(August 8, 2007)

A couple of days ago I felt so awful, even thinking I might be on the edge of depression again – all because I felt I had been leaning too heavily on my friends – bothering them too much with my phone calls and emails. Today I feel much better. It didn’t take long to get over. Makes me wonder whether I wasn’t a bit too quick to start complaining publicly about my insecure feelings.

Through helping a friend who was in some trouble I forgot all about my own. I find repeatedly that when I start to think about others rather than myself I feel better. When I do a little thing for someone else I don’t have as much of a problem. It might mean calling to see how someone who hasn’t been well is feeling. It might mean working on a piece of writing that might help others. When I forget about myself I don’t worry about how I look to others. I stop looking inside myself and look outside.

It’s the nature of depression – and mania as well – to focus on self. We become self-centered. I’ve learned that by practicing other-centeredness I can sometimes even ward off a depression when it threatens. It doesn’t always work, but I’m sure it has helped many times.

Facilitating my Living Room group has helped my emotional well-being in a big way. I feel stronger, more together. Today there are 37 members in the group. Of course, not everyone shows up at the same time. I receive frequent phone calls from people who want to start coming and phone calls from people who want to talk. There are always two or three that need some special attention. Serving the needs of these people has given me great joy. I feel I’m doing what God designed me for. Living Room has helped me stop thinking of myself overly much. I’ve prayed for a long time to be more other-centered and Living Room has been one of the answers to this prayer.