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Author Topic: Women Only Please: How do you deal with these feelings?  (Read 1065 times) Average Rating: 0
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Faith2545
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« on: November 02, 2013, 09:49:10 PM »

I have noticed for the past two years or so, I experience the following during the Nov - April months. Occasionally, during this period, I wake up after three hours of sleep and fail to go back to sleep for more than two hours. I feel as if nothing is going right for me, I feel down (not depressed), tired, lacking interest in what I love (hobbies, etc), not be able to focus 100 percent of the time - just down and out. Only a few times this happens, not all through the months. Even praying is hard. I feel I can't focus on my prayers and God 'doesn't listen to me' and just miserable. Even avoid church on Sundays when I know I mustn't especially when I feel like this! So I go to the doctor and he says my thyroid is slightly underactive. He puts me on medication, everything balances, then I feel fine. But it comes back by the end of March. Needless to say, throughout the summer I am fine.

But it bothers me that I feel this way and that I can't pray. Do you get this way to? How do you deal with it? For instance, I went out to dinner last night, got back around 11:30, in bed by 12 or around then, only to wake up three hours later! I was wide awake for two hours, tv on for background noise, but felt lousy in the morning and all day. I'm debating on whether to go to church tomm feeling this way.

I made an appt. with my doctor this week for a blood test, however I'm thinking, because it happens to me during the winter months, maybe it could also be a vitamin D deficiency? I'll ask him.

But I'd like to know how can I focus on prayer during these times because it feels like I have a black cloud over my head and it wont go away.
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Tallitot
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2013, 10:12:12 PM »

Have you considered seasonal affective disorder? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 10:21:34 PM »

I have noticed for the past two years or so, I experience the following during the Nov - April months. Occasionally, during this period, I wake up after three hours of sleep and fail to go back to sleep for more than two hours. I feel as if nothing is going right for me, I feel down (not depressed), tired, lacking interest in what I love (hobbies, etc), not be able to focus 100 percent of the time - just down and out. Only a few times this happens, not all through the months. Even praying is hard. I feel I can't focus on my prayers and God 'doesn't listen to me' and just miserable. Even avoid church on Sundays when I know I mustn't especially when I feel like this! So I go to the doctor and he says my thyroid is slightly underactive. He puts me on medication, everything balances, then I feel fine. But it comes back by the end of March. Needless to say, throughout the summer I am fine.

But it bothers me that I feel this way and that I can't pray. Do you get this way to? How do you deal with it? For instance, I went out to dinner last night, got back around 11:30, in bed by 12 or around then, only to wake up three hours later! I was wide awake for two hours, tv on for background noise, but felt lousy in the morning and all day. I'm debating on whether to go to church tomm feeling this way.

I made an appt. with my doctor this week for a blood test, however I'm thinking, because it happens to me during the winter months, maybe it could also be a vitamin D deficiency? I'll ask him.

But I'd like to know how can I focus on prayer during these times because it feels like I have a black cloud over my head and it wont go away.

I'm female, and I'll take a crack at this.  Here's my problem: I feel like this all year 'round.  With me, I think it's associated with my depression.  It does get worse during autumn and throughout winter, but I think that's only because I can't go fishing.  No, I don't ice-fish, so when it's cold and snowy and rainy and icy, I bottom out even more than usual.  It's been like this for me for about the past 5 years.  Especially the sleep disturbance.  As to going to church when you're tired because you couldn't get enough sleep, if you're riding with someone else, I'd try to make it to church.  If you'd be the one driving, stay home.  When I'm unusually depressed or I haven't gotten enough sleep to trust myself behind the wheel, I listen to Liturgy and Matins on AF and then start going through various podcasts.  That helps me feel like I haven't completely blown the day and missed out on DL.  No Eucharist, obviously, but it can soften the blow quite a bit, otherwise.
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Some of my questions might appear patently stupid to those well-versed in Orthodoxy, but I'm brand new, having no background in the faith.  Please grant me a great deal of patience and consideration as I learn the basics.
LizaSymonenko
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2013, 10:52:45 PM »

I feel like that sometimes. Usually when I have too much on my plate, and I start dropping things, which leads to disappointment in myself. However, I try not to let it get to me, and instead refocus and continue on like nothing happened.

For you, it does sound like seasonal disorder, as Tallitot mentioned.  Try getting more sunlight, even though the sun's rays are less potent this time of year, or perhaps a sun lamp.

As for church....if you can muster enough willpower to get out of bed and get dressed, go.  When you return home after Liturgy, you will feel satisfied and as if you have accomplished something. Even happier because you didn't give in to the desire to just stay home.

...and then partake in a well deserved PLT. Post Liturgy Nap, along with 75% of all Orthodox on a Sunday afternoon!  Grin
 
« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 10:53:52 PM by LizaSymonenko » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2013, 10:55:25 PM »

Hi Faith,

I had similar symptoms to you and was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue but my symptoms were worse and lasted all year and became more severe in the winter.

What worked for me was taking pharmaceutical grade supplements, 2500 mg of omega three supplements, plenty of exercise, going to bed at a regular time each might and waking up  at the same time each morning.
I changed my diet by removing most processed foods, especially processed carbs like bread, crackers etc. I upped the protein at each meal. I eat an egg for breakfast, quinoa tabouli for lunch, lean meats or fish for dinner. I try to avoid sugar, GMO corn and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The omega threes really helped with focus, relaxation before sleep, and brightened my mood.

I hope you get to the bottom of your symptoms. I know how frustrating it can be when you can't find solutions to your health problems.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 11:21:29 PM by Tamara » Logged
Faith2545
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2013, 11:30:35 AM »

Thank you all for the replies.
Well, I slept a bit better last night but I do not feel fully rested. I woke up briefly around 4:30 then back to sleep, while waking up at 7:30. So I said I have another 2 hrs before church and I chose to stay in bed with the tv on while shutting my eyes. It was a little before 9:30 when I said I'll start getting ready, when I hear the door slam - it was my father leaving for church! I hate when he leaves so early! I always tell him to wait but on days I don't tell him, he just takes off earlier. Luckily, we are getting another car soon and they won't need to use mine!

I thought it might be seasonal disorder, however, my doctor hasn't considered it. I think I'm at my worst when I get PMS, which is what i'm experiencing now. However, I believe my thyroid has started to become underactive again, it has happened this time last year and the year before. The blood test will show this week.

But I find it odd in a way - I am average to maybe a few pounds below average in weight, eat healthy (beans, lentils, spinach, burgers for iron, arugula etc,) drink plenty of smoothies (which is how I take my fruit,) yet I can't manage this thyroid! I even started drinking celery/cucumber smoothies (I have difficulty with eating raw vegetables/fruits so I blend them) because I heard they help underactive thyroid issues, and still feel this way.

I try exercising as much as I can, but when I feel this sluggish it's almost impossible. I walk though. I think I'm also very stressed, mentally. I'm trying to find a new job, my personal life is nonexistent, I'm trying to find ways of being optimistic about the future, hoping for better things in my life, etc and I think that is weighing me down so much. It literally feels like I'm carrying a 1 ton stone on my back! It's so hard to be hopeful at times when everyone around me looks like they're moving on and I'm standing still!! I pray the Lord helps me.
 
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2013, 05:22:29 PM »

Did you get your Vitamin D levels checked?  This, from the Vitamin D council, shows their recommended levels:
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/testing-for-vitamin-d/

One thing with testing, I've found a wide variance in what doctors think are good levels.  For example, I was having this weird tingling feeling after I had spine surgery and the neurosurgeon said my Vitamin B12 levels were fine at 200.   Found out later other doctors think 300 is the lowest they should be and that Japan puts the lowest "normal" level at 500.  So, this doctor didn't prescribe anything.  When I took B12 myself and got my levels up to 500, these symptoms went away.  This just shows you have to be your own advocate and researcher when it comes to your own health.  So, maybe you should research Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Magnesium deficiencies and see if they resonate with you.   When you are under stress like what you described, you can get Magnesium depleted and that also could contribute to being so tired.   

I hope you feel better soon!  Smiley

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Tamara
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2013, 05:59:16 PM »

Faith,

When I was having trouble finding solutions to my health problems, I started reading articles on this site below.
The gynecologists and nurses, who developed this site, have women's clinic in Maine with thirty years of experience helping women with thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, and adrenal fatigue. They have found effective ways of improving health through natural methods, without using prescription medications unless absolutely necessary.

I found answers for my problems and was able to communicate with my doctors to get the right tests and care. I really encourage you to spend time reading articles on this site so you will have more information on the causes of your symptoms. You can PM me if you would rather talk about privately.  Smiley

http://www.womentowomen.com/
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 05:59:32 PM by Tamara » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2013, 04:10:58 PM »

Hi Faith,

This isn't just a woman problem, though there is a possibility it can stem from various things.  That you identify it as a seasonal thing tends to make it look like the person above said, some type of difficulty with winter and short days.  This is nothing new, particularly for people in the northern latitudes.

You may have to try a variety of things to find what gives you some relief.

I can relate what I have done this year once I clearly saw the pattern, and maybe you will find something useful.

Finally read up this past summer on light and sleep patterns.  I live near the 45th parallel and have Scandinavian heritage.  Working inside for two years made me so depleted of light that I could barely function by spring.  I used to work outdoors a lot, so even in the winter I was getting natural light all day.  Being in an office and tied to a desk is like being in prison with all artificial light. 

I realized that it was a combination of mental stress and physical stress.  This year, by Holy Week all I could do was cry.  I took days off of work to go to Holy Week services, but instead sat home and cried in the sun for hours.  After months of having grief sit on the back burner compounded by stress and lack of light, I was also dealing with multiple significant losses at the time, I cried it all out and just took time to grieve.   Two days of sun and just letting go of situations over which I had no control and it was completely over and I felt fine for Pascha.

This year, made sure I got a lot of sun on my skin through the summer despite all the naysayers who have declared the sun to be poisonous.  I don't believe them.  In moderation, sun is essential.  I walked in the morning and evenings to get sunlight, and make sure I get out in whatever winter light I can, though having to work inside a building from dark to dark on short winter days makes it difficult. 

I take magnesium citrate too. 

My neighbor gave me his dog to take care of while in rehab and surgery, but ended up leaving the dog with me.  This dog is tiny, but hyper, and forced me and my old dog to step up the pace of our walks.   We increased our walks by about 2.5 miles a day and hardly miss a day.  This is a gift from God, because the old dog and I could find a lot of excuses to not push ourselves.  I had severe cardiac arrhythmia due to a work accident and was afraid I would have and attack and fall and hit my head and no one around to help, or sometimes my heart would randomly stop beating, sometimes I couldn't walk ten feet without fainting, so I would not leave the house for nearly a year and he is getting arthritis.  The little yappy dog who I thought couldn't make it around the block can run forever and it doesn't bother him one bit.  He HAS to have a walk everyday or he gets hysterically yappy and aggressive. 

The neighbor last I know was getting along well, though he had to have the main bone in his arm removed due to a intravenous meth using problem.  His arm had rotted through all the way to the center of the bone.  He was pretty much homeless, but maybe couch surfing around and slowly getting his health problems in order.  And I think I have problems?

Realize that when you are getting down, it is more difficult to brush things off, they tend to bother us more.  It becomes a cycle.  So I have to constantly practice shifting my thoughts.  For awhile I thought I was insane, because I would intensely focus on things that bothered me even when I didn't want to.  I chatted for a few minutes in passing with a priest who has actual mental health / psychology education and he assured me that it is the degree of behaviour that defines something as mental illness.  People go through this sometimes and it's not necessarily mental illness and to just keep trying.  Going to Confession also helped tremendously.  Eventually I got my brain back from my job.   If you have the type of brain that once it sets on a problem it intensely focuses on things and analyzes from all angles, it just takes persistence.  What made me an honor student and an outstanding performer at work also makes me crazy at times.  Smiley  Reading the Ladder also helped me, but may not be for everyone.  I just basically prayed a lot more.

Realize that you aren't the only one who feels this way in the winter months.  I've even talked with priest or two who struggled with it as well. 

Try to reach out to others who need to know that someone cares about them.  There is nearly always someone with more difficult struggles.  I was lucky that the person I checked in on is a wonderful caring person who tries to remain cheerful and kind despite how abysmally horrible his physical, social, and financial circumstances are. 

The above suggestion about diet and getting on a schedule is great.   Sounds like you are already aware.  I had to eat more protein than normal to begin to regain health.  Starting the morning with protein helps give me better stamina throughout the day.  I eat more in the morning, less at lunch, sometimes nothing or very little in the evening.  When I didn't have work due to illness, I usually only ate once a day, which isn't healthy for everyone. 

If you are not working, you may not be that tired, so sleep is more elusive.  But if you read up on the effect of light on sleep patterns, you will see that waking up at odd hours is a symptom of light deprivation.  It can also be depression. 

Realize your circumstances are temporary.  Things are always changing around us.  I went from being seriously ill with no insurance, no one to help, had no work, to a major career change and being completely inundated with stress on every possible level.  It's how we deal with the various forms of stress, our reactions to it.  Our faith teaches us to strive to be inwardly peaceful no matter what happens.  Keep going and don't give up until you achieve it.

You are a wonderful, wondering, kind person with many other virtues. 

'...Truly, fasting and sleeping on the ground are set before us on account of our sensuality.  However, if illness weakens this sensuality, then the reason for these practices is superfluous.  For this is the great asceticism: to control oneself in illness and to sing hymns of thanksgiving to God....'

'...So how are we to distinguish between the divine or royal asceticism and the demonic tyranny?  Clearly, it is through the quality of balance....'

Amma Syncletica

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Fire-Bird2014
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2013, 08:57:44 PM »

Faith! When I started reading your message, my first thought was Thyroid /light depression. In the end you spoke of a "dark cloud" that wouldn't go away, I realized it is more than that: it is also of spiritual nature.

Did you talk to any psychics recently? This cloud is there to make sure you are fatigued, not capable of going to Church on Sundays. Othodox Church is our hospital. Skipping communions will only get you deeper and deeper down. Praying on your own is good but praying in Church together with brothers and sisters in faith is quite different. You may ask your priest to read a special prayer for you "Za zdravie", take communion every weekend, take Holy water home and drink it with tea. I would also put your favorite CD with liturgical music (vs TV) as a background. TV brings unwanted spirits; you need to clear out space in your room and above your head.

Demons hate monk's singing. For example, you can turn it on in the middle of the night http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMtyTXDc9Fw (more than 1 hour of Choir of Valaam monastery).

I remember feeling the dark cloud, size of a laptop above my head. My friend and I prayed together, and it WORKED. When I prayed alone, it did not. My friend is truly faithful. Christ says, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." When Christ is with you, there is no place for darkness. If you believe it, you will recover! No doubts!

Recently I have tried Valerian drops (Whole Foods market). It is a natural remedy that does not sedate, if taken in moderation. 5 times a day 5 drops with a little bit of water. On Full moon and New moon days, double the dose. If you follow this regimen for 3 months, you would feel very stable. This advise was taken from Dr. Lung, MD, Academia of Medicine. 

Бог в помощь!
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2013, 03:57:14 PM »

psychics?
do you mean psychiatrists (doctors who treat mental health problems)?

don't speak to psychics!
 Shocked
they will mess up your head, they don't work for God.
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Fire-Bird2014
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2013, 11:02:36 PM »

Yes, I know. This is why I asked.... I had a girl-friend who has clairvoyant abilities, very powerful. Unfortunately she could not see that entering other people energy fields means messing up their lives. Even though she sincerely tries to help.... Sad
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2013, 05:46:06 AM »

ahh i see, you were checking if any discussion with psychics could have caused the depression,
not suggesting she go to them for treatment...
got it now.
 Smiley
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Fire-Bird2014
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2013, 05:55:00 PM »

Yes, indeed. If she happened to deal with psychics, the results could be of this nature: chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, loneliness, poor health and then misfortunes of all sorts.
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Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting a battle.
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2014, 11:02:23 PM »

How are you doing?
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