There are times when I go to see my therapist that feel more like chats with friends, sessions that are spent venting my frustrations, times we use the societal climate as inspiration and then there are sessions that I really have to work.
Today was work, friends.
As evidenced by my posts I have been battling a new beast: Depression.
It set in just after my second surgery in the fall and it swallowed me up in January. I spent weeks with my therapist talking about the nasty things Depression tells me, the thoughts I had swimming in my head constantly and learning how to push back.
I’ve set a wake-up time and a go to bed time that I stick to 90% of the week. I get dressed, put on my makeup and do my hair 5 out of the 7 days a week as a means to keep myself moving forward.
I’ve become more consistent with cooking meals at home, making (and keeping) plans with friends and being social in general via phone, social media and in person. All of these things have helped me to break through the surface of this depressive fog, but more often than I would like to admit I am still faking it.
I spend so much time feeling detached from myself, watching my life as if it’s a show on Netflix rather than something I’m firmly in the driver seat of. I’m here, but I’m somehow removed. No matter how hard I try to put myself squarely back in the middle of my life I just can’t seem to make it happen, I’m always just outside of it all.
I don’t like it.
That’s one of the funniest things about Depression isn’t it? No matter how much I wish it would go, how much I dislike this feeling, I just can’t shake it.
I recently reached out to my pastor for guidance and he had two very interesting things to say:
- Why do I approach my disease with tenacity and perseverance, using it as motivation to advocate for myself and others, but not the broken foot? Why are they so different to me?
- There may not be a reason for my suffering, it may have just been life being crappy and would it be possible for me to shift my questions from “why?” to “what’s next?”
Naturally, I brought these two points up with my therapist today and she asked me what would happen if I abandoned the “why?” Not in life, but just in these last months that have been so tough.
I’m the kind of person who likes to understand how things work. Not necessarily things like computers or toy trains, but emotions and thought processes and the inner workings of relationships and people. When things go sideways in a relationship I like to look at how they went sideways and what can be gained from the hardship that followed. I firmly believe that God will always make something good of every situation (if you give him the room to do so), I just prefer to know how and I like it best if I know these things right away.
So when I was asked to abandon the “why” of it all-not just set it aside to be considered later, but abandon it- I felt a strong surge of emotion. I didn’t like it. I don’t like it. If I don’t have a reason for my most recent suffering then it just becomes a string of bad things happening to me. Things completely out of my control. If they are both out of my control and without a greater purpose then what’s to stop them from happening again?
If I can’t stop them from happening again, then how can I go on living my life without being terrified that every twinge of pain in my side, every step I have to go down is going to be my next surgery or my next broken bone? How can I be sure that my life won’t be completely taken over by things that I can’t control?
I mean sure, I can be super aware of every step I take, make sure to see the doctor every time my pain gets weird but honestly who can live like that? Friends, I have booked three trips for the next 12 months and every time I do it I think “what if I have to cancel this one too?” Thanks to Anxiety being a prick I have attached traveling to the sadness and anxiety around having to cancel due to a rather severe injury.
When someone talks about life between September and November my mind remembers how sick I was and how much pain I was in. I flashback to the emergency room, all the imaging they had to do. So. Much. PAIN. Trips to restaurants we visited during this time remind me how I didn’t eat while my family did. Remembering the concert I went to in October reminds me that that was my last day of feeling well before all of that suffering started.
How crappy is that?
The truth is I don’t know why I went through what I did. The truth is also that I am okay. The truth is that even during the most terrifying moments of these last few months when I was afraid I was going to die I was surrounded by people who would have done anything for me.
I’m not foolish enough to believe that in one email from my pastor and a subsequent session with my therapist will be enough to blast this depression once and for all and I am far from being okay with not getting my “why”. It’s going to take a lot of prayer and time with God to shift my focus but I can tell you what’s next.
What’s next for me is a fair amount of Physical Therapy to get me walking without a limp so that when I am out and about in my travels I can count on my body to support me. What’s next for me is church and small groups while I feed my desire to know Jesus more. What’s next for me is so many concerts that my event app can’t fit them all on one screen, projects around the house that make me excited to get out of bed and summer… if this snow ever melts.