Tuesday, November 13, 2007

From Coping Mechanisms to True Joy

Where do you get your power from?
What gets you up in the morning? What makes you feel like you can cope? What keeps you going during the day? What drives you- what can't you live without?
Nothing gets you up in the morning? Well even then there is something feeding you. The human creation doesn't do anything that doesn't benefit it. Even the things we don't want to do, the things we hate, we are getting some kind of benefit from. They feed us somehow.
So what gives you confidence, makes you feel like you can do it? Or perhaps I should say: what is your coping mechanism?
I've had many. Chocolate, caffeine, sugar, sleep, pain killers, antidepressants, fear, superstitions, attention and pity from others, trips to the doctor... and more.
What's that? These don't sound like coping mechanisms? Well, truth be told, they weren't very good ones. They always failed. And it always is that way. Your coping mechanism
will tell you that it is all for your good, but it doesn't tell you that when you're on the airplane, and you are exhausted, and can't find the package of MandM's in your back pack, that you will have an emotional let down. Now that's not a good crutch, if it can't come through for you in a pinch. : )
What about sleep? Everyone needs a good night's rest, right? Well it seemed that the more I slept, the more sleep I needed, and it began to steal from other areas in my life. I didn't have time for certain things, because I was sleeping. And besides, sleeping was unfaithful to me. I was faithful to invest hours every day into my sleeping habit, but all that sleeping didn't help me to fix any of my troubles. It may have seemed like I escaped for awhile, but then the troubles were there in the morning, and even worse- just like laundry that you avoid: the problem only grows worse while you are pretending that it isn't there. Sometimes it even gets moldy!!
So what is my coping mechanism now? Where do I get my strength from? Well, to be totally honest, there are still days when I need a good snooze, or I pick up a bag of m'n'm almonds, but I know now that there is no substance to them spiritually.
I think my bible is my coping mechanism. A few times recently when I felt my blood sugar drop in the afternoon, and began to feel like rubbing my temples, I went to read my bible instead. It's like a fix for me: I felt cheerful, encouraged, upbeat, and like diving right back into things. It's better than a nap to me now- I have a different kind of energy, certainly, but I can do so much more now than I could before.
And if you're depressed, you know what I mean. There were days when I couldn't even get the dishes done. I didn't even bother to think about the laundry. I didn't vaccuum anymore either. I'd cleaned the house frequently before the depression, but when depressed I kept hearing thoughts like "I can't, I can't". I think at that time, my coping mechanism was the depression. I couldn't face the reality of everday life: a husband I didn't love (I was too selfish to love anyone then), a church family I had dissapointed, a baby who cried and wouldn't sleep, and it drove me to distraction. It seemed like everything was stress, and my stress levels had taken me to a level where I was simply broken. I couldn't get out of bed to feed the baby, I couldn't smile without faking it. I was so discouraged, I could have died.
Not a good choice of coping mechanism, but the depression was a way of retreating. Of avoiding the terrible weight of just not knowing what to do or how to cope. So there was pity of others, drugs to cover up the deprivation of my brain and my mind. But it wouldn't go away, like a wolf outside the door, the weight was always there- pressing, pressing, and it kept getting worse. Soon even my secret place of depression was full to brimming over with pain, and torment, and horror. Only someone who has been depressed can know.
So, today, to those of you who are in that secret place of depression, and long to be released: I plant a seed of hope, that will not dissapoint you:
What does the bible say we are to have as our coping mechanism? Joy. I know that that word seems unreachable, unreal to you, but did you know that the power to do God's word , is in the word itself? When God made the world in the beginning, and said "Let there be light", the universe reacted, and there was light: in that same way I can say to you "Rejoice", and you will react. Your spirit will hear those words, and if you want it to, it will remember them, and begin to produce the substance of joy. It is only a beginning, I realize, but it has to begin somewhere!
Keep coming back, I will try to post more often. I figure if I commit to working on this blog 15 minutes every day, it will add up to much more accomplished here. : )

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