I’ve hesitated to write about this topic for while because, well quite honestly, there's not a great resolving ending at this time.
But I’m going to write about it now, mostly because I don’t think I’m alone in it, and therein lies part of its secret.
The dark cloud of deep sadness and depression rolled in late this past summer and has continued to loom. I denied its existence, I tried to fight it off, but I’m worn down, tired, and it feels like I'll just have to wait it out.
It’s one of the curses of being in the medical field; what is easily detectable in others is the source of denial for yourself. Justin and I both knew it, we watched it slowly descend upon us individually, and we resisted it as best we could.
We knew all the right things to do and we did them.
Slept 7-8hrs each night
Created margin to engage in activities we loved and that brought us enjoyment
Met with counselors.
We did everything ‘right’ but it was unavoidable.
We were in the midst of training of a half marathon when it got to the point that the state of depression was undeniable. We talked about throwing in the towel, but we kept on training.
We resigned to the fact that, realistically, we would no longer meet our goal time and that was ok.
Instead of digging deeper, pushing harder, and trying to force something that was futile, we decided simply to run the race together, taking all the time we needed.
We decided to run alongside one another, every step of the way, knowing that we could do it together, if we did it that way.
On race day when we stepped across the starting line at 6am, it was 95 degrees and the humidity was 98%. As we neared the end of the race and finished line was visible, my eyes started to cloud with tears. 2 seconds after out initial goal time, we crossed the finish line.
The tears were not because I was ecstatic over our time nor were they because my legs felt like they were on fire.
The tears came because what we had just done felt really big and significant.
And it was significant, it was symbolic, becasue we had run it together.
Depression wants so badly for you to believe that you're alone in it.
It wants you to think you're crazy, weak, and pathetic.
But you're not, and you're not alone.
Times of stress and strain, sadness and waiting are not quick and never easy.
But running the race alongside someone the whole way helps to ease the load.
After the race was over, I kept my morning running schedule. Four days a week I’d wake up early to run. While my body could do it without putting forth an enormous amount of effort after months of trailing, the hardest hurdle to get over was then mental one.
Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning can feel like someone is asking you to move heaven and earth.
But sometimes it's getting out of bed in the morning that is significant.
Because sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is courageous.
[lightbox title="LightboxTitle" url="PageURL" width="900" height="500"]Being of good courage often happens is seemingly small and insignificant ways.[/lightbox]
Typically, I’m a pretty disciplined person but I’ll tell you what, the struggle is real these days.
Some days I’m not very kind to myself and I say things like ‘seriously, get it together’ or ‘come on, this is not that hard.’ But that’s really damaging and I would never imagine saying that to anyone else who is in a tough place.
In this season, I am learning to be kind and patient with myself.
It doesn’t sound all that difficult but I think for most of us, that’s a pretty tall order. Often times the people we are most impatient and unkind to are our very selves.
Right answers and a solid knowledge base don’t always add up. I can give you all the right answers in every area, psychologically, physiologically, emotionally and even spiritually. But they’re not great reasoning points or tools in times like these.
In terms of valuable insight to offer, I don’t have much. As many of you are, I’m still in the trenches too.
Not to deny the very real power and importance of the Word because after all, it is living, breathing, & active; sharper than any two-edged sword. But I won’t offer you some Band-Aid bible verse, a quick fix, for whatever it is you are facing today.
Though offered with well meaning intentions at times, Jeremiah 29:11 cannot cover the gaping places in your heart. It cannot tie up your world that seems to be falling apart, no matter how nice it sounds.
So in whatever season you find yourself, and up against whatever impossibility you may be facing, be patient with yourself in the process, hold to hope, and remember you are not alone.