I am overwhelmed and stunned at the ability depression and anxiety has to completely debilitate me. I’m talking paralyzing, chest tightening, incapacitation.
You may not know me. But those who do might say I am stubborn (in a good way), determined, and intelligent. I’ve been all over the globe-Kenya, Ethiopia, Germany, and Israel. I’ve stared into the darkness of the African bush and listened to the chants of sacrifice in the distance. I’ve been mere feet away from the face of lions and stood at the top of mountains. I’ve swam in the ocean and got in a car accident. I’ve played piano and sang in front of thousands of people by now. I once tried calamari. I have somehow managed to pay my own phone bill like a good adult for four years and counting. I graduated from a university.
You get the point.
On paper, I am a very capable person. I’ve done a lot of things. I have had some once in a life time experiences. My personal and professional resume looks pretty good.
But, all of that seems to dissolve under the influence of imbalanced chemicals in my brain. When I can find the energy to be angry, this phenomenon angers me to no end. How can I be conquering a eucalyptus forest in Ethiopia one day and struggle to bathe and feed myself the next?
It feels as if both days require the same amount of effort but the reward is far greater in one over the other. That day in Ethiopia, my hike resulted in worshiping with a beautiful people in a remote village where the Gospel is being shared in hundreds of languages.
Today, I took a shower. And watched an episode of BBC Life about birds. Fabulous.
It’s not fair! I’m not saying I need to travel abroad on a daily basis but I DO want to have the ability and strength to do so should the opportunity arise. I am the definition of high functioning depression. Unless I want you to know, you may never know what eats me up inside. I look at celebrities like Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Ernest Hemingway, just to name a few, and my heart breaks. Some of the most successful, privileged, talented, and world changing people have succumbed to the strength sapping, soul crushing, darkness of depression and have chosen to end it. I get it. I’ve been there. Then think about the THOUSANDS of people who take their lives every DAY and I get even angrier. How many could have changed the world?
If I’ve learned anything about days like today, it is not to belittle the small wins. Victories come in all shapes in sizes and each one should be celebrated and acknowledged.
My body feels like it weighs a million pounds but I got up and vacuumed. That is a win.
My chest is tight and it feels like I can’t catch my breath (thanks so much anxiety) but I keep belly breathing. That is a win.
I am going to make banana bread. That is going to be a win.
So, if you’re reading this and you can identify with what I’m talking about, I just want you to know I think you have the strength of a freaking samurai. You’re not alone. There is a vast community of other secret samurai’s out there doing the same thing you are.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about and you think I just sound like a pathetic excuse for a human-please click the red ‘X’ at the top of the page and don’t come back. For the rest of you, I pray this gives you a chance to practice empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of others).
A dear friend told me yesterday that my writing helps her understand me more and in a clearer way (Yes. I am talking about you).
Literally, that is all I am hoping for.
Dare I say, that is all most of us are hoping for.
Todays Challenge: Go to the movies and eat my favorite movie candy.
“In my distress and heaviness, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard me! He heard my voice! My cry came before him, into His ears.” Psalm 18:6 [Paraphrased]