Are You Being Tempted into Negative Thinking?


(re-write from 2 yrs ago)

I came to a conclusion in the last few years about how best to handle feelings of melancholy and hopelessness and how to prevent them from taking us into a deeper downward spiral of despair and depression. 

(I haven’t seen this thought written on by any other Christian writer, it’s something God pressed upon my mind.)  


The conclusion is that downward emotional spirals start with temptation. 

Yes, in many cases we are more vulnerable to emotional spirals due to hormonal changes, during periods of grief, transition or when dealing with pain or illness. 
You may want to read more on Perimenopause here. Some people do have chemical imbalances in their brains that sometimes need boosting with supplements or even doctor prescribed medications.  Therefore, being vigilant against temptation into despair is even more crucial in those situations. 

It Starts with Temptation

If we are willing to embrace this idea that fretting, worry, anxiety and despair starts with temptation, we can more readily be on guard to fight it.  

It makes sense that since most of our moods stem from our thoughts, that if we're not careful, we can be tempted to think negatively. Our negative thinking then takes us into troublesome areas. 


We can be tempted to get into a place our enemy Satan would like us. He likes it when we feel defeated or when we attack and hurt others due to our own hurt feelings. He loves to drive us into despair where we might consider taking drastic action out of God's best plan.


Seeing how these negative outcomes stem from temptation can help us fight them. 

A Look at Temptation into Despair

We all know we are to pray, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” What temptation do you think of when you say that prayer? 

I have sometimes thought of it as being tempted to get angry, to hurt someone, to cheat or steal something, sexual sin, or to take some other wrong action.  But what if temptation is also these subtle thoughts that overtake us? 


Protect Yourself

Live Defensively

In order to live defensively, become aware of the very instant you begin to feel overwhelmingly lost, sad, hurt, melancholic, depressed or when you sense you're falling into despair, fretting, worry, or doubt.

Then pray, “Lord, I’m being tempted to …” (fill in the blank).


Trust God to stop the enemy for you—to fight for you, to suggest something you can do that will help you escape from such moods.

Exodus 14:14 (NIV) says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Live Offensively

In Matthew 6, Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” He told them to pray, “Give us today our daily bread,” or that which they would need to get through the day in his will. 

In order to live offensively, pray as demonstrated in the Lord’s Prayer.  Start each day asking God to keep you from the temptations of negativity, doubt, fretting, depression, and so on. And if you feel negative feelings creeping up, say the prayer again.  


Live Your Small Stories within your Bigger Story


I've noticed many TV shows today have a story within the story. They show the family life of the characters from time to time. Or they have an underlying theme to add humor to an otherwise intense story line. 

I don't know if that's the best example, but I want to convey something similar about life and purpose and hearing from God. There are always stories within the bigger story. 

Many midlife women search for their next big thing. It's "Do I go back to school, get a job, or join the circus?" But life is truly lived in moments of small activity not in big projects. Let me explain.

Perhaps you've sat with your Bible and prayed for God to give you a revelation about what to do. If only, you think, he'd make the lightbulb go off and give you your big idea. But no email arrives, no phone rings and no big idea pops into your brain. Instead, you get up from your chair and paint some old boards to put in your garden.

Let me tell you my recent story. I participated in a prayer and fasting day with the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. As I did the prayer journalling, I read various scriptures and prayed them. 

I eventually saw a number of scriptures from The Living Bible I was reading would be great for the garden signs I'd planned to make. Of course you can pray while working on something, so I got up during the prayer and fasting time, and got the old boards to prepare to make the signs I'd envisioned three years ago and now had the words for. The sign I created is pictured above. 

Later, I returned to the prayer process by referring to the handout. To my amazement, the topic started with the very verse from which I'd gained inspiration for my sign!!! I was blown away. I knew beyond a doubt it was a God whisper. 

Today, I stopped for more prayer journalling picking up a book I've been going through by Rick Warren. The section I read had that verse yet again! 

I could ask myself what's so great about this experience. I could feel guilty for seemingly wasting a day doing little more than praying and creating art. But I know that is what God wanted me to do that day. He inspires us with crazy little things like this and says, go at it. 

Now, I am also working on some new projects in the form of support groups or coached groups in the upcoming days which I picture as my bigger story. 

Do you have God-led small stories within your bigger story? 





Design Your Midlife Transition Roadmap (MTR)


Are you looking for a place to start your midlife journey? Maybe you've been in midlife for a while and want to gain some clarity. Perhaps you're entering the empty nest and dealing with a variety of new challenges you didn't expect. 

My new book Design Your Midlife Transition Roadmap (MTR) Module 1 is now up on Amazon for $2.99. This three chapter eBook can be viewed on any electronic device. 

This is a self-coaching tool you can work through it at your own pace. The idea is you create a journal or large picture that spells out where you've been, who you are now, and where you might head next. 

I will be adding more modules in the near future. It would be great to use as a discussion tool with a friend or in a group. 


Thinking You Need to Reinvent Yourself?


I read a comment from a woman in her late 50s where she suggested she needed to reinvent herself.

Yes, reinvention is needed at various points in life. Reinvention isn't a quick and easy process usually, though. First you need to decide what parts of your life need reinvention.

Sometimes reinvention is a goal to women who have recently retired. They've invested in a job for so long they feel lost without one. For them, the first step toward reinvention may mean looking at who they are now--what they are still capable of--what their passions are now as they may have changed over the years--what are their needs--where are there voids?

They will need to answer if reinvention means doing something that earns an income, ministering to others possibly for free, or getting a new job unlike any other they've held.

Reinvention may merely mean they long to have an area of specialty they develop and are sought after for. Maybe they'll write a blog, create a website, hold classes, or take classes and become a self-proclaimed expert.

It's important to know reinvention should not necessarily be a long-term destination. With any void, small steps are needed. Your goal should be to walk through a void not become frantic seeking the answer.

Ask good questions about what reinvention really means to you.



K-W, Cambridge Ideas


Hey women in the Kitchener-Waterloo area...today I brainstormed ideas with a friend. The goal is to use my gifts, abilities, time, and resources to minister to other women in need through support groups or workshops. 

One of the ideas is to hold support groups or to do workshops in my home or other facility in the Cambridge -Kitchener-Waterloo area. I could be called in once a week for an hour for a few weeks to a facility to lead a group.

The target audiences I'm brainstorming include:

At-home moms who would like an outing and support, socialization, or to do something to relieve boredom (Whether it includes the children or not remains to be seen.)

Midlife women in search of direction.

Midlife women in search of community.

Certificate programs.

Unemployed women or those on disability looking for community or activity.

Christian women in search of prayer and support.

Socialization groups. 

Learning groups. 

Creativity groups.

Writing groups.

Topics from life purpose to living mentally healthy. From prayer to paving stones and gardening.

Please let me know if you have any comment or feedback to offer. If you're interested in something like this, email me at info@rosaliegarde.com or leave a comment.  Thanks.  

Tips for Working through Your Midlife Crisis Feelings with God

Tossing and turning were yielding nothing. Sleep had evaded me once again, and troubled feelings were stirring. So I carefully reached for my fluffy robe and slid out of bed as quietly as I could. My husband slept soundly as I tiptoed out the door and down the stairs to the lower level office.

The brightness of the computer screen was blinding in the darkened room. Two-thirty was the time on the clock when I began my web search for answers for my chaotic feelings, and 4:30 was the time when I returned to bed and finally fell asleep.

For that two hours, I sat, in the quiet of the night, typing various combinations of words into the search bar. One phrase I typed in was one that I'd heard a lot about, but surely didn't think fit me, after all, I wasn't looking for a younger man or wanting to buy a sportscar (you know the old cliche?)

There I sat though, and typed the words:
"m-i-d-l-i-f-e   c-r-i-s-i-s".


WAS I HAVING A MIDLIFE CRISIS?

After reading a few of the descriptions for midlife crisis over several websites, I found a few points that resonated with me. One in particular convinced me that, yes indeed, what I was feeling had been experienced by other women my age (50 at the time). I realized right then that I must be in a similar state.  

I wondered, "What if, in fact I was having a midlife crisis, would I find answers to help me eventually feel better? Or, would I be stuck feeling bad forever?

I'd been experiencing panic and sadness off and on for some time by then, and insomnia had regularly crept in. Each time those troubling feelings arrived, I hated trying to deal with them!

Now that I'd somewhat diagnosed the condition, I wondered if I really had what would be needed to walk through the associated symptoms. I wondered if I would be capable of finding the answers I needed to be happy and balanced again.  I wondered if I would ever reach the other side of it all.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS FOR MIDLIFE CRISIS

Many years have passed since then. I've written many posts and eBooks to help women who feel this way. I've decided midlife crisis feelings need to be walked through carefully without the temptation to make drastic life-changing decisions. 

I often asked myself which feeling was real, the one that made me feel horrifically discontent or the one I felt the next morning where I felt calm, peaceful and thankful for my circumstances. It is very important we take our thoughts captive, that we ask God for clarity and that we base our decisions on facts not feelings.

Here's what else I discovered:

1. Midlife crisis in women 40 to 55 may be connected to the hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause. Perimenopause can last 10 years. 

2. It's important to address physical concerns of hot sweats, insomnia, fitness, and possible depression. 

3. It's important to cultivate your spirit. 

4. It's important to cultivate your sense of hope, to resist becoming jaded and cynical, but to be a more positive thinker. 

5. It's important to identify your strengths and to develop them.

6. It's important to work on developing new relationships.

7. It's important to put down some expectations. When things don't work out, it's important to be resilient. 

If you find you're in the midst of midlife crisis feelings, plan to walk through them consulting God. Ask him to reveal the steps you should take. Take a step and cheer yourself on. Be proud of all you've accomplished. 

God is always at work. When you're in a period of searching, wait patiently for him to put the next plan for your life together. It's all a process. 





My Horrible Tinnitus and Anxiety Journey - Oct 31, 2016 to March 2017

I wanted to pass on the story of my recent "syndrome" and journey with tinnitus and anxiety. During it, I reached a point of despair like never before. What occurred scared me so badly that all my previous complaints about life pale in comparison. 

I was finally diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which contributed to bad tinnitus. Apparently, GAD can creep up on anyone at any time. I had a few panic attacks in the past, but they were short-lived. They never got to the point this one did. 

The Start

I'd just finished a three-month project where I'd been glued to my computer. I admit, I had stayed up way past a healthy bedtime on a couple occasions, 4:30 am to be exact. 

When the assignment was finished, I blurted out "I need to give my brain a rest." I had strained muscles and some tinnitus, but had pushed through it. By the end of the project, I was obviously keenly aware my brain felt depleted. I had a horrifically tight trapezium muscle on the left and new headaches.

Strange Pain

Several months prior, in May, I'd noticed a strange pain in my head. It wasn't like a normal headache. It seemed to change depending on how I moved my head.Of course, I was worried I might have a brain tumor.  The doctors will tell us brain tumors are rare, but I've had two friends pass away from such, one this week.

I'd thought of telling my doctor about the pain, but it seemed to disappear for a time so I didn't.

Cold and Stress

My daughter came home for a weekend. She had a horrific cold and I caught it. It took a good three weeks to get over it. Around that time, my daughter also sprung her marriage ideas on me which were distressing. Shortly thereafter, Oct. 31 to be precise, I had such bad tinnitus while watching TV I had to stop watching and walk around the room. I told my husband the tinnitus was so loud it was scaring me. I was going into panic mode!

I'd had some tinnitus off and on for 2 years by then but had more quiet days than bothersome. This was new. With tinnitus, the frustrating thing is you can't mask it, tone it down or turn it off. Having no control causes anxiety for many who suffer with it.

Mine was in the form of a loud hiss. My husband would say put on headphones, but the louder the music, the louder my tinnitus would get. 

Hearing Test 

I visited a local hearing clinic to have my hearing tested. It was perfect. My tinnitus wasn't hearing related. I learned a lot of theories from the attendant. 

I frantically searched online for possible cures. I joined a number of tinnitus Facebook groups and asked for prayer everywhere. I was certain it was temporary, but unfortunately, it got worse. As soon as I'd lay down to bed, it would start up loudly. I couldn't sleep and I had pain in my ear and neck pain.

This was Getting Crazy - Dismissive Doctors

Finally, I strapped on my winter boots and told my husband I was going to the doctor's Saturday clinic. I needed help. I told the doctor on call I felt I had an earache. She gave me an anti-biotic in case there was something left over from my cold. I briefly mentioned the tinnitus. When I asked if there was anything new to help with tinnitus she said, "Buy a sound machine!" 

Two years prior, I'd told my gp about the ear ringing, and she was equally dismissive. She ordered no tests and merely said, "It's a common ailment and won't kill you and there's no cure." 

Looking to God

In desperation, I went to church to have oil anointing. A nice man prayed with me and anointed me for healing. I knew I needed to back off the computer and so took to watching every Christian TV show that was on. I prayed with every prayer that was said. 

I did buy a sound machine, and in order to sleep I had to have it on, a fan running, and eventually, the TV turned to low. I kicked my husband out of the bedroom since I would toss and turn and waken frequently. 

More Panic 

I'd taken every supplement any one mentioned, and nothing helped. I tried Ashwagandha and went off a pill I was on to see if removing it helped. But all of that was not a good move because finally, one day, with only a few hours of sleep, I went into full fight or flight mode. I was in full anxiety attack. 

I later discovered Ashwagandha can make your thyroid meds too high and may have contributed. 

My husband would tell me to relax and I couldn't. I HAD to pace. I paced around the house, I went outside, I paced around the back yard in the snow while on the phone with my mom. I thought I might be losing my mind. It was the most troubling and horrific feeling of all.  Because some mental health issues run in my family, I feared the worse. With all the pacing, I lost 10 pounds!

Added to the craziness was the most horrific neck pain and headache. Over the counter drugs barely touched the pain. I used hot compresses switched with cold ones. I spent most of my time laying on the sofa. 

Looking for Help by Telephone 

I also called Medi-health who were of little help. I looked for a mental health help line. I wanted to know if I went to the hospital emergency or a clinic if I would be given something to put me to sleep. I wanted some real mental health guidance. 

I was referred to call 211. 211 gave me the number for a local distress line. The distress line said they did not have experience with real medical issues such as anxiety. She suggested I drink warm milk and maybe have peanut butter on toast (she could in no way relate to my problem). I called a tinnitus hotline and the mailbox was full. 

I realized there is no telephone advice to be had for someone who is suffering with bad tinnitus and anxiety and feels they're losing their mind! 

More Panic 

Unfortunately, the worst of the tinnitus went on the week after Christmas when many places were closed. With the ringing continuing I was desperate for help so called the maker of a tinnitus sound therapy machine who referred me to a local tinnitus clinic. I was able to speak directly to both gentlemen and had high hopes for help. With every appointment one makes, though, there is a waiting period. 

I also felt I should do a parasite cleanse lest some of this be due to parasites. I tried to find a naturopath but that didn't work out. 

More Testing

I went to the tinnitus centre and was tested again. I paid $200 to be assessed this time over a two-hour period. Again, it seemed my research online had given me possibly more information than they had. That day, though, I had no tinnitus. So I couldn't be assessed for the sound therapy. 

But the next week, the tinnitus continued at high levels. I'd get up when it started and make calming tea, and a magnesium drink. It was so emotionally draining. It took over my life. 


January

I was having regular panic attacks now. As I lay on the sofa since I also had horrible headaches. I watched every Christian TV show I could. Then I saw a prayer line advertised. I called them. 

Each time I awoke at night, I called the prayer line. I knew with one word God could heal me. I contacted online prayer lines too, and eventually over several weeks, I think I called every prayer line that was advertised on TV. 


Alternate Sleeping Room 

I took to laying on the sofa in my family room where I found I was strangely calmed by the lull of the furnace fan beneath the floor, the ticking of the mantel place clock and the rumble of the nearby refrigerator. 

The sofa in that room is narrow, so not the most comfortable spot to sleep. I lay still, imagining whatever crazy vision would come to mind to try to get my mind to relax. I prayed spiritual warfare prayers and envisioned angels fighting for me. Eventually, I'd doze off for an hour or so. But the hissing was there when I awoke. 

Panic Disorder 

This business of loud tinnitus, headaches, sleeplessness and panic attacks went on for weeks. I was getting hot flashes and a prickly feeling from head to toe that almost felt like an allergic reaction. I wondered if more was going on. I wanted a CAT scan and thorough blood testing, but I was afraid to ask my doctor. I was sure she would dismiss me!! (Eventually when I did ask for a CAT scan, she did deny me one.) 

Cambridge Memorial Hospital Let Down

Finally, with one more panic attack and a severe headache, I hesitantly called 911 since there was NO other place to call. The paramedics came and insisted I go to the hospital. I told them I just needed the hissing to stop. 

One paramedic told me he had tinnitus and there is no cure. He certainly told me the wrong thing at the wrong time. He could have no clue how loud mine had been, how I was being robbed of life, how I hadn't been myself for weeks, how anxious I was, and how I hadn't slept for days. 

With hope, I let them wheel me into emergency. By then my headache had calmed down and I know beyond a doubt they put me into the category of panic attack and so I was put as low priority. They led me to the waiting room and there I sat for three more hours. They had no intention of seeing me. They said I'd keep my place, but that was a lie or misinformation. 

I at least wanted to see the mental health nurse I was promised but was told there were five patients ahead of me. I asked if I could have my blood tested and the nurse said, "For what?" I wanted a stroke, heart attack or other issue ruled out!! Geesh. 

I'd put too much faith into the hospital system. With little help from any phone calls or testing centres I'd visited, I figured the hospital was the most trusted place to go for help. But it wasn't. I signed out and left feeling let down.  What a waste of a night for my husband and myself and what a waste of $45 plus parking for my husband!

Before I left I asked if I could get some type of sedative and was told I'd have to wait to see the doctor. They probably thought I was there just to get pills. Yes, I wanted a pill to calm all the nonsense down! I wasn't suicidal, but I understand how some with tinnitus can be.

No Where to Turn

I was not dying, but no one could appreciate the hissing going off inside my head, the lack of sleep, the headaches, the distress and anxiety. Because I held myself together and looked okay on the outside, I was ignored. 

I know there may have been life-or-death patients in front of me, but I think I could have been treated in 15 minutes and given some assurance with a recommendation to follow up with my doctor.

Next Doctor

The next day, I went to my doctor's office where I had to see a different doctor since I couldn't get in to see mine. 

I decided not to discuss the tinnitus because I knew I would be dismissed. But that was my most bothersome concern. I decided only to tell her my symptoms of anxiety. 

She immediately diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder. She prescribe a small amount of pills and booked me in with my own doctor. She also ordered the blood tests I wanted. It only made sense to rule out something else. 

While waiting for an appointment with my own doctor the next week (again another wait), I also looked up a mental health therapist. I needed someone to help me walk through this. Someone to be on my side! That was the best decision I made!

Virus or Nerve Damage?

I also learned I could have a virus in my head muscle or nerve damage from the cold I'd had causing the pain and tinnitus. My doctor said if so, it would have to heal itself. 

So I have sought to boost my immune system and also went to a chiropractor lest a nerve be caught. I did about five treatments with him but there was no relief. 

Back to God 

I just wanted to be healed. No amount of internet research or professional help worked. I resorted to begging God and waiting for his healing. I watched every Christian TV show I could and many were on healing.  

More Panic 

My daughter came home again and wanted to show me bride magazines. Right then and there I had another panic attack. I still couldn't function!

My gp concurred I had an anxiety disorder or biochemical issue and prescribed me an anti-anxiety pill. It took a good five weeks to fully kick in. 

I also began sessions with the counselor. My counselor's extensive experience with anxiety, cognitive behaviour therapy and EMDR for PTSD was very helpful. I learned there are many symptoms that come with anxiety and my head and neck pain were included in the list.

While participating in therapy and taking the medication, I also took something called Emergen-C that is rich in vitamins and minerals. I also take a protein shake full of amino acids. I believe the magnesium, especially, calms the hissing. 

My husband took over cooking, cleaning and errand running while I tried to relax. I had to stop my usual writing. Just sitting at a computer increased the tinnitus. 

We went to church twice in February, but the music and speaker was so loud it gave me more anxiety and challenged my headache. 

March 

The hissing is lower in volume now. I can sleep without the fan and sound machine. I have a few days here and there with quiet. The headache is still there. I go for a follow-up appointment tomorrow. 

Anxiety can Cause Tinnitus 

Over the course of this time, I've studied all I can on tinnitus. I discovered anxiety can cause tinnitus or at least make existing tinnitus worse. I know it also works the other way around. Tinnitus can cause immense anxiety.

My counselor has taught me much about stress. I see the correlation now. The conversations with my daughter added just the right amount of stress at the wrong time. I'm working with my counselor on all of that. She's taught me to reframe thoughts. 

My Studies 

I've studied brain health extensively. I concur with Dr. josef Rauschecke that tinnitus is not hearing related in many cases, it is ringing in the brain!! Try updating today's physicians with that news!

I've sought out information on what will help nerves and the brain heal. My counselor says I deserve a PhD from all my research. Dr. Rauschecke suggests the importance of high serotonin and dopamine to stave off tinnitus. I agree. 

If you suffer with tinnitus let me give you this advice:

  1. Yes there are 100s of possible causes but the biggest one I think worth looking at is stress and brain chemistry. Go on an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety med and hire a mental health therapist to support you and do cognitive therapy with you.
  2. Go for a hearing test to find out if it is hearing related.
  3. Take Emergen-C or at least other Vitamins high in B vitamins and magnesium. 
  4. Use calming tea as needed.
  5. Consider muscular skeletal issues. Muscles generate noises.
  6. Watch your sleep position as neck vertebrae can be a problem.
  7. Pray and trust God. 
  8. Don't spent too much time on triggers like computer work if that is a trigger.
  9. Don't spend too much time in tinnitus forums. What you focus on will increase.
  10. Call the prayer lines as needed. 


Adrenal Fatigue?


Women are prone to a hidden burn-out called adrenal fatigue. When the adrenals are depleted, a number of other physical issues can crop up. Merely Google the topic and you'll see the list. 

For myself, evidence of adrenal fatigue was there as I suffered long periods of crashing fatigue. 

Then it was re-occurring Adrenalin rushes after a day of computer work followed by watching action-packed TV with my husband. A student doctor didn't quite hear me when I said I had a tight chest and feelings of an Adrenalin rush. He diagnosed me as having acid reflux and prescribed pills. Now I know I was having adrenal issues back then. 

More recently, the issue developed into panic attacks, and general anxiety disorder. On the surface, I looked calm and well. Underneath I was a mess for a time. Much of my stress was due to midlife transition where the empty nest was concerned. I was troubled by choices my university daughter was making. I was troubled that I still had to prompt my university age son about a few things that affected all of us. Though I would pray for my children and situations, sometimes even praying felt stressful. Ever heard of worry-praying? When God doesn't seem to be answering big prayers where our children are concerned, it can feel distressing. 

So while all appeared okay, I absorbed myself in writing late into the night and ended this fall with a bad case of ear ringing, headaches, tight muscles, and eventually, a general anxiety disorder. 

I'm looking after myself in hopes of restoring my adrenals. Learning how to re-frame problems helps as does letting go of situations others need to learn to manage themselves. Giving myself permission to relax and rest has also been needed. I've intentional stopped trying to stay on the run. I realize this is a time for me to be me again--not mom, not housekeeper, not household manager...it's time to redefine my role and worry less.

"3 John 1:2 ESV Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul."