Thursday, August 30, 2007

She's A Cheater

My wife is a cheater. She cheated me Tuesday. Again. In the three (+) decades we've been married, she's cheated many times. According to some researchers, women are far more likely to cheat than men.

It all started Tuesday morning. I got out of bed, ate breakfast, watched the news, showered, shaved, checked my email, and prepared for work. When it was time to leave, I picked up my briefcase, went downstairs, and dug in my pocket for my car keys. They weren't there. I went all over the house, looking for my keys. Upstairs, downstairs. Upstairs and downstairs again.

I was going to be late for work, and Teresa couldn't help me because she was on the phone. Finally, in desperation, I decided to look in the car. I thought that maybe I had left them in the ignition. When I opened the house door, there were my keys, hanging from the door knob. Quickly, I grabbed them, ran for the car and headed for work.

When I came home that afternoon, she asked me where I found my keys. I said, "Oh, they were downstairs." She shined her desk lamp into my eyes. "You found them in the door knob, didn't you?" I squirmed. "What makes you think that?" "Because I heard your keys jingling when you took them out of the lock." Then I said, "That's just cheating!! It's not fair that your hearing is so good." Yep! My wife is a cheater. I can't get away with anything.

We men have been put at an unfair disadvantage. God created women with superior hearing faculties. It has been scientifically proven. Women have better hearing than men. Some researchers say that it is four times better. Long before any research was done, I had already reached my own conclusions about this. Think about it. In your family, who is always hearing those noises that the car is making? Who hears the teenagers sneaking in? Who hears the refrigerator door opening? Who hears the pin drop?

I used to wonder why this was so. One day, as I was meditating on the greater questions of life, I realized why women hear so well. It's because that is the way that God intentionally designed them. When the hungry baby cries at night, someone has to get up. The child has to be fed. So, what sense does it make for the Daddy to hear the baby? He doesn't have any milk. Not naturally anyway. Ever since the beginning, Mommy was given the milk, so it's only reasonable to expect her to get up and feed the baby. That's why her hearing is so good. Unfortunately, Daddy sometimes has to pay the price for this plan. Occasionally, he is heard saying or doing something that would be safer left unheard.

So, what does all of this have to do with depression? Well, just because a person hears better than another (male or female), it doesn't necessarily follow that he/she will listen better. Listening is more difficult than hearing. We've all encountered people who were poor listeners, and we've been tempted to say, "Excuse me for talking while you're interrupting." If you are talking to someone who is depressed, and their input into the conversation is minimal, then you have to be an especially good listener, so that you will not only hear what they say, but also what they don't say.

Here are some Tips For Communication

01-People who are depressed don't talk much, so listen well. You must listen carefully so that you will be able to understand, comprehend and evaluate. As Job said, "Listen carefully to my words; let your ears take in what I say (Job 13:17)."

02-There are good times and bad times to talk, so be ready to take advantage of the best "mood times" to discuss things.

03-Make an offer to listen. "Whenever you feel like talking, I'll be ready to listen."

04-Don't complain about the lack of communication. Talk to family or friends who will meet your need for conversation.

05-Accept the fact that much of what you say will not be heard. Whatever part of the brain processes auditory sounds doesn't always engage when a person is depressed. They hear, but they don't hear. Sometimes, words heard don't really connect with understanding and retention.

06-Make an effort to improve your skills as a listener. These are skills that can be acquired, and great advice is found on the Internet. Listen twice before speaking once. "He who answers before listening, that is his folly and shame (Proverbs 18:13)."

07-Saying, "You never listen to me" will diminish the depressive's motivation for conversation.

08-Don't wait until you are upset to talk. If you are angry or irritated, allow some time to cool off, but don't stuff your anger and fail to communicate your feelings.

09-Be knowledgeable about depression, and understand that it is very difficult for people with a depressive mood disorder to listen back to what you are saying, and comprehend what you are trying to communicate.

10-Butter your tongue with love. Remember, during times of frustration, that you are not adversaries. You are simply two people connected at the heart, who are sometimes disconnected at the ear.

Yes, my wife is a cheater, but at least there is one person in this family who can hear the phone ring, and take time to listen to her "Ding-A-Ling."

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

Friday, August 24, 2007

Born To Be Wild

My wife tells me that I have been in rebellion. According to her, I've been resisting her efforts to bring my life into order and rational response to her advice. It all started over my taking my sleeping medication twice, because I couldn't remember taking it once. Consequently, I missed a day of work due to being too sleepy to walk, much less drive.

Her plan was for me to put my meds in a pill box, so I would always know when to take them. The plan met my approval, so I did as advised. The problem began when I had gone through a weeks worth of meds, and then didn't feel like filling up the box again. I just didn't feel like it. I wasn't in the mood to organize my medications. I probably would have, in a few days, but at that specific time,!

Then the order came down. "Fill up that pill box or else!!" Well, it wasn't put exactly that way, but that's the way I heard it. Sometimes things are said like that, and sometimes that is just the way that I hear them.

I'll admit that I have always had a problem with authority. Perhaps it's just that I resist dominance. I mean, I've never (with one exception) clashed with a police officer. I, for the most part, got along with my superior officers in the military. I obeyed my parents, until I left home. I only got one spanking at school. So, in my mind, there is really not an issue with authority, but I am resistant to any form of control.

By definition, I can't be, as my wife thinks, in rebellion. According to Webster, "rebellion is open opposition to a person or thing in a position of authority or dominance." So, it follows that she would have to have some authority over me, in order for me to rebel against it. No authority, no rebellion. Simple, isn't it?

Here's the real issue. When you have Bipolar Disorder, you yearn for self-determination. More than anything else, you want to be in control of your own destiny and your own decisions. Even regarding something as insignificant as taking your medications. It may seem juvenile to some, but I don't want someone else (not even my wife) telling me what to do. I am highly resistant to any perceived form of control. I respond well to asking, and I listen to persuasion, but I'm deaf to "telling." And I don't want to be told, asked, or persuaded, over and over again. An occasional, softly spoken reminder (pretty please, with sugar on top), might be acceptable. I don't know. It would largely depend on what kind of "mood" I'm in, I suppose.

For some reason, I've always felt a kinship with the little boy who had a conflict with his mother. He had been misbehaving (in her mind), and so she sat him down in a chair in the corner. In a moment, he was up and playing. She took him by the arm, and put in in the chair again. He stood up. Finally, she marched him back to the corner, and told him very firmly that he was to sit in that chair and not get up until she gave him permission. After a minute or so of silence, he said, "Mama, I might be sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up on the inside."

It's really an issue of Physics. Newton's Third Law is that "for every action (control), there is an equal (or greater) and opposite reaction (rebellion)." Hmmm. Let me rethink this.

Oh, about the meds. I have faithfully taken them, without benefit of the pill box, but in a day or so I will refill the box. After I see if my wife is ready to submit to my authority.

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

Friday, August 17, 2007

Oh, My Aching Head!!

It could have happened any time. It might have first happened when I was 10. My Dad was always in a hurry, which meant that I was always in a hurry. When I was about 10 years old, I became interested in building an airplane or rocket. By then, I had given up the idea of flying like Superman, and had turned to more rational methods of flight. One day, I was in the backyard building a plane from crate boxes, and my Dad yelled, "If you are going with me to town, you had better hurry." So, I quickly ran to the tool shed, opened the door, threw the hammer up on the work bench, and slammed the door. That's when the pain body. You see, in my haste I had slammed the door on my head.

It might have happened because my Mom finger-thumped me on the head for misbehaving. Maybe it was when I rolled my car, or when I had a pool stick broken on my noggin. It might have occurred when my fiance (now my wife) saw a horse throw me head first into a hard oak fence.

I guess the genesis of my problem doesn't matter, but the truth is, I have difficulty with thinking. Yesterday, I couldn't perform simple math functions required by my job. When I was about 30, I had some tests done to find out why I was having so many migraine headaches. One test indicated that I had some impairment in my left frontal lobe. A Cat scan showed an abnormality in the same area. A second test revealed nothing. Finally, I was sent to a clinical psychologist who told me, "Stormy, I believe that you have had some minor brain damage at some point in your life." This confirmed what some smart alecks used to say about me being "one card short of a full deck."

While even minor head trauma can cause some cognitive impairment (do some research), my problem probably originated with my teenage onset of Bipolar Disorder (BPD). In a recent Reuters News Service report, researchers at Dalhousie University have concluded that teenagers with depression may have abnormal brain structure. Imaging studies showed that adolescents with major depression tend to have a small hippocampus. This is the part of the brain associated with motivation, emotion and memory formation. Major stress and trauma, both depression triggers, can also cause the shrinkage.

Another study reported on July 20, 2007, announced that researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found that BPD is associated with a reduction in brain tissue and proves that the changes get progressively worse with each relapse. They discovered that the loss of grey matter tissue is concentrated in areas of the brain which control memory, face recognition and coordination. The researchers learned that the amount of brain tissue that's lost is greater in people who have had multiple episodes of illness and is associated with a decline in some areas of mental ability.

The above information had already been suggested by other studies. That is the reason that this writer has concluded that it is extremely important to bring depression under control, and by any and all means to reduce or stop the repetitive episodes of chronic clinical depression. One might say that the cognitive dysfunction that I have experienced might have been caused by minor brain trauma, but my belief is that it is most likely a result of many years of cycling into and out of depression.

Then again, it might be a result of too much "finger-thumping."

Benita Chick, of Hong Kong, has asked that I inform others of her site for fell0w-sufferers in that country. Her address is

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lie Like A Dog

In my life, I've had more dogs, than dogs have fleas. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but the breeds I can remember are: Rat Terrier, Pit Bull, Beagle, Blue Tick Hound, Black and Tan Hound, Newfoundland, Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Schnauzer, English Sheep Dog, Saint Bernard, Chihuahua, Australian Shepherd, as well as various and sundry Mutts.

Maybe that's why I'm well acquainted with the saying, "You lie like a dog," which is a type of a pun. "You lie (tell an untruth) like a dog (lies down)." I know that I told everyone that I would be posting a new blog every Friday, but I didn't. I was halfway to Tulsa to meet my son, when I remembered that I hadn't written a blog. I did tell an untruth, but I didn't lie.

According to the Bible, "pseudos (lie)" is an intentional and deliberate falsehood, spoken to deceive another. Therefore, my legal expert (me) holds that I did not technically tell a lie. I fully intended to do what I promised, but I just plain forgot. I have discovered some new information about the problems that people who have Bipolar Disorder have with memory.

I will share that with you on Friday, if I don't forget "like a dog."

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

Friday, August 03, 2007

Depressed To Death

Most Christians spend their whole life getting ready to die. Death is one appointment that we all have to keep. To the rest of the world, Christianity takes an illogical and scary position on this subject. Non-Christians can not understand why we are able to face death without fear.
Listen to the apostle Paul, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.....having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better (Philippians 1:21, 23)." Living for Christ prepares us to be with Christ. I've always like the story about the old Scotsman, who on his death-bed said, "If I die, I will be with Jesus, and if I live, Jesus will be with me." This is the attitude that enables us to face depression in this life, and to be ready for heaven in the next life.

While I'm not afraid of death, I am concerned about dying. There's a distinction between the two. Death is the point at which I will step out of this world, and step into the arms of Jesus. Death lasts less than 1/1,000,000 of a millisecond. Dying is the process that precedes death. It can last a day, a week, a month, a year or longer. If prolonged, dying can be as ugly as Hell, literally.

I spent the last two weeks of my Dad's life at his bedside. I got to see, up close and personal, the ugliness of dying. The heritage of Satan. Prior to becoming a Christian, my father spent years drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. You may not know it, but there is a synergistic effect when you combine the two. Synergism occurs when the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects. One plus (+) one =three. Your body is destroyed at a more rapid rate when you combine the elements of alcohol and tobacco. My Dad died of cancer of the lungs and brain.

When my Dad passed away, I found that I was left with a phobia of dying. I feared that I would one day find myself dying with the loss of dignity that I saw in my father. Pain I can endure, but pity and embarrassment would break my heart. It has continued to be an occasional, but earnest, prayer that I would be allowed to die with dignity. Perhaps as a reward for a life of depression.

More like my mother's experience. Mom had always had good health. Even in her eighties, she was mobile, lively and happy. On the day prior to her death, I had taken her to her doctor, and he gave her the results of some tests that had been made. He said that she had cancer markers in her blood.

I knew what she was thinking. She and I both remembered how awful my father's dying had been. She wanted to avoid that, as did I. I will never forget our conversation. Mom said, "Stormy, I don't want to die with cancer. I wish I could just go to bed and never wake up." I replied, "Mama, that's the way that all of us want to go, but that just doesn't happen very often." "I know," she said, "but I don't want to die like your Dad did."

Since my mother lived in an apartment a few blocks from me, I usually called her every day to see how she was doing. Sometimes I would just drop by to talk. The day after her doctor's appointment, I received a call from my aunt Dofa. She said that she had called Mama several times and didn't get an answer.

I drove the four blocks to my mother's home, and walked inside. I called out, but heard nothing. I walked through the house, and looked out into her backyard, but I couldn't find her. I thought that maybe she was visiting with her neighbor. Finally, I went into her bedroom, and I found her lying on the floor. She was dead, but she had the most peaceful smile on her face. Really!! Evidently, Mama got her wish. I thought, "I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish she got tonight."

As you see, my parents had distinctly different manners of dying. But now, in death, they both fully understand the meaning of Paul when he wrote, "Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord--for we walk by faith, not by sight--we are of good courage,I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)."

So what does all of this have to do with depression? Just this. Heaven is a place prepared for people who are prepared for heaven. Like the Scotsman, we should be able to say, "If I die, I will be with Jesus, and if I live ( in depression), Jesus will be with me."

Even depressed Christians are radical thinkers, at least as viewed by the rest of the world. "Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 5:16)." While we struggle with depression and our personal phobias, we are still a prepared people preparing ourselves for heaven. "Therefore, we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him (2 Cor.5:9)."

While we may be always depressed, we can still be confident that our manner of dying and the day of our death, are two things that are firmly and gently in the hands of God. "The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:5-7)."

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


From this date forward, I will be posting a blog on each Friday. That way, you will know the exact day (mostly) that you can expect an update. I appreciate so much the encouragement that I have received from you, and I hope to continue to hear from you.

My primary reason for the new schedule is that my mood is generally better toward the end of the week. I'm sure that you will understand. That's what this site is all about. Providing an environment where we can encourage, strengthen, show understanding, and support one another through our difficult times.

I love and appreciate you all. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]