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™
Darkness….. BE GONE!
Life is all about Helping Others…
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you’re certainly an Empath there.
I just sat down to eat my dinner…flounder and rice…and I had just finished saying the blessing. Today was a day like yours. I feel very alone and all the things I am going through has made me wonder how I’m still sane. I told God I was sorry for thinking negative and not thanking Him for all He has provided for me in this time in my life. Then I pick up my iPhone and check my mail to see if part of the reason why I’m depressed has written me. Your post is the only thing that came in and for the first time I read a post without skimming through. Thank you for your words of encouragement and reminding me of what I’ve written so long ago. That if we take the focus off of us and onto someone else, to help or listen, we will feel so much better. God bless you and your writing. 🙂
Thank you for sharing that, so glad you were able to shake off the darkness.
It’s good to hear that service to others helps
us as well! A good reminder to us all.
Thanks for sharing. I know the darkness you spoke of, been there many times and sometimes I have no idea why. Helping others does help. Through some of my darkest blog ramblings I know I’ve helped others by speaking my emotions, the raw truth. And that helps me to keep moving forward and get beyond the dark days. Great post!
You are right. Depression sucks. You should be proud of yourself for not giving into the temptation of staying in bed. I wasted a lot of my life giving into depression and allowing it to consume precious hours and days. Then I learned the value of positive self-talk which is what you are calling inner dialogue and I now focus on being positive in my thoughts and words which is an important step in controlling depression. Doing something nice for another person is a great way to get your mind off your own problems and this is exactly what God tells us to do. Light does overpower the darkness and when we do find ourselves lost in the dark, He will help us find the way back. All we have to do is believe in Him.
I feel like I’ve been there too. I found out I have breast cancer recently. I went to an extremely dark place until someone smacked me back into the light. I was at a point I couldn’t even shed a tear. The tears are yet to come, but I am out of a dark place. God is with me always. Everything will work work itself out. Thanks, Renae…..
Beautifully written post, and I was so happy for the light ending and the valuable reminder. Yes, in giving of ourselves to others we can rekindle a belief in our own creative power and worth. I admire your strength and resilience. You’re an inspiration. Thanks for sharing:-)
Renae – I so love your blog. Your words are put together so creatively and the art that you weave in and out of the text is so neat. I wish I knew how you do this.
I too suffer from depression. I take a pill and most of the time it manageable. Life itself can pull us down no matter how hard we try to push it away. The WHY is not important. It just IS for some of us. I withdraw when I’m feeling darkness because I don’t want to infect anyone else. But because I am so sunny most of the time, people sense something is wrong and try to make me articulate it. I used to say, “GO AWAY AND LET ME BE!” and you know what–they did. But that was the LAST thing I wanted.
Like you, I discovered getting over myself was the answer. Helping others and reaching out when it’s the most difficult is the answer. So thanks for the post. I truly enjoyed your thoughts.
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:)http://iamforchange.wordpress.com/awards-page-and-nominations-thank-you-i-am-so-honored-and-grateful/ So many have shared so much with me and I wish to share as well please accept my nominations and if nothing else know I am grateful for your sharing on your pages with us all and the time you share with me on mine.Thank you!! 🙂 Joe
Depression is one sneaky little devil. I think I’ve just about handled it, then, smack me up side the heard, it’s back for one more shot at me. I go for walks, turn on happy music, watch AFV or read something that makes me laugh. I petted a neighbors dog and found she had just lost her husband and had to give up their home. So much for my whining. Sometimes, I just give depression it’s 10 minutes, pat it on the back and send it packing till the next time. It shows up less and less these days. Right now, I’m searching for Joy. Have you seen it? 🙂
what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: my exact thought of the day http://inmy30sanditstime.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/thought-of-the-day-stronger/
What a spectacular read. I felt the emotions right along with you, and I felt the cloud lift from you.
Profound view into a fundamental struggle, an essay that reaches and serves others. That is a joyful course of living! Through a glass seeing darkly may be a cocoon.
Hello again! You really “speak from the heart”….that’s what I love about your writing! Great post. 🙂
I have, in the past, suffered severe depression (much to my surprise and denial at the time) and I can readily identify with what you describe. I learned a few valuable lessons while in this very dark void.
1 – The darkness is where God lives – He created all of the sun, the stars, the universe and our planet out of the darkness
2 – When (if) those days ever hit you again, fight them with praise and thanks. Giving and loving despite how hard it is to do all of the above. It works 🙂
God is so great that He always guides us out of the darkness for the darkness knows Him not, yet it is His to cradle us in.
What a wonderful lesson you learned from this ‘dark’ experience. Sometimes enlightenment comes from the simplest things…like a smile or appreciation or doing a good deed. Kudos to you!
I have just come across your blog Renae and am excited! I LOVE your pics you reference. So wonderful 🙂
I look forward to the next post as I continue to learn to ‘feel’ Trust and Believe.
Enjoyed your writing I can relate on so many levels, wonderfully done
How have you been? Have not seen a post here in a few weeks. Peace and health to you and yours!
Hey there!! Life has me busy traveling for work and such… but I have SEVERAL ideas I need to sit down and put to paper!! Hope to post again really soon!!! Thanks for missing me!! ha! Blessing back at’cha!!
This is so wonderful. I love how open and honest it is! It’s so true that sometimes no matter how many positive thoughts you think pulling yourself out of that darkness can be incredibly difficult. And then one thing, a small thing that sometimes you don’t even think about will spark a light that dissipates that darkness. I can absolutely relate to what you are talking about and I so appreciate your sharing it!!
That was a nice surprise for your friend. That’s something to keep with you for those dark days.
A blessing to read this today, thank you for the piece
also Thank you for visiting my blog