter, son-in-law, perhaps grandchildren, as well as the home she had lived in throughout her married life.

God was good to her though. Elizabeth found work in the home of the Christian family who saved her other daughter’s life. Now she lives in the home of that daughter and her husband, while continuing her work in the home of the now smaller family who employed her.

Things are about to change!

Her brother-in-law is not the shadow of the past, but he is the cause of it. If he converts to the Christian faith, how can she worship with him? Love for brethren is the distinguishing feature of the followers of Jesus Christ.

Layered over by many years of facing and dealing with a difficult life, a vulnerability exists and now is exposed, and she considers her options. But there are few choices for women in her circumstances.

She has older sisters who are married to well-off business men; they are Jewish. While they accept Elizabeth, they do not know ‘officially’ of her change of faith. If she went to live with either of them she would have to return to the Jewish faith. Would she consider it? 

Her dilemma… one of them might have the answer to a question that has secretly haunted her.

This is the background to Shadow of the Past

Shadow of the Past, cover

Spoiled for choices in our era

That is what many would say about women in our era. But is that so?

There is much on ‘the news’ about choice. ‘Right to life.’ ‘Right to die.’ ‘Right to abortion.’

However, even in this day and age there are many women and young girls who do not have ‘rights’ or the chance to change their lives. Some are the victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or both. Many men were sexually abused when young. In all these cases, the person lives with consequences of another’s actions. A vulnerability that haunts them.

In some places in the world some people are so poor the make, and eat, dirt cookies.

https://www.elitereaders.com/haiti-mud-cookies-poverty/

I have friends whose spouses have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Yes, they have a choice… put the person in a care home. Until there is absolutely no other choice, they choose not to because they married ‘for better, for worse.’

There are an increasing number of people with cancer of various types, there is little they can do to change their situation for the better.

Then there a people like me, living at the end of an oxygen tube, often being shunned because others are unsure how to relate to us. We might not be able to do what we once did, but our brains still work, and we can converse.

Lives change, unexpectedly

As I mentioned in my recent monthly newsletter, since publishing Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube I have heard from others who are not living at the end of a tube, but have other problems. Many are confined by unrelenting pain, and there are those who are grieving.

I am sure you could add more to the list.

So yes, things are different in our era… we have welfare, we have modern conveniences, phones, Internet and time-saving devices, but we still have problems. Isolation is one of them.

How can we help? This is a question worth asking. You might think you have nothing to offer, but someone might need a smile today. Can we afford that? It might change someone’s day.

Just thinking.

Susan

P.S.
Shadow of the Past is available on pre-order now. During this period the price is only $1.99 US

Pre-order link

Little Things Mean…

Little things, fish

Little things mean a lot is the title of an old song from the fifties by Kitty Kalen. (I will put a link to the song on YouTube at the end.)

However, to many people little things mean a lot in a negative sense.

Little things mean…

Inconvenience. My multifunction printer had a paper jam. It was only the second time in many years, so I was not so familiar with fixing it. However, I did try. Unsuccessfully. The paper I pulled out had a ‘bite’ missing.

But the ‘missing’ small piece was out of sight. I turned it off for a few days. But no, it did not magically clear itself. A week or so later, I faced the fact… I would either have no multifunction centre, or was looking at a rather large bill for someone to come in and take the machine to bits.

After some more thinking time, I took the paper tray out, tipped the multifunction centre up, and using a torch searched for clues. As you will see from the image, I found it.

(Not without difficulty.)

Little things, paper scrap

Little things also mean…

Pain, and a sleepless night. In the fairytale the Princess and the Pea, the princess has an uncomfortable night because of a pea hidden under twenty mattresses. According to study.com, this tale is about an old queen that learns not to judge others by their appearance.

https://study.com/academy/lesson/the-princess-the-pea-summary.html

In ‘real life’ pain is not a little thing. I know many people for whom pain is an unrelenting companion. It isolates, it separates, it divides.

Cover, of lIving at the end of an Oxygen Tube

 

Since publishing ‘Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube I have heard from people suffering from conditions that keep them tethered, but not to an oxygen tube. Their health conditions have them limited.

No little thing

The isolation of chronic illness is something many people do not understand, or dare I say it? Do not want to understand.

If someone dealing with chronic pain tells others, they are quickly seen as a ‘pain’ to be around. (I recently had a long phone call with someone in a nursing home who has serious physical conditions as well as near blindness, and is NOT understood. Care is missing in the ‘care home.)
For these, and other sufferers, if they try not to complain most of the time, sadly they can be seen as having nothing wrong with them. This is the hardest of all. To be misunderstood because you do not want to be considered a ‘complainer.’

But the person I talked with did complain and is labelled, therefore treated as such.

Words are weapons or a balm.

Someone seems cheerful, then says he or she is in terrible pain, the response can be, “You don’t know what real pain is.” That is one way to attack and bring down a sufferer and perhaps result in the person isolating himself or herself.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” Is one way to show support, even if there is nothing that can be done. The listener in this instance shows belief that the pain is real, shows interest and wish to help.

In my phone call, the person I was talking to suffered so many serious conditions, at the end, I said, “I don’t know what to say,” then repeated back some of what I heard. The person sounded brighter. Her complaint had been heard. Someone believed in her suffering.

Perhaps the worst response is to not believe the person who is suffering, and telling others it is ‘put on.’

An example…

My husband lived with excruciating back pain. He was on two types of morphine as well as other medication.  But when the opportunity arose he travelled from Australia to America for a church festival.

Someone said to him, “If you are in that much pain, how can you sit so long in an aircraft?”

We didn’t dignify that with an answer, but I will say this much. My husband, who was also dying of lung disease, had his eye on the goal. That is how he could sit so long in an aircraft.

Judge not that you be not judged

This is an often quoted phrase from Matt: 7: 1 but it is not all the quote. The rest is, ‘For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.’ (Matthew 7: 2)

People with chronic illness may have a tendency to avoid other people. It is easier than trying to explain why something is difficult, or impossible, for them to do. It is easier than saying that they have to cancel arrangements (again) because of illness.

Let our words be apples of gold… 

All it takes is some thought, and the gift or our time,

Susan

The link I mentioned at the beginning…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C7SzKv2uLU

A Word Fitly Spoken

a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Proverbs 25: 11

What does that mean? Well, a meaning I found was, “A word fitly spoken can mean well spoken or spoken at the right time. ” So said someone answering a question on Quora.

I heard it recently and it came to mind during my time in the ‘wilderness.’

What wilderness?

The one that had no phone or Internet access for nearly a week.

A fitly spoken word

Before, during and after the time in total isolation, my description of that term would have been the truth.

Why tell me I would lose neither the phone of the Internet when it was probably obvious I would lose both. Which I did, and only a prepaid mobile phone with insufficient credit to deal with ‘please hold while we try to connect you,’ Mmm

Maxine, my care aide, took me to try to work it out. I know, I should not have been walking since my oxygen saturation dropped to the 60s (Mine can drop that low because I have been managing on low oxygen for years.) Not as low as it did that day though.

low oxygen reading

I will not tell you how low it went, but it was lower than this.

What I can tell you is that the phone and Internet stayed off. 

Since my oxygen levels were so low, and remained low even though I turned the flow rate up. (I am allowed) – it was scary  On another subject…though.

Are Our Words Fitly Spoken?

I remember my grandmother say ‘tell the truth and shame the devil.’

It was a long time ago, and probably is not understood by many, if any, nowadays.

Well, apart from telling, and being told the truth, I have some other suggestions for words fitly spoken.

  • Do they encourage?
  • Do they comfort?
  • Do they help or guide?
  • Even, do they correct?

We all need our ‘course’ corrected sometimes. If people always agree with us (to our faces) what are we learning if we have ‘lost the plot’ or are hurting another.

fitly spoken words encourage

Yes, every day IS a new start. We need to encourage (which sometimes involves telling a truth that might hurt… but gently.) We also might need to learn to receive encouragement.

Remember this post?
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/your-life-as-a-movie/

Still, I received encouragement when I emerged from the wasteland of no contact with the outside world. (As well as hundreds of emails and messages I am still working my way through.)

Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube has been given a five star review by Readers’ Favorite.

5-* seal

You can see the review on the book page
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/living-at-the-end-of-an-oxygen-tube/

Well, would have been last Sunday’s post – but looking for the positive, I would not have known about the five-star review if I had written this last Sunday. 

All things work together for good…

Some will recognise this,

God bless

Susan

Bitterness and Resentment Are Twins

Bitterness leads to resentment

Bitterness is a twin of resentment? I heard a minister say that recently. What do you think?

Dictionary definitions

Bitterness

Noun:
1. sharpness of taste; lack of sweetness.

    “The lime juice imparts a slight bitterness”

2. Anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment.

    “He expressed bitterness over his dismissal without notice”

Resentment

Noun: bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.

“His resentment at being demoted”

From these definitions it seems that unchecked, bitterness leads to resentment. Therefore it seems we need to be on guard against becoming bitter.

Signs of bitterness

  • Feeling Jaded.
    Becoming jaded or cynical from something you’ve experienced can only lead you down an empty and lonely path…
  • Holding Grudges…
  • Being Jealous…
  • Seeking Attention…
  • Being Negative.

And being negative can lead to people avoiding you, which leads to more bitterness… or on to resentment.

Signs of resentment

  • Emotion regulation. *
  • Faking happiness to cover true feelings toward someone
  • Speaking in a sarcastic or demeaning ways about another person
  • Depression
  • Anger for no reason

* The ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with the range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_self-regulation

I looked it up because I had never heard of emotion regulation. I think, reading the description I would call it ‘two-faced.’ Although, I have to add that there are times when we have to ‘regulate’ our emotions. One of those ‘two-edged’ sword situations. And discernment is needed in our response.

Resentment cannot change the situation, or the person you feel resentment toward. Unchecked, resentment can lead to more bitterness, and bitterness is now linked to many health issues. It is also isolating.

Bitterness and health

Research suggests constant bitterness can actually have negative effects on our physical health. Bitterness may predict adverse changes in metabolism, immune system function, and organ function. And while forgiveness is usually the better option, scowling is sometimes beneficial for our health and happiness.
https://greatist.com/happiness/can-being-bitter-make-you-sick#1

Constant bitterness is a stress on our bodies. Just as our attitude is a choice, so is the decision to remain bitter, letting it develop into resentment, or to examine what caused it and how to get rid of it.

What causes bitterness?

Bitterness comes from things happening that are beyond your control and that you perceive as not being your fault. Examples include: unwanted experiences; failures; disappointments; setbacks. Being bullied can certainly be considered an unwanted experience.

Bitterness also comes from being publicly humiliated or feeling taken advantage of. Again, being bullied can certainly qualify here.

Another way in which bitterness can develop is from feeling betrayed. Betrayal can occur during bullying if you were bullied by someone you knew and trusted.

Keep resentment away

We’re the ones responsible for causing ourselves any current hurt by remaining bitter about a past hurt.

When trying to overcome bitterness, you have to realize that you’re the one who has to change, not the world around you. This is not easy.

But, remember, resentment is a wall. And walls of resentment can become so high and thick that it is possible to lose hope of ever getting over the wall.

bitterness and resentment build walls

Better not to build the wall in the first place, but if we have… each of us is the only one who can dismantle the wall we have built.

God bless,

Susan

Lung Disease

person with lung disease on oxygen

Lung disease is not always caused by our own bad habits. There are people with Cystic Fibrosis, COPD, Lung Cancer, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Asthma, and Mesothelioma. In fact, according to the Lung Foundation there are over thirty types of lung disease.

https://lungfoundation.com.au/

Whether or not a person has smoked, he or she can suffer one of the many lung diseases.

The Stigma of Lung Disease

Over 40% of people with lung disease feel there is a stigma from the view that lung diseases are self-inflicted and smoking-related.
Not always true.

However, from my experience using oxygen, I would have to agree with that statement. There is a stigma. The reaction of some people when I am out, usually in a shopping centre, is varied. Some people are embarrassed and look away, a few smile, while others clearly are repelled by the sight of me using oxygen.

For most people with lung disease, before oxygen therapy, breathing could be likened to trying to breathe through a plastic bag.

lung disease struggle to breathe

Oxygen and Lung Disease

Not everyone who has lung disease uses oxygen. The criteria for being prescribed oxygen is much more than breathlessness. There is a series of tests which are done to assess whether or not oxygen will help. If it will help, a respiratory physician will determine how often and how much oxygen will need to be used.

I need oxygen 24/7, and this is described as palliative care. However, on ‘good’ days I have a reasonably normal life. Getting used to trailing around an 18 metre (59 foot) tube was a challenge and is quite a ‘trip hazard.’ But it is one that can be met.

(I share my experiences, the challenges and solutions in Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube.)

oxygen tubing

Use it or lose it

This common term really is true when it comes to living with chronic illness whether it be lung disease, back problems, or many of the debilitating conditions that make us reluctant to move.

It is not easy to make the effort some days. Especially the days when it is a struggle to breathe, or when the herniated disks make walking difficult.

Attitude

This is the key – the attitude of the person with lung disease, and those who care for them. It is natural to grieve the loss of ability, but it is not wise to become bogged down in self-pity. And it happens. However, life with lung disease, whether on oxygen or not, can be quite fulfilling. Some days it is more of a challenge than others. But rise to the challenge. And if you are someone who supports/cares for someone with one of the many varieties of this disease, recognize the difficulties, don’t gloss over them. Then encourage your ‘someone’ to become involved… join a club, write an article, or take up a hobby. And be aware, there will be many days when going outside the home is not possible.

However, it is true… Life with lung disease can be fulfilling.

Susan

About the writer:

Susan M B Preston is the author of several award-winning Biblical fiction novels.

The Apostle John Series

Hold the Faith (1st in the series. Award winner)

Grow in Grace (2nd in the series)

Light of Truth (3rd in the series. Award winner)

Keep the Flame (4th in the series. Double Award winner)

Hell Shall Not Prevail (5th in the Apostle John Series.)

Novellas:

After the Thirty Days

No Evil Shall Befall You

Clash of Faiths

Shadow of the Past (coming soon.)

Non- Fiction:

Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube.

Quarantine, Why?

quarantine to stop infections spreadking

Quarantine as defined by dictionary.com is…  1 –  a strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease.
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/quarantine

I wonder if ‘quarantine’ is even understood by ordinary people today. It seems the drug companies do not want people to understand. After all, we are to ‘soldier on’ according to a medication advert shown on TV  here in Western Australia… it is a medication that is supposed to enable someone with the ‘flu to go to work and soldier on.

They might feel better, somewhat, but how many others does that one person infect?

Reasons to quarantine yourself

A local newspaper headline recently said…

WA flu deaths up 925 per cent amid brutal and early start to season.
Angela Pownall: The West Australian, reported.

Full report here…
https://thewest.com.au/news/public-health/wa-flu-deaths-up-925-per-cent-amid-brutal-and-early-start-to-season-ng-b881248197z

Waiting for a prescription, I stood behind two women discussing their young children suffering with the ‘flu. Although one woman’s child had been given the ‘flu shot, it had not protected her and the child had been very ill. With little relief she was also treated with Tamiflu. (A prevention and a treatment.)

The other woman’s child was in hospital. Their description of their children’s ‘flu symptoms was vastly different from the ‘flu I remember in the past.

A recent update on a news programme here in Western Australia stated that the vaccines recently used are probably no longer effective because the virus has mutated, already.

This is a reason for quarantine. One child taking it to school potentially could infect many others.

There is another ‘bug’ or virus knocking people down at this time.  An infection causing virulent vomiting and diarrhoea (Australian English spelling’) Other than some friends who have suffered it, my family doctor asked me at a recent appointment if I had symptoms, and explained how prevalent it is.

There are quarantine rules in the Bible.

And I cannot help but see how the laws that were given about quarantine, were given by a merciful and loving God.

For example…

Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you…
Deuteronomy 24:8

I looked up leprosy, wondering why (as mentioned in the previous verse) Miriam was put out of the camp for a week.

It was to prevent the spread of the disease.

(The rules for ‘diagnosing’ leprosy are given in detail in Leviticus 13.)

Many English translations of the Bible translate tzaraath as “leprosy,” a confusion that derives from the use of the koine cognate “Λέπρα” (which can mean any disease causing scaly skin) in the Septuagint. Ancient sources such as the Talmud (Sifra 63) make clear that tzaraath refers to various types of lesions or stains associated with ritual impurity and occurring on cloth, leather, or houses, as well as skin. It may sometimes be a symptom of the disease described in this article, but has many other causes, as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprosy (near the end, under the sub-heading Bible.)

So, all those restrictions would determine whether it was leprosy, with all the stigma, and poor conditions associated with being cast out of society, not to mention the complications of the disease itself. If it should turn out to be leprosy, then the spread of the disease was contained.

In this day and age

In Western cultures, leprosy is not such a common threat. However, with the many ‘plagues’ – like this year’s ‘deadly’ ‘flu outbreak in Western Australia and the ‘D and V’ outbreak and other rapidly spreading diseases, we would be wise to heed the instruction to quarantine ourselves.

Prevention is better than cure, quarantine yourself… please.

Besides, some people have what is called a ‘compromised immune system. Something you might recover from in a week, might make them seriously ill, or even die.

Serious thought,

Susan

quarantine yourself

Feel as if you are down a Sewer?

down in a sewer

Have you ever felt you are down a sewer, or in a deep pit? I know I have at times, and those sojourns down the sewer seem to last such a long time. Then just when it feels like there is some progress out of the pit…  bang!

Back down into it.

Jeremiah was in a sewer.

Jeremiah was a prophet in the Old Testament and he was put in a pit for telling the truth.

A pit in Jerusalem

Many commentators believe the pit or cistern was actually a sewer. Nevertheless, Jeremiah was in mud at the bottom of this hole in the ground.

“So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud”
Jeremiah 38:6

Does your mud feel this deep?

mud in the sewer

In the sewer

Jeremiah found himself mired in a literal pit. He was caught in deep despair. The prophet was the object of hatred because he urged Jerusalem to submit to God’s commands. Jeremiah suffered abuse from those who persecuted him – slander, false accusations, beatings, anger, and all other expressions prompted by bitterness and vindictive feelings. Finally, the prophet was seized and thrown into an empty cistern. He sank into the mud.

The faithful prophet was emotionally and physically exhausted.

Despair is exhausting.

Despair can be defined as a loss of hope, and this often turns to anger. So, the next question is – ‘what do we do with anger?’

Recognize our anger.

  • Who is it directed toward?
  • Someone close to you?
    • Are you able to discuss it with the person?
      If not, walk away rather than fight an unwinnable fight.
  • A work colleague?
    • Try to talk it out.
      If that does not work
    • Gather evidence and take it to HR
    • Ignore them.
  • A work situation?
    • Create boundaries and learn when to walk away.
    • Work on an exit strategy.

Angry with yourself?

Recognize it. Own it. Only then are you able to start to deal with it.

Shame

Tease out the reasons but try not to dwell on them. Instead, look for a way you could handle a future situation in a different way. Remember the old saying, ‘Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.’ Many people have said it with some variations.

As you see each ‘mistake’ or wrong decision you made… forgive yourself. I remember when I was in the sewer years ago and giving myself a ‘hard time’ when I saw my mistakes, someone said to me, “You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time.”

It helped.

Give yourself time

Eventually someone rescued Jeremiah from the pit, but he had to wait. I am sure it felt even longer than it actually was. 

Learn to wait. Expect to fall back into despair, anger, depression, but do not allow yourself to stay there.

Be patient with yourself because it is not possible to change direction immediately just because you see the need to change. Think of a cruise ship. It needs a lot of space and  takes a long time to turn.

One more thing…

Look for the things you are doing well. Learn to focus on them and not the mistakes.

This is something we all need to do. It seems easier to see our mistakes, especially when feeling tired or vulnerable.

Encourage someone, and encourage yourself!

God bless

Susan

And a PS

Positive affirmation

Guess what. I feel human

feel human when you meet others

I feel human for the first time in eighteen months or more. If you think that an odd thing to say, then praise God you have never lived with a life-limiting disease. There is a hidden cost… some life-limiting diseases are not obvious so they bring with the disease/limitation a psychological challenge of dealing with others who do not think they are ill. Now that I am on oxygen full time I have an obvious condition, that was not always so… as others have shared.

Since writing the blogs on living on oxygen, I have heard from people who are not on oxygen, but can relate to the isolation that chronic illness or life-limiting diseases has on those of us in these categories. Some are isolated by what is called a ‘compromised immune system,’ and that makes us very vulnerable to infections that others could shrug off.

Sadly, many – other than the sufferers – do not understand the threat an infection poses and do not quarantine themselves when they have an infectious disease.

Another isolating factor...

…Is  the effect strong fragrances have on people with lung disease. Sadly, people do not always believe this, which leads to more reason to isolate ourselves. It is easier to avoid the situations than try to explain… and annoy others.

The effects summarized greatly…

“Scents enter our bodies through our skin and our lungs. The chemicals in scents can cause many different reactions. Even products containing natural plant extracts can cause allergic reactions in some people.”
Read more…
https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/air-quality/indoor-air-quality/scents

And on household products…
https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html

To be honest, I do not think you will understand if even if you have some of these problems mentioned, but have regular contact with people outside the medical profession.

Hopefully, I can explain.

I have lung disease, heart disease, adverse reaction to fragrances, and I am socially isolated.

So, why did I feel human This week?

Because I went out socially, not to a clinic or doctor appointment, nor for scans, tests or medical reviews.

If you have read any of my blogs on the subject, you will know that I live my life attached to a tube… an oxygen tube.
field marshall hat, planning abilityIt has been a learning curve adjusting to this way of life, and it has been very isolating. (I mention in my book, “Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube” that it takes the planning abilities of a 5-star General, or Field Marshall for even a simple trip out.)

A care agency supplied a support worker to take me out for three hours. As I said, not to an appointment, but to catch up with awesome people for coffee. I knew how long my batteries last on my ‘flow rate’ and took the number I would need.

Now, this does not mean I do not appreciate support I receive from family in the UK, the ‘digital’ support I receive from far-away friends and brethren, I do, and it helps me cope. So, also does my contact with ‘The Friendship Club,’ but the ladies I met up with this week… well, over the years, until I was unable to attend,  we supported and encouraged each other. We knew many of the other members well, and some more closely than others.

cartoon man listening to music

I feel human

I feel human, music note

Age is not the only reason for being, or becoming housebound. Perhaps it is a back problem,  and please do not dismiss ‘back problems’ or other mobility issue because they are serious and affect our ability to go out. On the other hand, it could be heart problems, continence problems, or grief issues, or even a loss of confidence in going out. Sometimes it is financial, lack of transport, friends died, family moved away, or some of the reasons mentioned at the start. There are people with various auto-immune diseases and those people are much more vulnerable to infections. Some of the medications for heart and lung disease reduce the body’s ability to fight off infections. So…

  • It does not take long for the world to shrink to the size of your home.
  • Sometimes it feels safer to stay home and try to avoid infections.
  • There are times when it is so difficult to walk… pain, oxygen saturation dropping dangerously low.
  • It is easy to ‘fall through the cracks’ when everyone else seems so busy.
  • For all those reasons and more it is easy to stay at home. To isolate. The longer the door is closed on the outside world, the harder it is to go out.

Walking groups are friendly places

Well, the one I went to is…

Mall walking group

That is where I went earlier this week… to a walking group I used to belong to, but have been unable to attend since August 2017.

This one is a mall-walking group and the members have varying abilities. Some, like I did the other day, attend for the social support and friendship as well as exercise. Many enjoy walking in a safe environment while others are ‘champion walkers’ – but all are friendly.

It takes courage

When a person has been isolated socially for a long time, it can be frightening to consider going out among ‘other humans.’  If you fit this situation…

  • Recognise the reason for the fear/anxiety
  • Is there a way you can reduce it?
    • I contacted people I knew in the walking group when I knew I could definitely attend.
    • Estimate what you will need. Is it oxygen? Is it medication? Is it continence aids? If necessary, make sure you have an angina spray (that is not out of date) in your handbag.
    • What do you need to do to reduce your stress?

Go forth, face your anxiety, and enjoy being human, and talking to other human beings!

Susan

I feel human!