By Lisa Huddleston
Incredibly, it’s already September and football season is here AGAIN. Last night began the next few months of angst and woe over all the plays that should have gone one way but sadly went another. It’s hard to be a Vandy fan—and a Titans fan and even a Bears fan. My poor husband suffers, and in empathy with him, so do I. But in some ways, it just seems to be a part of the cycling seasons of the year. A routine that we’ve grown accustomed to. (Although I really wish we could win once in a while so the poor guy could celebrate a little!)
And with the arrival of football also comes—soon and very soon—the exhilarating weather and colors of fall. Oh, how I am looking forward to that! Beauty galore!
Then come the holiday season and winter and gray skies and my inevitable, predictable downward spiral in mood which unaccountably lasted far into summer this year … oy.
As a part of sharing my journey through the dark woods of depression, I realized this week that it would not be fair nor right to leave you with the impression that once you find a good therapist, a good psychopharmacologist, and the right mixture of medication and lifestyle adjustments that all will be roses and honey from then on. What reminded me to remind you that depression can be a chronic illness was a sudden crash in energy on Tuesday afternoon. I was working at my volunteer tutoring job (a job I love) when with about 45 minutes to go, I realized that I was sinking fast. Gladly I was able to stick it out—hate to be a bad example—but when I arrived home, I immediately crawled under a blanket and slept for two hours only waking then because I had a Spanish class to attend.
And therein lies yet another danger of life with chronic depression. When you begin to feel better it is so tempting to dive headlong into the hyper-activity that is common to our culture. And even when you begin to feel the undertow, to fight against it in order to show that you are not weak or lazy or defective. This desire is counterproductive to recovery, but the temptation is very hard to resist.
It was in my counseling session this week that I recognized what I have been doing and how it is working against me. I realized that it is important for me most of all, but also for the people around me, to know and acknowledge that I am still in recovery and that skirmishes in my battle with depression can arise at anytime. I have to give myself permission to rest when I need to, to schedule my days with my sketchy energy level in mind, and to expect understanding from those who love me. After all they really do love me.
And that is really all I have to say this morning. Remember that life with depression needs to be managed—just as life with diabetes or cancer or arthritis must be managed. It’s not a one time fix and then back into the race.
My plans for today are to mow the grass (a two-hour job) and to begin a new weaving project on my recently purchased loom. If need be, I will give myself permission to nap. It’s been a full week, and it’s likely I will need it.