January 21, 2008

question and answer #1

I've been reading all the answers of the others who have agreed to take questions and I'm amazed at the honesty. I never started blogging in search of friends. I did it to journal my kids' childhoods, to vent frustration, to prove to myself that God is ever-present, and to connect to my family. But as I read all the answers, my realization is that I do have friends "out there". And no matter where life takes me or how long I go without a post of my own, they are still there. What a blessing that is to me! When I threw my hat in the ring for this question and answer thing, I didn't know if I'd get questions or not. But some of you showed up - and asked questions! And if you haven't asked yet, it isn't too late!

Here goes with round one...

Leave it to my good friend, Barb, to pose a thought-provoking question. Actually, it has caused me days of contemplation - which is not necessarily a bad thing. I just want to make sure I say what I want to say in the right way. Her (first) question is this:
I know you struggle with depression. It was pretty obvious when I first met you but it seems a lot less obvious now. So is it safe to say you're winning that battle?

Ah, Barb, but it is a war. I call it that because it is a series of battles, one by one, day by day. It's interesting that I call it a war because that's what I call my divorce from my ex-husband. It really wasn't a war in the sense that we destroyed each other, well more than a divorce already does. My friend and I joke about material things that must have gotten lost "in the war". It's around the time of "the war" when I really started being affected by depression. I'd had postpartum depression, but then again, I was barely 20 and had a new marriage and a new baby. Just a few changes... I bounced back but by the time the war came around, I was pretty battle weary.

The happy news is that the short answer to Barb's question is yes, I'm winning. But if you will indulge me, I'd like to give you the long answer. It's a mighty powerful testament to the goodness of Jesus.

I think that each of us is wired with an internal gauge of happiness. Let's face it, some people are just happy, and some are just not. While I think of myself as a happy person, I feel as if I have walked around, most of my life, with the Eeyore cloud over my head. I don't know if I feel things more deeply than most or if I am just less adept at handling those emotions/feelings. Whatever it is, there is a depth there that remains. It is in this depth that the feelings of depression, or my fog, comes about. I don't know if my soul is contemplating the issues at hand (or even past issues) or if my heart is taking time to process things, I honestly don't know. I guess if I knew, I wouldn't have this problem.

To counter this, I feel like I have been blessed with the gift of faith. By this I mean that I never question that things will work out to the good of God. I mean, during the whole two years that our old house was on the market, I never once questioned what God was doing. Well, I questioned how we'd make those two mortgage payments a couple of times, but through it all, I knew it would be okay. My gut feeling was peace. It really makes little sense to me that I usually have a great feeling of faith, a feeling of peace and the fog still consumes me. It's just the process of getting to the place where God shines through that gets me down, I guess.

With all that said, I'm doing a couple of things that have helped me. The first is that I am trying daily to read something from the Bible. Hearing God's words spoken in my mind reminds me to focus on things eternal and not the things of this world. That is such a help. Knowing that God is always with me helps me find the balance and gives me the orientation I need to find my way around the fog. I have also become involved in a Bible Study and between the ladies and the studying, I am finding it very helpful as well.

Prior to blogging, I kept a journal. Once I began blogging though, I no longer wrote in my journal. And being that this whole blog thing is not so private, I tended to censor what I was saying. It's hard to really hash through your feelings when you are censoring yourself. So, instead of turning here, to my blog, when I needed to write my way out of a fog, I've started keeping a journal type document on my computer. That's part of the reason I haven't blogged as much. Sometimes all my creative writing juices are exhausted by the time I get to blogging. But I've found my emotional footing again - and life is good.

Whew. I'll be back soon to answer more... :)

2 rays through the fog:

Bev said...

I appreciated your honesty here, I'm sure it will encourage others who are struggling as you have. I've had times when I've kept a journal on my computer too - you can just password protect it and the typing is so much faster than writing, which doesn't keep up with my brain. I never got here to pose a question but did appreciate reading the answer to the one my sister posed. xoxo

Barb said...

I think I had an idea your answer would involve your faith, Andrea.

I also think it's a great idea to keep a journal of your feelings as you travel back to the surface, but I totally agree, a blog isn't the place to put those feelings. I know a lot of people consider their blogs to be their journals, but I seriously doubt they put all they're deepest thoughts and feelings out there for the whole world to read.

I've never been a journaler. But I know I'm in the minority. It amazes me how many people really do record their feelings.

Thank you for answering my question and thank you especially for being so honest.

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