Yesterday, I felt like an exposed wound, all grotesque and festering for others to see.
Truly, it is not easy to talk about my weaknesses as I'm mucking through them. I would much rather talk about my weaknesses in hindsight as I'm peering back from a vantage point of towering strength. But, alas, I closed my eyes and pressed 'enter', thus posting my business all over the internet. And, I challenged myself to do it again today and tomorrow and the next.
Yesterday was one of my more minor episodes of depression, if I had written this a few weeks ago, I would have told you about sitting in my basement wrapped in a quilt in the middle of the day weeping uncontrollably as I watched a documentary about a group of people who struggled with bipolar disorder. The insanity was that I was actually jealous at that moment that they at least get to "enjoy" their manic periods with great bursts of energy and creativity while I only got the downside. Yep...new low point for me. And another painful, deeply personal admission now aired publically for possible ridicule. Yikes!
Yesterday, I was functional. I was able to ignore the oppressive funk dampening my higher processes and keep moving. The most visible sign of my mental state was the lack of patience I had with my two oldest boys. As home schooled kiddos, they were in danger of lying in the wake of my more percussive mental eddies and so, I gifted them with the peaceful absence of my presence. Simply put, I stayed away. But I kept moving; I wrote, I studied, I meditated, I prayed, I rested, I worked out (went for a run and used the elliptical) and I ate uber-healthy (I'm talking fruits, nuts, raw veggies and plenty of water). I wanted to mention my eating and exercise for those who think that depression can always be cured by diet and exercise – it can definitely help, but is not necessarily a cure all.
But yesterday, as I faced each everyday task – made a daunting challenge through the lens of depression – there was a difference in my attitude. The scripture Rick Warren had challenged me with was ever present at the edge of my conscious thought: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances..." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
As I retreated to my room to escape the difficulty of interacting with my children, I thanked God for his presence in the moment and that his love for me was unchanging. As I read the supportive comments on Facebook, I rejoiced that my honesty prompted by seeking God's truth had been effective in encouraging both myself and others. As I worked out, I remembered God as I made my way around the track and was thankful that I had legs to move and a strong heart that allowed me to be active. And most telling, as my youngest son, Landen, struggled in his sleep and I laid down in his bed with my arms around him concerned yet again for the fragility of his heart, I thanked God for my boy's small, sweet face and his little body and that I get the privilege of being his mama.
Let me be completely honest, my brain was still groggy by the time I finally went to sleep last night and, today, the gray dullness lingers in my mind as I deal with another grim Nebraska winter day, but, there was a change in my focus from meditating on the scripture: "Rejoice, Pray, Give thanks." And that change in focus led to a day in which I brought glory to God through my depression, not despite it. The unimaginable happened, my depression actually brought God glory.