Thursday, September 30, 2010

Study Group - Holy Scripture

I attended a wonderful study group the other day .  

Several pastors and parishoners gathered together to study Holy Scripture.  

We looked at the Examination of the Council of Trent and discussed what we mean by traditions in the church.  What are good traditions.

We also looked at the article of Justification in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession.  This is a great teaching to hear again and again and again.

It was a blessing to attend.  Thanks

Hope in Christ &
God be with you.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Four Hours Later

I met with my counselor for an hour last week.  It was a general intake.  I filled out forms.  She asked me a few questions and suddenly the hour was up.

I returned on Monday to answer some 1,000 questions.  They were all agree/disagree questions and not hard to answer but, it took me the full three hours to complete.

So, I'm four hours into this new little journey.  So far so good.

I return this Friday to complete the general intake and review the analysis to all the question.

My counselor's psychology background is very strong but I still need a few questions answered before I can go too much farther in counseling.  I should have asked the questions last week but time ran out.  The questions I have are the following:

1.  What is her religion?  Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, etc.

2.  Does she practice her faith?

3.  Does that faith influence her practice?  Explain what you mean?

4.  Is she willing let my faith have a part in my healing?  I am a pastor after all.

5.  If I meet with her for 5 or 10 times, what might I expect as a result?

6.  What is the plan?  I need a plan, even if I don't meet the goal in a certain time period.  I need to know what I'm working toward.

7.  One practical area that I would find beneficial is to learn more about shame and the cycle of shame.  What is it?  Do I have a pattern of it?  How can the cycle be broken?

If there is anything else you think I should ask please comment.

Our next one hour session is this Friday.  Afterwards, I meet with my Father-Confessor.  I'll let you know how all that turns out.

Until then,

Hope in Christ &
God bless you.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thanks...Tomorrow is My First Day

Thanks for all the comments, emails, and prayers generated from my last post.

I will go to my appointment scheduled for tomorrow.

I feel like I understand my son's stress on his first day of kindergarten a few weeks ago.  He sat under the table for the first part of the day.  (Normally, we homeschool our children.  But with a new baby on the way in November and with this depression, part of destressing our marriage has been to send the kids to public school this year.  We'll see about next year.)

So, thank you for the encouragement and I'll let you know how things turn out.

God bless you,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What if I don't want help?

This Friday I have a first appointment with a psychologist.

As the day gets closer...I don't want to go.

I haven't had a good experience with a counselor of any kind yet.  Well, one good experience, but that opportunity has closed.

If you read this blog and have any encouragement for me I'd appreciate hearing from you.  While your thinking about that, here are my reasons for NOT going to my Friday appointment:

1.  Psychologists listen...but so do my friends and they lack helpful advice just like the psychologist.

2. Emergency Medical were my psychiatrist went and hasn't seen patients since.  I think some of the professionals have more problems than the patients.

3.  5 Cents per not longer the going rate.  If your not depressed before the appointment you will be by the time the bill is paid (including all the difficult phone calls with insurance companies, etc).

4. A New takes time to establish trust.  And that just means hard work without a promise that the relationship will bear fruit.  I'm tired of broken relationships and broken trust.

So, if you have any advice or encouragement, I would appreciate it.  Comment lines are open.

God bless you,


Monday, September 20, 2010

Bibliotherapy Update #1

Dear OMS:

A few weeks ago I mentioned I was restarting an effort at Bibliotherapy.  It's not easy completing homework I gave myself but I have learned a few things about my depression.  Here are a few:

1.  Five by Five Sensory Exercise.

When depression hits, I think obsessively to the exclusion of my other senses.  I have very little awareness of my surroundings.  The 5x5 Sensory Excercise has helped me exit or prevent depression events.  The five senses are Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound.  The challenge is to experience each sense five times per day.  I has helped me slow down an overactive, gloomy state of mind and become a little more aware of my surroundings.

2.  Daily Gratitude.

I memorized Luther's Small Catechism a long time a go and teach it every year.  However, it is a little psychology book that encouraged me to again give thanks for all the good things I have been given.  The Catechism's explanation to the Third Commandment is to ...pray, praise, and GIVE THANKS.  This is so foreign to me when I'm depressed.

3.  Reduce Stress.

Stress is toxic.  It's hard to reduce stress when I'm an adrenaline junkie.  I like to work long hours at hard projects.  I like to dream and accomplish big dreams.  I like sports and pushing myself hard.  ...but that is slowly changing.  
a.  Last year, I accepted a call to a new city.  I heard it's four times harder to recovery from depression by staying in the same work environment that by changing to a new one.  For the first time in my life I did what could be called the easy route.  Except for missing one friend and his family I'm content with the move.
b. I take off two days per week which is nearly anathama for a parish pastor to even desire let alone do.  Saturday is listed on the church calendar as my family day and Friday remains unscheduled.  
c.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we found a good home for our beagle.

4.  Medication

I'm down to 20oz. per day of a Medium Roast Coffee which is about three cups per day.  My doctor increased my thyroid medication.  Two years ago I was taking nothing now I'm at a rather high dosage.  I take cholesterol medication and for the first time in my life my cholesterol is in the middle of all the acceptable ranges.  I continue to take an SSRI.

5.  Prayer

Started reading a wonderful little book by an old Norwegian pietist by the name Ole Hallesby.  I read it about 15 years ago and didn't think much of it.  My opinion has changed.  The main thing I pulled out of it so far is that Helplessness (which is a form of depression) + Faith = Prayer.  More later when I'm finished.

This Friday I will meet with a real psychologist.  It's hard to start a new relationship, especially of this kind, but I hope it works out.  And then the first Friday in October I meet again with my Father Confessor.

God bless you,


Friday, September 10, 2010

A Beagle's New Home... no longer our home.

Don't get me wrong, Blossom is a great dog!  She is good with our three children.  She never bites, she tells us when she needs to go outside, she sleeps in her kennel, she prefers her kennel at night, she doesn't eat that much, she doesn't shed much, and she is playful in a friendly way.  All good stuff.  Yes, Blossom is a good dog.

Blossom is also a responsibility that my wife and I decided is too stressful. She barks at the neighbors, a lot.  She runs away when the youngest child leaves the door open, again and again and again.   She pulls on walks.  She needs walks at least twice a day or her energy level gets to high.  She sleeps on furniture during the day.  She wakes up several times per night.  She raids garbage cans in the kitchen and bathroom.  She makes a lot of pooh and has the gaul (in front of my wife nonetheless) to eat her own pooh.

The children love Blossom, I like Blossom, Mrs. OMS would be indifferent if only someone would walk Blossom and clean up the pooh on a regular basis, but I have too many other things on my mind.  I said I would be willing to do it but I won't during the winter.  That sealed the pups fate.  Like it or not, as soon as a loving family could be found, Blossom was going to move out.

Blossom moved out this morning.

Mrs. OMS shed tears for her family (but is personally overjoyed that we did it).

My five year old son is barely aware what is happening.  However, he is expressing some anger at me and said he likes mom better.

My seven year old daughter said she loves mom and me equally.  However, she doesn't like either one of us very much right now.

My ten year old sobbed.  He has dealt with a number of losses in the last few years.  He said good-bye to two dear friends last year when we moved.  And now he has to say good-bye to Blossom.

Mrs. OMS and I have had many good talks about this.  We anticipated the emotions but have been talking to the kids the last two weeks about what would be happening today.  I am surprised how well the whole family is handling this.  We are actually talking and grieving together.  We are thinking and feeling together and this is wonderfully positive.  I think we will get through this without building resentment.

How am I doing?  Well, I feel sad.  Two years of dog care and the little beast did grow on me.  I enjoyed her sleeping at my feet while reading a book.  I enjoyed playing with her from time to time.  I enjoyed all those tender moments she provided to our family but not enough to keep shoveling all that pooh and walking the two a day walks with her in the city.

I am content.  I won't miss the unneeded stress and anxiety.

Mrs. OMS is surprised how helpful I have been to her and the children through this whole thing.  She is especially thankful for the help I gave her today.  We're not through this one yet but we are well on our way.  I was thankful for the kind words and the peck on my cheek.

Our fourth child will be born in November.  I'll miss Blossom from time to time for years to come, but all of us are slowly anticipating the arrival of a baby boy.  Will that be stressful? Yes.  Am I a little anxious? Yes.  But, what a blessing!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Quote from the Desert Fathers

This quote may be pertinent for those of us with dependent personality disorders:

Blessed Archbishop Theophilus, accompanied by a magistrate, came one day to Abba (Father) Arsenius. He questioned the old man, to hear a word from him. After a short silence the old man answered him, 'Will you put into practice what I say to you?' They promised him this. 'If you hear Arsenius is anywhere, do not go there.'

God bless you


Monday, September 6, 2010

Alleviating Depression

Looking for things to appreciate and compliment takes a big slice out of my depression.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind that I read about recently:

1. Eat Healthy

2. Stick to priorities

3. Look for the novel (appreciation)

4. Persist

5. Resolve Conflicts

6. Exercise

7. Maintain Relations

8. Learn Relaxation Techniques

9. Dispute Negative Thinking

10. Use Downtime Constructively

11. Plan Special Activities

12. Get Fresh Air and Sun

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Famous People with Depression

Do you know anyone beside yourself that suffers from depression?

Listed below are a few that may surprise you:


Caroline Aherne, British Comedian[1]
Buzz Aldrin, American astronaut, the second man to set foot on the moon[2]
Woody Allen, American film director[3][4]
Claus von Amsberg, German diplomat and husband of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands[5]
Hans Christian Andersen, Danish writer[6]
Hideaki Anno, Japanese animator and film director[7]
Adam Ant (born, Stuart Leslie Goddard), British lead singer of 1980s New Wave/post-punk group Adam and the Ants[8]
Malcolm Arnold, British composer[9]
Richard Ashcroft, English singer-songwriter[10]
Machado de Assis, Brazilian writer[11]


David Banner, American hip hop artist[12]
Parveen Babi, Bollywood actress.[13]
Maria Bamford, Comedienne and voice-over actress[14]
Charles Baudelaire, French poet[15]
Ingmar Bergman, Swedish film director[16]
William Blake, British poet and painter[17]
Kjell Magne Bondevik, Norwegian politician and former Prime Minister of Norway[18]
David Bohm, British quantum physicist[19]
Terry Bradshaw, American football player[20]
Art Buchwald, American humorist[21]
Joe Budden, American hip hop artist[22]
Robert Burton British academic (author of The Anatomy of Melancholy)[23]


Anthony Callea, Australian pop singer[24]
Drew Carey, American comedian and actor[25]
Jim Carrey, Canadian actor and comedian[26]
Dick Cavett, American talk show host[27]
Melanie Chisholm, English pop singer-songwriter[28]
Raymond Chandler, writer of detective fiction[29]
Iris Chang, Chinese American writer and historian[30]
David Chase, American television writer, television director and television producer (The Rockford Files, Northern Exposure, The Sopranos)[31]
Lawton Chiles, American politician[18]
Agatha Christie, English crime writer[32]
Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister [33]
Kurt Cobain, American singer-songwriter and guitarist[34]
Catherine Cookson, English author[35]
Leonard Cohen, Canadian songwriter[36]
Joseph Conrad, Polish writer[37]
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States.[38]
Billy Corgan, American musician (The Smashing Pumpkins)[39]
Rivers Cuomo, American musician (Weezer)[40]
Ian Curtis, British musician, leader of Joy Division[41]


Roméo Dallaire, Canadian general, senator and humanitarian[42]
Rodney Dangerfield, American comedian and actor[43]
Edgar Degas, French painter[44]
John Denver, American musician[45]
Charles Dickens, British writer[17]
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian writer [46]
Nick Drake, British musician[47]
Doug Duncan, American politician, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Maryland in the 2006 elections[18]
Patty Duke, American actress[48]
Kirsten Dunst, American actress[49]


Thomas Eagleton, American senator[50]
T. S. Eliot, American poet[51]
James Ellroy, American crime writer[52]
Robert Enke, German footballer [53]
Marcus Epstein, American paleoconservative political activist and commentator[54]


William Faulkner, American author[55]
Paul Feyerabend, Austrian philosopher of science[56]
Harrison Ford, American actor[57]
Michel Foucault, French philosopher[58]
Nelly Furtado, Canadian musician[59]
John Frusciante, American musician[60]
Stephen Fry, British author and actor


Geoff Gallop, Australian politician[61]
Romain Gary, French-Lithuanian-Polish novelist and diplomat[62]
Paul Gauguin, French painter[63]
Carlo Gesualdo, Italian composer, after murdering his wife, her lover, and his own son[64]
Paul Getty, British philanthropist[65]
Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter[17]
Francisco de Goya, Spanish painter[66]
Spalding Gray, American actor and writer[67]
Graham Greene, British writer[68]
Zack Greinke, American MLB pitcher
Eddie Griffin, American NBA Player[69]


Tony Hancock, English actor and comedian[70]
Andrew Hansen, Australian comedian (part of The Chaser team)[71]
Elizabeth Hartman, American actress[72]
Anne Hathaway, American actress[73]
Friedrich August Hayek, Austrian economist[74]
Ernest Hemingway, American writer[17]
Margaux Hemingway, American actress; granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway[75]
John Hinckley, Jr., American would-be assassin of Ronald Reagan[76]
Sir Julian Huxley, British biologist, author and administrator[77]
Geoffrey Hill, English poet[78]
Herbert Hart, British philosopher[79]
Michael Hutchence, Australian singer–songwriter[80]


Natalie Imbruglia, Australian singer-songwriter, actress and model.[81]
Jack Irons, American musician, drummer for the bands Eleven, Pearl Jam, and Red Hot Chili Peppers[82]


Janet Jackson, American singer[83]
Henry James, British writer[84]
William James, American philosopher and psychologist[85]
Billy Joel, American musician[86]
Daniel Johns, Australian musician[87]
Samuel Johnson, British lexicographer, biographer, essayist and poet[88]
Ashley Judd, American actress[89]
Jung Da Bin, Korean actress[90]


Sarah Kane, British playwright[91]
Susanna Kaysen, American writer[92]
John Keats, British poet [93]
David Kelly, English weapons inspector and biological warfare expert[94]
Kool Keith, American hip hop artist[95]
Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher[96]
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, German painter[97]
John Kirwan, New Zealand rugby player, former All Black, currently coach of Japan national rugby team.[98]
Beyoncé Knowles, American singer-songwriter[99]
Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director[100]


Alan Ladd, American actor[101]
Hugh Laurie, British actor[102]
Denis Lawson, British actor[103]
Heath Ledger, Australian actor[104]
John Lennon, British musician
Neil Lennon, Northern Irish footballer[105]
Meriwether Lewis, American Explorer[106]
Abraham Lincoln, American lawyer and politician, 16th President of the United States[107]
Oscar Lopez, Chilean-Canadian folk guitarist[108]
Federico García Lorca, Spanish poet[109]
Martin Luther, German priest and theologian[110]


Paul Merton, English comedian[111]
Gustav Mahler, German composer[112]
Henri Matisse, French painter[113]
Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian writer and poet[114]
Brian May, British guitarist[115]
Guy de Maupassant, French writer[116]
Ewan McGregor, Scottish actor[117]
Herman Melville, American writer[118]
Charlotte Mew, British poet[119]
Michelangelo, Italian painter and sculptor[120]
John Stuart Mill, British political philosopher[121]
Spike Milligan, Irish comedian and writer[122]
Joan Miró, Spanish painter[123]
Morrissey, British singer and former frontman of The Smiths[124]
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer [93]


Isaac Newton, British physicist[125]
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher[17]


Bill Oddie, British comedy performer and naturalist[126]
Eugene O'Neill, American playwright[127]
Robert Oppenheimer, American physicist ('father of the atomic bomb')[128]
Patton Oswalt, American comedian and actor[129]
Marie Osmond, American musician[130]
Ronnie O'Sullivan, English snooker player[131]


Gwyneth Paltrow, American actress[132]
Henri Paul, French chauffeur (driver during the car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales)[133]
Ryan Phillippe, American actor[134]
T. Boone Pickens, Jr., American oil tycoon[135]
János Pilinszky, Hungarian poet [136]
Sylvia Plath, American writer[17]
Edgar Allan Poe, American poet and writer[17] (speculated)
Bill Pulsipher, American baseball player [137]
Jackson Pollock, American painter[138]
Charley Pride, American country music singer.[139]


Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian composer and pianist [140]
Charlotte Rampling, English actress[141]
Trent Reznor, American musician[citation needed]
Anne Rice, American writer[142]
Rainer Maria Rilke, Austrian poet[143]
John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist[144]
Mark Rothko, American painter[145]
Hans Rott, Austrian composer[146]
J. K. Rowling, British writer[147][148]


Jim Salinger, New Zealand climate change scientist[149]
Siegfried Sassoon, British poet and soldier[150]
Robert Schumann, German composer[151]
Jean Seberg, American actress[152]
Brian Sewell, English art critic[153]
Will Self, English novelist, reviewer and columnist[154]
Anne Sexton, American poet[155]
Brooke Shields, American actress[156]
Sarah Silverman, American comedian[157]
Elliott Smith, American musician[158]
Britney Spears, American pop singer[159]
Layne Staley, American musician.[160]
Vivian Stanshall, British humourist and musician (Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band)[161]
Rod Steiger, American actor[162]
William Styron, writer[163]


Amy Tan, Chinese American writer[164]
Catherine Tate, English comedienne and actress[165]
James Taylor, American singer-songwriter[166]
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer[167]
Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer[168]
Georg Trakl, Austrian poet[169]
Lars Von Trier, Danish film director[170]
Mark Twain, American writer[17]
Jeff Tweedy, American musician (Wilco)[171]


Ville Valo - Finnish singer (HIM)[172]
Ned Vizzini - American writer[173]
Kurt Vonnegut - American author[174]
Joey Votto - Canadian baseball player[175]


David Foster Wallace, American writer[176]
Mike Wallace, American journalist on 60 Minutes[177]
Evelyn Waugh, British novelist and journalist[178]
Denise Welch, English actress and television presenter[179]
Billy West, American voice artist[180]
Delonte West, American basketball player[181]
Dan White, American killer of Harvey Milk and George Moscone[182]
Walt Whitman, American poet[183]
Kevin Whitrick, British electrical engineer[184]
Robbie Williams, British pop singer[185]
Tennessee Williams, American playwright[186]
William Carlos Williams, American poet[187]
Brian Wilson, American musician (Beach Boys)[188]
Owen Wilson, American comedian and actor[189]
Gregory Wilton, Australian politician[190]
Hugo Wolf, Austrian composer[191]
Lewis Wolpert, British developmental biologist, author and broadcaster[192]
Virginia Woolf, Adeline Virginia Stephen, British novelist (1882–1941)[193]
Elizabeth Wurtzel, American writer[194]


Thom Yorke, English musician, lead singer of Radiohead [195]



Friday, September 3, 2010

Private Confession Absolution

O My Soul:

Thank you Lord for my pastor in this new place.

Your mercies are new every morning, but I especially thank You for the gifts You delivered to me this afternoon.


(& I still give thanks for the pastor You gave me before I moved here!)

Male Depression Unmasked

O My Soul:

I'm halfway through an incredible book entitled:

Unmasking Male Depression: Recognizing the Root Cause to Many Problem Behaviors Such as Anger, Resentment, Abusiveness, Silence, Addictions, and Sexual Compulsiveness

by Dr. Archibald Hart.

His main argument is that male and female depression, although equally painful, are expressed differently. Males act on their depression whereas females feel their depression. The majority of clinical counselors are trained to identify female depression with the general understanding that depression is expressed the same in both genders.

What, then, are the key behaviors of male depression:

1. Angry Outbursts

2. Easily Annoyed

3. Increased Sexual Activity

4. Workaholism

5. Emotional and Social Withdrawal

6. Coldness

7. Aloofness

8. Even For of Family Violence

These behaviors are closer to the mark of male (rather than female) depression.

God bless you