Thursday, December 05, 2019

When You Feel Mistreated and Betrayed

For the most part, I can safely say that most of us like to be thought of as a "good person," or somebody to be respected in whatever way. When you focus on the fact that somebody out there is creating some sort of smear campaign against your character, this deeply affects a certain type of person. I'll put it this way: if you have nothing to worry about, then this will most likely not affect you. The reason being is that perhaps, the people listening to the garbage already know you, and they know your character and will take things with a grain of salt. Most people look at the source of who is saying these negative things about you. If it happens to be, what I call a "gossip hen," then most will definitely overlook the inflammatory comments or accusations against you. I remember an acquaintance of mine recently told me something negative about another mutual acquaintance. My #1 rule is this: never take it as truth. Always judge for yourself. I don't listen to somebody else's story, even if it is true, because that's not "my" experience with the said individual. And even if I have a bad experience with somebody, that's my business alone. I do not believe in smear campaigns, or ruining somebody's reputation just because of one bad experience. If I don't particularly care for someone, and another person talks highly of them, I never "correct them." And that's something many people know about me. 

Suicide is Not the Answer

I am writing this because I have a friend who recently tried to take her own life. She was extremely disheartened over what her closest friends had said about her. So with her permission, she let me write this post (anonymously of course) because I was where she was not too long ago for different reasons. 

My reaction to what she was upset over is pretty much summed up here:

Eventually, if you truly want to get to know somebody better, give it time. 

"You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." ---Matthew 7:15-20 

Most of all, you can get a good glimpse of somebody's character by their words, or "loose" topics. I tend to shy away from people who are too eager to talk about something entirely inappropriate, or the ones who corner you with gossip you don't need to listen to. Those type of weak-minded people are bored. They're looking to drum up some kind of drama because they have nothing spectacular brewing in their own lives. It's also a sign of low self-esteem, so whenever this happens, just pray for them and keep them at arm's length. They need you to side with them and make them appear relevant. 

Many years ago, I lived in this sort of mess. It was so exhausting. There's a scripture that I now live by. It has helped me a great deal, because it encompasses all things that are soothing, calming and good for the soul. I don't care how other people live, or what they do or who says what about who. 

I care about this: 

"Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine (yes yes yes) and enjoy their work---whatever they do under the sun---for however long God lets them live. And it is a good thing receive wealth from God and good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life---that is indeed, a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy." ---Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Perspective

To enjoy your life with good health is everything! Of course there are going to be some challenging times in our lives, but it's up to us to trust God and let Him work it out for you. Not too long ago, I was having a really hard time coping. It brought me to one of my lowest points. I sought out for help, and reached out to God. It was as if He lifted me out of the pit into a higher level of mental stability and health. To have experienced that kind of low made me realize how precious life really is. It also made me more aware of how many people struggle with their mental health, especially around the holidays. I knew this was a trigger for mine, but I looked around at all of God's blessings that are still with me today, and gained a new perspective. Sometimes, you have to crash and burn in order for God to build you back up. Our challenging times are the pressing times. Just like grapes that get pressed and crushed---it eventually comes out as fine wine. So never be ashamed about what you have been through or what you are experiencing right now. Just know that it does get better, and your perspective is everything. Once a negative thought slips into your mind, replace it with one of God's promises. 

Don't Drink Their Poison

Never let somebody's accusations about you make you fall into that pit of despair. Care about what God thinks of you---not what people may assume about you. Sometimes, it surprises me how much other people give a rat's tail about how others think or talk about them. Let them talk! Let the other people see the source and judge for themselves, and if the people who are listening are intelligent enough, they'll find out for themselves instead of listening to this sour grapevine. 

When you think about it---it's like, why can't everyone just be kind? Why can't people mind their own business? Why can't people shut their mouths and not cause trouble? 

Why? Because they're bored. Idle time is the devil's playground. And that's a fact.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

People Are Scared of Your Grief

It's strange, I used to think it was a blessing if someone can be open and honest enough to talk about their struggles to a friend or loved one, but I'm finding that some people can't handle certain things. And that's ok! For example, if you're grieving like I am, and you talk about your lost loved one and still having a hard time coping from time to time, people tend to get scared of the intensity of your grief. It's totally understandable too. I remember when my mother was still alive, and a friend of mine had lost her mom. It was like my mind couldn't absorb the impact of what my friend was going through. I didn't know how to approach her, or how to even comfort her. I thought that maybe she needed some time alone to deal with her incredible loss. I mean, what could I have possibly done in order to help someone with the worst grief imaginable? Part of me was scared---scared of losing my own mother, and scared of facing the reality of what can happen at any day, at any hour. Sometimes death can bring out the fear of our own mortality. So now that I've lost my own beautiful mother, I'm ok writing about it, but to have it interfere with my social life, like going through a depressive phase, (because let's face it --- grief comes in waves,) or having a little bit of a mental health crisis --- that can have people fleeing the scene of your "scary grief." I'm generally a happy person who loves life, but there are times, especially these days when I'm adjusting to a new home and a new life, where I find myself disoriented from it all. I'm glad that my grief comes in waves, where it lets in the happiness of my true authentic self. Most of the time, I love joking around with everyone and laughing. I'm not a very "intense & heavy" person to be around. I love light-hearted and uncomplicated interactions. I love to enjoy my friends and have some laughs. Life's too short. But on those days when I'm sad, I have to pull away, because I don't want it to infect others who are going through a 'happy wave.' I think it's safe to say that we all have our good and bad days. We just need to know how to navigate it in the beginning, especially when the waves come more frequently than not.

A couple of weeks ago, I was praying for God to remove the intensity of my grief. I was asking Him to take this anxiety and sadness away.

And when I opened up the Bible, I turned to this passage:

"Don't be afraid, for you are deeply loved by God. Be at peace; take heart and be strong!" --Daniel 10:19

It's ok to be afraid of someone else's grief. That's our own natural defense mechanism of how some of us cope. There's no wrong or right way to cope either. But if you are going through some sort of grief, like a loss of a parent, sibling or child, then expect your friends and loved ones to be a little distant. It's not that they don't want to be around you, it's because they may be afraid to feel what you're feeling, especially if they love you...especially if they're scared of losing their own loved ones. It's like watching a movie where someone is dying of cancer, and in the end, we're all sitting around the sofa passing the Kleenex. Life can be brutal sometimes, so when you feel like you're all alone in your grief, give it time, talk to God and know that this too, shall pass. And when the fog of grief seems to lessen, then the presence of your friends and loved ones will be more visible. Don't take offense to it---it's just how life works.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

For the Brokenhearted & Crushed in Spirit

Is everything ok? And of course, the answer is, "I'm fine." All of us walk around with so much emotional baggage, no matter who you are and what you've been through. If I said to you right now---think of something that breaks your heart. You're either already thinking about it, or have the mental archived file pretty handy. We've all been hurt, we've all lost someone, either through death or by breakup, and if you dig deep enough, you can still feel that initial pain. There's definitely healing with time, but time does not take away the heartbreak. God heals all wounds, but it's in our weaknesses that He is strong for us. Like being afraid to do something---it's not trying to get rid of the fear in order to do something that you're afraid of, it's having the courage to do it in fear. That's what being strong is all about.  Courage is to face something that absolutely terrifies you. God doesn't take the fear away, he gives you the strength and courage to face what you're dealing with. That mountain becomes smaller and smaller, but it's still there nonetheless. It never goes away, it just becomes smaller.

Grief 

Grief can be a scary thing to go through, especially if you're in it alone. And what I mean by that is, either you are alone physically, or you have people around you who truly do not understand what grief is like because they either haven't lost anyone of importance as of yet, or they simply just tucked away their emotions for a later date---and there will be a later date. It eventually comes out in some form or another. Holidays can become sketchy for some. Many develop new traditions, while others still go on with same traditions, mourning the loss while staring at the empty chair that was once filled.

Self-Medicating

We all try to soothe our souls by delving into something to distract us, whether it's good or bad for us. Some will find solace in a bottle, while others will find their comfort in food. Some turn to drugs, while others turn to exercise and healthy eating, to avoid whatever their loved one suffered with. Many turn to prayer and meditation for their peace of mind, while others start pushing away God, because they no longer believe that God would make them suffer this way. Some have meaningless affairs, ruining their own family unit, while others start reconciling with their family, holding onto family traditions and even making new ones. Some become bitter, developing negative thought patterns, while others become more positive, seeing the blessings in what was and what's to be. They see the bigger picture as having to be blessed by their past experiences. And while there seems to be "bad" and "good" ways to cope, none are to be judged. We're all human and handle things differently.

Unsolicited Advice 

Give people a break when they say something that's not in the handbook of "how to handle a person going through grief." There are so many people who have developed this intolerance of how other people respond to their tragic experience. "Oh, there's a reason for everything," or "He/she is in a better place now," and "Time heals all wounds." The person mourning will either blast them with their distaste or badmouth them at a later time about their 'crappy cliched advice.' But the thing is---they are truly trying to comfort you. Maybe it's a huge cliche----but they're doing their best and they mean well. Give people a break when they try to reach out to you. Their advice may not be the best advice, but they're reaching out trying to make you feel better. You gotta give them credit for that. And hey---it just may be their belief that they're in a better place and that everything happens for a reason. So what! Ever since social media has taken on 'real life'---everyone has rules now. Even if you say "thoughts and prayers" ---that has now become the big faux pas of condolences. It's redundant and overused. So what! They're simply telling you that you are IN their thoughts and IN their prayers. Who cares! Take it for what it is and be grateful.

The Essentials Needed For a Broken Heart

This is my own personal advice. For myself, I tend to think outside the box. I don't send flowers, because let's face it, those flowers will remind you of your lost loved one. When I had to take flowers and plants from people who were at my parents' funeral, it was appreciated, but every single time I looked over at the beautiful flowers and plants, my heart hurt. So what I do for other people is cook a pan of their favorite meal. If they're up to it, maybe even stay with them, and sit with them in silence if need be. If they feel like talking, I just listen. They can cry, scream, vent, or grab a hug from me. Sometimes no words need to be spoken. Run some errands for them, cook for them, make them coffee and tea---just nurture that person. Let them know without words how important their broken heart is by just being present. Flowers die. Food provides comfort and nourishment. Giving them your time and energy lets them know that there is still love in this world. It gives them hope. I'm grateful for my sister-in-law who stayed with us when my mom died. She brightened up our home with her humor, made some amazing dishes for us, and just comforted us by her mere presence. I'll take that over flowers any given day. (Thank you, Bernadette.)

It's hard not to lose hope while suffering such a huge loss in your life. But keep in mind, that God created your loved one, God has always been inside of them---inside of His creation, so all is not lost. The best comfort is going to God with all of your emotional needs. Talk to Him as if He was in the room with you listening, because He is...He is in your heart listening. Every single thought is known, every single word has been captured before it was even said.

Jesus said, "There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly."---John 14:2

"God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted." --Matthew 5:4

"He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds." ---Psalm 147:3

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."---Psalm 34:18

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

All Hallow's Eve & High Emotions

At the risk of sounding like a party-pooper, I've never been a real fan of Halloween. I do however, love the foliage, and how the vibrant colors can make the darkest of days seem bright. As a writer and musician, my creativity is at its highest...and so are my emotions. I guess if you look at artists, (writers, painters, musicians, sculptors, etc.,) you'll notice that their best work is done at the highest peak of their emotional state. We feel more. We grieve more. We even sense other people's emotions, as most of us are empaths. We have an intuitive way about others, whether we tap into it or not. If you read about the origins of Halloween, (All Hallows Eve)---it's celebrated on the 31st of October however, tracing back to its roots, this holiday was really celebrated as Samhain, a time where death was celebrated. Samhain was a celebration of the death cycle of Mother Earth and the honoring of the downtime between the end and the start of a new cycle. It's also been known that the veil between the living and the deceased is at its thinnest. So if you're like me, and sensitive to spirits and their presence, you'll see, feel and hear, quite possibly even smell their presence around you. More so, it's about the death of letting go of what was, and the start of a new beginning. It all sounds very 'positive' and renewing, but if you're a Christian, you may want to steer clear from celebrating it, and instead, blessing your home with anointing oil. It all seems incredibly innocent, as people bring their children out to celebrate this holiday which was based on Pagan and Satanic customs. And hey, my mom brought me out trick-or-treating and we had lots of Halloween parties, but as I grew more into my faith, I learned more about other people's faiths as well.

And just because my friends who are Pagan or Wiccan celebrate this holiday, it doesn't mean I think badly of them---it just means we have different faiths, and that's OK. We can coexist.

Even though my faith lies in Christianity, I do believe the origins and beliefs of what All Hallow's Eve stands for. I also believe in ghosts and our deceased loved ones contacting us, whether through dreams, a familiar scent, a light touch and even audible voices. I've always been able to see and hear them. Madelene has even seen them with me in our old home. She was an older lady who roamed around aimlessly, in that typical long white gown and white hair. She was the first owner of the house. Her name was Margaret. My father and I first started seeing her in the late 90's. She was timid and would hide behind the couch as my father would grab his midnight snack. Then she would run inside my childhood bedroom (which used to be the master bedroom when it was first built.) We told my mom and Madelene about her, but they just gave us a look like, "Yeah, sure." And then one day while Madelene and I were lying outside out on the hammock, Margaret peeked outside through the screen door window. I didn't say one word. I looked over at Madelene to see her reaction, and her face turned white! She looked at me and said, "Did you see that?" Another time, she saw the same huge orb that kept floating through the upstairs living room. Many of my sightings were confirmed by her sightings. Even in my new townhome, as of late, I see a random person walking down the hallway, or passing through the dining room into the kitchen. It's as if they're in another dimension and they don't even notice that I'm there. It's not "scary" or weird, it's just someone else living their other lives somewhere else, and yet in the same spot. This morning, I took my anointing oil and blessed each threshold and window in Jesus' name. It's important to do that in order to stay protected from the not so good spirits.

Another vivid connection I had with a spirit was my 'thoought-to-be' deceased mother. As I was reading an article at 3am (which is technically the witching hour,) I heard my mom's voice, as if she was excited that she got through the veil. She said, "Deb--bie!!!" Like a high "Deb" and a low "bee"---if that makes sense. So once I heard, "Debbb---bieeeee," it didn't feel right. I knew that without a doubt, that was not her. It sounded like her, but it was not my mom. Be careful when you encounter something like this. They're called "familiar spirits." They're basically demons disguising their voice as your deceased loved ones. The point of that is---you'll be tempted to rely on their communication, rather than a conversation or prayer to God. The devil can mimic anybody he wants. He's clever and will tell you secrets that you and your loved one could only know. That's why when psychics say, "Oh, they're telling me you have their locket stashed away in your closet on the top shelf." And the other person will be like, "Wow! How did you know that! She is real!" The devil also knows this. He knows everything, even every written word of the Bible. Remember, he was a fallen angel. That's why you shouldn't ever trust psychics or mediums. Even if you hear a familiar voice, be careful. In the Bible it says to test the spirits---which basically means, ask them if they believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In fact, the only spirit you should be communicating with is the Holy Spirit. But there are times when Jesus will place a hedge of protection around you if you need to give a message to your loved one, especially through a journal or even just a prayer-like sentiment. There's a big difference between contacting the dead, and giving a message to your lost loved one.

So enjoy today---enjoy All Hallow's Eve and all of its powerful energy it brings. But remember to hold onto your faith and bless your home as well as your pets. Bless yourself in the process. If you're like me, every hair on your body will be standing straight up as you walk through this highly energetic day. Trust your intuition and pray to God to give you discernment. Ask God to reveal the motives of other people as well. You'd be surprised how intuitive you can get during these next few days.

Happy Halloween, and enjoy the candy!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Words Have Power, Use Them Wisely

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." I've always loved that quote, because it's true on so many levels. To talk about great ideas, making new and exciting plans means you're setting up a positive future. The "average" mind discusses events, past tense---to live in the past is to be depressed, to live in the future can drum up anxiety. Anxiety can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. There is anxiety that is equivalent to anticipation, and I believe that's what this quote speaks about. But whenever I hear someone talking about somebody else's business, or speaking poorly of them, I always know that in my heart my name will be next on their list of discussion. In Judaism, it clearly speaks about how gossip can kill. They say, "Evil gossip kills three: the one who says it, the one who listens, and the subject of the gossip." Eventually, if all involved are not careful, they will end up being dragged through the muck. And of course, there's always three sides of the story: yours, theirs and the truth. Everyone has their own version of the story, even if they think they're telling the truth, sometimes the events can distort as their anger increases. Have you ever had a falling out with somebody, and someone comes along and says, "Oh, 'so 'n so' is so nice," and you feel like (or you actually say)---"Well, you don't know them very well then." Right when that thought sneaks into your mind to smack down that nice comment, stop yourself. Once you correct them and let them know what they did to you, then you become the "complainer," and most likely, that person listening to you will sort of steer clear of you. There are some people known to talk crap about people all the time---it's now become their reputation---just ignore it. Judge someone for yourself, not by what other people say about them. Make your own assumption, because whatever happened between whoever is their business only.

This is not to say you can't talk about people in general---I'm only talking about defaming someone's character, or speaking badly about them. Even if the person being spoken about is unlikeable or has a bad reputation---just ignore it. Don't speak of it and don't listen to it. Judge for yourself. I always give people the benefit of the doubt, until I can't anymore. And when I can't anymore is when they've shown their true colors to me. I never go by someone else's experience. I wasn't there. I'm not going to "be careful" about 'so 'n so' and I'm not going to take what anyone says as gospel. I go according to how they treat me. That's it.

There was a girl in our circle who everyone spoke badly about. I heard all sorts of things, like how how she goes online looking for men while she's married, how she never works and that she's lazy. Some even claimed she even stole stuff from their refrigerator while she was babysitting their kid, while others slammed her for simply being overweight. One day, I finally got to know this person as a person. I took the time to get to know her and spend time with her. She not only took care of her family, but she was an amazing cook, she worked from home doing stuff like eBay and had a craft business. She was funny, creative, kind and the most giving person I ever met. I never laughed so hard with someone before. Soon enough, I knew that all the claims that were spread about her were false. Every bit of it. I saw how she lived and let me tell you---her life was one to be admired. Her family loved her more than life. Her kids, now older couldn't say enough good things about her. I saw the true person behind all the slander. She was a complete angel in my eyes...and now, she's an angel in heaven due to health complications. But I am so happy that I saw through the muck, the slander, the lies---I saw her true authenticity. She always lit up a room with her positive attitude and bubbly personality. I will never forget her. Those who spoke badly about her, now speak really highly of her. What is it about people who speak so badly about someone, and once they die, they become "such a good person?" I'll never understand.

Words have power. Use them wisely.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Invisible Illnesses: Break the Stigma

When we see people, get to know people and try to gain some sort of intuitive vibe from them, we usually end up with the totally opposite of the truth. For instance, throughout my life, I have seen quite a few therapists. Almost all of them said to me, "You don't look like someone who suffers from anxiety or depression." And for the record, that's something a therapist should never say. They should know that many people carry around their burdens underneath a smiling face and a strong handshake. Many come from the corporate world, with having people skills that are taught from seminars. Some are just hiding it the best they can through their humor and warm greetings. But underneath it all, they're emotionally dying, begging for someone to just help them get out of that dreadful rut they're in. There are those who suffer with panic disorder, depression, PTSD, social anxiety and many other mental health issues that can be debilitating, especially in a social setting.

There are folks out there who have chronic illnesses, like fibromyalgia, sciatica pain, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis and many other invisible illnesses that plague us, either sometimes or most times.  It's frustrating having fibromyalgia, because sometimes I'll go walking around these ponds in my town with my dog. It's a good walk and they even have markers to let you know how many miles you walked. On a good day, I can easily do 2-3 miles. On a bad day, I can't even get out of the house. Some of my friends get confused, and I'm assuming that when I decline on the 3 mile walk, they just think that I'm lazy. I'm not. I just can't do it. Having panic disorder comes in waves as well. So if my heart rate is through the roof and I'm having an extremely difficult time breathing, there's no way I'm gonna do that walk. In colder months, my asthma flares up, and again, the invisibility of these ailments come with a price: disbelief.

This is not a post to make you feel bad for me. This is more about spreading awareness for all people with invisible illnesses, so that others know that maybe the person who pulled up in the handicap parking spot may have heart issues, or emphysema, like my dad had. He didn't get enough oxygen into his lungs to walk that far. When people judge others based on outward appearances, and the "good days" they're having being capable and able, they may want to consider the possible suffering they're going through. Just like when I told you about my therapists who assumed I didn't have "bad anxiety" because I was "put together well" (in their own words) --- that's an assumption based on their patient trying to appear OK. When I walk out of my house, I want to look OK. I don't want people feeling bad for me. Although nobody needs to know your business, sometimes you have to let them know the truth, and become a little more vulnerable, especially to a therapist. Take off the smiling theater mask, let them see you for who you are.

As for friends and strangers who see us out and about, it's frustrating because there's not enough awareness made about chronic illnesses---the invisible types that some people want to keep to themselves. I don't tell half my friends and family what I go through, some know, while others don't. I hate reaching out for help when I need it because it's embarrassing. I want to be capable and able to do anything, but sometimes, there are days when I can't do a damn thing other than hug my dog and pull the covers over my head.

I remember my mom used to say (in her own words, verbatim) --- "Oh when Debbie has a good day, boy is she amazing!"

(Ok, that just made me cry a little.)

My mom knew me inside and out. She understood all of my ailments, and we even chuckled over some of it to lighten it up. She knew how much I wanted to do, and on my good days, she was amazed. Sometimes I was even amazed. When the bad days came, instead of me being her caregiver, she became mine, or at least tried. I told her she didn't have to do anything but just be her wonderful self. She was always so giving and thoughtful. She made me feel valid, and knew how much I struggled with everything. When she became ill, my fibromyalgia flare ups got worse due to my stress and anxiety. It was like my anxiety fed off the pain and the pain fed off the anxiety. It was a vicious cycle that I couldn't break away from. I ended up having the worst insomnia for the years she was ill. I wouldn't go to sleep until 4am, leaving me to wake up later due to exhaustion. My life was on hold and I knew that each night would be a night full of seizures and chronic pain.

Cancelling events, appointments, or a lunch date would leave people feeling as though I didn't care enough about them. Declining invites also made them feel like I didn't want to have anything to do with them. That was not the case at all. And maybe I should've been more honest with them, other than saying, "I don't feel well, can we do it another time?" I thought that was good enough, but in all honesty, it does kinda sound like a crappy excuse. I know most of us don't want others knowing our business, but sometimes, when you really care for the people you are cancelling on, it's important to explain to them what's happening. With complete raw honesty: I'm not very reliable when it comes to "making plans" or keeping an appointment. I try to be, and on good days, I'll be there with a smile.

So my point of this write up is, try to understand when somebody cancels on you, or they let you down in some way. Maybe they're not feeling well and they're embarrassed to let you know. Having an invisible illness (even mental health issues) can be the one secret they don't want others to know about. There's a huge stigma on both types unfortunately. The more awareness that is made, the more understanding and knowledge that comes with accepting others as who they are, not who we think they are.

And always know, it's OKAY to not be OKAY. Just do your best every single day, and if your best is just getting up to shower, then you've accomplished a lot.

What is Invisible Illness?

An invisible illness is an umbrella term for any medical condition that isn’t easily visible to others. This includes chronic physical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and others — but also mental illnesses. Living with an invisible illness often leads to judgement and criticism because others believe you look fine on the outside, and therefore must be “making up” your suffering.
Unlike having a condition that’s observable, those with invisible illnesses often face a lack of social awareness and additional stigma, As a result, these individuals often face more skepticism, and are accused of being lazy or moody and in need of cheering up, going out more, calming down, or a host of other dismissive judgements.
To complicate matters, like many chronic conditions, mental illnesses tend to ebb and flow in severity — some days, weeks, and months go really well, and during others it’s difficult to work, socialize, and function, confusing those who can’t “see” why one day is good and another a challenge.----read more here. 


For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What's Our Purpose In Life?

Your life, your environment, your friends, your loved ones, your work and your entire world can change at the drop of a hat. Everything you know now can be taken away tomorrow. There are no lifetime guarantees on anything. Relationships and marriages fall apart, families break away from one another, people get sick---some recover while others succumb to their disease. One day you're wealthy, and the next minute, you can be standing on a long line at a food pantry hoping to find a few cans of soup for your children. It's crazy to think about all the possibilities that can happen to us. We aren't immune to anything. There've been wealthy stockbrokers -- billionaires, who have hit rock bottom. Some sought solace in a bottle while others simply fell into a deep depression over losing their spouse and family.

Goals

Years ago, I worked in the corporate world, trying to climb the ladder of success. I wanted nice things for myself, but most of all, I wanted to live a fulfilling life, going out to nice restaurants or entertaining friends with big parties at my house. I wanted to spend my money on "time spent" with loved ones. Even if it meant less clothes and holding off on buying a new TV or some other luxury, my main focus was LIFE. Life with family, life with friends, life with my partner....to live and to give. To help others or make somebody's day by helping them when they're down 'n out.

When I started working from home, it was gradually turning into something I never expected. With the advertising and link placement requests for this blog, it gave me an income that helped me realize what's most important: my sanity. My articles were mirrored off from another online magazine that made some pennies, but not as much as the advertising. My main focus on my work was always mental health, quality of life and most of all, God's help in all of this. I wanted to help people through my writing, not make a profit. But if I did make a profit, it had to be unnoticeable---a hyperlink in a word, not a huge ad blinking in my reader's faces.

Resist the Devil

The other day I received an offer from a rep from Facebook Articles. They saw my business page which has a verification blue tick on it, letting people know that I'm a legit writer (or whatever I am) and they wanted me to post 3 articles a day and pay me in advance. They offered me $3,000 a week. No, I didn't add an extra zero to that. You may think I'm silly for doing this, but because they wanted to throw a bunch of nonsense and 'buzz advertising' articles up on my page, without any of my content. I graciously declined. I know I don't have huge audience like I once did years ago. When my mom fell ill, my work suffered and my main focus was caregiving. My grief after she left the world made it even worse. I tried to write, but it was all I can do to muster up one word.

Back to the $3,000 a week offer...

I said I wasn't interested because they were taking God out of my work. They were taking my experience with anxiety disorder, and my testimony of God helping me out of the equation. See, the devil will throw a bunch of tempting offers your way---worldly offers. But if I can win souls, or inspire someone to go to God when they feel anxious or depressed, that's worth much more than $3,000 a week. And trust me, I need that money! But I need God more. The devil will always offer you money, fame, riches---whatever you want, in order to throw God out the window. I will never do that. I will never sell out. I will never not work for God. And if that means I have to suffer financially in order to help other people, then my life was worth living. I mean that with all my heart and soul---I'm not trying to make you believe, "Oh, I'm such a good person," because I'm not. I'm human. I'm a sinner. I have flaws and sometimes I can be less than desirable to be around. But the one thing the devil can never do is take me away from God, nor have me push God aside just so I can make money---a tool that is of this world.

You and I Are Not of This World

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." --Romans 12:2

I remember a very good friend of mine gave me advice about my blog and overall writing style and topics. She said, "You do a lot of this 'God stuff,'----maybe it would be a good idea to cater to everyone, instead of just Christians." I said, "I do cater to everyone, but I would never throw God out of my work." She insisted that I was missing out on "going viral" and making some big money. But it's not the money I am after. I can't tell you how many times this advice has been given to me. In fact, another friend of mine who happens to be Catholic said, "I prefer reading your articles that have less scripture in them." But the whole point of this blog and my book I published was to show you how God responded to me through scripture. He talks to us in various ways: through words of your loved ones, through a sign you read on your way to work and most of all, through the Bible.

God Uses Imperfect People

God sometimes uses the least expected people to speak to others about Him. Some people would look at my life, and immediately say, "How can she be a Christian and justify her lifestyle?" The thing is, they don't know anything about my partner and I, and most of all, all scripture written about homosexuality was in Leviticus -- the Old Testament which is the Jewish law. Once Jesus died on the cross for us, we were washed clean, or otherwise we wouldn't be able to eat crustaceans of the sea (shellfish) or wear clothing of different fabrics as well as even getting a tattoo. This man on the right who still goes by the laws of Leviticus 19:28 that states, "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord." Seems like this guy didn't read that part in Leviticus.

"For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die." --Galatians 2:15-21

I am a person who is in a same-sex marriage with my partner of 25 years, who also happens to love God just as much as I do. Homosexuality listed in the Bible first started in the Old Testament with Leviticus. "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination."Chapter 18 verse 22. "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them." Chapter 20 verse 13.

I'll point out a couple of things here: first, this is being taken out of Leviticus, laws which only apply to Jews. Secondly, it speaks of only a man with a man---if you read it over, "to lie with a male as with a woman," ---this was an act of promiscuity and uncleanliness, due to the man's genitals being defiled, and then entering his wife afterwards. In the New Testament, when they do speak about homosexuality, it's about sexual immorality and promiscuity. There is a specific progression that leads to this “orgy” of anger. First, men “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (v. 18). Then they exchanged “the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (v. 25). Next, “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (v. 24). They “exchanged the natural [sexual] function for that which is unnatural (v. 26). Therefore, the wrath of God rightly falls on them (v. 18); they are without excuse (v. 20).

In layman's terms, it's essentially stating that these people put "idols" before God---not to be confused with worshipping other gods, but to put their lusts and desires before the Lord. I mean, if you really wanna get silly with this, even watching too much TV or going on social media too much is an "idol." If it takes more time than your time with God, then it can become an idol. In Romans, they were having orgies---having sex with anyone, whether it be male or female. This was "lust"---not love. This was promiscuity and reckless sex---not two people uniting as one who love one another. These scriptures were taken out of context and used as a way to condemn those who were gay or lesbian. In Sodom and Gomorrah, the story is solely about rape and humiliation. The angels came to Lot's door and asked for his sons---not his daughters, in a way to rape and humiliate them. This had absolutely nothing to do with being in a same sex relationship or marriage. This had everything to do with unnatural ways to humiliate somebody for punishment.

But that's not why I'm imperfect. My love for another human being does not make me evil or a "heathen." God knows my heart---God knows everyone's heart. In the world's view, it's a huge contradiction for me to be Christian and to be considered "gay." Throwing labels around comforts some people, but for me, I am not "gay." I am not a "lesbian." I am ME living my life with my best friend and doing my best to help people with my testimony. Never let anyone tell you that God doesn't love you because you love somebody of the same sex. It's not that simple. There are laws to obey that deals with morality---like promiscuity, which is bad all around, but to love someone and to share your life with your life partner is not a sin.

My Last Sentiments

You're here for a reason. You not only have a purpose, but you have multiple purposes. I learned this recently through confirmations of hearing the same message over and over again. For me, I feel that my purpose here on earth was to #1, comfort my mother. I was 7 years away from her last child, meaning I was a huge "oops," --yet she still chose to have me. My mom told me this a few years ago. She and my father were having marital issues at that time, and when she found out she was pregnant, she decided to have me to save the family. I will never forget this conversation while having lunch at our favorite restaurant. It touched me, because she trusted me enough to be so open that day. She usually isn't so open about things like that. So I was here for her when I was born, and I was here for her while she was grieving over my dad, and there for her when she fell ill to cancer. That's one of my purposes here. My other purpose was to let others know that God loves them, whether they were straight, gay, bi, trans---God's love exceeds the limitations of human love. It's unconditional and never wavering. It's transforming once you let the Spirit in. Even religious people have mocked me, hurt me, tore me down because I wasn't the perfect mold they were looking for. They doomed me to hell, playing God and threatening me with the lake of fire. But remember this, when somebody judges you, they're playing God---and those a huge shoes to fill. They're making up for their own shortcomings. Everyone --- I mean everyone falls short in the glory of God. We need to love one another as the scripture commands.

The Greatest Commandment?

The great commandment and the other commandment that is spoken just under it in Matthew 22:39 and Mark 12:31 are in response to an unnamed Pharisee, who was described as a scribe, or lawyer. This scribe/lawyer was testing Jesus, trying to trick Jesus into saying something disreputable, or scandalous according to their religion. Jesus responded by saying the greatest commandment was "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)

Just know God loves you more than anybody in this world can. You're here for a reason. You have multiple purposes in this life, whether you know this now, or you're still trying to find it. Never lose hope, because God's hand is always there when you need to be lifted out of the pit. You just have to have more faith.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

World Mental Health Day

It doesn't matter if you hide it well, or never tell a soul about your unraveled feelings you keep bottled up, the fact is, we all suffer with mental health one way or another. You may be independent and highly functioning, or you can be debilitated with agoraphobia due to your panic attacks. Bereavement also goes down as part of mental health issues and so does behavioral issues, like uncontrolled anger. We all share this common human element that we feel ashamed to share publicly. Fear of abandonment, depression, manic depression (bipolar disorder) and even hormonal imbalances, which can contribute to mental health issues. Chronic pain can put you in quite a depression as well. Pain is the most common factor for debilitating depression. Whether it is circumstantial, inherited or developed over time, we can all admit that we had or still have suffered from a mental health situation. And there's nothing to be ashamed of.

Myths and Phony Boloney Statements Made

"They're just lazy." Fear and anxiety can sometimes limit what a person is willing to do. Many people refuse to exercise due to their heart rate increasing, leaving them to panic and then have their heart palpitate, thinking it's a heart attack. They develop what's called PVCs (Premature ventricular contractions, are extra heartbeats that begin in one of your heart's two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a fluttering or a skipped beat in your chest. With more exposure to exercise and knowing what is triggering them can put relief onto the person so they'll continue to exercise without the fear behind it. But one of the myths told when someone with anxiety doesn't exercise is, "Oh, they're just lazy."

"They don't like me because they never hang out anymore." Social anxiety is another common thing people go through. Even the most independent of all people can develop social anxiety. So whenever you invite your friend over who has social anxiety, remember that it doesn't mean that they don't like you, it just means that they may feel a bit more anxious that day. Do not take someone's isolation personally. For real, it's not you---it's them. And the more you start understanding social anxiety, the more comfortable your friend will be and more opt to take you up on your invites.

"It's all in your head."  Well, yeah. But that's even more reason to take this seriously. Our minds are convoluted with fear and unraveling thoughts of 'what ifs.' It's interesting to see someone tell another person who is suffering with anxiety or depression to just "cheer up" or "you can change your entire mindset!" It's not that easy. It's possible, but it takes a lot of time and hard work with a professional, and sometimes medication if need be. You're dealing with a mind that's unlike your own. If you know somebody with anxiety, depression, PTSD or bipolar disorder---take it easy on them. Our mental health can sometimes determine our physical health as well. Many of us develop psychosomatic symptoms, which can feel just like a heart attack. It can cause back pain and cause fibromyalgia flare ups.

A Blessing or a Burden? 

From personal experience, I've witnessed how people react once I'm in a crisis mode. When I first lost my mother, everyone was so kind and generous, offering anything they could do for me, and if I needed to reach out to just call or come over anytime. But after the funeral, you won't hear from those people....possibly ever. When I lost my home and moved into our new house---I started getting rebound anxiety attacks. The adjustment was huge for me. Whenever I would reach out, I would always get abrupt answers, sometimes harsh, telling me to "calm down" or "you need medication" and worst of all, complete silence from some. Here's my theory on this as of now: find resources so that you never have to make that call to a friend or relative who resents you for having these mental health crises. Let's face it---people have enough on their plates, so taking on our issues would possibly be too overwhelming for them. And many times, people don't know how to say "No, I can't help you." And that's okay. For me, I have 1 psychiatrist, 1 psychologist, 1 mental health peer (in case I need assistance at home or if I need to run errands but too anxious.) I have a crisis patient advocate who will evaluate me over the phone or come to my location to see if I need to go to the ER or simply need to calm down. I can call these people during the day or 2am when I'm shaking like a leaf in the corner of my room. They're professionals, my friends and family are not. This is what they do for a living, so instead of reaching out to someone close, try gaining the resources so the "burden" is less for all of you. Remember, you ARE a blessing to many. You are NEVER a burden. Some people just have too many burdens of their own to take on new ones. I respect that.


It's OK Not To Be OK!

You are NOT weak for asking for help.
You are NOT crazy for having mental health issues.
You are NOT a burden.
You are NOT faulty.

You're simply a human being living in a faulty world. Sometimes it's all you can do to not self-medicate and throw in the towel. Your life has purpose. You're entire reason for being here is greater than you even realize. And when you have that 'ah-ha' moment of why you're here, you're going to feel calmer, more confident in who you are and why you are here at this very moment. Sometimes things just don't make any sense whatsoever. Ooooh, life's one big mystery. Yeah kinda-sorta, but when you sit back and look at the bigger picture, you have a bigger plan for your life. You have a much bigger purpose waiting for you. Self-love is important. Positive self-dialogues are imperative for your mental health. We listen to our minds more than we ought to. If you have negative thought patterns, you'll end up believing that "you're ugly" or "too fat" or "too skinny." You'll believe the lies your mind conjures up. By instilling positive self imagery on yourself, on the way you look and who you are inside--watch how you start feeling better little by little.

Be good to yourself, kinder to yourself. Forgive yourself more. Learn to adapt a whole new respect for who you are and what you do for others. Find purpose before you find out your real purpose. Do things ON purpose. Don't let anyone tell you that you 'need this' or that you 'need that,' unless it's from a health provider.

Have faith!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Get Behind Me Satan! I'm Jumping Out of My Comfort Zone!

The waves of grief are strange and unpredictable. It's like, one day you're doing great and feeling like you're somewhat healed, and then one night, you wake up in a puddle of tears because you dreamt of your lost loved one. That's what happened to me this morning. I was doing okay. I thought I was "fine." It was 2am when I gasped for air, trying to hold onto mom, half sleeping and half awake. Was it a visit? Was it just a dream? Was it my subconscious telling me I need to purge more in order to heal? I don't know. All I know is, I woke up incredibly sad. My heart was racing a mile a minute. I took a deep breath and praised God. "Get behind me Satan---not today, not today." Even though it was somewhat of a late start to the day, I got up, showered up and showed up. The devil wants us to live small lives---lives full of fear and dread. The power behind pushing through that heaviness, the dread that nearly consumes you is not easy. But if you're getting help by praying to God every single day, I promise you---it does get better and you will do things out of your comfort zone. I am not in my comfort zone just yet. I cannot tell you how hard it was to leave my home---the home my wife and I had dreams about renovating. It was the home we both took care of my parents in. It was the home that we made ours. Of course there were other factors that made me want to leave as well. Those things weighed out more, like the horrific winters being stuck up on a mountain with no electric for days at a time or the expenses of keeping up with an old house that needed a lot of TLC. New roofing, new pipes (that was costly) and keeping up with the landscaping. It was worth it because it was just an amazing, beautiful place. It was exciting to see the place look so nice, until winter came.

Instead of fighting for the house, I jumped out of my comfort zone and into a new townhouse. It wasn't like I moved from New York straight into Texas---that's one hell of an adjustment. My new life took some getting use to. A change like that: deaths in the family and a major move are all apart of what they call "major life changes." I wasn't really surprised when I started getting panic attacks for the first few weeks. I learned a few things from these panic attacks, that sometimes had me worrying that it was my heart.

You're Not Going to Die

When you realize what it is, anxiety (the devil's attacks) will start leaving you alone. I finally got fed up with my rapid heart rate one morning. It was 4am, and my heart was out of control. Instead of checking my pulse---I started breathing in and out, and with each exhale, I muttered, "Praise Jesus." I did that five times, and all of the sudden, my heart calmed down and I fell asleep in a second. Later on, I woke up calm, hopeful, and full of excitement that it really worked. And then it happened again. I started breathing in and out, with the exhalation of "Praise Jesus." Gone. Poof. Just like that. There's power in His name. When you praise Him in the storms, in the midst of chaos, you are instilling faith. You're telling God that you trust Him to take care of you. Resist the devil and he will flee. You will not die from a panic attack. And if you do die----what's the worst thing that can happen if you're a believer? You go straight to God. I'm igniting my faith in order to help with the anxious feelings of this new change. So when you feel anxious and your heart is fluttering, always remember that you are not going to die. That's number one. Number two is---God has your back in case you do. But usually, when we think something is going to happen, it never does. Just breathe in and out slowly with the exhalation of praising Him. It works.

Therapy Is Good, But It's Not Enough

Talk therapy is an excellent way to get an outsider's help, instead of complaining to your friends and family. I want to be a blessing, not a burden, so I have a wonderful therapist who helps me with coping mechanisms and listens to me---really listens to me where she can even remind me of something I forgot about. It's hard to find a good therapist. Trust me on that one. I went through dozens before I found someone who really heard me. As helpful as therapy is, it can be quite expensive. Most insurances don't cover mental health for some reason. Many centers will have a sliding scale system, going by your income. But it's always near $100 or more. I really needed the help, so I opted for once a week, but it was more than my car payment. Moving into our new home became a bit of a financial strain for now, until we catch up again. I need the therapy, but I can't seem to scrounge up enough pennies to make that happen right now.

What helps me the most is giving it all to God. Telling God all of my issues and struggles. Most of all, thanking God for everything He has provided. Trusting God, leaning on God and making God number one in my life---all of these things really work. Every single coping mechanism I used didn't work long enough. But if I used the breathing technique with praising God at the same time---it took the anxiety away almost immediately and for a longer period of time. There is something so powerful about casting your cares to God and trusting Him to help you in times of trouble. And sometimes, it feels as though God isn't there. But the teacher is usually quiet during a test. And yes, God does test our faith to see where we're at. Once He knows how much you trust Him, just call out His name and miraculous things will start to happen in your life. I know that some of my friends tell me, "What's with this God stuff you write about all the time?" It's about living a quality life while I wait for God to take me back to my real home. You can have heaven on earth if you have enough faith. Even when you're going through the most stressful time, call on His name and watch how the situation changes.

But I Don't Feel Anything When I Pray - Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers? 

Pray without ceasing! 
Faith is like a muscle. You have to keep exercising it in order for it to become stronger. And if your faith is strong enough and you are not getting your prayers answered, sometimes there's a blessing in unanswered prayers. Have you ever prayed for something in the past and have it turn out to be a really bad situation? I have. I wish that prayer wasn't answered. Sometimes, God may be protecting you from something He can see down the road. God sees the bigger picture, while we only see a small scope of things. Trust it when God doesn't answer. I remember my prayers weren't being answered last year, and God kept saying in different ways, "Just endure a little while longer." I wrote it down in my "prayer and answer book." He kept telling me to wait. I was praying for a place to live since we needed to get out of the home we were in. So I waited, and waited, and He gave me more than I even expected. If I would've taken things into my own hands and didn't wait on God, I would've been living in a weird efficiency apartment that was way too expensive. This is 100% true---I will never forget that. I almost settled into a home that would've caused so much grief. And now, I'm in a home that I fell in love with the moment I walked into it. That was God working in my life. Sometimes God says, "Yes," sometimes He says, "No, that's not good for you, and sometimes He says, "Just wait a little while longer."

When you feel that things are just too overwhelming and everything is going to crap---just say, "Get behind me, Satan! Not today, not today!"

"So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." ---James 4:7

Whether you know this or not, there is a spiritual war going on, and you're apart of it. It's all up to you how you want to handle it. Do you want God on your side, or do you want the devil to keep on winning? God has already overcome the world, so have some faith! Get outta' your boat and walk on water. Push through the anxiety, the sadness, the temptation to have a huge pity party---get excited about what God has in store for you.

"Each time he said, 'My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me." ---2 Corinthians 12:9

When you are weak, He is strong. It doesn't mean that "you" are weak, but the power of God is stronger than what we are capable of handling.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Complicated Grief: Is It Ever Truly Uncomplicated?

Having struggled with mental health most of my life, and then running into circumstantial challenges and major losses have all been a real eye opener. You get to see what your limitations are and how your body, mentally and physically responds to it all. And sometimes, you'll feel God's subtle hedge of protection, guarding you from things that you just cannot do alone. It's that type of inner strength you never knew you had. It's actually the inner strength you never had, because it was God's strength while in the midst of our weakest moments. That strength didn't belong to us.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” --2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

People Will Try & Comfort You

Any time someone would say, "Well, it does get easier with time," while referring to the loss of my mom, I just nod my head (without arguing) and mentally say, "But it doesn't." Another one of my favorites: "Take it day by day," yeah yeah yeah. This is not AA, this is not some sort of recovery group for addicts---this is the loss of a loved one you're talking about. I get that people mean well and they try to say comforting words the best to their ability, but sometimes, it comes off as these lame clich├ęs and platitudes that everybody else uses. Sometimes, the best thing is to just be silent and listen to them, even if they're doing one of those ugly cries. Comfort them with silence and a hug. That's it.

Death of a Loved One Can Cause PTSD

As I was watching a Facebook video on my phone about this young child having this rare disease that left her hospitalized all the time, I found myself in another world---in my own archives stashed behind my mind that I never really noticed was there. I heard the sounds of her machines that were supplying her with medication as well as keeping her vitals. It was a constant 5 second low beeping sound. My mind automatically took me back to when I was sitting with mom. Her face drooping on one side from an apparent stroke we had no clue about. Her body looked so uncomfortable, as they kept trying to prop her up as if she was alive and well. But that beeping noise. As the video finished, my flashback to that day wasn't done. Telling Mom my goodbyes, and how I loved her so much....I wasn't done. Playing with her hair and holding her lifeless hand...I wasn't done. Hoping she'd open up her eyes and miraculously, telling me that she feels better for some reason...I wasn't done. Flashbacks, and more flashbacks came rushing into my mind, until I was paralyzed with anxiety and debilitating grief.

As I went to sleep, I dreamt about my mother and I being together again. When I woke up 10 hours later in the guest bedroom, I realized it was 7am and I had to get up. She was fresh on my mind. I only intended to sit in the guest bedroom to grieve for a little while, not to sleep there all night. But something took over, where God comforted me in a way no other person could do. If you know me at all, you know that my sleeping habits are terrible. I either go to bed at 4 am or I wake up every hour. This was a straight through nonstop sleep---the type of sleep I used to get when I was a child.

You Got This

The one thing I never want to do is to burden others with my ongoing bereavement. God is truly the only one I go to when I'm grieving or need to talk. He either gives me messages of clarity or simply just comforts me in ways the human mind cannot even fathom. When I write about my grief, it's not to complain or whine or to vent---it's so that maybe someone out there who is grieving as well may find some relief in what I've found. And the one thing I've found that is the most consistent thing in my life is God's continual comfort and love. It's so true---He won't give you anything you can't handle.

"No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." --1 Corinthians 10:13

The 'weak' moments seem unbearable, as well as developing the patience for God to protect you from the overwhelming sadness, but it's something you have to go through. It's a process of purging and healing, purging and healing...and little by little, with more purging, there is more healing. Once you feel that sense that something within you had died exactly when your loved one died, you'll start to feel this sense of aliveness---this raw and unadulterated energy surging through your entire being. Perhaps it's more of a connectedness, or a spiritual awakening that lets you know that your loved one isn't too far away. Sometimes, people develop spiritual gifts that can help them through their journey with bereavement. Some may dream of their loved ones, while others can actually hear and sometimes feel their presence. This is something to be careful about, because remember, there are such things as "familiar spirits" ---demons trying to mimic your loved ones so that you'll keep returning back again and again. You'll know the difference---you'll feel the difference. In the Bible, it tells you to "test the spirits" to see if they're from God. Once you do---the familiar spirits will vanish. You didn't entertain them by noticing or engaging them.

Relying On Mediums to Contact Your Loved Ones? 

Stop trying to contact your loved ones through mediums and other sources, especially Ouija boards. That's a phone call to hell. I fell into these traps a long time ago when my Dad passed away back in 2012. I went to this psychic in Provincetown, MA. It was a tiny little basement shop that he had going on, where some man in an Elvis-like suit came out to greet me. He took me behind the beaded curtain to a table that had little candles and a bunch of Tarot cards placed in the corner. This man told me things he couldn't have possibly known. He was spot on and I even felt this sensation of hope! I started to tear up with happiness, but to only realize, that the only messages I was receiving were all from familiar spirits. The devil is extremely intelligent and knows every single detail about your life, even the little locket you have tucked away in your left pocket. They reel you in by telling you things that will amaze you---but it's all magic---literally magic. Black magic. It's all used to lure you into a world that you may not be able to get out of. It can open portals that may not be able to close again, so you want to be more cautious in your weakest moments.

Grief Support Groups Can Do More Harm

In my experience, grief support groups can do more harm, because it's triggering most of the time. By hearing other people's stories, you can develop the same level of sadness, or "think" you "should" be at their level of sadness, when in fact, grieving is a personal and individual journey. The one thing I really noticed about being apart of a grief support group was that I was absorbing so much sadness in one spot. There's something to be said for being around people who are carrying heavy burdens. It's good to reach out and help others while they're suffering, but while you are suffering, it would be more beneficial to surround yourself with those who are veterans of grief, or at least, more positive about their outlook on everything. The best source of help besides going to God, is to see a grief counselor, or a therapist who can get you through your worst days. They can show you coping mechanisms that'll help you with your process. I always felt this heaviness every time I walked out of a grief support group. Call me an empath or maybe I just absorb too much---it was all too consuming. The negative energy had rubbed off of me and I became more depressed walking out of there than I did walking into the group. This is just my experience. Some people have had positive ones, so take this with a grain of salt.

Stages of Grief

Boloney! There is no such thing as the "stages of grief." There is no levels to which a person goes through the same thing as someone else. Yes, we will feel denial at some point, and even anger, but to tell people that level 1 is this...and level 2 is that....is utter b.s. in my personal opinion. I didn't reach the "set" stages of grief. I felt some of them, while others I felt nothing at all. I was never in denial---ever. I saw my mom die and yes it happened. There was no thoughts of, "She didn't die!" If they're talking about 'denial of grief'---utter b.s. as well. I'm so sick and tired of hearing about the "stages of grief." It's like the 12 step program for alcoholics. I don't believe in it, while many do. It's convoluted with "should bes" and "never should bes" ----it's a messy and complicated way to try and help you recover. My suggestion is: feel every emotion you can. Purge it out. Cry it out. Talk it out with a professional and most of all, go to God with everything! I mean, every single little inkling or feeling you may be experiencing.



For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

When You Feel Mistreated and Betrayed

For the most part, I can safely say that most of us like to be thought of as a "good person," or somebody to be respected in wha...