Friday, December 13, 2019

Intentionality in depression

"You're not on anti-depressants?" the doctor asked.

"Nope. It's been five or six years. My depression was mostly situational and once I learned how to get my mindset in the right place, I didn't need them anymore."

He looked at me skeptically. My previous doctor had left town and I had to see this guy before I could get a prescription refill for my Adderall back in September.

I continued...

"I'd actually like to stop the ADHD meds too at some point, but not yet. I'm getting ready to leave for a big trip, then my wedding, and the holidays... there are a lot of things going on right now and I don't want to deal with withdrawals and learning to rebalance myself in the middle of all of that."

He agreed about it not making changes now, but seemed annoyed that I wanted off medication altogether. "Adderall is perfectly safe for adults. You could be on it another 20 years before I'd start talking about whether it would cause heart problems if you continued taking it."

(Imagining going through all the hassles I have to go through to get this for 20 more years was enough to make me want to quit right there. It's a fight every month to get the prescription filled!)

Then he suggested that there were things that would replace Adderall that had different side effects, and he started naming anti-depressants with built in stimulants.

"No. I don't need anti-depressants." He just nodded and let me go.

I understand some people need anti-depressants. I did, when I took them before. My emotions were stuck in a cycle of bad choices resulting in bad feelings which led to more bad choices. I couldn't get myself out. I couldn't choose to walk towards the light because I couldn't see it.

Taken from cruise ship as we approached Spain.
It's still hard to believe we were actually there!
That's not my life anymore, and I'm proud of that. Some of my early blog posts are clear evidence of the hard work it took to get where I am today!

Last week though, as I sat on the couch, trying to get paperwork done and staring into space doing nothing, it dawned on me that the heaviness that had settled on me was recognizable.

In the last three months, I've planned and executed a move, taken my family on an amazing trip through Make-A-Wish, had a wedding and a reception... there has been something going on all the time. I was always under a deadline.  Life is starting to calm down. Post-wedding and post-vacation blues are a real thing... add that in to just regular life stuff and it makes sense that everything seems so difficult right now.

I've been burning the candle at both ends for awhile, and in the process quit exercising, eating well, or really even trying to do those things. I'm tired.

Writing this post has been difficult because there is a difference between recognizing depression and actually sitting in it, analyzing it, and reconciling it with who I am now.

God is good. My life is good. Good things are happening! It felt almost wrong for me to admit I was depressed... like I must be doing something wrong. As much as this blog thrives on my authenticity, my brain said, "If you know you are depressed and don't have an answer, then you must be doing something wrong. This is your fault. You can't write about that."

The thing is, God didn't say we would always feel happy. He never promised that we would always
I took this photo from our cruise ship one morning
have the energy to get up off the couch and do our work. He didn't even insinuate that it would be my fault if that happiness and energy were missing.

He did tell me to choose joy. He did tell me to rest in Him. He did tell me that He gives me everything I need to deal with the ups and downs of life.

My responsibility in this is to live with intentionality. I have to make sure that I am choosing joy when I'd rather sit in misery. When I am feeling too weighed down to move, I have to close my eyes and choose to ask Him for help... strength, energy, whatever it is I need to get through the next moment.

I don't need to get through the whole day, or the whole week, or the whole month in that moment. There likely will not be a complete emotional turn-around

or the sudden rush energy, but He gives us what we need to take one more step towards joy, knowing that it will get better.

When I started typing this, I didn't know where it was going. It seemed like a long complaint about how I'm feeling. But I know I am supposed to write. So, I intentionally choose to do it, asking God for wisdom along the way. Not for a whole book, not for a whole month of posts, but for the next paragraph... and then the next.

And while you're reading the end result and (possibly) thinking these were words you needed to read... know that these were words I needed to read today too.

God is cool like that.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

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