Wednesday, March 12, 2014

waking up

i read this the other day and it made me pause :

now do i still think depression is a mental illness? yes, very much so. but i also think it's a state of deep rest for the brain and body. sometimes your mind just can't do all that you and others and life is requiring of you. and so you fall into a deep rest - usually at an inconvenient time - and stay there until you get the help you need to get out.

i call what i have experienced over the past mmmm year and a half practically a 'depression fog' : with the thoughts and plan for suicide getting me the help and course change i desperately needed. about a month ago i got on a high enough dosage of a medication that has really lifted me out of my 'depression fog.' it's like i'm waking up from the fog that took over my brain. i feel like i now have a baseline for normal again and can handle the ups and downs of life with more clarity. i'm remembering what it feels like to feel good and not just sad. instead of being only aware of how tired and drained i was i can now see other things like hope, healing, light. all of the darkness that surrounded me so oppressively is now seen with new, fresh eyes. it's not that it's gone, but that i am better able to handle the sad times. i feel more positive and re-freshed.

in a strange way, the fact that i had an anxiety attack on monday is actually a good thing :) because it means i'm looking forward in my life, making plans, anticipating things - and with that, in me - comes anxiety. so 'that old familiar pain' came rushing back and i was on the phone with susan within minutes calling for HELP to navigate my way out of the attack. even in the middle of it my brain was patiently helping me see that nothing could be done about my grand plans that night - i was reasoning with myself! it's amazing to see the changes that are happening.

in speech therapy i would always look for measurable changes. well one measurable change i see in myself is getting the trash ready to take out. it sounds simple but towards the end of me living on my own in my apartment i had trash bags lined up, ready to go to the dumpster, but the act of walking them out was too much for me. i remember filling a pizza hut box up with lots of water bottles and gogurts and snack bar wrappers. today i got my trash ready in a simple, smooth motion, and tomorrow i'll take it out. remembering how hard it was for me so many many months ago fills me up with compassion for myself. i had no idea how much i was struggling. how hard i was fighting to stay afloat. i needed resucing but i kept swimming out to sea.

through the process of getting on the right meds and being so tired i've mostly slept i have gained weight. it's something i can now talk factually about that even a month ago i would have been too shameful to even bring up. i don't want to stay this way forever, but the fact is right now, many of my clothes don't fit well and they are 2 years old. and seeing as i've been in a 'depression fog' i'm pretty literal when i say that i've worn the same pair of 3 pants and 5 shirts these past years. no thinking put into it. it was just on automatic. but as i've been changing on the inside and working with susan my outside has been wanting to change and i had a little extra money so with a prayer for courage i went shopping and got 5 new pairs of pants and 10 new shirts! :) and i feel good about it.

also regular showering has been hard for me. and my hair has stayed in the style i dubbed 'depressed bun.' so susan and i made a goal for me to shower every other day and fix my hair once a week. i feel like i can do it. and not only can, but want to. it's amazing to see how these little changes are shaping me into a better, more stable and able person.

i couldn't have gotten this far without so many people, but the truth of it is i wouldn't have gotten anywhere without my savior. he has been there for me, depressed days, hopeless days, lonely days, and has brought me through to a greater and promised, beautiful, bright, hopeful day. it is because of him that i have joy in my journey, whether through sadness and struggle or happiness and smiles. i would be nothing without him. he is my joy and strength.

"come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest."
matthew 11:28

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