Anxiety, Depression, and the Christian Woman

Episode #62

The stigma, right? No one wants to talk about it. Anxiety and depression are two very common things we don’t like to talk openly about because there is that looming fear of criticism or rejection. You may fear people will think something is wrong with you. And, as a Christian woman, you may also fear people will question your faith. Hear us when we say, “You are not alone”. In this episode, we share our personal struggles with these unwelcomed guests and share specific steps that have helped us pull our way through to the peaceful side. It doesn’t have to be a life sentence. It is possible to rise up over your anxiety or depression and shine your best self.


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Ashley
This is Episode 62. Rising above anxiety and depression. You’re listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.
Welcome back everyone to another episode here on the rise up and shine podcast and we are going to talk about something that many of us may be feeling right now. And that’s anxiety and or depression. And Claudine and I have both battled with both of these things in our life and on multiple occasions. And especially given the year that we’ve come off of right 2020, the one that I want to forget. But coming into 2021, not much different. I know, there’s a little more hope out there, which is great. But we have all endured a lot of added stress this year, a lot of disruption to our normal life or normal routine. And so it can really take a toll on our mental health. And Claudine and I both have even recently been having these issues knocking at our door, you know, not knocking want to come in. And in the past, we both have learned so many great tools of what to do how to, one become aware of when we’re feeling these things, and also what to do that can help get us out of it. Because there can be a misconception that this is just the hand that you’re dealt, and you’re stuck with it for life, you know, and there are definitely varying degrees of anxiety and depression, different disorders, different challenges, maybe genetic influence, you know, there’s a lot of different factors that can play in here to anxiety and depression. But right now we’re going to talk about the practical tools that we both have learned that have really gotten us out to rise up and shine, you know, feeling like we can live our best life and feeling like there’s hope to live our best life and to feel more peace in our life. And so we are here today to share these wonderful practicals with you, our listeners. So you too can also rise up and shine over these, especially this year, because we want to make this a great year, you know, 2021 even if things do not change, or it’s going to take a while still for them to change. We still want to try and work through these issues, you know, and have our mental health just get that much better.

Claudine
Right, right, Ashley, I’m so glad we’re talking about this because I feel like for me and my experience over the years, as a Christian woman, we don’t talk a lot about mental health in the church. It’s somewhat of a taboo subject, or people are ill equipped. And when we do bring it up, if we do share it with someone a lot of the responses, well, you just need to be faithful or you need to be grateful or are you praying about it. And I know I’ve shared this before. But that’s those were the kind of comments that I got, which didn’t help at all, they weren’t helpful. In fact, they, they typically just made me feel even worse after I shared I understood the people’s hearts, their intentions were good. But that’s why we’re here today to really talk about it. First of all, that it’s okay as Christian women that we struggle with depression, anxiety, it’s just part of the human experience. And actually, after doing a lot more research, I realized that so many of the great men and women in the Bible had struggled with depression, quarantine David, you know, who is thought to have written most of the Psalms. Some of them were written in periods of low times. I know one of his in Psalms 143:4 says, My spirit grows faint within me, my heart within me is dismayed. And I know that’s how I felt for a long time. I just felt so dismayed. And my heart was just faint. I just was tired. I was worn out, I had brain fog. It was just hard to even function, right? Like just getting through a day, I felt like I was, you know, thigh high and mud. That’s what an average day felt like, for me, like just trying to do laundry and dishes was really pushing me. My kids were in school, I wasn’t home homeschooling, but it was just difficult. Just the basic chores of life were too much for me. And it wasn’t any one specific big event in my life. Obviously, those can trigger bouts of sadness and grief and depression. For me, it was a lot of little things. It was little things that had compounded that I hadn’t dealt with. And it was really a time where it was starting to point to deeper, deeper problems, the root of the issue, which is what I had to get in touch with that were really affecting me. But you know, today we’re talking about depression, which I tend to suffer with more, and you with anxiety, which is more what you’ve struggled with. And with both of these, we just definitely want to make a side note if you are really really struggling with depression as far as having suicidal thoughts or self harm, or anxiety to the point where you’re having panic attacks and it’s affecting your physical well being, it’s really time to call a professional. We are not professionals, we have both gone through this, but not to the point where either of us would have been harmed in any way, either through self or through our actions because of how we’re feeling. So if you are really struggling with this, where it’s really intense, and you’re concerned for your health, please reach out to a professional and get some some help. You know, we’re here with what’s helped us, but we are not professionals. But here we are almost a year into the pandemic. So I know that this is a big issue. I know that people are worn out, they’re tired, anxious, we’re both fighting it off. Like you said, it’s knocking on the door, right? question is, are we going to answer? Right? I know like an old friend, but no, not my friend. I don’t want to have hospitality with you, you cannot come in. Right. So it’s been a hard year for so many of us with so many other issues. And I know last week, we talked about comparison, which you know, can definitely affect depression and anxiety. So make sure you listen to that if you struggle with that at all. Because that’s, you know, could possibly be a step to helping you ease it.

Ashley
Yeah, so let’s talk about a little bit also some of the triggers. So there are some things that can even if you are more predisposed to anxiety or depression that can increase it or magnify it, that you can take steps to decrease, because we all want to decrease those in our life, right? The anxiety and depression they are not welcome friends. However, they are very real. And they are very normal human experiences that many of us, you know, are affected by and I know just even with anxiety, it affects more than 40 million Americans. I mean, this is not uncommon. This is not right. And right. I was learning a lot about this. I was pretty shocked. Because as you said, Claudine, we don’t typically talk about it. There is kind of this stigma on it. like something’s wrong with you, if you’re getting panic attacks, and I used panic attacks. And I didn’t know what was going on. Depression, I struggled with depression. And even then I didn’t even recognize it. Like, I just knew I didn’t feel good. I was tired all the time. And I just felt like I had no energy, like you said to do the dishes, for goodness sakes, I can’t even get out of bed. And I did I did put a label on it. But right adding the factor of being Christian women, like you said, as well as sometimes we’re just illiquid. And it’s not talked about enough as if it’s a normal occurrence. You know, it’s very common. So one thing that we can do that does help that does trigger these is caffeine, caffeine and alcohol can trigger it. Certain health issues, like if you have low blood sugar, or thyroid functionality, you know, that can definitely affect it as well. certain medications might trigger it, stress sleep issues. I mean, think about it. Now, last night, I had a horrible night asleep and talking with my husband. It was a night where we slept with the kids and I left our puppy in the crate in our room. And he’s like, do you think you were thinking about that and kind of worried I was like yeah, I guess you’re right. I was worried about leaving the dog in the other room by himself. And I did not sleep but I did not feel good this morning. Right? And sleep issues definitely has an effect on it. And another big one is changes in routine. This one really stuck out to me because we all have experienced a change in our routine. Many are working from home many had to hire nannies or caretakers or ask families to help wash their children or while their children are doing school most children I know not all but most children are doing school virtually at home and some do go to work. Still my husband does go into work and I’m I’m home but there’s a lot of varying changes in our normal day to day life. And one thing that I recognize for myself that could have happened with you as well is that we think in the beginning it’s like well I can handle it you know this will be done soon right Claudine? Remember you’re like, It’ll last two weeks.

Claudine
Two weeks? That was my professional guess.

Ashley
Well look at here and you know, we don’t really stop us as humans are not the greatest at stopping to be aware like how we’re really feeling about the situation right? Like, I mean, if you take an honest look, how many of us really stopped and I don’t know if I like this very I’m worried about this or I’m, you know, we we try to just keep chugging along and just keep going as if things are normal. But down the road, it starts taking a toll on us, right? It takes a toll on our bodies, our mental emotional health, our well being our relationships. And I know, as we said earlier, that anxiety and depression are still kind of knocking at that door trying to come in because of these issues, because of these changes in our routine because of everything we’ve gone through in this last year. You know, stress, stress is dangerous. Stress can be good, but the stress that we’ve been enduring this year has definitely taken a toll on us and our bodies, and anxiety and depression are right they’re trying to creep in.

Claudine
That’s right. I don’t even know what routine looks like. It’s been so long for me. I know routine. I mean, we’ve been, you know, commuting back and forth between northern California in Southern California and traveling and living out of a suitcase. So I look forward to that. It’s it. You know, I think in the past, it was a little boring, but now I’m looking for boring. Like much fun. That’s awesome. I want routine. You know, another one is dehydration. I know, this is crazy. But I had a day. Gosh, it was probably a couple months ago now. I was feeling really down. And I went through all the practicals that we’ll share with our listeners shortly. And I really I was like, This is so strange. I everything’s great. My thoughts are in a healthy place. You know, I just couldn’t pinpoint it. And then at some point, I went and got a glass of water big glass of water and drank it all. I kid you not, I felt remarkably better. That’s like, Oh, I stay hydrated. Yeah, yeah, no, no joke. Like, if you get to the point where you’re super dehydrated, you will not feel well, and could lead to just feeling really down and then discouraged and what is going on. But for me, I was just dehydrated that particular day, and sleep for me to another one. If I don’t have a good night’s sleep, it’s really hard for me to be full of joy and pep in life. The next day, I really need a good amount of sleep. Yeah, at least, you know, I can go one night with not having good night’s sleep. But if I go two or three, I’m a mess. I may just have to take a nap or rest during the day. It’s like a big part of the aging process. But anyway, yeah. There’s all kinds of triggers. Yeah, there’s all kinds of triggers. And it’s really becoming aware of what they are. And really, again, we talked about self love last episode, but really being kind with yourself, not judging yourself. I think we judge ourselves. I know for me, I definitely felt like something was wrong with me. Like, why am I depressed? Why should I be sad? Why should I be downcast? When my life is good, right? It’s that balance of being grateful and being joyful in the Lord. But yet, my mind was anything but and it was a conflict, which actually then created more stress and more depression. But for me, just trying to wrap myself around that it was okay, that was part of the human experience that it was just a chapter, it wasn’t my whole life, it wasn’t gonna define me, like depression, anxiety do not define us, they’re just saying go through. And actually, you’re really good about sharing the sensation. So why don’t you help our listeners because sometimes they may not even be aware, they may think, gosh, something’s not right. But I don’t know what it is. Why don’t you share the sensations for anxiety, and then I’ll share what my body felt like with depression.

Ashley
Right? So with anxiety, it really manifests in our bodies physically. And that’s something that we don’t always stop to recognize, we just know Oh, I just don’t feel good, or I’m feeling jittery. But put a word to it a name to it is really powerful, because then we can really understand what’s going on. So for example, with anxiety, your heart rate will go up, right, you’ll start feeling you can feel jittery, maybe you might shake a little or tremble a little, your breathing might go shallow. I know sometimes when I felt anxious, even without recognizing it, I can catch myself holding my breath. You know, and that is really the fight or flight response. Because our primitive brain is saying, okay, there’s a threat or a danger here that I need to respond to. So I’m gonna flood your body with adrenaline and cortisol, and we got to fight or flee, right? We got to do something here. And so our primitive brain is gonna that’s just instinctually for survival. But what happens with anxiety is, especially if you have long term, your body’s constantly in that fight or flight much more frequently. So you’re going to feel those sensations, the increased heart rate, your palms might sweat, you might feel hot sweats, cold sweats, you know, your heart is pounding your, it also raises your blood pressure, you know, which is not something that we want. And so you’ll feel it a lot in your body and sometimes you feel heat Sometimes you might feel cold. I know for myself, when I get anxiety, my body feels cold. So recognizing that as well, and there are research out there that has shown that you can kind of label, you know, by colors, label emotions by colors. I don’t know, for some moms teaching their kids about emotions, we’ve talked about that, if you think about inside out the movie, inside out the emotion characters, they were all a certain color, right? anger was red, right away was yellow, disgust was green sadness was blue, right? We say that, right? I’m feeling blue while I’m feeling down and feeling sad. So being able to label those things is really powerful, because we can recognize what’s going on. And really, I want to drive home the point that when we feel these things in our body, that’s kind of our first sign like something’s going on, you know, I feeling something, it’s a message. Some people I have, I have somebody that I’m coaching right now, who feels issues in their throat, you know, their throat tightens up, or they feel it raspy, or they feel like they can’t talk, you know, so it manifests differently for everybody. Sometimes it’s this client of mine, their legs feel heavy, or tired, you know, and they recognize, okay, these are things in my body that I’m feeling, and they’ve been able to recognize it over time, that it’s just anxiety. It’s not necessarily that their legs are tired or sore, they’re feeling that sensation of their body, because their mind is anxious, their brain is anxious and responding that way. So it can be slightly different for everybody. Another one could be a pit in the stomach, right? you kind of feel this pit in your stomach. I know I’ve struggled with anxiety a lot where I would feel ulcer like sensations in my abdomen. Yeah. And that went back to high school goodness. So there are a lot of different things I recognize. And it tends to be a pattern, it tends to be similar. So if you start recognizing when you’re feeling worried or anxious, and if you really start paying attention to where in your body, what you’re feeling in your body, you’ll notice that each time you feel anxiety, it it shows up pretty much the same way. You know.

Claudine
That is so interesting.

Ashley
Yeah, it is very fascinating. But it shows to that. Okay, I know what this is, I know, this is anxiety, I know there is something I need to address, there’s a need I have that I need to figure out, you know, it’s a message, to think of it not so scary to think of it as a normal human emotion, but it’s telling me something. And then there’s a problem that I need to address or something I need to focus on. It’s a message.

Claudine
Yeah, that’s a great, great point. It’s so interesting, because depression, at least for me, the physical sensations are almost the opposite. A lot of them are at any rate, for me, the physical sensations is a real fatigue, a real lack of energy, like you know, depressed again, you know, it’s down so everything’s lower. So I also get cold, that’s the one similar when I get very cold that happens when I get tired. So for me, it was a real lack of energy and a real lack of motivation. But the physical sensations were just, for me fatigue, and weakness, even like I said, I shared earlier, like just doing the dishes wore me out, that’s a sign that something’s not normal. Our bodies are created to do a whole lot more than the dishes, but I would like do the dishes and then have to go sit down. That’s where I’m at. I’m like, something’s off here. This isn’t I know, my body. I know, I’m getting older, but I’m not that old, I should be able to do the dishes, and then do another task on top of it and not be worn out and ready for a nap. So and then the lack of motivation, which is more mental. Even doing something fun seemed like too much work. It’s just too much work. I just don’t even want to do that. Like I don’t even want to drive the car because that’s too much work and right. So for me, there was the Those were the symptoms that something was off, that I wasn’t well that I needed to pay attention to something like you said it was time to become aware and pay attention to the message. So those are some of the physical sensations of of those both.

Ashley
Yeah. And another thing that is really important to focus on is your behaviors. So sometimes if we haven’t quite identified Oh, this is anxiety or this is depression, if you notice yourself doing certain patterns or behaviors, so for example, when I’m either depressed or anxious, I keep going for more coffee. I realized I have more coffee in the morning because it is my feel good. It makes me feel a little pick me up. So I will go for another cup of coffee. And then I recognize two is kind of funny. I mean, sometimes I just cracked myself up because now I know and then if I’m having a tough time if it’s if it’s a rocky start to our morning trying to get the kids on school and our morning routine and I’m feeling stressed out. I’m gonna go turn on my Keurig. And I’m gonna get another cup of coffee because I’m dealing with this challenge. But I’m going to have my nice hot cup of coffee that I call it a warm hug.

Claudine
I would think all that caffeine would add to your anxiety because.

Ashley
And it does it can right? Yes, it can. And ironically, I recognize that I can have a few cups of coffee and also time of day can affect it as well. Like I can have coffee in the morning, and then use I can even have a cup of coffee before I go to bed and be able to sleep like I can still do that. Fortunately, that’s because probably I’m a good sleeper. However, if I’m experiencing more stress and more anxiety in my life in general, I noticed that that afternoon coffee will make me jittery. But it doesn’t do that every time it does it when I have more stress going on. And I’m feeling more anxiety already. So I know, okay, if I keep going to more coffee, or that could be alcohol for you, or that could be TV for you. Or that could be you know, exercise even who knows. It’s essentially a coping, right? Our behaviors that we’re doing is just trying to make us feel good for a little bit. And it does for the short term, but it doesn’t for the long term, because then that anxiety or depression is just still there. You know, we’re not dealing with it. We’re not recognizing the real issues at hand. We’re just trying to make ourselves feel good for a little bit. And then it’s like a hit right? We need another hit to make us feel good. And it does it releases those endorphins. And we feel good briefly. But it’s not the long term goal. You know, I help us get out of these.

Claudine
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s so funny because you talk about your coffee, but I remember there was time when things weren’t going great my life that I would have wine.

Ashley
Yeah, wine it’s great too.

Claudine
Not so much that I was getting drunk, but right, wine is a depressant. And we think about that, if you’re struggling at all with depression, you don’t want to add any more depressants into my life, right? You need to bounce it. So with me not with caffeine, because then I would not be able to sleep. So wait until you’re in your 50s.

Ashley
I know it’s coming for me.

Claudine
The good sleeper. Actually, the older you get, the less sleep you need. So that’s kind of nice. That’s been a real great blessing. But anyway, there are practicals of dealing with our mental health because it really is so important. Our mental health affects every other part of our life. We both know that I’m sure our listeners know that. But let’s talk about some practical tools that will help us and not just in the short term, but in the long term. Because like you said, when we do those short term behaviors, in the long run, they just actually can worsen right under the anxiety. So I know for me, and we’ve talked about this already, one of the first ones is just awareness, just becoming aware that this is a possibility. Like, I’m aware that I am probably depressed, like that was big for me, I think I was in denial for so long. I thought it was health issues, or I thought it was stress or for kids or all that but just really being able to acknowledge it and to say, you know what, I’m having some depressed feelings. And that’s okay, now I didn’t identify with it, I was real careful not to say I am depressed. Because when we say I am, it’s kind of an identifier, but I struggle with or I have feelings of, or, you know, this is what I’m experiencing right now making it more of an experience instead of a label, like I. So that was really important. So becoming aware of what we are feeling, if anything, and then making sure not to identify with it. I’m not anxiety, and I’m not depression, those are just feelings, that physical or emotional, that will pass through. They’re just here for a time and they will pass.

Ashley
Yeah, that’s very true. And being aware of our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors and our needs, you know, because I think about when I have struggled with these things, I tend to go to what I want that will help me feel better, not to what I need. So when we feel depressed, when we feel anxious, there’s something else going on, right? A lot of times anxiety is just worry, worry right here. What am I afraid of? What am I worried about? And it’s having to dig, dig, dig to try and get that out of what is going on in our head that’s causing us to feel those emotions and then also our behaviors, as we already talked about, you know, so I’ll just briefly touch on is what are you going to, you know, what are you going to do to help you through it or to cope or to numb you out? You know, that could either be denial, just denying and, you know, not wanting to think about I don’t want to think about it, and that doesn’t help either. Right? And again, needs, needs are very important. What is it that I need? Do I need another cup of coffee? Probably not, do I need to go out for a walk? Yes, I probably need to go for a walk in the sunshine, and re identify those things. And again, and we’ve talked a lot on this podcast about our neural pathways, our coping has become our pattern. All right? Pathways are taking, right, the choices that we have made, is now embedded in us, not embedded.

Claudine
Conditioned.

Ashley
Yeah, is now conditioned in our brain that when this happens when A happens, and I feel B, and then I’m going to do see, you know, I might and so we tend to do the same things. That’s why I say I noticed that I keep going for more coffee sometime, right? I go from like coffee to wine. And I know I should be having water, I should be drinking water, I should exercise, I should go on a walk, I should do this. But we don’t tend to do that. Because it doesn’t really make us feel good. And we haven’t conditioned ourselves to choose the things that we need to do that’s healthier for us.

Claudine
And it takes 63 days to get a newly established habit wired into our neural pathways. So for those of us, you know, we live in a fast food nation. 63 days is a long time, it’s a really long time to decondition ourselves and recondition some healthier coping habits than what we’ve been doing and think I listened to you. And I’m like, Well, of course, you know, going on a walk is that’s takes a lot more work than having a cup of coffee. Yeah, especially you you have young children, you either gotta take them with you or find someone to sit with them, you know.

Ashley
Oh no, I leave them home now.

Claudine
Oh, there you go. You know, but those things are typically harder. I mean, for me, it was so much easier to turn on Netflix, right? Oh my gosh, on and bed down on the couch and you know, escape my whatever was going on whatever, you know what’s causing it a lot of times with depression, it starts with disappointment, right? We have disappointments, and we have done a whole episode on that. I think I was looking at it. The other day, I think it’s Episode 47. If any of you listeners are interested, we have a whole one on disappointment. But when we don’t deal with our disappointments that can turn into discontentment. And then when we don’t deal with our discontentment, it can turn into despair. And there we are sitting in depression because something didn’t turn out the way we thought it would turn out. Right. And so we do have to come up with ways to cope when we’re disappointed even on the very front end, little disappointments, right. Especially parents, I mean, years are still young. But when they become teens and young adults, there are times we’re just disappointed with their behavior, right? You’re like, oh, why did they do that? Now I know, I raised them better than that. But they made that decision, right? Disappointment at a deep level with our children or with our spouses or course through this pandemic. I mean, there’s just been so much going on and and with the election, that was last month, a lot of people were disappointed. And if they don’t deal with their disappointment, if they can’t let a disappointment come and go and let it pass, it’s going to get a lot deeper. So right. That’s another one.

Ashley
Yeah, another one is, journaling. journaling is phenomenal. Because a lot of times we don’t, we just need to get our thoughts out on paper, you know, because I know from experience that I could just be so bombarded by the thoughts going on in my head, and especially if we’re experiencing anxiety and depression, they’re probably 99%, negative. Right? We’re afraid of something, we’re worried about something or we feel ashamed of something. Yeah. And we’re not feeling good. And so journaling is huge. And on top of journaling, gratitude, I mean, even journal things that you’re grateful for, and make it a habit because things that intellectually we know, well, I know I’m grateful for this. But to actually intentionally sit down, write it down, maybe every morning, even write the same five things. Sometimes in our head. It’s like I know it, but I don’t feel it. I don’t feel grateful that when you’re doing it on a habitual basis, that you will start feeling your heart will catch up, you know, to that intellect that what you know, you know,

Claudine
Yeah, research has shown that if you practice gratitude, like you said, with intention, not just like, Oh, yeah, I’m a grateful person, but intentionally like saying in your head or writing it down or saying it out loud, the things you’re grateful for. You actually rewire your brain and your neural pathways, you make a difference in the makeup, the physical makeup of your brain. So it’s really powerful gratitude. We can’t go on and on and we can’t say enough about gratitude and the power it has on the well being of our brains.

Ashley
Absolutely. Another one is self care, self care, self love. We talked about this even on our last episode. Self Care is very important to you. Right now, especially for me being home with the kids doing school trying to keep up with the house stuff. You know, I don’t always feel like I’m doing a great job, I feel like, I just have everything on my plate. And I’m falling behind. And so the last thing to go is going to be me caring for myself, because I got all these things I gotta do. But then when you’re not taking care of yourself, then you’re not doing a great job at those things anyways. Right? You know, I’ve probably been more snappy, I’ve been more irritable, I’ve been more tired, I’ve been just like, less focused, because I have so much going on in my head, that I’m not taking time out. And yesterday, I was able to go out and go shopping for a few hours and run some errands just by myself and just kind of take my time. And I did, I came back feeling like, ah, I kind of took a timeout from my environment that I’m in 24 hours a day, and just kind of was by myself, and I didn’t have to be needed for a little while. And I could go do something, I can go buy a new pair of jeans, or you know, and I was able to take care of myself a little bit. And I was able to come back just even for four hours get gas, right? I mean, yeah, I was grateful for the long lines at the Costco gas station. I thought, Wow, this is great if I can stay out a little bit longer. Yeah, I was feeling grateful for the long line. And so those are things that are so crucial. You can’t make yourself last, you know, I mean, you can’t you want to show up for your family. You need to show up for your family for yourself, you know, and to feel at your best you have to take care of yourself. And again, it has to be done with intention. As you like to say, Claudine, if you fail to plan you plan to fail, right? So if you don’t schedule in, whether it’s an hour a day or on the weekends, you have to plan in on a consistent basis to have some time to yourself to rejuvenate.

Claudine
Yeah, that that’ll go miles and miles for her mental health, believe me, it will that was part of it for me is realizing that self-care was not selfish. That was a turning point for me.

Ashley
And Claudia, and even Oh, sorry, right now I realized is every two months, I start feeling like I’m melting down. And I’m going to have a breakdown, like I can run, run, run and do it all and be on all the time, you know, for two months, and then I crash. And then I can get a little rejuvenation and then I go for two months again, and then I’m crashing. And that was actually hard for my husband and I to both recognize and like I don’t know why this is going on. It’s like well, duh, because look at what are yours like look at yet our quote unquote, new normal is right now. Like I’m not getting any time to myself, I sent a message to my mom was like, I just realized that out of the 24 hours a day minus sleep. I have one hour to myself. That’s like a lunch break.

Claudine
I’m telling you, when your kids go back to school, it’s gonna be like vacation every day.

Ashley
I know. What am I gonna do?

Claudine
They’re like, wow, I had so much time I’m gonna conquer the world. I’m gonna conquer the world. These kids are in school for six, seven hours a day,

Ashley
Maybe the house will be clean.

Claudine
That time is coming, my friend that time is coming. You know, another real important one, we touched on the beginning, but really seeking the help of a professional, someone that’s close to me, was sharing with me last month that they’d really struggled with their thoughts for years, some really negative unswervingly just, you know, not healthy thoughts for years and years. And they wanted to seek my advice, my input about medication and I, you know, I’m pro medication, I don’t think that, you know, I don’t know, again, I’m not a professional, but I look at it more as a crutch. Like if your foot is broken, you’re gonna need a crutch for a while until it heals. And that’s the way I see medication. Sometimes it’s, it’s there for you while you heal. I don’t think by itself without some kind of therapy, some kind of help to learn better tools to work effectively with all the trials and troubles we’re going to face in this world. But then I recently talked to this person again this past week, and they said, you know, after months and months of seeking input and talking to professionals, he decided to go on a real low dose of antidepressant and honestly, it was it was the right decision for this person because they had been struggling for years. Unnecessarily and it wasn’t something they just jumped into. Because I do think so many people are like just throw me a pill for everything, right? If we could just take a pill and lose weight. We do that if we could just take a pill and, you know, get straight A’s we would do that. We could just take a pill like we you know, we’re shortcut Charlie’s, we just want to give me a pill and let it fix all my problems. But this person spent a lot of time and it’s in conjunction with a psychiatry, sorry, it’s in conjunction with a psychologist. So they’re getting some cognitive behavior therapy at the same time to learn some tools and practicals to work alongside the medication. So it could be the answer for some people. I’m not saying everybody run out and get a prescription. But certainly, you know, sometimes as Christians, we feel like we shouldn’t need any medication. But, you know, if you have diabetes, you’re going to take your medication, if you have cancer, you’re going to get treatment. If you cut your hand your finger while you’re cooking, or chopping, you’re going to put a bandaid on it, put some anti-bacterial disinfectant on it. So same with our mental health, we got to make sure that we learn the tools. But until we’re in a healthy place, we might need some intervention of a more professional nature to get us to that next step. And the other practical for me, is really to serve when we are serving others when we are giving to others, it’s really hard to be depressed. Now here’s the thing, when you’re depressed, the last thing you feel like doing is giving to others at least that’s where I was at. But even if it’s just leaving a short text, or writing a short card, something just to get out of ourselves to get out of where we’re stuck in our own thoughts in our own heads and do something for someone else, it pays back in dividends, it really does. So serving find ways to serve my husband, I were just talking about that this morning. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic. So we can’t really go out. But we have to get creative in finding ways to serve other people to encourage others, which, you know, in turn encourages us.

Ashley
Well, were you encouraged by helping me and my husband the other day?
Claudine
Yes. So encouraged.

Ashley
We refreshed you. You’re welcome for that.

Claudine
You’re welcome. Yes. Well, were you refreshed? More important question.

Ashley
Uh, no, it took me a couple days to feel refreshed after that. But it was good. It was good. But yeah, it very well is needed. I also reached a point where I needed to see a counselor, you know, therapist, and it was really helpful just talking through things because they did have more, they did have more education. And were well equipped, you know, to write through deeper issues that I was completely unaware of. And a lot of things do get stuck in the subconscious that we’re not realizing are still taking a toll on us today. And I think anxiety and depression that can very well be the case, I know for myself, I can be quote unquote, more sensitive, because I’ve had past experiences and traumas that I’ve experienced. And so that is a very real issue as well that can contribute to that, but being able to talk with someone, and we went through this type of therapy that was called brain spotting. And it was really amazing, because it just really reaffirmed how God created our brains to work, and it tapped into how our brain is supposed to work. And how we as humans, deny it that power to work functionally, because we’re not properly taught how to process through things, how to process through traumas, or what to do with our thoughts and emotions, right? We’re taught how to feel most of us were taught not to feel it was just be tough, or don’t feel mad, or don’t feel sad, or don’t you know, right. And yeah, so it really takes a toll on us. And that’s why anxiety and depression can come out just result from them not dealing with things, especially long term, especially things that have gone on for a long time, or that are from your past. And so talking with someone that brainspotting. And I’ll just briefly talk about in case people are curious about the brainspotting. Definitely research it, there’s YouTube videos where you could actually see it being done as well. But I would listen to very soothing music or ocean sounds. And I She told me she had a pointer. And it has a lot to do with where your eyes are looking that can tap into your subconscious. So it’s really fascinating. But she had this pointer and I would be thinking about something that I wanted to focus on that day. Right? It could have been how I felt sad about a specific situation. So she had me just think about that, right? Our thoughts, there’s our thoughts. So just think about that in my head. And then I follow this pointer. And then when I’m following this pointer, it goes left and right, very slow, or up and down. And my emotions, as I’m thinking about the specific situation, intensify at a certain place. And if it was different every time it wasn’t always this one point of focus that triggered it, but it was different for every situation. But then we would just sit there and sit there I’d stare at this pointer. And I would be thinking about this thing, this specific situation, and I would feel the emotions it was thinking about it created those emotions, and it was defying the emotions.

But my brain what was happening in my brain is that it was processing through those situations. And a lot of times it goes into childhood. It goes back to childhood. And we didn’t process things especially from our fully developed brain. So now I was able to process things. With my adult brain, my fully developed brain with my prefrontal cortex, things that I experienced when I was younger. And I was thinking about it, I was focused on that situation, my body was feeling the emotions, but then it would come and then it would go. And there is also no talking when we would go through. She just sat there holding the pointer, poor lady, you know, holding it for 40 minutes. And while my brain was doing the job that God intended it to do, and it just really blew me away that wow, I mean, you can, there’s times where you could probably just do this on your own, but it shows the power in our thoughts when we allow ourselves to think about what’s making me anxious, why do I think I’m feeling depressed? Why do I maybe I don’t feel good about myself? Why am I worried or afraid of A, B, and C, and allow ourselves to go there and feel the emotions, that’s when they can subside? And we process through and allow our brain to do its job. And it passes. They come and go, right? Like the ocean, the waves come and they go, and we need to allow our brains to do that with our emotions.

Claudine
That is absolutely fascinating so interesting. Well we could talk about mental health all day long, all week long that’s for sure. But one thing you said you talked about the power of thoughts. And Ashley that’s what you and I do with our clients. We really help our clients pass their circumstance. Get awareness of their thoughts and the emotions those thoughts we’re creating can help new narratives or new thoughts that help people better live life. To feel better and live better and love better. So I know again that was great. We have so much more to share and we will in the coming months. But if you are struggling with depression or anxiety or migraines. We’re here with tips and resources either at claudinesweeney.com or mindoverchaos.com. And if it’s more significant and more threatening to your physical health or emotional, spiritual health. Then please seek the counsel of a professional but we love you all we are here for you. Let us all get through this together. A new day is coming. The sun will shine again and we are all going to get through this and be our best selves ever. Until next time, take care.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.