Between horse-back riding and new zumba classes I have muscles sore that I didn't even know existed. My children can attest to the fact that I have spent my entire adult life devoted to almost daily exercise, but it always amazes me that you can never "arrive" at being physically fit. At most, you hit as high as you can on the scale that ranges from "couch potato" to "muscle-bound goddess."
Exercise makes me feel 6 feet tall and bullet-proof and it has been my secret weapon against the Kryptonite of my life which is depression. Is it alright to talk about depression? I hope so, because I'm fixin' to talk about it. Maybe what I have to say may help someone else who has felt the weight of this dark blanket over their lives.
Last night, when I prayed, I thanked God for giving me a heart that can break and a soul that can suffer depression. It is the depth of emotion that I can feel and the care I take in not falling into the depression pit that are the fuel for the intense joy I experience. I choose to not take prescription meds because I found the meds dull the "highs" of my life as well as the "lows." Instead, I run, I pray, I religiously take vitamins and supplements, I write music, I strive to be fully present in each moment.
Today when Brad called he said, "Are you OK?" I said, "yes." He then said, "Are you REALLY OK?" It's like he can tell from a distance that depression is knocking at my door. I love that my loved ones are as aware of my needs as I try to be of theirs. The best thing a loved one can do is to show love and give big bear hugs, but not encourage long days of nothingness. Depression requires ACTION to overcome.
It seems to me that there is a lovely push and pull to life that creates momentum and motion. It is when the momentum stops for me that it suddenly feels like I am wearing concrete shoes and all I want to do is crawl into bed for a few days. I recognize these crisis moments and ask God for grace to get out of the mire. Often it is a run up the canyon or a good booty-shake at an aerobics class that help. Sometimes God sends me to someone else who might need a visit or a call. Occasionally, God sends a song.
The last thing I would want to do is make depression sound like an easy state to overcome. I have been knocked on my back by it enough times to realize how real and sticky it is. If the object of our design as a child of God is to experience joy, then God can get us to a state of joy. All we have to do is want joy, ask for it and move toward it. Just like being physically fit, you can never "arrive" at "joy." It's a daily process and sometimes the muscles of your soul will be sore, but good golly, aren't we so lucky to be alive?