Waiting for today...: Breaking Down

Saturday, February 22

Breaking Down

con't from: Out of the Fire?

Usually depressed during the holidays, my mood was much improved before the 2013 New Year.   One job, not at the bedside, meant less stress.  I still had a lot to learn in my new position, there was minimal improvement in my hours and there was the added task of relocating to another neighborhood.  Yet, I had a two month period of normalcy.  My depression resurfaced from time to time but it was not as severe as in the past.  I attribute a great deal of this to my faith.  

After obeying the gospel and as I grew in faith, I replaced mal-coping mechanisms with spiritual activities.  These activities included reading and studying scripture, prayer, singing hymns and talking about the goodness of the Lord with other members.  All these helped me to navigate difficult times related to my mood, whereas the mal-coping was a mere distraction.  I knew that as a Christian I was not exempt from depression, just as I am not exempt from diabetes or heart disease.  I indeed became depressed on occasion.  However, with my new found faith, I felt strengthened to pick up the pieces as my mood would lift. And I no longer felt hopeless.

I would continue to ride that tide until the summer.  After the congregation split, I felt worse than I ever had since I was diagnosed back in 2003.  This time hopelessness was met with confusion.  When I sought the comfort of members they seemed to be more interested in getting me to agree with their point of view.  The result was painful isolation. Although so many others left, I eventually decided that it was in my best interest to stay and see things through.  But as the dust settled I realized that the damage was done.  I found myself once again in a dark place; my confidence in Christians having waned again and I was drained of all motivation to walk a life worthy of the faith.  

I no longer participated in spiritual activities, personal or congregational, consistent enough to keep me steady.  But even in light of the crisis I was having, I didn’t return to the familiar mal-coping mechanisms I vowed to put behind me. Ordinarily this would be a proud declaration, but the result was no coping at all.  While I was at home, I was left to my own self-destruction but I felt safe.   On the other hand, when I had to walk out my front door I found myself constantly on edge.  

At work I was most miserable, irritable and impulsive, feeling as though I was not in control of myself.  I was short tempered and everything seemed to frustrate me.   I would walk with my head down as to avoid having to converse with people, not knowing when I would explode. The day my frustration peaked I had to work my scheduled five hour shift, one of a consecutive number of days in which I preferred to remain isolated.  As soon as I walked into the door my anger turned to anxiety.  My mind raced, I was visibly agitated, afraid and I just wanted the pressure to go away. I was tired of the misery.  

Although I wanted to run for the exit doors, I didn't.  After receiving encouragement from my colleague, I calmed myself as best as I could and made an emergency appointment to see my doctor instead.

Was I ecstatic to turn 35? I would like to say “yes” and not have to force a smile. I was excited to read my letter…was excited to see mom… was excited to experience my first cruise. But I was most excited to escape my life. A month or so ago I found myself in the midst of the worse low I’ve had since college. You remember that day? When I called my professor on the last day of clinical and told her that I wasn’t coming? Just like that moment, I didn’t have an out. Denial was no longer an option. I had to find and face whatever it was that kept me in this cycle of ups and downs. I had to face me, everything that I tried to hide from others and from myself, for years. By the time the opportunity came to escape my life, that is to take a vacation, I was already three sessions into much-needed-since-forever-ago therapy… ~ November, 2013