Thursday, June 14, 2007

That's My Story...

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.


bluesugarpoet said...

Dear friend, as one who has been there - who has been in the very moment you are right now - wanting to pull the darkness over your head and to never resurface - know that you aren't alone in your journey. It may not be solace to know that now, but I pray that it will be some day.

You could be onto something regarding your grieving idea. Grieving for what you miss, for something that you didn't have and needed desperately, for being displaced in various stages of is hard to say.

Or it may simply be the unexpected fruit from being a highly creative person (which you are). Sometimes it is hard to reign in the "empathy" factor. Look at your favorite fiction writers, though. Nine out of ten also have struggled with depression. Thank God that we have the blessing of medication at our disposal; all they knew to do back then was to drink.

Know that I am claiming your mantra for you too.

sxandon said...

I will always delight in you my bride.

CGA said...

Thanks, babe.

Ok, so now I am totally bawling... in a good way though. Thank you for your offering of empathy and hope, my friend.
Sometimes we as humans are so dumb because we don't learn to articulate our needs which then allows others to offer something of themselves like you have.
I am loving my life...
because it includes you!

Ch@ndy said...

I'm so sorry I've never said it, because I have thought it more times than I can count. You are delightful and I delight in you! In your sense of humor and your quiet service.

When you joined our family, our lives improved. I am so lucky you are my sister.

Also, 10 years after my own stint under that crushing boulder, I still can't talk without crying about how you threw me a lifeline, cared for me and my babies and served as God's angel so lovingly and firmly.

I am with you in calling out your mantra.


Jennyth said...

Wow Collette,

I had your moment. The park moment. It was a beautiful Spring Oregon day. I loaded up my boys in the double jogger and jogged to the park. That's what you do to fight depression, you get out of the house and exercise, right? So I was doing that. I got to the park, and my boys (ages 3 and 4 1/2) went and played. The sun was out, flowers were blooming, my boys were happy and safe, I was winded from healthy exercise, and I sat on my blanket and opened my journal. That's when I realized it didn't work. My attempts to fight the beast of depression just didn't work. I was still in darkness, and everything around me was as good as it could ever be. Yet, even though I followed all of the "rules" that I could, I still sat there dark and dreary.

I won't offer you any advice, because I believe depression is individual and there is no "here's what you do to fix it" answers that fit everyone. You'll find your own personal victory blueprint for health, you are fighting right now to find it. Just by writing about it, claiming it, and reaching out, you have begun the fight.

I have been able to get past much of my depression, through medication, therapy, and redefining my identity. It was a long and treacherous road, and I am still on it a bit. I always will be. But, I went through almost 15 years of depression before getting help and even acknowledging it, and I truly know what you are wrestling with. It is a battle all it's own, and impossible to fully understand, until you've journeyed it yourself.

I'll be praying for you Collette. I really will. I don't post my email on public websites, but if you EVER need to vent or a friend who's been there, email Syd and she can give you my email address.

You are fighting it, and I believe it will be WON!!

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Rock on for being so REAL!

Jenny Green

CGA said...

Once again, thank you all for your beautiful and life-giving words.

So much mystery (& misery!) lies in the disease of depression - no doubt about it!

Thank you for knowing that a fellow-depresee needs to hear that there is hope and light to be had.

I share this things for my own health's sake yet also for the sake of others who may be afraid to share their own struggle.

I love you peeps!
May God bless you truly for offering your hearts!