One of my best friends from high school started a My Space called Free from Ed – as in free from an Eating Disorder. She has struggled with it for nearly 18 years and is on the long hard road to recovery.
The thing is, she is not free from Ed in the truest sense but she is claiming that statement for herself in order to keep encouraged.
I took my girls out for a walk today along the river and it was absolutely gorgeous out. Was I enjoying myself? No. I was on the verge of tears and feeling once again like I was being pinned underwater by a giant boulder and there was no way to get out from under it. That is life with depression: drowning with land in sight.
Maybe it was in my subconscious due to my thoughts about my friend but as I watched my kids playing in the park I thought, “I can’t take this anymore. It’s killing me. What if I just kept telling myself that I am loving my life right now? Even if it sounds like a blatant lie right now, but what if I keep telling myself that anyway? Is it possible to create a new version of reality?”
At this point, what does it matter? I am on the verge of self-annihilation. Every day, week, month, that this goes on I am losing myself and not in a good way; I cry for no reason, I am tired and filled with melancholy and pain, and I dread each new day, feeling that I cannot cope with the day’s demands. What is the point of going on? It totally sucks.
So I started saying it: “I am loving my life right now. I am so loving my life. Look at these great kids; they are so sweet. They are amazing! Look at where I live. It is so beautiful here. Look at all that God has given me. Look at the ways that He has provided for us.” I kept saying these things over and over like a mantra. I repeated verses from the Bible that came to my mind.
Was I miraculously cured? Nope - but I agree with Albert Einstein when he said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It is causing me insanity to keep doing the same things. If I can create a new internal reality I might as well try because there’s no point going on otherwise. I’m not going get all spiritual about this because I already know what steps to take in that direction. Steps in any direction away from the one I’m going in would be a relief. I have no doubt that part of this thing is chemical imbalance because there is no rhyme or reason half the time, just fatigue and crying and heart-pain. I don’t have enough bad experiences in my entire life to cause a problem like this. There are no freaky-deaky skeletons in the closet or people that I hate and want revenge on so that a desire for revenge is eating me alive. I have suffered no losses save those that were to be expected. I said a lot of long, hard good-byes to friends from high school (overseas) – friends who were family to me and who I had an intense sense of belonging with and deep community that I have never had since, save with a very few. For many of those friends, I knew that I would never see them again. That was hard. Good byes are hard. Is it possible that I have unresolved grief? Sure. But who doesn’t? There just isn’t anything there that I can come up with to explain this idiotic soul-sickness. Thyroid problems? Genetics? Loneliness? Who knows?
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) He is close; He is not glaring at me from across the room telling me to get over it already. He gets that I am hurting and that my pain is real. He saves; He doesn’t try to run me down for my flawed thinking or condemn me for being such an idiot. He wants to save my life and make it beautiful. Listen to this: “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) He delights in me? He rejoices over me with singing? Who does that? Do I know anyone who has ever said that they delight in me? Sean, maybe, but no one else has said that I can think of. It’s the image of a mother soothing a child, rocking and singing, full of strength and calm to weather life’s storms.
So I say:
I am free from Depression.
I am loving my life right now.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.