Friday, August 24, 2007

My Story: Part 3

I guess the story seems disjointed sometimes, because it's hard to recount 2 years of my life in a few pages.
Was I always a happy person before the depression? No, but I was generally a fun loving person. I was in average health, I enjoyed hiking in the mountains, and walking in the river bottom with my husband (then boyfriend). But I think I had several predispositions to depression which are worth discussing.
1. I had a terrible diet. I ate way too many oreos and drank way too many slurpees. I think I was always hypoglycemic but didn't know it. When you are young it seems you can abuse your body quite a bit, and it will just bounce back. After I had Elijah, I had no nutritional reserves, and my immune system was severely taxed during that time.
2. This is the emotional predisposition: I was not a contented person. I had had a very difficult relationship with my parents as a teen, I had really hated school because I wasn't popular, and I found it boring (I was quite bright). So even though I was a sharp young woman, I held a negative outlook on life. Too many selfish boyfriends etc., had left me feeling jilted. I entered my adult life wounded, as most of us do.

So this brings us back to the issue of my not knowing how to fix my broken self. Have you ever felt that way? Like life is stacked against you, and you're not sure how to get out from under it? I did. I reached a point, where I knew that either I would have to get better, or I would have to die.

Now I think that God knew all of this too. I had become a Christian when I was 14, but I didn't know much about what it meant, or how a person could really succeed at living the "Christian life", but I always had known that God existed. Even when I was very young, I KNEW this. God was REAL.
So I prayed. My husband prayed too, and asked God to heal me of the depression. I felt good about it. I was sure God would do it. But that was 2 or 3 months into the depression, and as it stretched on, I started to think that God wasn't answering.
More time went by, and I abandoned the idea, deciding that if God wasn't going to help me, I would do things my own way.
So spring and summer of 1997 ended up being a very interesting time in my life. There were two very distinct and opposite pulls.

1. Some friends invited us to church. We had gone to church before I got pregnant, but once our friends there found out that I was pregnant they seemed more aloof, and we ended up leaving.
But these were friends from outside of church, and just happened to be attending a church so that they could receive marriage counselling, and get married in a church. They invited us to come with them! So we went; and boy it was DIFFERENT.
I can't remember what the sermon was about, but at the end, the pastor gave an invitation to pray at the altar. I went down to the front to pray by myself. It was totally out of character for me at that time to do anything like that, but I did on that day! And a lady from the church met me there, looked into my eyes, and asked "Are you depressed?"
How could she know? I thought it must be written all over me, but of course now I know that someone can be VERY depressed, and still conceal it perfectly in public.
This lady and her husband were holding a bible study in their home for young couples, and asked if we would come. Again, out of character, I said YES.
Jed and I went to her house that first Wednesday night, and left there in amazement. We both got in the truck, and looked at each other in stunned silence. "There was something different there," we said. "God was REAL, and you could FEEL Him!"
It began a time in my life of learning about God and His love like I had never known before, but at the same time, I was still holding part of myself back from these people. There was a secret part of my life that I wasn't showing people.
2. I began seeking out pleasure in avenues that weren't healthy or safe. I was being strongly drawn away from this God I had begun to discover, and to some extent, I was willingly following this trail, because I had been depressed for so long, that I would have given anything to feel good. I was an unfortunate candidate for temptation, and at that time in my life, I wasn't resisting too much.
I should mention the third medication I was on now. The one I had taken before (which I had responded well to)I had now developed an allergy to. So my doctor gave my a different prescription, and this medication made me feel somewhat high. But in my compromised state, I didn't mind! I had energy to do things like clean the house again! I had my drive back! My mind was in a whirl, but I didn't care.

Is it fun to write this... not really. I am not proud of anything I did during those two years. But it's OK to stare the ugliness of depression straight in the face. That's how you begin to defeat that awful enemy-- to stand back and begin to see it for what it really is.

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