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Esther Bautista Designs

The Artist Within.

The Church and…Series Part 1 – Mental Health.

This is part one in a series of posts I will do on “The Church” which I refer to as the body of Christ or Christian church in America. Today’s topic is on the Church and mental health. How can I say this nicely? I’m thinking back to reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie where I was told never to criticize anyone. Maybe I can share out of my own experience? Maybe that will be more helpful?

I have struggled most of my life with depression. It is complicated because there are other factors involved such as temperament and personality. I am a highly sensitive person. Often growing up in the church I felt very ashamed of myself. I was trying too hard to be a good Christian. I would feel terrible, ashamed when I sinned, and would feel bad for a very long time. I thought God was mad at me. Today, I have learned otherwise. I learned that God always loves me even when I sin. I am His child and He delights in me, maybe not everything I do, but that doesn’t change how He feels about me.

I have heard some sermons on depression over the years and of course they will always point you back to the Bible, which is good. However, I just remember feeling so guilty when the pastor stated that Americans consumed the largest percentage of antidepressants in the world. I don’t remember if he cited his source on that. His sermon was some sort of “rah-rah” that we need to get off our medication. It gave me that impression that it was bad or I was bad for needing medication. I was on anti-depressants at the time.

Being on medication is a personal thing between you and your doctor, not between you and your pastor. You need to decide what is best for you! That is what being an adult is all about. I being, highly co-dependent and around somewhat controlling spiritual environment, felt compelled to go to my pastor for “permission” to take anti-depressants. I look back on how silly that was. I mean it was good to get advice, but very not good when you can’t make your own decisions and always going to others for advice!

This is why I am writing. I guess mostly for those who resonate with my story. If you don’t go to church then you probably don’t really care about this topic. But maybe you do. I think I can see why many people don’t go to church now! There is a lot of guilt and shame hanging out in those places. Well, not all churches and not ever Christian.

I need to write another post on spiritual abuse. I have in the past. But as a Christian, I was under so many layers of misconceptions about being a Christian. I was trying to be a good Christian, but it was killing me. The guilt and shame I feel were compounded by my depression. Because I was told and I really don’t remember where I got this from that you are not suppose to be depressed if you are a Christian. It could have been implied.

Sometimes we get the wrong impression from what is said or what is not said. Other Christians seemed so happy all the time. I thought they were weird frankly because they never seemed to get upset. It was rather creepy. I mean who is happy all the time? The Stepford Wives?

Perhaps the other issue is that I did not know the boundaries for myself and the church or myself and my pastor. And again, I do not know where I got the idea that I had to listen and agree with everything my pastor said. But it was not good. That makes your pastor into your cult leader. Okay, maybe he isn’t a cult leader, but you are following him like he is one. This is not good! I always have to learn the hard way.

It was not my conscience decision. I couldn’t see what was going on. But in 2014, the bubble burst for me. I finally broke away. I finally made my own decision. I felt like a rebel. I felt bad. I did not know if I was doing the right thing. I felt like I was walking away from God. Perhaps that is why it was so hard for me to make my own decisions. I thought the church and the pastor had all the information I needed to live.

Today, I think otherwise. I go to a different church and I have nothing bad to say about it. I don’t want to say anything bad about any church really, but my past experience was horrible for me. I remember singing how free I was and I was suppose to be happy, but I didn’t feel free and I felt sad! 😦 I did not know how uncomfortable I was in that environment. I thought there was something wrong with me.

The peer pressure within groups can be positive or negative. I never knew that churches had their own societies or culture. (Cult) Like I said I am a little obsessed with cults now.  I never realize that my decisions could be influenced by the people I was associating myself with. Now, I KNOW. That is why I am so interested in group dynamics and cults.

I don’t want to speak for God. I could be wrong, but I don’t think God wants us to copy each other. I think He made us to be unique individuals and I think He likes us that way!

Okay, I am digressing in this post but please hear me out. Speaking Christianese is NOT a requirement for being a Christian. God wants to have a personal relationship with everyone and not a relationship with us through another person!  We need to hear God speak to our hearts for ourselves. I would be careful now if people come up to me and tell me that “God told me”… I use to say that, but I hesitate to say that today. If God wants you to know something He is going to make it clear to you personally. But again, I would be very careful with this kind of talk. A lot of times I hear this in church, it’s not true. But this is just my experience.

Anyway, back to mental health. Talking to your friends and pastor can be a good thing. But never hang on any one’s word. Again, it’s a personal thing and my mistake was sharing or oversharing. And you have to be careful with controlling personality types who start telling you what to do.

I recommend  getting counseling, advice, and therapy. But you have to listen to yourself. Well, that is what I call it. Maybe it’s listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit, the still-small voice. I listened to myself finally. I did what I thought was best for me. And for me it was leaving that church. I still can’t believe that I did. It took a lot of guts and courage.

Here is a quote from Rick Warren about mental health from “The Huffington Post” article “Rick And Kay Warren Launch Saddleback Church Mental Health Ministry After Son’s Suicide.”

“There is no shame in diabetes, there is no shame in high blood pressure, but why is it that if our brains stop working, there is supposed to be shame in that?” said Warren, who said the family kept Matthew’s illness a secret from the public not because of shame, but “because it was his own story to tell.”

Like I said before I felt very bad for being a depressed Christian. I felt ashamed. I didn’t want to be depressed. Who does? But today I am doing better. I need to reflect on all the positives things that have contributed to lifting my depression. I think one key thing is not being ashamed of myself. Not feeling bad or like a bad person and not equating doing wrong with being wrong.

To be continued . . .

Update on a verse that I discovered today.

2 Corinthians 7:6 “But God who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; . . .”

This really stood out for me today to show me that God is not mad at me for being depressed, but comforts me. I am excited to read this today!

Citations:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/28/rick-warren-mental-health_n_5051129.html

Family Day Outing.

Soapmaking 101 – melt & pour spa bar.

This was my first experience with Brambleberry.com Charcoal & Rose Clay spa bar melt and pour kit.

It was a very enjoyable experience. I know I need improvement on my packaging. Hey, you got to start somewhere even if you are not perfect! And Nobody’s Perfect!

This is my latest hobby. I know I change interests a lot. I also know I’m not cut out for sales and running my own business.

Not everything we do needs to be made into a moneymaking business.

There is something to be said for handmade products made with love. In addition, to small businesses that don’t mind staying small!

Mass production kills the fun. But that’s just my opinion. 

I’m glad that God took the love and care to handmake me one of a kind!

Well, this is what I did today… hope you liked this.

Recent happenings…

Chloe gets a new do. I chopped her hair due to mats and ease of care.  And Seth, my son (forth from left) celebrates with his quartet for winning first place at the high school quartet competition ! Way to go Seth! I am very proud of you.

What else to say? I am slowly crawling out of my slump one day at a time. A new hobby I am attempting is melt and pour or M&P soap making. The cold process with lye kind of freaks me out at the moment. And I as my husband likes to call me, am “The Short-Cut Lady”. He often gets on me for liking to take short cuts. Perhaps I should embrace this. One should accept their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

In trying to rethink my lifestyle…minimize…why not do what is easier and takes less time. I don’t believe in multitasking. I don’t want to cram a bunch of activities into my life just for the sake of being busy.

So my husband is downsizing and minimizing. I am so glad he is on this bandwagon. In addition to that, I am not only minimizing with stuff but with my time I spend on social media. I realize that it is rather addicting and was controlling me. So it is time to put boundaries on myself with computer related activities.

One of another weakness of mine I noticed about myself is that I get discouraged and depressed often and easily. I really am rather like Eeyore the donkey from Winnie the Pooh. “Thanks for noticing me.” Acknowledging this kind of makes me feel bad. But then that is me feeling bad about my insecurities.

So I try to distract myself with hobbies and art projects which does make me feel better for a time. And I don’t want to be described as a religious person, but I pray, and try to develop my relationship with God. Sometimes I feel somewhat distant from Him. But I trust He is here. “Thanks for listening to me…”

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For my new soap making hobby. Soap Queen TV…

 

 

 

 

The internet makes me want to be a hermit.

Maybe I am blaming the internet for my hermitage, but the negativity on the internet and in the media really bothers me. I would like people to be nice and be kind to each other, but this is not how real life works I guess.

I don’t like the news and all the politics going on and no I don’t have solutions for the worlds problems. But I think God does and I am not God.

I will be turning 45 years old on the 27th and I STILL have a problem with people’s opinions. I am a very sensitive soul. I have tried to get tougher, but I find that only makes me into an angry person and I don’t want to be that.

But the truth is that the reason life and the world doesn’t work is because of freewill. Humans are selfish, mean, and nasty. And I am one of them. We need God because without Him we have no hope.

Don’t follow man and by man I mean mankind, which includes women. People will always let you down so that is why it is not a good idea to follow them. EVERYONE no matter how great we think they are HAS PROBLEMS, FAULTS, AND SINS.

But I am digressing from the hermit part. I want to live in my own private world of peace and quiet away from the internet, but I am afraid I have an addiction to it.  Just like Facebook, I get sucked back in. The reason being is that there must be some kind of pay off for me in that. It’s like a bad relationship. I want out but I am stuck. Help!

For the life of me I don’t know why I have to share my feelings with the world. Well, maybe I do. Maybe for affirmation? Maybe because I lack intimacy in my own personal relationships. I’m psychoanalyzing myself now.

But I am pretty isolated which may or may not be a good thing. I know this! I was looking for purpose at one point. I will be okay because somehow I have made it this far.

Anyone have a suggestion on what I could do for my 45th birthday? I will never forget my 35th birthday because I got my bellybutton pierced. (I don’t have that anymore.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idealistic Youth.

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Here is a photo of my Father and I. Our senior year. I sort of laugh at my dreams and goals in highschool, looking back to almost 27 years ago.  Well, I think strangely enough I did accomplish those goals! I did not go back to college for six years. I am a self-proclaimed artist. I am a writer, poet, and homemaker. No I have yet to figure out guys. Lol. I just thought the juxtaposition of our two senior photos was interesting. And wow, look at my BIG HAIR! Oh my Lord. . .

 

Make peace with yourself.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”  –Thich Nhat Hanhimg_8330

Happy Birthday to my favorite Doggie, Chloe!

Puppy love.

This is Chloe. She is almost one year old. She has been a joy to my life and family. She’s a pure bred shih-tzu. Always loving and forgiving and overflowing with unconditional love.

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