despite the shininess of a new year, and regardless of all good intentions... a funk has descended. Is it the after-holiday-blues or a pronounced case of jet-lag? is it the bruise of an emotional injury that just needs time to heal or does it something to do with rising while still dark, working in florescent lighting and coming home to cold dark house on a regular basis? Is it S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) a lack of vitamin D or... the dreaded chronic depression snaking its way back into my life?
whatever the case, it's real and I'm having a tough time shaking it. I go to work, I come home and I nap. I slouch around the house when not napping and look longingly at the clock waiting for bedtime. My house is messy and I don't care (a shocker!) and perhaps the most telling of all, I don't feel like writing.
Depression has come and gone in my life more times than I care to remember but it's not something I can pretend isn't happening. Yet I desperately want to not fall back into the need for anti-depressants. I dug out my bottle of Vitamin D, which somehow I forgot to pack when we went to Costa Rica but probably didn't need considering how sunny it was there... but now home and facing one more dark drizzly day after the next... well the supplements are back on the counter next to my morning drug of choice, coffee.
I remember a conversation I had in the past with a well meaning friend. I had just shared with her that I was struggling with depression and she asked "What are you depressed about?" The question frustrated me because it's not like I had a specific thing making me feel depressed. It wasn't like I had a choice in the matter. Depression is so misunderstood sometimes. Yes, there are the times we feel moody or blue, sad or down in the dumps. This is a short lived emotion and we all could experience this at one time or another. True clinical depression is more than that. Much more.
Depression isn't a mood that can be shaken just because we decide to. It's a chemical reaction in the brain that is a response to illness, stress or other factors. Repeated exposure to those factors changes us. And then we often need help to restore us. At one point the doctor diagnosed me with dysthimia, a form of depression that tends to be less severe (as in thoughts of suicide and hopelessness) yet may take longer to treat because it is thought that it's not just the serotonin levels out of whack but also the dopamine. All of that to say it required a different combination of anti-depressant meds to level me out. And the doctor was pretty sure I'd need to stay on those med's for a long long time. Perhaps forever.
I didn't like that prediction but I was faithful in following the prescription for several years. But I also was diligent in making changes in my life for the better. I reduced the stress in my life, including eventually selling my business. I made sure I got plenty of rest and downtime. I increased my exercise program and made sure I was eating healthy. I made sure part of my healthy feeding was daily doses of The Word. Writing was (is) also extremely therapeutic to my well being. Eventually I made the decision to wean myself from my meds and have done very well. So feeling this extreme case of lethargy and funk has me taking note.
It is important to acknowledge the emotional hurt I mentioned earlier. Something happened a short while ago that has left me feeling pretty sucker punched. I can't write about it freely here but it was a betrayal of sorts. It has me looking at a passage from Acts where Paul and Barnabas have a falling out that is so severe that they end up going their separate ways. It has me wondering what the issue was over. It has me wondering how others handle it when a Christian brother or sister wrongs them?
I'll write more about this in another post but for today it's enough that I was able to write anything. For that I am extremely grateful.