Joy during SAD

It was cloudy when I woke up this morning. Cloudy and cold. As I made my way into the kitchen to brew myself a cup of tea, I couldn’t help but feel as if it was cloudy and cold inside too. Or maybe it was only cloudy and cold inside of me.

You see, it’s been a weird few months for the girl with depression. I love everything about Autumn, except the fact that something in the air makes my depression worse. I don’t exactly have SAD (seasonal affective disorder), because I get pretty depressed in the summer too. I actually have been diagnosed with bipolar depression and have had it since I was probably around 15 or 16. For a long time, I managed it very poorly with some destructive habits, a topic for a later date. A couple years ago, I started actually seeing a doctor (sometimes it’s really hard to admit that you need help) and through some therapy and medication, I started to do a lot better! Everything was on track…. Until I was told to go off all my meds due to pregnancy. And even then, the first few months went swimmingly! I was pregnant! A baby was coming! Everything was new!

And now the leaves are changing colour and I’m pregnant… A baby is coming… Everything is new. The exclamation points are still there theoretically. They’re just exclamation points of anxiety rather than excitement. 

I can see myself already beginning to fall into some of odd, reclusive tendencies that used to haunt me prior to getting help. Example: Yesterday, it took me almost twenty minutes to convince myself that I really DID need to bring the garbage outside to the dump. “But it’s a long way! What if somebody sees me? What if I trip and somebody sees that and laughs at me?” “Woman, your living room is starting to smell. Just do your work.” That’s not normal. But with depression and anxiety, it is.

So this morning, I almost brought my tea back into bed with me. I almost opened up Netflix and binged through The Flash (I’m a sucker for superheroes). And then it hit me that I’m still in control of myself, with or without medication.

I turned on some Disney music, started a load of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, and had a friend over for lunch. I went for a walk, read my Bible, spent some time singing to God, and even chatted with one of my neighbours. And now it’s sunny outside and sunny inside as well. 

Mental illness is hard, but combatting it is not impossible. I knew a runner who had dislocated her knee. She took pain medication for it, of course, but she had to go through TONS of physical therapy before she was ready to hit the roads again. Mental illness is like that and right now, all I’ve got is the physical therapy portion. So I’m going to up my game, push myself to do things that stretch my mental facilities and build up my brain muscles. Sure, it’s so much easier to push myself when I’m taking my medication. At first I thought, “Hey, I’m doing so well, there’s no way I’m going to need to go back on meds after the pregnancy!” At this point, I can say that there’s an 80% chance I’ll go back on some form of medication after Baby Asaro is born. But as for now, I’m going to use what I’ve been given and that’s lots of music, lots of Scripture reading, and lots of fellowship. 

There can be joy during SAD and I am determined to grasp ahold it, finding joy in my husband, in my baby, and most importantly in Christ. If God could lead King David, the psalmist of both melodious praise and lamenting melancholy, in paths of joy and righteousness, I’m certain He can do the same for a tired, pregnant navy wife. 

  

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