Friday, January 20, 2017

for when you've fallen apart

Well, here I am again. Finally, huh? It's been six months since I went dark, about five months longer than I intended to. You may remember that I had a hip replacement in July and then signed off til I recovered. Expecting that to be in about four weeks, as it had gone when I had my first one done three years ago.

But sometimes things just don't go as planned, as expected, as hoped for.

Without needless detail, the deal is that because my "new hip" leg is now over an inch longer than my other one, I never fully recovered. I still haven't. I will most likely have to have revision surgery, and start that recovery process all over again, hoping against hope that it will go well and that THIS time, I WILL recover. Constant pain is my companion, and that just plain stinks.

Then came November. November is never my friend, nor are December and January. Seasonal Affective Disorder ... depression ... anxiety ... sadness ... lack of motivation ... isolation ... all of it.  ALL.OF.IT. hit at once and combine that with pain and discouragement made for a falling apart. I have, you see, gone to pieces.

You might not realize it, because I can still post the funny stuff on Facebook. And sometimes that's the reality of where I am, taking joy in the funnies, but sometimes I am hiding my real face.

It's still January, and I am still in the throes of my November December January depression, and I'm hoping February will be better, but honestly, I'm not REALLY all that hopeful.

This stuff is for real. If you are like me, depression seems always to lurk around the corner, dread precedes what seems like the inevitable every darn year.

If you've never experienced this level of bummed-out-ness, good. It's pretty awful, and I'm glad you don't have to deal with it.

But because so so many of us will struggle with depression at some time or another during our lives, many of you have been (or are now in) the boat that feels like it is sinking in a storm, and you feel helpless to steer let alone keep your head above water.

Symptoms vary, and you can't put depression and anxiety in a box. There is no "right or wrong" way to be depressed. We need each other, we need all kinds of each other. We need medical help to correct brain chemistry. We need to not be ashamed or guilty because we are struggling.

We need to GIVE OURSELVES A BREAK. Depression is not a choice. Ever. Who in this wide world would choose all this?

We need Jesus. We need to know that He is a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief. Yes indeed, He is God, but He is also man. He sympathizes with us, He loves us, He stays with us in the darkness, He lights the way when we're climbing out of the pit.

Remembering this is the hard part. Remembering that God is compassionate, gracious, comforting, and extends never-ending lovingkindness to us. These are FACTS, people, whether we feel them or not.

If you're like me, meds are necessary to climb out of my own head enough to trust in the truth about God, about Jesus, about the Holy Spirit that lives in the heart and soul of all who believe.

I must be diligent to stay in the Word, to hang on tight to this understanding companion that is Jesus, even when I feel the most alone.

A man of sorrows? This is an identifying character quality of Jesus, and when we are sorrowful, sad, depressed, anxious, Jesus knows. He gets it. Even if our people don't, He does. We can cling to His promises in this darkness, trusting that He will bring us through it, back into the light.

I'm trusting hard, but I'm still in the darkness. Just being honest.

It took real effort to sit down here this morning and share my heart, my difficulties, my pain. It is hard to be vulnerable even with safe people when I am isolating.

We need Jesus. We need each other. We need kindness, understanding and grace. We need help seeing the forest of joy when we can only see trees of despair.

Love your depressed ones. Fellow strugglers, trust in Jesus. If you can, FORCE yourself to engage with the people who bring joy and love and all that stuff you feel like is missing right now. For me, this is my husband, a few friends, and my kiddos and littles. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes I do anyway.

I need a push now and then, a loving push from a kind friend to lift my head. Be brave and search out those folks. Take courage and be vulnerable. Ask for help. Go see your doctor.

Mostly, hang on. The night does not last forever, and joy comes in the morning. God says so. I choose to believe it, and I'm hanging on for dear life.

All my love, to the depressed and the ones who love the depressed,
Angie




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