Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a missionary homecoming talk at another church. As I drove to the church, I had to pull over to take a picture of this beautiful sight. I even took a short video of the leaves as they glimmered in sun as they slowly fell to the ground.
I had had 3 days of complete clarity. Freedom from any mental health issues that were so consuming earlier in the week. I was very grateful for that wonderful time. I thought, "I've figured out the trick. I'm done with this stuff." It's a thought I've had many times before after finding success with a medication, therapy, massage, or being out from under a stressful situation. "I've arrived! The fight is over!" I thought I had finally arrived at that wonderful destination free of depression and anxiety.
Yesterday however, I was taught a little lesson. As I woke up, I knew that things weren't quite right. I realized that just as I know if I have the flu upon waking up, there is a distinct feeling when I wake up that lets me know things aren't quite right and that depression and anxiety might be my companion that day. Depression is actually a tangible feeling just like the flu, a thought I had never recognized.
I was actually a little shocked. Things had been going so well. I thought I'd figured out the trick to long term wellness. I'll be honest, it was a little discouraging. I had been so happy to be done with events like I had experienced earlier in the week. My week had been so good.
I thought about it while getting ready for church. It occurred to me that being free from mental health issues is not a destination, but a journey. Each day I wake up to a new scenario, never knowing what to expect. If I allow it to be a surprise and a disappointment, I will get down. I knew then and there that it was important to try to reframe this illness into a category like any other chronic illness. It was going to ebb and flow and that although I may be doing everything right, I may still have days where I have to deal with it. That day, I ended up having to find quiet time away from crowds and eventually had to use medication after all else had failed.
I realized that like with any other illness, I need to hunker down and tell myself that this isn't forever and that I have the tools to make it through the day. I need to have faith and courage that I am strong enough to fight.
My challenge? To remember these words in hard times and keep focused on the light that is sure to come.
helping students become their own best advocates
being a good listener
loving the colors of fall