I began writing a post on Wednesday referencing this blog entry I wrote months back. I had woken up one morning recently and realized that I had been happy for a long time. It was a good feeling. I’ve lived much of my life struggling with feeling melancholy, negative, and discontent. As I writing about this realization I started feeling uneasy. I’ve been genuinely happy for months now. I have been learning and growing as a person, and as a Christian….but, I can’t forever be on this high—right? Eventually, I will plateau, and then what? What happens when the love and fervent desire to grow in my understanding of Christ begins to wane? What happens when the happy settles into just trudging along through life? I’m afraid that anything less than the joy I’m feeling today will throw me into a state of panic. I don’t want to be sad. I don’t want to feel purposeless. I need this excitement that drives me to be better. The impending doom of losing my fight interestingly enough made me lose my fight for a day or two. I came home from work on Wednesday in a less than cheery mood. I wasn’t the nicest person. I wasn’t mean either. I just wasn’t much of anything really. So, I went out to have some time to myself. I talked myself through it and I prayed myself through it. I was a little better for the rest of the night and the next day. But, Friday came and I felt heavy. It was rainy and gloomy. I love rain usually but this was a relentless rain that seemed to drain the world of all color. I was in an official funk. I was so “down” and anxious all day. I went to church that evening. The lesson helped, but the mingling and chit-chatting before and after it made me want to curl up inside myself, never to emerge into this harsh world again. People were nice; I was just not in the mood and hated myself for it. Then Saturday came. The sun shone, and I felt better. Not great, but better. I didn’t do a thing except for play card games and board games all day with my sisters. I fell asleep thinking about the past few days. I was so scared of the “what if’s” that I brought them to life. I was scared of depression, and so I became a regular Eyore. I was scared of anxiety, and so my heart raced and my jaw clenched. I was scared that I would forget that people are beautiful and connection is essential, and so I became terrified and reclusive. It was dumb really, but I learned something through it. If you are armed with enough truth and faith and love and all that good stuff…you can do hard things. I think that my three days of “funk” were brought on by myself which was a mistake, but I dealt with them as best I could. I woke up with the sun instead of pulling the covers over my head, because I knew that would just pull me deeper. I took sisters out for a morning of fun because there is no use in making everyone as miserable as myself. I went to church even though the thought terrified me. I showed up, and maybe screwed up a little. But, at least I showed up. My mind and heart were flooded with second guessings and criticism of self and doubts, but I took those thoughts captive and talked myself through them. Sometimes you can’t help it if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Some days are rainy, colorless days. You can’t help that your hormones whack out from time to time. My mom has told me many times that you do the right thing even when you don’t feel like it. Your perseverance will be honored. Right actions will be followed with the right emotions. I made it through the past few days and believed that I could do hard things. I believed that the rain would eventually stop and the sun would break through the clouds casting light and color on everything once more. And it did disappoint. God did not disappoint. I did the right thing (mostly) armed with His truth, and the right emotions eventually followed. And, now the thought of falling back into my dreary old ways doesn’t frighten me so much. Happy is worth fighting for. And, I know that I am armed with the right things. Lamentaions 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I realize of course that their are varying levels of depression. Sometimes talking and praying yourself through it isn't enough. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't produce the right emotions. Your brain may be incapable of producing a certain chemical or maybe it produces way too much of another chemical. I don't want to make light of what can be a serious and dibilitating struggle for some. I don't want anyone to think that I am saying that if you had enough faith, will, and prayed enough than you would get better. It's far more complicated than that. But, for me and for now, this is my story. This is how I am learning to cope with my own personal brand of emotions.