Well hello there

For the first time in a very long time, I feel like writing again.

I sweep the floor quickly, picking up the wood chips that are a big part of floor sweeping this time of year.  Then I put soup together in the crock pot for supper tonight.  The day is clear and very cold. The wood fire feels wonderful.

2018 has been a hard, hard year. It started off in the early months with a strange, unexplainable emotional breakdown for me, followed by a scary mental illness diagnosis that left us reeling in its aftermath.

Then the darkness came.

All I wanted to do was lie in my bed.  Curled in a ball or sprawled out, sometimes feeling a deep chasm of nothingness, sometimes feeling debilitating anxiety. Spring came and I still didn’t want to leave my bed.

We somehow survived.  I’d drag myself out of bed to make food for my family and do the laundry.  I’d make myself go to town and church because I knew that if I gave up on that, I would only sink lower.

Then came summer and I felt safe enough to post on Facebook that I had hope again after weeks of depression. The good months gave me joy.  We went traveling.  I posted on my blog.  People said that I was quieter than usual. It’s probably the mood stabilizing drug I take.  (I hate these drugs but I can’t do without them right now.)

When fall came the darkness returned.  It wasn’t just the shortening days.  It was deeper and darker than anything I’d experienced.  Depression feels so selfish and narcissistic.  What do I say when people ask”How are you?”  Do they want to know that I’m struggling again?  Even writing this feels so self-centered.

My favorite things hold no meaning.  I can hardly stand to read Facebook and Instagram, where whole, healthy people’s lives stand in stark contrast to mine.  I have no interest in books and blogs and having company, all the things that usually rejuvenate my extrovert personality.  My house feels dirty and cluttered, even though I try hard to keep up with the basics of housekeeping.

I worry incessantly about my family.  How will they come through this? I’m not disciplining and organizing like I should.  They fight.  They spend too much time on screens.  I feel helpless about being a mom.  How are you doing today, Mom? asks Alec. Are you depressed today, Mom? asks Andre.

I lie in my bed to escape, but the anxiety follows me there.  My brain feels like I imagine hell to feel, on fire with hopelessness, anxiety, despair.

Sometimes I wish it was stage 4 cancer or something.  At least then I could go home to Jesus soon and be at rest.

This time around I don’t talk about it as much.  Why burden others with something they can’t do anything about?

I read comments like this on Facebook and know again why I don’t talk about this to very many people. Someone writes: There is an epidemic in this country and it’s “anxiety and depression.” Nearly everyone has it and it’s because they have no solid foundation in Jesus.

I’m sure the writer meant well.

Dan holds me.  He offers understanding.  The children try their best, but they’re just as tired of my long face as I am of my entire self.  I feel like a shell of who I once was.

I pray.  I do an online brain detox, exercises that isolate toxic thoughts and bring them into the captivity of Christ by replacing them with promises from God.  I walk with my sister in -20 weather.  I start taking large doses of vitamin D.  I take what the psychiatrist prescribes. Sometimes after a morning of sleeping way too late and waking up with what a hangover must feel like, I run around the house barefoot in the snow to try to arrest the depressed feelings.  I try to make gratitude lists and lists of beautiful things, but on the worst days I can’t seem to do even that.  Again I  feel so very selfish.  I have everything I need and more.  Why the darkness? Kind friends ask how I’m doing and sometimes I kind of lie and say I’m pretty good, while other times I tell the truth.

And that, friends, is where I am.  Right now I am on day four of feeling like a human again. I’m tired of hiding away, pretending.  But it’s also scary to put the truth out there.

I started recently on some natural supplements that use the gut/brain theory and are specifically designed for people with mood disorders.  My cousin who has suffered from depression for six years feels like they have really helped her.  But they’re very expensive and she says it took her six months on them to see real change.  Can I last that long?  I’m such a skeptic.

Each good day is like a beautiful gift, wrapped exquisitely in shiny paper.  Music and laughter take on new meaning.  When all is darkness, there is still grace.  The Christmas lights twinkle on a dark night.  The fire glows.  I make myself get out and skate with the kids and for awhile I forget.  Christmas pictures and letters come in the mail and I savour them.  My sister sits with me and I feel like Jesus cares because He gave me her.

It all feels so focused on self when I write this.  I will end the monologue with some pictures from our Christmas, which was so nice despite my moods. I should edit them to give them better lighting, but I don’t really know how, so here they are:

Here is a picture of Victoria and her young man from Mexico.  They met at SMBI last spring and have been writing to each other for the last seven months. He was such a sport about the cold and tried skiing and skating and was way too good at both for a beginner.  We all enjoyed his visit.

 

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Victoria and Leonardo do the dishes.086af139-35ec-4707-9d6b-c1a0d79e7c4b

We sang with family on Christmas day at my brother David’s house.617d4d0f-4c34-4983-89b7-ddfbaeaa8ef6

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Two brains play chess.109e65d0-79c3-4450-ba0d-aaeb535bea1b

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Three cousins very close in age: Veronica, Annie, and Victoria.

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And a screen shot of this sweet picture from Facebook memories the other day.  These fat cheeked babies are growing up so much.580c13eb-9231-4546-8fbc-907dbcf51d95

It was so therapeutic to write this.  I don’t do well with keeping secrets.

I pray grace for each of you in the New Year.  Today it feels like 2019 will be a year of many good things.

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Well hello there

  1. I’m glad you’re having a good day, (in a series of good days, no less!). Despite the subject, you sound more like your old self. So good to read your words and hear your heartbeat. I was just thinking about you the other night and about the darkness of winter at Bay Tree. Take some afternoon walks in the cold bright sunshine for me, okay? I love you and your family very much. Such interesting news about Victoria and the new man in her life!

  2. So glad you are feeling like writing. I missed your posts.

    I have not personally experienced depression, but my husband did at one point… It is such an unpredictable, unexplainable thing.

    I pray that you will feel God’s presence in the valley and hang on in faith when you do not feel Him there, because He is! Blessings! Janice Neuenschwander

     

  3. Oh, Luci . . . My heart goes out to know . . . I understand just the tiniest bit . . . Praying for you and thanking God you had the courage to open up and be vulnerable . . . Love you!

  4. Oh Luci, just want you to know, I care. Thanks for sharing. I always think I want to tell someone about the darkness when I’m there but I chicken out because of the whole me-ism taunting voice. Thanks for bravely saying it so well. I pray you do have light again more often this year.

  5. Oh, Luci, my heart goes out to you! This post, I have never been in your shoes so I won’t give you any unseemly advice, but know my heart just aches for you! I wouldn’t mind at all to add you to my prayer list! hugs!

  6. You don’t know me but I follow your writings and I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this… I know how depression and anxiety is.. I’ve gone through it a number of times and it sure is not a fun time!! I hope you can find answers!

  7. Hello Luci, I have absolutely love reading your blog. I found you when was a stay home mom and had just bought a laptop ! My children were about 4 and 6, I believe. They will be 13 and 15 this month. I’ve been with you a long time.❤️
    I have always wanted to tell you that the Lord used you many times to encourage me. I feel like your words helped me to grow in my walk with the Lord.
    I pray that you keep writing! I always look forward to reading about your family and ministry.
    I want to share that I can understand the darkness of depression and mental health issues. Two of my 3 children deal with depression,and we are slowly seeing a change after a year of counseling and medications.
    I live in Washington state in a little town called Kalama, about 30 minutes north of Portland, Oregon. Please know that I will be praying for you and thinking about you, as well as looking forward to reading your posts. God really is using you and blessing people through you !
    Love, Heather Newman

    1. Thank you for commenting here, Heather. It’s always fun to “meet” people who read my blog. And thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement. Grace to you as you deal with your children’s depression.

  8. I’m so sorry you are going through this, Luci. Thanks for telling us about it. That must have taken some courage. I can identify with parts of it. Depression is such a horrible, isolating condition. You have my love and prayers.

  9. Luci, it’s very very good to hear your honest and beautiful voice again. It’s not selfish to talk about you–it’s so very needed, for the sake of everyone who struggles with depression. To dispel illusions, for one thing. (I’m sorry for the thoughtless comments you’ve seen.) And if we don’t know you are struggling, how can we pray for you? Love you!

  10. Luci, so happy to hear from you, but so sorry to hear about the depression. It’s a difficult thing for sure. Have experienced it, but nothing so severe as what you are. I will be praying for you, as God is the master physician. He is also the master tactician, and while it can be so hard at times to understand the things we go through, he knows all about it and is bringing us through to victory. Praying you will feel his healing touch throughout this next year as well as an overwhelming sense of his love and peace. Love you.

  11. Hi Lucy I always love when you write. Your post made me weep. I know how it feels to have depression. I too have felt dead inside and not enjoying doing the things I normally would enjoy a lot.
    You have such an amazing gift of writing. Many times your words have been how I have felt but I couldn’t put into words so elegantly.
    My youngest daughter was diagnosed as having severe depression a few weeks ago after OD’ing on pills just before Christmas.
    Wishing you a better year.

  12. Dear Luci, Ah, I’m sorry and hurt for you. I understand, I’ve been there. And yet, how do you answer when they ask how you are? Especially the darkness, the despair and loneliness. I don’t know where I’d be without God! So glad you are doing better. May God continue to help and hold you in His loving hand.

  13. Oh Luci! My heart aches that you’re going thru this! I’m so sorry… I’ve had touches of this as well as walked beside my sister as she’s had times of not wanting to get out of bed. I know it’s real! I had to wonder tho as you started out in your blog as the year began I thot but she did SO well at Inspire last year!! It was just the beginning of the year. I was SO uplifted and challenged and encouraged by your talks! I’m sure Sayan didn’t like what all you accomplished w Christ at Inspire… He hated that you touched so many hearts and encouraged so many women to Rest in Christ! Does he bring about such mental illness to try to break us away fromGods Promises? Know that I’ll be praying!! Praying you sense daily hugs from your Heavenly Father and a continuing growing strength to face each day!! In time, you’ll be strong again!!

  14. I don’t know you but I relate because 2018 was a year of being depressed for me too. It started around the New Year and stayed until it got much better beginning in November, I think because of medication. I hate psych meds too, mostly because of side effects and the wondering whether they’re messing up your thinking somehow. But I’m so very thankful for them.

    Just wanted to share what I wrote when I was first coming out of it.

    Depression is…
    -hating when the clock reads 11 o’clock because it’s still technically morning which means it’s a still a very long time until you can go to bed.
    -brushing your teeth being a hateful chore that takes a lot of concentration and leaves you exhausted after and having to lay down.
    -not having any breaks from self-awareness: every minute that goes by is sad and boring and nothing will distract you.
    -not being able to read a single page of your favourite magazine because you can’t focus and the magazine is stupid.
    -having zero interest in anything, and having no energy. Lots of frustrated and sad watching the clock, wanting to sleep through the day, longing for something to hold your interest, trying to be optimistic that something will be interesting again someday.
    -finding out that the simple game of Tetris can hold your attention for a few minutes, a few times a day. Going a few weeks with Tetris being your sole recreation.
    -not being able to clean, but wanting the house clean; and not having interest in anything, so wanting to get rid of all your books and hobby materials. Luckily being too lazy to follow through.
    -a very good day being one when you can sleep for 20 hours of it, so that only 4 are spent in bored and tired frustration.
    -knowing that walks are good for you, but hating every step. Being aware of each slow step, hating it, but pushing through. Or not pushing through, and turning around after a few minutes and going home to bed.

    Coming out of a depression is…
    -getting up out of bed, seeing a pile of laundry, and simply folding it–for the very first time in four months.
    -liking the sight of a houseplant instead of hating it
    -not being disgusted by how boring nature is: seeing an unknown bird and wanting to look it up in the bird book.

    1. Oh Sarah! You describe it so well. I could have written most of those things. I’m sorry you suffered and I’m so glad for the words, “coming out of it.” Blessings.

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