This blog is small glimpses into my heart and soul - attempts to be transparent with friends, and sometimes, to myself. This is my safe place, where I can come and be purely Ness.

Family: If you found your way here, please do me a favor and don't poke through my closets, ok?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New Thing

Several years ago, I finally noticed that my life was not what it should be. I was depressed and I needed help. I wish I had had a better idea of what warning signs to look for, but I didn't. I thought I was fine. Seriously, I should have known that it wasn't ok to have mornings where it was hard to get out of bed. Where I needed to call Boy to help me put my underwear on. I just thought I was letting myself be overly dramatic, that really, I could do it, if I just made myself. I should have known that it wasn't ok to be getting upset every time Boy came home from work, and less ok that at one point I wanted to scream, "Could you please just stop breathing?!" because everything he did, even how he breathed, was irritating me. I just thought that I was hormonal, going through a rough patch in our marriage, whatever. The realization point for me was one morning while getting ready for work. I knocked the cats water dish with my foot and soaked down my sock. Annoying, but you just go change them, right? Nope. I broke down. Sat on the floor and bawled. Finally, my head said, "This is not ok. A wet sock shouldn't destroy you. Something is wrong." I met with my doctor and after a few hits and misses, found anti-depressants that helped me feel normal again. I used them for two years, and then slowly weaned off through much ups and downs as my body readjusted, eventually taking over and doing the job on it's own.
Ever since then, I've been terrified of heading down that path again. It stole my joy and my life. Turned my marriage into a burden. Took all my usefulness and made me nonfunctional. Every time I have a few bad days, it scares me. If things are feeling grimmer than usual, it scares me. If Boy feels especially irritating, it scares me. I know I struggled with depression as a teenager, hormones I suppose, and this deeper bout with depression was brought on by hormone imbalances (birth control pills) and stress. Now, I will never do the pill again, but guess who's life has been full of stress for quite a while now? Yeah, mine.
Boy has been looking for work longer than he's been out of work, and that's been since November. I don't know if any other hiring process is quite so stressful as within the church. I think they have more steps than other hiring processes and the waiting in between each step is often at least a month. So we are talking 5-6 months for the entire search to hire, or at least a month to find out if you've been rejected right off the bat. And the rest of your life in the meantime? It's on hold. You don't want to make any major decisions, commitments, or changes because you don't know what your life will be like in a few months. You don't know where you will be living, or how much income you will have, or if you will still be on hold. It's a sucky way to live.
The past year has also been full of dealing with, well mostly waiting on, doctors and hoping/fighting/despairing over trying to find answers as to why I've had so many miscarriages. Either one of these big things is a lot of stress. Together they are immense and overwhelming. Throw in a bad habit of going to bed late, with a little one whose struggled with his sleep this summer, resulting in some serious sleep shortage and we have a cocktail for disaster.
A few days ago I sat down with Boy to tell him how I'd been feeling. I was worried and scared. It seemed like I was spending a lot of time irritated with him and I was pretty sure it was me, not him or our marriage (although I'm not sure spending almost every second together for the past nine months has been that great for us. We love sharing everything and being together a lot, but we never have a chance to miss each other.) Also, I thought that I maybe wasn't being happy very often. I ended up breaking down, totally freaked out that I was headed towards depression and needing medication. He tried to calm me and said it wasn't that bad. He'd help me keep an eye on it, but I was doing ok. He prayed with me and for me, and I prayed. In praying many of the burdens and pain I've been carrying for years came out. My spirit touched again by Emerging Mummy and led by the heart of a child, I poured out that my heart was full of bitterness and cynicism and irritation, and I didn't want it anymore. I was tired of carrying it around. Despite the "coolness" of being a cynical Christian, and of being wary of emotional spiritual displays,and being too cool to be one of "those" ("Isn't Jesus great?!!") Christians, I didn't want it anymore. I was tired and broken and done. I wanted my heart to be full of him, and full of love, peace, and the joy he promises. I called and he answered. Somehow I felt freer, happier, and more alive. I also felt more connected to my husband than I had in months. Things weren't perfect. I knew I wasn't perfectly healed or over all I'd been feeling, but I knew he had heard me.
The next day I felt like nothing had changed. I was frustrated, irritated, and breaking down again. I felt dragged under, like things were actually worse than before. Talked with Boy and felt myself falling apart. "Where is he? Why can't I have the joy so many others have? Seriously. I can understand him not healing every cancer patient ever prayed for, not saving each baby I lost, not protecting every person from sickness or death, but when it comes to spiritual healing, why wouldn't he give that as soon as it was asked for? Isn't that what he wants most of all? Isn't that what Christ is all about? Why? Why can't I just have joy? Why would he deny that?" I don't remember all he said, but I remember his face and him voicing his fears that I would just give up. There have been many times I've struggled with believing God was really real, mainly because of wondering where the peace and joy were. I know that's not what I want. From the depths of my soul came, "I will not give up. I choose Christ. I choose joy." He promises these things and I will not give up until I have them. I will pursue them until they are mine.
There is no explanation for how this has happened, but these past few days have held more joy for me than the past year did. I've had moments of overwhelming, bubbling out of me, had to giggle out loud, joy. I've been more connected with my husband than I have been in months. I've initiated more kisses with him, than several previous weeks combined. Last night, we actually played together, wrestling and teasing like little kids. I can't remember that last time we did that. It's not been all sunshine and roses. There are times when the fear consumes me and I worry that none of it is real, I'm going down again, where is God and joy? There are times when I'm so irritated and frustrated I could cry. There are times when the cynicism takes hold and I think, "There is no way this job for Boy will work out. This doctor won't be able to help me, just like the others. This all has just been fleeting hope, and I will just be back where I started, wondering where God and his promises come into my life." But, I am finding ways to connect. I'm realizing how much I need quiet time, with no chance of distraction, times to walk alone and sit at the water, and be overwhelmed by God's Spirit. Each day is still a struggle, but if each has moments of joy, I am beginning to heal; to be a whole functioning person again, instead of pieces scattered on the floor. My heart has been a wasteland, but he is doing a new thing.
I choose Joy.
Isaiah 43: 18-19:
“See, I am doing a new thing! 
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the desert 

and streams in the wasteland.”

Disclaimer - Depression and faith have a very real connection, but in NO way do I think that if you are depressed it's because of lack of faith. My faith could not save me when I experienced long term depression before, and I am very grateful that anti-depressants were available. Depression is a condition that can eat your soul from the inside out, but it's also a medical problem. Sometimes faith can carry us through and I have seen God heal those struggling with it. Sometimes it can be managed with a good diet, sunshine, and exercise. Sometimes you need counselling. Sometimes medication is needed. More often than not, it's a combo of these things. If you think you may be depressed, please talk with your doctor or counselor. They can help you come up with what will work for you. Please don't suffer alone trying to ignore it, or "just get by." I am still trying to keep an eye on how I am doing, and am constantly reevaluating if this is just a blue period where I seriously need more sleep and less stress, or if it is pointing to a greater problem.