More Than A Case Of The Blues

For a few weeks now, I’ve debated internally about whether or not I should share about my struggles. it’s personal and messy and I’m not sure I want to reveal that to the world. Well, here I am. Messy, broken, but healing. In an attempt to make sense of my experiences, I wrote- a lot- about the question I believe many people ask: what is depression?

I came to the conclusion in that depression, unlike other medical conditions, varies drastically from person to person.

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San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive, Creative Commons

Depression is_______

  • unable to be defined.
  • wanting to enjoy the company of friends and family, but ignoring them when they reach out to you.
  • lying awake at night and dragging yourself through the night.
  • telling yourself that you’re the only one who feels this way.

Isolating yourself is the worst possible action you can take if you’re struggling with depression. It’s tempting. I created excuses not to go to birthday parties, and many other activities. I didn’t have any reason not to attend these events, but I convinced myself that I wasn’t wanted. Surely the party would be more fun without me.

I loved this excerpt from Donald’s Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz:

We see those cigarette advertisements with the rugged cowboy riding around alone on a horse, and we think that is strength, when really, it is like setting your soul down on a couch and not exercising it. The soul needs to interact with other people to be healthy.

Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller

In the past, I was naive in believing that depression was black and white. In other words, I thought you happy go-lucky or suicidal. The truth is that there is a large gray area spanning between those two extremes.

I’d say my depression peaked my sophomore year of high school. I was trying hard to fit in. Trying to finally become friends that I had eaten lunch with since 5th grade.

Whether or not I realized it at the time, writing became my therapy. It helped me come to terms with feelings I didn’t know how to share in depth, even with my closest friends.

Here’ what I found about writing:

Writing heals you from sicknesses that before, you never even knew you had.

When you write (if you do), my guess is that you tell a piece of paper more than you tell most people. People wonder why I’m such a crazy advocate for keeping a journal. I guess I hadn’t previously connected those experiences with my writing habits. There’s no doubt that they’re related.

I knew I was depressed when I denied having any feelings at all. I threw myself into school, church activities. Not to mention other people’s problems. It was bad.

Only recently have I really been able to do more than just write, I’ve come to the point where I can wake up in the morning and decide for myself that I’ll get out of bed and choose joy.

Regardless of how my day goes. Unfortunately, that is one thing I don’t have control over.

That decision may seem action may seem small and insignificant, but not everyday is as happy-go lucky as we’d like. It’s not something we should discredit. Recognizing the smallest of achievements is important.

For me, depression is something that doesn’t really go away once it’s begun. I’ve  simply learned to cope with it and recognize the red flags which let you know the real you is being stifled by someone else. Since my freshman year of high school I’ve filled over twenty journals with practically everything. I’m not saying that to brag, but to emphasize that a lot of life happens in short amounts of time. If we’re not careful, life continues on it’s way before we are able to learn anything from our time spent in the pits. And thus the cycle goes unbroken. Nothing gets better.

Choose joy!

-Kayla

“Packing Light” Giveaway

I’ve decided it’s about time I do my first giveaway. The timing is appropriate because I have just created my first Facebook Page: Kayla Bonar, Writer. I can’t think of a better way to promote.

1 “like”= one entry

1 “share”= 2 shares

New subscribers= 3 entries

The winner will be announced on my Facebook  page and Twitter one week from today (4/26).  If you “like,” share, or subscribe but are NOT, interested in being entered into the drawing, please indicate on my page so that I know not to enter your name.

It took me all of about ten second to decide on the perfect giveaway book. “Packing Light” by Allison Vesterfelt is fantastic read. I read it recently and it has significantly influenced my writing habits. This book played a huge role in my decision to finally make the decision to create a page dedicated to my blog content. At one point during the book, Vesterfelt was challenged by a friend to finally start calling herself a writer. For so long, she had made up excuses. She objected that she’d never been published, let alone  receive a paycheck by writing.

I more often than not, we create a ceiling for ourselves. Let me unpack this statement for you. I strongly believe that what we call our “9am-5pm” jobs are, in reality,  a very small part of what really defines us. Or maybe you are a college student like me and have only dabbled in odd jobs and define yourself as a student and nothing more.

However, my guess is that  in your free time you love to write or read or create or play music. BUT, this isn’t how you make your living. Does this mean you aren’t a writer, creator, or musician? I hardly think this is the case.

I’ve decided it’s time I stop making excuses.

-Kayla Bonar, Writer

P.S. Who will you be today?

Something for Sunday

Hey there! Here are some cool articles I read throughout the week. In case you missed  my first weekend reading list, just click the link. Enjoy!

How Can You Make Your Weekends More Awesome? by Eric Barker

Make the most of your weekend! This is an article full of great methods (backed by science) which just might help you to enjoy leisure time while not being completely lazy. Psst! With all good things comes some measure of hard work.

Happiness Is Not the Goal by Tyler Ward

I found this article on happiness very interesting. The idea that we spend so much time prioritizing happiness that we forget to be happy is intriguing. Key thought: Tyler writes, “The key to finding happiness is to not let it guide you. It’s electing a better, more meaningful guide in life that will create a reason to be happy.”

29 Ways to Stay Creative by TO-FU

This is a super cool 2 minute video. Got a creative block? Looking for some fresh ideas? Check this.

Creative Faith: Living and leading with an artist’s heart by Cole NeSmith

This is a longer read available at Noise Trade, but if you have an hour or so, it is most definitely worth your time. I love NeSmith’s approach to creativity, faith, and how the two are intertwined.

 

Empty Shelf Book 13: My Sister’s Keeper

Title: My Sister’s Keeper

Author: Jodi Picoult

What’s it about: A lot of things. Ethics, morals, family dynamics. But mostly two sisters who love each other a lot.  Kate has  acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Her younger sister Anna, is her cure. She’s been a part of Kate’s treatment since birth. But now that she’s thirteen, she’s not so sure she wants to keep contributing to her sister’s well-being. You’ll have to read the book to discover how she navigates her way down this messy path.

Why did I read it: First of all, I read this lovely novel because It’s been on my “To Read” list for years. Secondly, I love meaningful fiction. Picoult is a lovely writer and this book really tugs at your heart-strings.

Favorite idea:  “It is so easy to think that the world revolves around you, but all you have to do is stare up at the sky to realize it isn’t that way at all.”

Where you can buy it: here.

something for sunday

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. For me, the best part of being on Spring Break is all the time I have available to read and write. It’s introverted bliss. These are all great articles I read online so just click the title and it will lead you to the site. If you read something awesome lately, comment on the side and I’ll check it out!

What Guarding Your Heart Actually Means by Alex Harmening via Relevant Magazine

I love reading various articles written from different angles about this topic of guarding your heart. Proverbs 4: 23  says”Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” What does this verse mean? How are we supposed to apply it to our lives? Harmening broaches the top well and she has many valid points.

No Degree Necessary by Phil Gathany

If you’re a student like me, this is for you. Phil reminded me that God is going to use me no matter how “ordinary” I am. He’s going to use you too. Jesus’ twelve disciples were about as ordinary they go and they all went on to do extraordinary things.

6 Reasons Why You Should Touch and be Touched More Often by Christina Miller

Four hugs a day. At least. Are you meeting your daily hug quota? Maybe those free hug signs aren’t such a silly idea after all. For a person whose love language definitely isn’t touch, I found this article quite intriguing.

Writers get all aboard Amtrak’s train residency program by Sarah Sheffer

The fact that this is an actual thing just makes me happy.  Amtrak is actually sending people on train trips for one purpose: to write. I’ve ridden the train numerous times. My longest trip was from Edmonds, Washington to Union Station in Chicago, Illinois.  It was quite the  adventure and one I probably took advantage of.

-Kayla

Reading The Bible Is Hard

Reading the Bible is hard.

I won’t lie, some days, I just don’t feel like reading the Bible.

Occasionally, I’ll use the excuse that I shouldn’t read it when apathetic. But I’ve realized that’s pretty pathetic–as most excuses are. That’s like saying I’m only going to read the New Testament because it’s more “relevant” or “understandable.” If I based my habits around this then I’d pick and choose passages and never allow myself be challenged by God’s Word.

My problem is that before I even open up to a book I expect words to just come flying off at the page at me.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with these sentiments.

In an earlier post, I mentioned how I am fasting from Facebook for Lent.  What I’ve discovered is that it’s much easier to fast from something than to fast and make an intentional effort to grow spiritually during that time.

That being said, I’ve decided to try something new that will hopefully help re-ignite my passion for God’s word. I’m going to write out the book of Ephesians.

I’m not sure what I’ll learn, or if I’ll learn anything at all from studying the scripture in this way.

But Paul is cool and I like writing letters so there’s that too.

I was kinda sorta inspired by Lucas Chadwick who, in 2012 set out on a journey to write out the entire Bible. It’s a crazy cool project and you should definitely check out his Facebook page.

-Kayla

P.S.

I’d love to hear any stories about how you grew closer to God through his word. Join me on this challenge?

Empty Shelf Book 11: Blue Like Jazz

Title: Blue Like Jazz: Non-religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Author: Donald Miller

What’s it about: Christian Spirituality. Miller talks about a variety of emotions, such as depression, loneliness, relationships, love, finances and etc. I feel like it’s so, so relevant to young adults. He talks about all of these issues from personal experience which makes it even easier to read.

Why did I read it: I’ve heard so many good things about this book. From youth pastors, favorite authors and peers. I love Miller’s honesty and transparency.

Favorite idea: I underlined something in every chapter of this book, but my favorite idea is this: “I think Christian spirituality is like jazz music. I think loving Jesus is something you feel, I think it is something very difficult to get on paper. but it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful.”

Where you can buy it: (and I highly recommend you do)

How to Join the Empty Shelf Challenge: join

You should really, really, really read this book.

-Kayla

College Is Hard

College is hard. Ummm, no one ever told me this.

Sometimes I think college is  overrated.

I hate how our society prioritizes higher education. Like, if you can’t divide polynomials you’re a failure. More than anything, I hate how I prioritize it. I hate how I worry about it. I hate how I base my identity on something so short-lived as school.

“The devil loves it when we say we believe, then prioritize everything in our lives ahead of God.”

A.W. Tozer

The devil loves to use to use our priorities and our worries and expectations to drive us away from God.

I read an article recently talking about how we think approximately 70,000 thoughts in our lifetimes. Only 70,00o?  And then I started wondering how many thoughts I’ve wasted. This isn’t meant to be a downer of a blog post, and if it is, I apologize.

However, this issue of worry (at least in my life)  is something that someone recently pointed out to me. At first I was offended. In my mind I  got all “who are you to think that I worry to much?” 

It took me about three months to realize that I was trying to justify my worry. And then I felt stupid because what he was trying to tell me- in a loving way- is  that God doesn’t want us to worry and that worry is a sin. Even now, I still struggle with this. Big time. Happiness isn’t found in living up to the expectations of others. 

The difference is that I recognize it as the devil trying to tear me apart. And I can choose to succumb and listen or walk away.

Here’s what scripture says about worry:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

And Joy:

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

You are awesome. Don’t let anyone tell you anything differently. Regardless of what anyone else says. If you can’t divide polynomials, welcome to the club, I still think you’re cool. (I’m sure a lot of other people could care less too). There are bigger dreams out there worth chasing.

-Kayla

P.S.

My friend Phil wrote an awesome blog post about what God expects of us as Christians, particularly Christian students. It’s a must read, if you’re a student of any kind.

Waffles vs. Spaghetti: For the Guys

Dear Guys,

First of all, if you don’t plan on reading this entire post read this —>  waffles are much different from spaghetti. In fact, I think the only characteristic the two foods share is the insane amount of carbs.

If you remember this concept, I predict that any sort of relationship with any woman you have in your life will improve drastically. Maybe all it means is that you understand your mom better. Or your friend. Or your sister. Or any individual belonging to the female species. You do not need a survival guide. Or a book.  Or a list of rules. Spaghetti must become your new favorite food. Second only to the Bread of Life. (Cheesy pun intended).

If you failed to notice, girls are really good at not giving away anything. You could be talking to her about one thought  while she’s thinking through a million–at the exact same time. This is called multi-thinking.  To play it safe, assume that if you haven’t thought it, she’s thinking it.

Let’s create a scenario to work with. You’ve just met this girl? You start the small talk etc. Now imagine this, she’s already thinking about whether you’ll be simply friends, or if there are deeper intentions. She’s thinking of the possibility of a first date. Here’s a glimpse at the female brain:

“Does he like me?” “Is he going to ask me out?” If so, “when?” “Where will he take me?” “What will I wear?” “How tall is he?” “Can I wear heels?” “Has he dated another girl? If so, “who?”Is he still dating her?” If not, “why?” “Does he have certain standards, boundaries, and expectations?” “What is he passionate about?”

The list goes on and on and on and on and on.

She’s thinking of every detail. 

NOW, that was an example of multi-thinking. I hope I didn’t scare you. I’m only being realistic. Another thing,  this IS NOT to say all a girl ever thinks about is her future wardrobe and dates.  This is not true at all. If I asked these exact questions with every guy I met I’d be in an even more complex state of mind.

She needs your help, but she forgets to ask. Multi-thinking is a habit that is constantly occurring. It occurs in the subconscious and conscious. It’s exhausting. If you would be a gentleman and  lay out your intentions-whatever they may be- right away, she will be eternally grateful. She’ll only have to think and inquire about what you haven’t brought up. Her brain will be less likely to explode.  Girlfriends have trouble assisting their girlfriends think about one thing at a time. It’s nearly impossible.

If you’re still with me, AWESOME.

As my friend McKenzie would say, “Does that make you feel…good about everything?”

Since you have the enviable ability to think things through slowly and thoroughly, and even one thought at a time, let this marinate your thought process for the next 24 hours. 

P.S. I’m writing a post just for the girls too. What do they need to know about guys? How are waffles distinct?

-Kayla

Writing Is Hard

Writing is hard.

Every writer has this defining point in their writing journey where they ask themselves the questions:

 “Why am I writing?” “Is it all worth it?” “Who should I write for?” “Should I write for high stats, or what’s on my heart?”

I’ve been blogging for a year. I haven’t even reached 2,000 views. I’m pretty sure I get the most views when my mom shares my posts on her Facebook page. My fan-base is limited. (I’m not sure it even qualifies as a fan-base). I’ve signed up for about every suggested social media site one could think of. And, consequently, I haven’t seen much change in my stats.

I continue writing. If I don’t write, I feel as if part of me is missing. Still, it’d be nice for a complete stranger who is more successful than I have been to recognize my work. There is no denying that wishful thinking.

I hate sounding cliche, but no great thing comes easily. Good things come with hours, weeks, even years of hard work.  That’s what I missed when I first began my journey. I missed the tears, the calloused fingers, the rejections, the failed attempts. The ceremonious burning of drafts. The promise to get up, leave, and never write another word. Those are defining moments in any artist’s life. The rise to fame hardly compares to the time spent laboring to arrive at that point.

So if it’s not easy, why do it? I’ll tell you why. Because that one person who is impacted by your writing, makes up for the lack of viewers, the low stats, the rejection letters.

One of my Twitter followers responded to my post stepping away for awhile with these words: “You shine.” Folks, that’s why I keep writing.

If you write for numbers, there’s good chance you might not write anything great at all.

Keep at it.

-Kayla

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