Doing Life Together


It was a usual Sunday and time for announcements. The Associate Pastor announced the women’s meeting at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday. The focus was on decorating the church for the holidays. The men were meeting Friday morning at 6:30 am. to discuss marketplace ministry. I looked at my husband and whispered. “I wonder if the men would let me come to their meeting?” I can’t make the women’s meeting as I work outside the home and frankly, I am interested in the topic of the men’s meeting.

I’ve been attending church all my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love church and am committed to attending, but I often feel like a duck out of water.

What I do Monday through Friday feels like a foreign world when I step inside the church. As a professional woman, my skills in the church seem to be relegated to bringing food, working in the nursery or decorating at holidays. Nothing is wrong with these activities and I will happily serve, but they just aren’t my areas of interest or passion.

It’s not an ego thing, just a weird difference that often makes me feel like church is a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. I can get by and participate, but it doesn’t feel like what I am doing is using my skills. But maybe that is OK.

However,  I wonder, how many other professional women feel the same?

In the church, no one seems to be talking about the challenges women face in the work place, yet men often meet to discuss such things. Instead, our option to gather as women is usually a Bible study. And while those studies are very helpful (I’ve done several), they don’t speak to the issues professional women face in the marketplace.

Furthermore, in all of the years I’ve been a national speaker, one church has asked me to address women in the marketplace issues at a women’s conference.

So with almost half of the workforce women, maybe it is time for the church to assess the needs of its congregations and include more biblical application to the lives of professional women. Perhaps a group that addresses marketplace issues would be a good place to begin.

Love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think the church addresses the needs of professional women?

BFS_Depression_LG_2You feel depressed and you know you need help. Where do you begin?

First step, make an appointment with a mental health professional. This could include a psychiatrist (able to prescribe medications), licensed psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, or licensed counselor.

The first visit is an evaluation. It involves a series of questions designed to get to know you and understand your symptoms and why they are presenting now. It is always important to rule out any medical cause for symptoms such as thyroid disease, infection, etc.

Next, a formulated treatment plan will be devised. This will take into account your history,  recent events and the severity of your symptoms.

Psychotherapy is usually a place to begin. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is an evidenced-based approach designed to look at your thinking, emotions and perceptions. Interpersonal therapy helps with relationship and social issues. Lifestyle changes are usually a part of therapy as well. A personalized plan for diet, exercise, and being active will be developed. Usually, you begin with small changes that provide success.

Other treatments for more severe types of depression can include electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, or vagus nerve stimulation. These need to be discussed with your doctor to see if they even make sense for you due to the severity of the depression.

Medication is an option. The SSRIs are the class of medications used most often to treat depression. But medications often don’t reach their effectiveness for 6-8 weeks so the work of therapy is important. Nad in my opinion, medication alone isn’t the best treatment. You need to be working on the issues causing or sustaining depression.

I know it all sounds a little overwhelming, but here is the good news. Depression treatment usually works. People get better. But if you never go for help, you can suffer unnecessarily.

Struggling? Get help today!

For more help, Breaking Free from Depression by Dr. Linda Mintle

ID-100159206In any year, 1% of the U.S. population suffers with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) according to NIMH. OCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce anxiety (obsessions) and behaviors or thoughts that reduce that anxiety (compulsions). Is is often debilitating.

But a five step treatment approach can help. It is called Exposure plus Response Prevention. The five steps include the following:

1) Anxiety is triggered. You feel anxious.

2) Label that anxious feeling along with the thought that accompanies it. You must learn to label to disable the anxious thought.

3) Once you label the anxiety, allow it to remain. Don’t try to resist it because we know the more you resist, the more it persists.

4) Welcome the unwanted thought. Let it stay with you. Put up with it and don’t  engage in the compulsion. Prevent your normal compulsive response.

5) Tolerate the uncertainty. You can do this. You can learn to sit with the uncertainty.

Go through these steps over and over and eventually new neurological patterns will develop in your brain. The old patterns will eventually stop. Over time, the frequency and intensity of engaging in compulsions will abate.

Expose yourself to the trigger, go through the five steps and resist the compulsion. Allow the anxiety to come and then go. The more you tolerate the feeling, the more likely it will extinguish over time.

You may need to work with a therapist who is trained in Exposure Therapies. Find one who understands that the more you avoid anxiety, the more it persists. The key is to walk into the anxiety, greet it like a friend and tolerate it. Over time, anxiety loses its power.

ID-100209624I spent a week in South Florida this Christmas break. Every morning I was up and out the door to do a 2 mile hike to the beach. I simply got out of bed, put on my workout clothes and bolted out the door. I felt motivated, cheery and happy to be in the warm sunshine.

I’m now back in the cold. It is dreary and raining and nothing in me even wants to dress for the gym. I lack motivation to go out! What a contrast. Apparently, weather affects my desire and motivation to exercise. I either need to move south or come up with a plan! Since moving isn’t an option…

One thought is to throw my workout clothes in the dryer and warm them up! Maybe that will inspire me to confront the cold!

OK, I have the clothes on and feel more like I might work out!

Now I have to ignore that voice in my head saying, “Stay inside where it is warm and forget going out.” Instead, I need to determine to go out. Don’t allow excuses and embrace Nike’s JUST DO IT attitude!

Now get up and move. Move in the house for a few minutes. This usually gets my body up and going. Somehow, this pushes me towards the door.

Finally, be a grown up. Schedule the time or day. Go. I don’t have to like this or want to do it. I tell myself the benefits of exercise and remind myself how good I feel AFTER I have done it.

A few more tips:

For me, I have to schedule it in my week or it won’t happen. It has to be intentional.

Also, if I can find someone to walk with me, go to the gym or a class, I’ll follow through better than doing it alone.

Finally, my biggest and best motivation is having a dog who loves to go out in the cold weather. She needs to walk every day! And when you wear a permanent black fur coat like she does, the cold weather is a relief from the scorching sun of summer. All I have to do is look at her eyes that are telling me it is time to head out. I can’t resist that face and so here we go. And while I prefer to be in sunny Florida, I don’t live there.

So for now, it’s all about self-motivation. I can do it. And so can you!