Monthly Archives: May 2014

Got Chronic Pain? Treat Yourself Like an Athlete

I tell people that I’m pain-free, but that is, of course, a lie. “Yep, I’ve got feet flatter than a geometric plane, but no pain here!” I say this to encourage people to think differently about their personal body weirdness, but I’m covering up a terrible secret: Everybody hurts sometimes.

Hell, being a massage therapist is a game of “what weird new injury can I acquire this week?” It might be a funky shoulder, a thumb that doesn’t like it when you open jars, an ankle that doesn’t… you know, work.

This game might sound familiar to the athletes among us. Pushing yourself physically often results in weird little things going wrong, or sometimes weird big things. This happens to athletes all the time, but they tend to be little bumps in the road as they continue on toward their goal. ... continue reading.

How to Deal with Depression as a Christian

Full disclosure: I don’t believe in much. I am currently an atheist, or agnostic, or whatever. This may come as a blow to a few members of my family, and I’m sorry if this is how you’re learning about my leaving the fold. Please don’t tell Grandmother. That said, we’ve got strong love for one another, so I think we’ll be cool.

If I don’t believe in anything, why do I think I get to tell you about the Christian path through depression? Because I lived it. I was a believer until around the age of 22, and I was depressed and anxious… always. The whole time.

If you’re a Christian struggling with depression, you’ve gathered that your religion has positives and negatives when it comes to coping. You know that your church community can be helpful sometimes, and other times not so much. You may also agree that being depressed as a Christian feels… wrong somehow. Like a failure. If faith as a mustard seed can move mountains, is your faith broken? ... continue reading.

On Despair

I wrote the following about a week ago. I was feeling really depressed, and I wanted to get some thoughts out while I was in that state. It didn’t go far:

There’s something that a lot of people don’t understand about depression. It’s not about feeling sad. Sadness is okay. Sadness and happiness are like your left and right hand, each equal in dignity, each wonderful in its own clumsy, apeish way.

It’s not grief. Grief is an expression of joy turned on its head, a recognition of the ripple left in the world by a beloved person or thing. Anger is passion denied, hatred is love forsworn. The line between these concepts is so thin as to be imaginary, a product of our lack of self-knowledge.

So what is depression? Sadness, you see, would be too kind. Sadness would mean wistfulness, a longing for things lost and for things never to be. Sadness is a comfort that we create in the lulls between ecstasy, a burial shroud meant to be folded and kept with our other treasures. When we are sad, when we grieve, it’s the moment our feet touch the ground between leaps. ... continue reading.

Got Chronic Pain? It’s Time to Think Differently

I’m not here to say that your pain is all in your head… but it is literally, 100%, with no embellishment, all in your head. There’s no way around it. Everything is “just in your head.” That incredible three dimensional landscape in front of you? Constructed entirely in your head based upon the input of two tiny sheets of light-sensitive retina. All of those distinct objects that are so clear to you, like your computer monitor, or that oncoming car, or your dear mother’s face? All fabricated in post-processing by your team of faithful visual nuclei, all working together to make sense of the mishmash of light that smashes into our eyes (our ability to distinguish objects is an incredibly complex trick of the brain).

I’ve Got Some Upsetting News For You…

The rich green of the grass outside of your window, my friend, isn’t even fucking there. There is no “green.” We create color after we’ve processed the scene in front of us, giving different visual flavors to the wavelengths of light striking our eyes. Unable to distinguish between different wavelengths? Your brain fills in colors anyway, because your brain is incredible. I’m color deficient (“color blind”), but I never really notice it unless I pick the wrong crayon when coloring and people proceed to make fun of me. Hell, for all I know, my blue might be your chartreuse. ... continue reading.