Monthly Archives: March 2009

Small Ideas Making a Big Difference in going from Anxiety to Peace

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“My medicine isn’t kicking in like it should. I am cycling from depression to grandiose ideas. This bipolar stinks! Do you have any ideas?” My friend anxiously asked.

As we talked there were three main ideas that came to my mind:
1. Ponder Pages
2. Prayer by Prayer
3. “Leaf”ing negative feelings behind

Ponder pages: Having a place for ideas/goals/should-dos in a notebook or planner or PDA can be invaluable. When ideas about what you should or want to do come (often in a torrent) write them down, committing yourself to prayerfully think about them in a quiet moment (doing laundry, dishes, driving etc.) I have often found that by the time I ponder on it I no longer have the desire to do it, I realize that it isn’t the right time or I have ideas about how it can become a reality.

Prayer by prayer
This is more fully described in my book My Journey from Darkness to Light. Basically I have learned that when I begin to feel overwhelmed it helps to:
A. Stop what I’m doing
B. Pray for help
C. Tell the Lord what I feel I need to/should be doing (I usually look at my planner and name 4-5 most pressing things)
D. I rub my hands together as if I had sand between my palms and the sand represents the pressures I am feeling. In a sense I let the sand (pressures) fall from my palms into the hands of my Savior leaving me with open hands ready to listen to what my Savior wants me to do.
E. Ask to know what HE wants me to do
F. At this point either (1) I have 2-3 ideas come back to me (often my thoughts include simple things like eat, take my meds and one of my 5 ideas) or (2) I don’t have any specific impressions but I am able to return to my list with less pressure and choose more wisely the things I can do that will bring me the greatest peace and happiness

“Leaf”ing negative feelings behind
I have explained this concept through youtube. It can be found on my website http://www.patriciapotts.com/Vids.html . It is also described in my book My Journey from Darkness to Light. This is a form of cognitive therapy that is quick, easy and efficient.

Negative/Pressure Thoughts Feeling Can I know this is totally true? Talk back

The house is a mess Overwhelmed, guilty, fearful No Maybe it isn’t as clean as I like but it’s not a total mess!
She is not answering her phone. She doesn’t want to talk to me. Sad, hurt, guilty No I am mind-reading. Her phone may be having trouble. I can pray and call a mutual friend.

These simple ideas can be the difference between anxiety and peace. May they bless your life like they have mine.

Who me? Allergic to sugar?

sugar Is sugar contributing to my depression?

A week ago I was at a neighbors house. She smiled and offered me a huge slice of chocolate cream pie about 1/4th the size of the whole pie. I didn’t want to offend her, so I ate the whole thing…every last crumb.

Later that night, my daughter, Cindy, made a gorgeous chocolate cake for her sister’s birthday. Again I didn’t want to offend her, so I ate a generous slice. Afterward while wiping the table I finished up left-over slices from my grandchildren. Afterall, I didn’t want to waste.

What were the results of my approval-driven choices? Dah…

D-depression
A-anxiety
H-headache
I-insomnia

As the dark cloud of despair and self-hatred (I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!) lurked overhead, I remembered several years ago when I discovered my allergy to MSG. I had begun to be suspicious about headaches but the real clincher came when I put the MSG grains directly under my tongue…HEADACHE CITY 101!! I was convinced that I didn’t want to knowingly eat anything with MSG again.

What about sugar? I know I suffered negative effects because of my binge. Will it be enough to curb my desires and approval addiction? I hope so. Today is day four without sugar. In three weeks we are planning a cruise full of yummies (temptation city). Maybe when my resolve weakens I’ll have to grab some of that white stuff, put it directly under my tongue and be prepared for the results because I think I’m allergic to sugar!

Could Omega be the Option for you?

omega

My daughter has found help with the ups and downs of life with Omega available at Costco. Check it out!What is the Research on depression and omega-3s?

Can fish oil supplements ease depression? Stoll Believes the answer s a cautious “yes,” but is quick to add that more studies are needed. Several teams of researchers are currently testing fish oil as a remedy for depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Until those results come in, the jury on fish oil is still out. Still, the research that has been done to date suggest that omega-3s may have important implications for our both depression and our overall health.

As reported in the May 1999 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, Stoll and Colleagues found that large doses of fish oil supplements significantly eased the symptoms of severe bipolar disorder, even in some patients who weren’t responding to drug treatment. The study (a double-blind, placebo-controlled study), which measured traits of relapse into mania; involved 30 patients whose symptoms were not abated by their medications. Fourteen of the subjects started taking a hefty 10 grams of fish oil supplements every day, some while using other medications and some using the fish oil supplements alone, while the rest took olive oil. After four months of treatment, 12 of the 14 patients taking fish oil capsules reported fewer symptoms of depression, and only two had suffered a manic-depressive episode since the study began. In contrast, only three of the 16 patients taking the olive oil placebo said they felt any better and nine had major attacks. Researchers stopped the study early, partly because it seemed unethical to withhold fish oil supplements from any of the patients. In one case, a participant came to the study with a treatment-resistant case of bipolar disorder marked by what Stoll described as violent rages and crime sprees. “When given the opportunity to participate in our fish oil study, he was eager indeed,” Stoll writes. “The fish oil was a charm. Participating in our double-blind study, he had no way of knowing that whatever we were giving him, it worked! His mood swings and rages stopped abruptly and he felt well for the first time in his life. He has remained on fish oil supplements for three years.”

 

five-steps-from-guilt-to-gladness

Recipe for Analyzing Dreams

dreams1

Recipe for Analyzing Dreams

Have you ever woken up with strong feelings of being overwhelmed or feeling fear, guilt or anger because of a dream?

I have.

Through the years I have developed a recipe for analyzing dreams based on research and my own personal experiences.  I hope this helps you as much as it does me:

recipes-childDream Recipe

Pray and ask for wisdom to understand what your dream means to you then write down:

1. A list of the emotions generated through your dream (fearful, guilty, excited, angry etc.)
2. A list of people who where in the dream (Yourself, family members, stranger descriptions etc.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     3. A list of prominate things or places in your dream (garage, street, at work etc.)

Now you are ready to analyze what it has to do with your life.  Ask yourself:

1. Where in real life are you feeling those feelings?
2. Are you experiencing those feelings with the people in your dream?
3. Do you have negative/excited feelings about the things/places you saw in your dream?     

    You may be surprised at how much insight you can gather as you prayerfull write your answers down.      

The first dream I analyzed had a real impact on my life.  I was caught in a window well with a spider headed straight for me.  Here is how I analyzed it:

Feelings: fear, panic

People: Me, the spider

Places/Things: window well, window

REAL LIFE:

Feelings: I was feeling overwhelmed and fearful about my schedule.  I was stretched to the max as a young mother, a daycare provider and a wife.

People: As I prayed and pondered about it I felt that the spider represented the demands in my life: my own demands, my husbands expectations, my children, the daycare children, church responsibilities etc.

Places/things: I began realizing that the window well was one I could see from the basement when I was doing daycare activities.  It represented being stuck in a rock and a hard place and being unable to escape to freedom.

When I got to this point I could see that something had to change.  I began examining my committments and letting goe of some of my expectations about keeping house, about the number of children I took in my daycare and I talked to Dan about his actual expectations. 

Within a few weeks I made these changes and I was able to reduce my stress and my feeling that I was caught between a window well and it’s window. 

Over the years I have used this formula and included my dreams in my journal.  I have found that the Lord communicates with us in many ways and sometimes it’s in our dreams.  I hope you enjoy trying out this new recipe and I hope it brings you sweet results!