A ONE-STEP-BACK-KIND-OF-DAY

By Lisa Huddleston

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I’m sure once you read this post you will think I may be delusional—and it won’t be the first time I’ve been called that in the last couple of weeks—but I am certain that this day or the devil or fate or at least some dark, evil entity who lives in my own mind is conspiring against my determination to break free from this episode of depression.

It is a dark, gray, dreary day with light rain coming and going. I have nothing much on my agenda. I am alone for the whole day. This month’s edition of my favorite magazine is all about dying and death. My doctor has strongly suggested I cut back on caffeine. And I just received a kind word from someone about whom I feel overwhelming guilt for how I utterly failed her when she was in need.

Yes. I guess this is that one-step-back-kind-of-day the doctor was talking about.

So how do I handle it? I sense anxiety in the middle of my chest and kind of hovering with slight nausea over my stomach. It feels a little like hunger pains so I could try eating. However, I know that nothing I can eat or drink will really help it so I haven’t bothered with either (except for my two measly cups of coffee.) No, snacking my way through the day won’t help a bit and will backfire into making me feel even worse.

I could call a friend, text someone, initiate contact, but I don’t feel energetic enough for all that talking. And besides, I know what kinds of things they’ll say. Sweet, encouraging, somewhat frustrated words they have shared many times before. I know I am letting them down by not “cheering up” or by “tearing myself down.” But I am delusional here, remember? What do you expect?

I could and should read the book I must finish before next week’s book club which I am actually hosting and need to figure out a way to get excited over. What refreshments will I serve? What discussion questions can I find or write? I know I loved this book once, but right now I can’t even concentrate on reading it. Oh well—they love me; they’ll understand. (Not a delusion.)

I could try to weave something—I’ve had a vague desire to bring out that strange triangle loom to work on. That may be simplistic and Zen enough for today. It would fill my time and keep my hands busy and even engage my cloudy mind a bit. Good qualities for this one-step-back-kind-of-day.

And, of course, first of all I will write and share my personal intimate thoughts with all of my millions of readers! (Now I am just joking—not that delusional!)

Sounds like a plan, and God knows it would be good to have one today. Idle hands (and minds) really are the devil’s workshop—especially when one is delusional enough to think that all this sharing may be helpful to someone else as much as it is to me.

Got a plan for your one-step-back days? Love to hear your ideas. And remember, the next two steps should be/could be/hopefully will be forward!

 

SILENT PRAYER AND PERSEVERANCE

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By Lisa Huddleston

It was February when we decided it was time for me to seek help again. My energy was waning; my interests were fading away. For a while obsessive reading hid how bad things really were, but eventually that passion also dulled and became a chore.

It is now July–five months later–and the struggle continues. Despite a wonderful counselor and a well-respected physician, even my faith has begun to pale. I can barely pray, and I hardly ever attempt to write–my truest form of prayer. For a while my cry was, “Lord, hang on to me!” And so, I suppose, that is what He is doing now in the absence of my supplications.

As words have failed, only signs and symbols remain burned into my flesh like words once burned in my heart. To communicate that I am not well. To imitate the stripes by which we all are healed. To echo the Spirit’s moans and groans. To punish and to pray.

I fear a wasted life, but I ardently love my family and so hatred and love twist and twine to braid the rope that ties me to this place. Like God holds me here, their love is a tether for my soul. To wait for restoration. For five months or six or however long it will take.

Amen.