Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Grateful - No Matter What

Dear Blog,

You poor, neglected thing, you. So much has happened. There have been really high highs, and really low lows. There have been classes taken, a sister married, depression experienced, both positive and negative changes at work, friendships renewed, relationships strengthened, guilt that has become overwhelming, panic attacks, holidays, bonfires, and so much more.
Joseph and Lori's wedding - October 18, 2014
I won't even attempt to try to cover all of this lost time (shameful). I must say, first and foremost, that as hard as some of these lows have been and continue to be, life is so wonderful! These trials and struggles are not a bad thing, it's part of the package deal we call life.

To that end, I have been writing more notes and thoughts to cope with a variety of situations. In the past I've coined the term "undiagnosed depression". I'm still going to use that phrase because, as of yet, I've not sought medical treatment (I'm more scared of the doctor than the disease, if that makes any sense). I was close to making an appointment but I heard one voice above all the others supporting me in that path that told me I had no reason to be depressed and that somehow I was using this "depression" (his phrasing, not mine) as an excuse. Naturally, my defiant and rebellious side now has a point to prove. Please understand that for anyone else dealing with depression, if you feel you need medical help, do it!! Do not delay! (I know, great hypocritical advice). I will tell you that I'm keeping much closer tabs on myself and have been dealing better with life as a whole. I will also tell you that at the next severe dip that lasts longer than a "bad day" or two, the appointment is being made. I'll share a bit more behind that thought another time.

Today is all about gratitude in our trials. I suffered for several weeks with what I'm sure was my undiagnosed depression and possibly anxiety. I couldn't shake the dark clouds over me, I cried for hours on end (very unlike me) and had what I'm certain now (hindsight is 20/20, you know) were panic attacks sitting huddled on my bedroom floor. If I were an artist to any degree, I would draw a picture of heavenly angels trying to buoy me up during these times, but evil, dark cloth literally smothering me and putting out the light.

The world has flipped again, and the dark side is back where it belongs; beneath me. The light I know and love is once again above and around me. There is a song in my heart again. There is a smile behind the smile again.

Those weeks were hard. Really hard. I don't share this lightly or jokingly. It's not easy for me to admit that I struggle this way. For being as independent as I like to think I am, dealing with depression has shaken me to the core. During those times I didn't want to go to work, or exercise, or study, or craft. I didn't want to be around people, but I was scared to be alone. Really, I just wanted to run away and hide. I ignored my phone and emails for days on end, only feeling more guilty every time I looked at it and realizing there were messages awaiting my response. But I just couldn't do it. I was in a pit and I couldn't get out.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago. A good friend of mine was over and we were catching up on life over several months. He told me about the depression he had been facing regarding school and life and how hard it was for him. I looked at him and felt something I'd never felt before. I felt this overwhelming sense of GRATITUDE for my own struggles. While we have had different experiences and situations, at the core of it all we'd been experiencing the same thing. How amazing and comforting it was to me to look at him and be able to say, "I KNOW what you're feeling". It wasn't a trite comment to try to provide support. It wasn't any sort of competition. It wasn't attention seeking. I was grateful to have had these experiences that we could share together and encourage one another.

It was in that moment that I realized that there is someone else that KNOWS exactly what I feel. Jesus Christ suffered not only for my sins, but for all my pains, afflictions, sorrows...everything!! He knows my deepest lows, and He rejoices in my highest highs! I KNOW that He KNOWS me!

One final thought:

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