Fending Off the Fog
I finally figured out what is going on. It’s that darn fog of Depression— it’s trying to encroach upon me again. Trying to take over my mind and make it impossible for me to think about anyone or anything except myself, my own drama, and my own challenges. It wants to bog me down, to numb me, to make me feel lackadaisical about everything… and then it wants me explode in a tirade of anger and frustration at those around me for the littlest of offenses.
A self-focused, pessimistic, ungrateful, emotionally unpredictable, un-praying, un-empathetic me: that would be a successful day for this old, familiar enemy of mine.
It is never a welcome intruder, but for Depression to come knocking on the door of my mind during Christmas week— just a handful of days before we celebrate the coming of our Savior— is just plain cruel. Predictable, when I stop to think about it, yet villainous nonetheless.
I understand this is, at least in part, an involuntary, uncontrollable misfire in my brain chemistry. I understand that there are only so many vitamins, herbal supplements, medication, or other homeopathic means I can use to ward this off. I know that staying physically active and avoiding processed junk food and drinking my daily green smoothies and remaining consistent in God’s Word and jotting things down on my gratitude list can only do so much to keep the fog of Depression at bay.
But I refuse to sit here and let this darkness plow over me without at least putting up a damn good fight. I’ve experienced this garbage too many times before. I’m too familiar with how effective it is at destroying my days, sabotaging my seasons, and ruining my relationships.
So, today, I will fight. I will fight in the only way I know how: by doubling up on my vitamins and herbal supplements. By resisting the urge to sleep in and, rather, waking up early to work out so that I can get some endorphins pulsing through my system as soon as possible. By remaining prayerful and running TO God rather than running away from Him because I’m so annoyed that this is my lot in life. By slapping isolation in its face and, instead, reaching out to a few trusted friends and letting them know what’s going on and asking them to pray for me. By opening up my Bible and letting God speak truth and love and encouragement to me. By giving myself permission to let my kids stay extra long after school to work on homework in the science lab so that I don’t have to interact with them as much today. By going out with a group of girlfriends for our pre-established dinner date even though I feel guilty for leaving my kids when I’ve been so rotten lately. By getting out into fresh air and sunshine as often as possible throughout the day. By stopping to write this humble piece in hopes that it might encourage or inspire someone else who is struggling with that old destroyer-of-joy, The Big D.
Those are my fighting techniques when the dark clouds are attempting to sweep in and engulf me. Sometimes these efforts are enough to stave it off completely; other times it overwhelms me and stays awhile despite my best attempts. But if there is a chance that I can keep this fog at bay for a bit longer, you can bet I am going to put my all into doing so.
And, for goodness’ sake, it’s Christmastime! It’s the week in which our entire planet typically stops a moment to remember the birth of Jesus! Even if they don’t believe it or care about the Nativity, this is the time of year in which people tend to be extra generous, extra celebratory, extra mindful of others in need.
And I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to look back and only remember a blur of activity, a cloud of confusion, a haze of hopelessness and self-centered despair.
So I will do whatever I can, and beg God for wisdom as to what else can be done, and I will face this enemy head on. As long as I am able, I will endeavor to keep my wits about me and not succumb to the melancholy that is calling my name.
I’ve already failed a bunch yesterday. And I’m sure I’ll blow it again today. But, by God, I will keep fighting for my sanity and for the wholeness I want so deeply. And I will pray for my brothers and sisters out there who are fighting this same battle today.
Thank You, Lord, for waking me up to what is happening. Thank You for giving me insight into what I can do to help coach myself through this. Please help those around me, or those who might be reading these words, who struggle with Depression and either are unable to or haven’t yet found ways to fend it off. Please give them and their families and doctors and mental health professionals wisdom and insight into how they can find victory over this intrusive, destructive affliction. You are good, Lord. You are the One I turn to both when things are going well and in moments like this one— moments wherein I am frustrated and afraid and overwhelmed and angry at the brokenness of it all. I love You. Thank You for always being with me, Lord. Amen.
I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold… The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me… In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help… my cry came before him, into his ears… He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet… He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support… He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me… my God turns my darkness into light… he shields all who take refuge in him… It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure… You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.
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What about you?
Do you struggle with Depression? If so, have you yet found anything that helps relieve you of its symptoms? How can you reach out to those who are engaged in this battle and offer them compassion and support?
Please share your journey, insights or helpful resources in the comment section below.