Phew! What a week, and so far, not much light at the end of the tunnel. It's been a seriously tough week struggling to get this depression monkey off my back. At the moment I feel like I'm madly trying to tread water to keep my head above the waves, but each day something new seems to add another weight to my shoulders, and slowly drags me under.
I was just robotically cleaning the kitchen this morning mulling over my desire to just lie down and sleep for 10 years, when it came to me crystal clear - "what is the difference between now and a few weeks ago when I was living the high and happy life?" And the answer of course is "the gym". I know all the studies that have been done to say that the endorphins produced while excercising and the "psychological" benefits of "improving" oneself are incredibly beneficial, but if I hadn't seen it happen to myself, I doubt I would have believed it. 3 weeks is a long time to deprive yourself of something that has been such a strenghtening force in your life. I am happy and relieved to say that I was back at the gym this morning, and even after 1 session the rush afterwards was just amazing.
However, I think it will take my body a little longer to still get those "happy" hormones rushing around again, as I did crash down again a little later. It's so difficult to make others understand how debilitating it can be to feel depressed, esp if they have not experienced it themself. My husband constantly struggles with this issue and unfortunately is still having to learn the small things it takes to bring me back from the brink. I was sitting at the lights the other day, thinking "why not drive round the corner and get "accidentally" hit by another car? Then I could have a long rest in hosp and not have to be constantly bothered and frustrated by 4 kids and all those issues building up and wearing me down!" Of course, with my kids in the car with me, I knew I wouldn't follow through but, it wasn't so much that, that then I suddenly started thinking of how inconvenient it would be, that I didn't have the energy to go thru with it! Now, I am not making light of having these compulsions, but it is so typical of mothers to think "I would love to just disappear for a little while, but...... the washing isn't up-to-date, I doubt if my husband could put a dinner together with the 6 bits of dried up veges in the fridge and 1/2 tub of yoghurt & tomato sauce, so maybe I should pop out to Mrs Flannerys to grab a few things......and actually I was going to make spaghetti anyway, so while I'm out........." And in a few mins you have lost yourself to the practicalities of running a home and a family (and heaven forbid - a job as well) and by the grace of God, can be distracted from any other spontaneous folly.
I know there are less dramatic ways to achieve a little balance in one's life but I spose that is why it is a neurological issue for us - that when things are out of whack, it is awfully hard to get them back in shape by one's own self-effort. Usually it does take a few days of taking a back seat to life, getting encouragement from the people that do "understand", and trying to get through minute by minute without freaking out about the millions of things going wrong or purposefully thwarting you. Also, it pays to look at the external circumstances (for me -too big a build up stress, not enough time with my husband, not enough time spent doing what I enjoy (gym, socialising more at church, doing hobbies that give me a release (cooking, photos, organising)) and then there are of course the internal issues - what you fill your body with and what symptoms they give you. But prob the most important area is the spiritual circumstances - normally depressive periods instigate a desert time when devotions are sparse and half-hearted, and there is just a general mumble occasionally that passes as a prayer. I believe whole-heartedly in a compassionate and loving God who gracefully holds us in close at these times and completely "gets" the fact that things are tough and that soon we will be back in closer relationship with Him. I thank God that even though I feel alone and hard done by, He is still with me and protecting me and my family. Even when I rant and rave and get angry at Him, He waits, and when I kneel to confess and crave His closeness again - He is faithful to forgive and affirm. Thank you Lord.