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Year Two, Day 357: Tone of Voice and My Prayer Tree!

Note: I wrote the following late last night: (So inspired was I!)

"I broke through my gloom this afternoon.  I had a really nice piano lesson session with an 8 year-old girl who has been studying with me since she was only about 4 years old. Her older sisters were my students when her mother was pregnant with her.  She was very proud to show me her practice sheet. She had made a commitment to practice at least 70 minutes this week. She did! So she got a little prize and much praise from me!  Then her older sister came in the room to chat. She is finishing her junior year of high school.  Very bright. She told me she was considering law school. I have known her since she was 6. It made my heart swell with joy to hear her plans. And I can totally imagine her as an attorney.  As I was leaving, her little sister told me I could not leave yet. "I have to give you a hug", she said.  Then the family dog came running out to say good-bye. It was like an episode from "The Waltons". Remember that show? I loved the ending..."Goodnight John Boy". lol

I felt the weight of my fog lift as I walked to my bus stop. Then my son called.  He was cleaning out his car and needed a bit of money for gas. I told him I would buy him gas if he would drive me to my next destination. He said he would, if I would talk to him in a happy tone of voice! 
 I realized that he was right. I tend to use my "firm" voice when I talk to him. Me, as a sensitive introvert should really practice what I preach. So our whole visit I talked like Minnie Mouse. With a British accent.  It made us laugh.  But it was not easy talking like a British Minnie Mouse!

However, it was a nice visit with my son.  I really need to be more mindful of my tone of voice with him.  He knows I do not always approve of his life choices, but I do love him.

My next student and I had a breakthrough with rhythm. He had been struggling with the rhythm in several pieces. I was having him use a metronome. But he was still struggling.  He was using an app on his mom's Iphone. But it did not have enough volume. So I wrote down some rhythm words. He now plays the "Imperial March" aka Darth Vadar theme singing the words "Cheese cheese cheese, hot dog, cheese."

It worked!

Although I started craving hots dogs and cheese!

And then...I just had several random nice conversations with strangers. One lady complimented my scarf. Another man had just gotten off of work. He works with develpmentally disabled adults, and as a security guard. He was quite proud of the fact that he had two jobs. He told me I had a nice smile.

Then, on the walk home, I put in my earbuds and turned on the radio. I decided to listen to Clyde Lewis of "Ground Zero".  I find his shows interesting, and he just seems like a real person. And a kind person, especially for a talk radio host.

AND he always has a pleasant tone of voice!

Hmmm...I think I am on to something here. Perhaps being a musician, I am overly sensitive to tone of voice. My son, also, has always been overly sensitive.  Hmmm...

Anyway, Clyde Lewis had a doctor as a special guest. When I tuned in, an older gentleman called in complaining of severe depression.  The doctor recommended he alter his diet, including eliminating all gluten, fried foods and oils.

Get this : Then the caller said his depression was worse in the morning. Just Like Me!

 So I Googled "Morning Depression"and found a fascinating article on! Read on:

 "Morning depression* is one of the core symptoms of melancholia, a characteristic found in some people with major depressive disorder. People with morning depression may experience feelings of extreme sadness, frustration, anger, and fatigue. These feelings are often worse in the morning than in the afternoon or evening.

People who have depression with melancholic features often experience severe feelings of melancholia in the morning, but feel better as the day goes on. This condition is often more difficult to diagnose and treat than other types of depression.
Symptoms may include:

  • trouble waking up and getting out of bed in the morning
  • a profound lack of energy when you start your day
  • difficulty facing simple tasks, such as showering or making coffee
  • delayed physical or cognitive functioning ("thinking through a fog")
  • inattentiveness or a lack of concentration
  • intense agitation or frustration
  • lack of interest in once-pleasurable activities
  • feelings of emptiness
  • changes in appetite (usually eating more or less than usual)
  • hypersomnia, or sleeping longer than normal.
I have all those symptoms! The article recommends seeing a doctor.  It also recommends trying to go to bed at the same time each evening, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, avoiding exercise in the evening, sleeping in a dark, cool room. Everything to encourage a good night's sleep. I pretty much do all of these things. The problem is, I usually feel much better at night, so it is hard to go to sleep. And then darn near impossible to convince myself to wake up in the morning. But this is a start. I had no idea there was a depressive disorder specific to morning.  I am going to continue with the morning exercise and trying to get adequate sleep.  And continue losing weight. This article said very few meds help morning depression, except perhaps Effexor. The article does recommend "talk therapy". Interesting they do not call it counseling. I like the sound of talk therapy. Sometimes I just need to vent. I think that is why I like blogging so much! The article also recommend "light therapy".    

"Light therapy, also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy, can also help treat people with morning depression. In this type of therapy, you sit or work near a light therapy box. This box emits bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. The exposure to artificial light is believed to affect the brain chemicals linked to mood. Although generally recognized as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder, some people with depression may find this approach helpful."  I was a little flabbergasted to see the article also suggest ECT. (Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can also be an effective treatment. In this procedure, electric currents are passed through the brain to intentionally trigger a seizure. The treatment appears to cause changes in brain chemistry that can reverse symptoms of depression.)"

That sounds a bit medieval! I believe I will pass on the ECT, thank you!
 More research forthcoming!

Aside from this revelation, these are the lessons Ι learned yesterday:
  1. Wake up early and walk vigorously, before I "think my way out of it".
  2. Continue to count and track calories. Focus on more water, veggies and fruit.
  3. No processed meat or fried foods. (Guess I need to avoid my beloved Spam musubi!)
  4. No eating after 8:00 p.m. 
  5. Pray all day!  
  6. Be thankful to God for everything. 
  7. Pray for others first.
  8. Continue to be kind, even if it hurts.
  9. Be aware of my tone of voice. If I am feeling judgment creep in, pray for the person instead.
  10. But stand up for myself kindly and firmly if necessary.
  11. Learn something new everyday.  Currently, I am learning Greek, learning how to knit and I promised one of my piano students that I would dust off my ukelele and start practicing. Teachers must walk their talk!
  12. I know I tend to feel sorry for myself and dwell on my imperfections more than is healthy. I have been nicknames "Eeyore" by my loving family members.  Not sure how this has served me. But I'm also not sure how to break my Eeyore mentality without becoming mean spirited. That will take more pondering and prayer.
  13. Focus on joy!"
Note: It is now 7:00 a.m., Thursday.

Ironically, I am up early this morning. 

My mood is about a 5 (scale of 1-10, 1 being severe depression, 10 being absolute joy.) I slept like a log last night!

 I am about to put my running shoes on and walk a brisk 3/4 mile in the sunshine for my coffee reward. I will add my food log later.

9:00 a.m. I have found a lovely place to do my morning prayer, journaling, bible study and pondering!  Especially on a glorious day like today. Under a tree! This brings back fond, sweet childhood memories. I knew I had some happy childhood memories! And they were in the summer, sitting under a tree in the backyard with a pile of library books by my side.  At this moment, my mood is elevated to about an 8!  

I also realized why I had an off day yesterday. I did not start my day with prayer. There is no entry in my prayer journal. I apologize to God this morning.  I felt His forgiveness in the warm breeze, blue skies and sounds of birds singing. :) 

My Prayer Tree!

Later (1:00 p.m.)  My mood is about a 4. I feel tired and my cough is tormenting me. But I got a lot done this morning.  I am teaching this afternoon. After my last student, I plan on going to the gym and sitting in the steam room and jacuzzi.  Tomorrow I do not work in the office, so I will use tonight as some much needed relaxation therapy. 

Here is my food log for the day. I am going to put down what I INTEND to eat from 2:00 on. If it changes, I will be an honest woman, and edit it tonight.  But I won't have anymore time for blogging today, so wanted to get it down. 

Oh, and I stepped on the scale today. I am down another .4 pounds! I've been losing roughly .4 pounds a day by logging my food, limiting snacking to fruits and veggies, and most importantly not eating after 8:00 p.m. Yay!
    • 9:00 a.m. 1 12 ounce cup coffee with 2 International Delights French Vanilla single serve creamers, 1 tablespoon sugar. (80 calories. I looked it up. AND I used 2 instead of 3 creamers today! Better choice!)
    • 10:30 a.m. 1 serving "Quaker Instant Grits" with 1 teaspoon feta cheese and 1 tablespoon sliced black olives - (150 cals)
    • 11:30 a.m. 1 cup black tea - (0 cals)
    • 12:30 p.m. sliced carrots and 1 oz "LaTerra Fina Greek Yogurt Dip with spinach, artichoke and parmesan (50 cals)
    • 2:00 p.m. 1 bowl of #3 beef pho at Pho D'Alat Restaurant hot black tea and water. This one has less calories than the combination I had on Tuesday. I looked online, and beef pho was listed at 347 calories. But I added a bunch of sauce so, I'm guessing 350 cals.
    • 5:45 p.m.  1 Trader Joes roasted chicken patty (180 cals) and 20 Trader Joes Popped Barbecue potato chips (120 cals)
    •  6:15 p.m. Unsweetened Green Iced Tea (0 cals)
      7:15 p.m.  1 container Greek Yogurt (80 cals)
      7:55 p.m. One apple (55 cals)
    •  Grand Total: 1,065 cals!
Today was filled with revelations! But my biggest one is to turn to God first in prayer. Then the rest of the day will fall into place.

My fruit of the spirit I am focusing on today is "Goodness".  Never enough of that in this world!

Happy Thursday!

Talk to you tomorrow.



* The clinical name for morning depression is "diurnal mood variation"(}


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