Friday, January 23, 2015

Being an INFJ type of gal

I am an INFJ. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it means Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging and is one of the 16 personality types on the Myers-Briggs personality type test.

For me what this means is that:
  1. I love people but don't always want to be around them
  2. I need time to recharge on a regular basis
  3. Helping others have good communication is important to me
  4. I hate conflict and have attempted to avoid it (though I know it's sometimes necessary)
  5. I am good at giving speeches because I love communication (although it can still be uncomfortable at times)
  6. I prefer small groups to large ones, and one on one conversations to anything else
  7. I hate talk on the phone (or the phone ringing!) and prefer face to face conversation or texting.
  8. I am passionate about the causes I believe in (organic foods and herbs, healthy eating/living and fitness over medication as much as possible,  good quality coffee, literacy, and many, many more).
  9. While I like to be alone a lot, I also have the need to have frequent one on one conversations to bounce ideas off of others.
  10. Often I am more concerned with the comfort and emotional well-being of those around me, than I am of my own well-being. 
  11. I care more about other people's problems than my own (most of the time).
  12. I am very good at reading other people's body language.
  13. I hate lying more  anything else (except maybe liver and onions *shudder*, I really hate liver and onions).
  14. I find it hard to get out of my head sometimes, and often reply conversations in my head that haven't happened yet.
  15. I often vacillate between moments of extroversion and introversion, even though I am definitely an introvert (need alone time to recharge).
  16.  Chaos bothers me and puts me into sensory overload. Give me a quiet afternoon with a book, over a chaos filled amusement park any day of the week!
  17. Integrity is very important to me! I live by my own set of morals.
What is your personality type? Can you relate to the things on my list? If you are an INFJ too, was there anything I forgot?

Well, that's all for now! See you next week!  ^_^

Monday, September 16, 2013

Girl Meets Boy

This is a blog I recently wrote over at my other blog too: 
The biggest experience that has changed my life would be meeting/dating my husband and later marrying him. I know a lot of people say this, but for me it holds true.
Back in the spring/summer of 2007, I had just gotten out of a bad (toxic) long distance relationship that caused me to become deeply depressed and take anti-depressants for awhile. I was not in a place where I was actively seeking romance or a serious relationship, or ANY relationship with a guy for that matter!
Well, I was browsing through my matches on a dating site one day (I was still getting the notifications in my inbox and wanted to cancel my account) and I came upon D’s profile (my husband). Now, it had been awhile since my break-up, a few months at least, and so I was interested in talking to D but not interested in someone who would jerk me around again. No, I was going to be cautious this time. I promised myself  that I would be careful.
Well, as things usually go we talked online and on the phone for about 6 weeks before deciding that we needed to plan on meeting in person. Since this was in the fall of 2007 already, we decided that he would come and visit me (we lived about 600 miles from each other at the time).
So, the holidays came and went, and he came to visit a day or so after Christmas and stayed till after New Year’s.  His visit was the greatest Christmas gift I could have asked for at that time. We talked and learned more about each other, and most importantly we became better friends before deciding to be in a long distance relationship. We shared many of the same spiritual beliefs, morals, and some of the same hobbies. It was obvious that D was a much better match for me than my last boyfriend and so I began to open up more to D.
D and I goofing around when he visited during Dec. 2007.
D and I goofing around when he visited during Dec. 2007.
When he headed home, we stayed in touch by email, IM, and phone between our jobs/college/etc and we continued to grow closer to each other.
Fast-forward a few months and I come to a place where I am making a very important decision. I can either stay in my (very small) hometown and stagnate or I can visit and then maybe move closer to D. The choice was still difficult but I had the courage to leave what I knew, what was comfortable , and venture into the unknown by moving to Southern California, living within 10 miles of D, finding a job, and making new friends, etc. Well, I took the plunge and moved to D’s home city with only a carry on bag and a couple boxes that I mailed to D with my extra clothes and a few books, etc in them.
It was no looking back! I plunged into college in my new home city and got a job a few months after moving, and even made friends with a few new people including my roommate (she was really a character!).

Us on the beach at night, winter 2008 when we were engaged.
As all this was taking place our relationship became more serious and a year after we had met we were engaged and planning our wedding. Although this seems fast for some people, we actually were in premarital counseling for our whole 5 month engagement.
He was serious about me and I about him. We took each other seriously and he was really touched by the fact that I had moved so far from my home to be closer to him. Neither of us had someone else who really took us seriously in a romantic relationship and we found that in each other.
So we were married early in 2009 and it (along with dating D and moving) were the best experiences I have had in my life. Together I feel like we are a team and can take on life’s challenges more easily because we are there to cheer each other on and encourage each other on a daily basis.
Things worked out well for us because we love and respect each other. We hear what the other person has to say and are sure to watch each other’s back, etc. This, along with D being a great guy anyway, is why getting dating and getting married to D are my greatest life experiences
Love is more important to living and to a person’s health than almost anything else (except oxygen)! Also, having great experiences and facing challenging decisions can only sharpen  one’s insight and better one’s life in the long run.
What are the best experiences that you have had?  What have been some of your toughest challenges?
Us goofing around as we always do,even after almost 5 yrs of marriage!
Us goofing around as we always do,even after almost 5 yrs of marriage!
I love this guy!
I love this guy!
Categories: ChallengesCoffeeCommunicationExtrovertsFamilyFriendshipHealthhobbies,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Story of a girl with depression

Note: I am reposting this from my other blog over at another blog-site
I grew up struggling with depression. If that wasn't enough: I've also been poor most of my life, had various health problems, had a long and weird German last name growing up, was (and am) an introverted person, was home-schooled before homeschooling was even considered a viable alternative to regular school, was (and am) left-handed, and the list goes on and on.

 Well, during all the years I was growing up I considered middle class people to be rich and actual rich people to be fairy tales that middle class people told their children (like Aladdin or Cinderella). The concept of having enough money to buy new shoes AND get a cool Christmas gift were too much for my childhood brain to handle.

 When I was 10 or so I saved up my meager $3 a week allowance for about 6 months to buy a Game-Boy. For the first time in my life I experienced the envy of my peers in youth group (I did have social outings, being home-schooled did not make me socially backwards), and this was not something I was used to (although I enjoyed being envied for the whole 10 minutes it lasted).

 Like other teenagers I just wanted to “fit in” and not be thought of as the oddball. I tried to use all the money I made doing housecleaning for elderly people (about $40 a month) to buy the latest music that was “in” and to at least have a couple of cool shirts and pairs of shoes for going to youth group and other local teen events. I was painfully shy as a teen though, and it came off the same way as any good teen comedy (but a million times worse for me at the time and there was no hot guy who sees the real me and becomes my boyfriend by the credits). Worse yet, every social outing felt like the movie “Mean Girls” because I was never good enough to fit in with most girls (I had a few friends, they were weird and awkward like me).

 I swung from one extreme to the other, like a pendulum. First starting out as a shy teen who wore clothes to fit in and listened to the music everyone else listened to and dieted; then I became the older teen who (at least pretended) to not give a crap, dyed my hair all colors of the rainbow (the un-natural colors of course), got a nose ring and then a belly button ring, and listened to only hard rock and metal (and didn't diet, just ate and exercised the calories off again). Yeah, it was a big change for me and the funny thing is that through it all I was depressed. I was depressed as the person who wanted to fit in and as the person who didn't care (or at least tried not to care).

 Even now as an adult I struggle with depression and accepting my introverted personality, as well as my individuality. I have to remind myself every day that other people’s opinions of me don’t matter as much as what I think of myself and my relationship with God and loved ones. I hate that I still look at other people’s money and prosperity, and find myself having a bit of envy. I struggle to have an attitude of gratitude and to accept how God made me.

Most of all I want to accept the path that is my life and not be afraid to reach for my goals and dreams (even if other people think I am crazy, who cares?). I want to come to a place in my life that I am not ashamed of my past self for being poor, shy, and depressed, and to be okay with my personality.

 Do you struggle with envy? Do you struggle with depression or accepting your individuality and personality? How do you cope with the world on a bad day?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What Does It Mean To Become Better?

I saw this quote image while surfing around on today and it got me thinking about what it means to be better. Of course this quote is talking about becoming a better person overall and so the context is a bit different...but still...

What is the definition of "better" when it comes to mental illness and depression? Does it mean to be stable? Does it mean some form of normal? Could you even go so far as to say it is "better" than you were before you had your first major attack of depression/mania/schizophrenia?

Yes, it should mean that, like the quote is trying to get across, that you are trying to become a better person, period. Still, I would hope that maybe it will help me to understand how to define "better" in terms of my depression issues. As in: "Am I doing/being/feeling better (mentally) today than I was the other day?" (and) "Am I trying to be better as a person, as a Christian, as a fellow human being?"

For me it means having to ask myself that question every day. It is something that people who haven't had depression/a mental illness (and haven't at least had a loved one who coped with it) have a hard time understanding. Yes, everyone questions their life from time to time, but when you live with major depression many mornings it is a struggle just to get out of bed and face the day.

Sometimes I think that having an understanding of the human condition's dark side is too much for me to cope with. I have to pray in the morning for God to lift that burden from me, so I can get out of bed and get on with my day. I don't hate my just makes me feel tired and let down on my bad days. The rat race sometimes is too much for me and it is then that I have to ask myself the "Am I better?" and "Do I want to be better (mentally and as a person)?" questions.

These are all good and worthy questions for us all to ponder both in relation to mental illness and just life in general.

What does it mean to you to be a better person or to feel that you are doing better in regard to your struggles with mental illness (or the mental illness of a loved one/friend)? Is there anything you'd like to add?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Relative Has a Mental Illness...

I recently found out a close relative of mine has a serious mental illness. It is such a struggle for me to deal with someone I care about very much being so ill and acting so different from how I knew her all my life. When someone has a complete breakdown and acts in ways so alien to their normal self (paranoia, etc) it is hard to think of them as they used to be.
It has been so difficult to cope with the fact that she may never be the same. This is mainly because she is my mom and I can't imagine her NOT acting like her "normal" self. Sure, everyone has good and bad days but there are a lot more bad days right now than good ones. How do you cope with someone else's illness while struggling with your own depression?

The strain and struggle to live a normal life while caring for/praying for/helping an ill relative can take its toll. At some point you start to wonder what to say when someone asks how your relative is doing. Some days you get so stressed out that you feel like blurting out, "Oh, my relative is ok...I mean she has XYZ (insert mental illness here), but otherwise she is ok." People mean well, but unless that person has been through a similar rough experience it is hard for them to empathize with you. This is how I feel, anyway... Truthfully I do appreciate the prayers and concern of a loved one or friend, but sometimes I have to just pray about it and rest on my own or I'll get crabby and snippy with others (who usually mean well).

I think that the caregivers and relatives of a mentally (or even physically) ill person should not be SO hard on themselves. The caregivers and relatives need to take time to rest and laugh, to have joy, and to live in the moment...even when some of these moments are very hard ones to live through. Since I know what I am talking about here (having more than one person I am related to that has a mental illness), I will mention that it IS a struggle for me to remember to rest and enjoy life in the midst of these valleys of trouble. It is in these times that I most need to laugh, to smile, and to hug someone so I feel better and brighten the day of those around me (maybe even the life of my ill relative!).

In my family's case it is a hard road and not one I would have chosen for myself or my mom, but I think that in the end it will make better people of both of us and strengthen our whole family. God is taking care of us! My faith is stronger each day as I see some of the amazing ways God is helping our family through this crisis. Even though I have my own dark days of depression to deal with, I can see how God is going to help me get better also as I help my mom.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reflections on Van Gogh, God, & Art for the Mentally Ill

"If you hear a voice within you saying, 'you are not a painter,' then by all means paint...and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent Van Gogh.

Recently I have been thinking about Vincent Van Gogh and his struggle with depression and Bi-polar Disorder (which is what many art historians believe he had based on his letters to his brother and some manic episodes he had). It makes me wonder if he had been on medication would he have lived a lot longer and not committed suicide? Or would it not have made a difference? Even if it did make a difference would we even know him as an artist (meaning, would his moods change and affect his art so it was not as interesting or different)? This leads me to think about the role of art in the life of the mentally ill person.

I have had a print of Van Gogh's (perhaps) most famous painting, Starry Night, for several years on my bedroom wall. For most of these years I did not know much about the artist behind that emotion filled night sky painting. No, all I knew was I related to it because I often seek out solitude in nature when I am struggling with my own depression, especially during the really bad times.

After I found out that Van Gogh had painted Starry Night while he was in a mental institution (and only a year before committing suicide), I decided it was time to learn more about him at as artist and a person who coped with mental illness. What I discovered is that he loved to paint natural settings and use vibrant colors, and that many paintings guide the eye to the heavens (at least those like Starry Night do this). My belief is that he was looking for God while he was painting, similar to me on my nature walks, and that it is reflected in many of his works (the heavens) for that reason. Also, I learned that although Van Gogh was a Christian he later seemed to slip in his faith before committing suicide.

It is my hope that even in the midst of his mental turmoil he asked for God to forgive him for taking his own life. I will not know if Van Gogh is in heaven or not until I am with Jesus (on that day when all Christians meet each other in heaven), but he has made me reflect a lot on the role of art in lives of those who suffer from mental illness and how vital it truly is! Art, whether it is merely looking at a painting or painting something yourself, listening to music or playing an instrument, or even just reading a really inspiring Bible verse in Psalms helps to remind you, as a mentally ill or depressed person (or anyone for that matter) that there is hope and that God is always there if you are looking for Him.

Another blogger's post on marriage and mental illness

A friend of my family recently posted about his wife's struggle with mental illness and how it was God who helped them through it. It is a great blog and worth your time to read, check it out below:

(Copy & paste if the link doesn't work above)