“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” ~from Psalm 30:5 KJV
(there will be more inspirational verse, music, and my latest radio podcast at the end of this post if you need some encouragement).
When you are in despair, it sure doesn’t seem like joy is just around the corner. It feels like the heaviness will not lift and you just sort of get by minute by minute, hour by hour until it passes. It is hard to be stuck in this sort of dreary spot and even harder to remember that truly, this too shall pass. These are the sort of days that drag on. Those never ending blah and merely existing days.
I was feeling this way two days ago. Depression is not something I deal with often. Usually for me, depression is a side effect of something else I am dealing with and I can pull myself up out of it fairly quickly by simply changing my perspective or doing something that brings me joy. However, once in a great while I have a day where I am feeling really bad, nothing seems to work and I just have to ride it out. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been referring to this sort of feeling as “the nothing”. It was usually when I was ill or had a fever or something and I felt like I was barely existing that I used this phrase. I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling back then, so I would tell Mom I felt like “a nothing”. I guess that was my way of describing that zombie like feeling on those days where you are just surviving but not thriving. I still use this term as an adult haha (only now it also describes depression).
Well anyway, 2 days ago this is where I was at. I don’t know why I woke up feeling so cruddy on this particular day, but I did. It was probably some sort of after affects of grief and exhaustion catching up to me, but I am not sure which came first- the chicken or the egg. Was I depressed because I felt so physically un-well, or was I physically un-well because I was depressed? Who knows?
A week or so ago something tragic did happen. I won’t go in to all of the details, as I know many of my readers are sensitive to these kind of topics. I will just summarize by saying my cat of 14 years, Tawny, was diagnosed with a tragic terminal illness and died unexpectedly the day we brought her home from the vet. She passed here at home, and so I had to face one of my fears in being witness to that. It happened late at night and I was really sleep deprived that week from the whole ordeal. So, maybe the grief and the lack of sleep combined caught up to me and that is why I had this random horrible day several days later.
The feeling never left me. I waited patiently all day for it to pass, but it didn’t (it isn’t unusual for me to wake up tired and get energy later in the day at some point) I woke up deflated and went to bed deflated later that night. For an entire 24 hours I felt like a deflated balloon. I was on auto pilot going through the motions of the day as best as I could, but I wasn’t really present. I was so incredibly tired, even though I hadn’t gotten out of bed until 5 pm that day- just in time to make dinner (which was about all I managed to do by the way). No matter what I did to try and feel less exhausted and perk myself up, it didn’t work. For those of you reading this who struggle with serious depression on a regular basis, my heart goes out to you. Truly. I think I would actually prefer the anxiety I have experienced over depression (which is saying a LOT). At least with anxiety you feel alive (grant it , a bit TOO alive haha).
In which she finally gets to her inspirational point of sharing this vulnerable diary like entry with the world (ha!)…
Normally I would have all these tips for you on how to get out of your funk when you are feeling down (and I do have a big list of those kind of tips from personal experience, but that will be for another blog post). However, sometimes it is just really hard to get out of said funk. Sometimes trying to skip over despair and get out of it quickly is not gonna happen. So what to do then?
Here are 5 things I learned :
- Take really good care of yourself. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. Extra sleep, healthy foods, plenty of hydration, prayer time and whatever else nourishes your spirit.
- Don’t judge yourself for being depressed or feeling un-well. It isn’t a sign of weakness. It is just something we humans deal with from time to time (some more than others). Don’t let other people make you feel guilty about it either or like you don’t have “permission” to have these blah days. Allow yourself to feel ALL of your feelings. It stinks to feel crappy, but sometimes it is part of life. ALL feelings are part of the human experience (even being sick). Joy, love, happiness, anger, sadness, loss, etc. It is great to try to get past the negative ones quickly if we can, but it is also ok to just sit with whatever it is we are going through. If you are like me, you really dislike the comfort of the negative stuff and want to skip past it and feel better pronto. Sometimes these things can’t be rushed and there is no need to pressure ourselves to stop feeling this way NOW! You don’t have to try hard to feel better. Release that and trust it WILL come.
- You are never really alone. Feeling depressed or ill sometimes makes you feel so isolated. Remember- you are not alone. So many people at this very moment are struggling with these things too. God is always with you too!
- The bad days are temporary. This too shall pass. It really DOES. When I woke up the next day the clouds had lifted and I felt a lot better. The day after that I was pretty much back to my perky self. However, when you are in the midst of it, it can seem unbearable and endless. Hang on and remember that this is just an “off” period and really just a blip in time on the grand timeline of your life. Life’s little everyday miracles are endless. Once you get pass the tough days, more of God’s best for you is waiting on the other side. Who knows what awesome stuff will happen next? Are you keeping that gratitude journal to record those blessings?
- We need the dark to truly appreciate the light. If we felt great all the time and never had a bad day(s) we would be cheated out of so much. We wouldn’t know how to have true empathy or compassion for our fellow man. We wouldn’t have the ability to appreciate the good days with the same level of joy. Enduring trials is part of what shapes us and molds us in to who we are meant to be. I truly believe God uses this stuff for His glory, and it isn’t for naught. Life is made up of the beauty of contrasts. The most beautiful scenes in nature, the most beautiful photographs and paintings, are a result of both light and dark coming together. There is such beauty and interest to be found in the depths of contrast.
As for myself, I sometimes find comfort in reading the Psalms during tough times. David was often in distress and calling out to God for help in Psalms. You can also find him singing praises in the midst of it all. For those of you who enjoy uplifting inspirational verse, I will end this post by sharing some of the things that uplifted my spirit this week:
“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights.
For You are the fountain of life. The Light by which we see. “
~Psalm 36:5-9 NLT
A song that helps me (click the link for youtube video): John Tesh Live at Red Rocks video performing “Trading My Sorrows”
In gratitude for Joy and a Brand New Day! Happy Sunday,