Yesterday I awoke to a heavy, dark feeling. Even with the morning sunlight filtering through my bedroom window, everything around me felt immensely DARK. It took everything I had to get out of bed. After nearly eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, all I truly wanted to do was turn off my alarm, rollover, and fall fast asleep again. Sleep is my great elixir. Sleep fixes everything; mental, emotional, physical… whatever ails me, sleep heals it.
Alas I resisted temptation to call in sick and instead jumped up out of bed and made my way begrudgingly through my daily routine. As I got ready for work, I simply went through the motions and tried not to acknowledge the dense cloud that was hanging over my head. As I set out on my six city block walk into the office at 8:45am, I assumed the warm, 60+ degrees and sunlight hitting my face would shake this feeling loose, but the darkness crowded in around me like a hooded shroud. There was no escaping. But, what was it?
Darkness. Depression. For me, they are one in the same. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can last an hour, a day, or longer… just depends. On what? I’m not exactly sure. As I woke up, I knew the feeling was depression. But, why?
I wish you could have heard the inner dialog playing in my head, “You’re so blessed. Life is good. Look at all that you have to be thankful for in this world. Gosh, there are people who think your life is perfect… no matter how misguided or incorrect as they may be (ha!) there is some truth to it. You do indeed live a charmed life. You’re blessed with God’s favor; be thankful.” True. True. No matter HOW true it all was… I was still in a pissy-foul mood.
The back and forth continued in my head as I made my journey into work…
“Sure, you don’t make as much money as you’d like at this point in your career… but you make enough to live the downtown lifestyle of your dreams and all of your bills are paid on time. Sure, you are single even though you would prefer to find the love of your life, get married, and start a family…but you have loads of friends and family who keep you busy, provide love, and support.
Besides, you’d rather be single and occasionally lonely than married to the wrong person and forever miserable!! Sure, you have a few extra pounds you would like to shed… but with a commitment to morning bootcamp those are bound to fall off, right? Sure, you get frustrated that your dreams are not happening as quickly as you’d like… but you must take comfort in God’s timing as well as His plan.” Sigh.
No matter how many “look on the bright sides” I threw at each of my self-deprecating thoughts, it seemed the negatively was knocking me down!! I know this feeling whenever it strikes; depression sucks. As I entered my office lobby, the misery was now a part of my wardrobe. There was no shaking it. There was no denying it. Grrrrrr. I thought maybe if I just hid in my corner office, then no one would be the wiser. At least that was my hope… that was my plan.
You know what they say about the best laid out plans, right? Soon after my day started, a dear friend called my desk and instantly began to spill all the juicy details about a troubling event that happened to her first thing that morning. I listened even though truth-be-told, the LAST thing I wanted to do was listen to anyone else’s problems. Oh, MY… add her turmoil atop of my already overflowing emotional distress? I was bound to spiral out of control. But, she is my friend and needed to vent, so I listened.
Around lunchtime, I began to feel like tornado-tsunami-hurricane-thunderstorm-winteradvisory-tropicalstorm-Renae… about to devastate anything and anyone in my path at any given moment. I thought maybe getting out of the office for a bite to eat would do me some good. Sometimes, all I need to do is change my surroundings in order to change my mood. It has worked before, so I gave it the ‘ol college try. Luckily, a quick call to my friend and she was available to meet up with me, so we met at a fav downtown dining establishment.
As we ate, my friend continued her ranting and raving. I could feel her pain. I listened some more and attempted to offer up some advice or suggestions to consider. Again, I didn’t introduce the third party at our table – the darkness which followed me so closely. How could I talk about the ickiness? I didn’t even know what was causing it. I wanted so badly to know the “reason” for this sudden full-on depression.
During a lull in conversation, my thoughts swirled violently through my head as I set out to get to the root cause of my emotional predicament… My prolactinoma (benign pituitary tumor) causes my hormones to be all whacked out. Maybe THAT was the cause of this terrible feeling? But, I’m taking my “super-power-kill-a-tumor pill” to regulate my hormones and yet that pill does have depression as a possible side effect. Maybe that was the rotten scoundrel? But, I do take a happy pill each morning (Wellbutrin SR) to counteract the tumor pill side effects. Sigh.
Maybe my time of the month was right around the corner? I hadn’t really been paying attention to the calendar, so maybe PMS was the nasty culprit? Maybe it was a ginormous culmination of all of these and then some? In my mind, if I could discover the cause, then I could change the effect; therefore, eradicating the depression all together!
By the end of lunch I gave up trying to discover the WHYs behind the darkness I was feeling. As the server asked if we wanted one check or two, I felt the sudden urge to treat my friend to lunch. She attempted to argue, but she realized very quickly her resistance was futile… I was buying her lunch. Ha! It felt good to surprise her!!
As a smile of gratitude came across her face, a funny thing happened…the darkness started to lift. In that moment, it dawned on me that all I had to do to step out of the darkness was to step outside of my own problems and offer assistance to someone else above and beyond just listening.
When I returned to the office from lunch, I noticed the dark shroud was pretty much gone. I wasn’t entirely my happy-go-lucky self, but I no longer felt smothered. Sure, my emotions were still all wonky (highly scientific term), yet there was a bounce in my step that was not there earlier.
Perhaps, this is what God meant when He asked us to “live like Christ” and be of service to others. By giving of ourselves, our time, our skills, our love, our services, our money, and whatever-else we have to give, then we are sharing God’s light. His light helped fight the darkness I was feeling. By the end of the day, I practically skipped home from work. And, I never did get to the bottom of what was causing it all to begin with…but in the end does the WHY really matter when light overpowers dark? Nope. Not at all.
© Renae Rossman and Candy Coated Reality™