Thursday, July 21, 2011

Opening the Curtains and Battling Depression

I've shared with you that I'm unemployed. That has left me with a lot of free time on my hands. For some of you, that might sound thrilling. You could probably come up with a list of dozens, if not hundreds, of things you would like to do around your home. I have a list like that. I've accomplished some of it, but certainly not all of it.

Often, I find myself sleeping late, sometimes until the middle of the day, because it makes the day go by faster. I watch the minutes tick away, waiting for Joseph to come home so I'm not alone anymore.

Loneliness is hard for me. It's one of my biggest struggles being unemployed.

One of my other struggles is a lack of desire to do anything. I've wondered if it just boiled down to laziness, but I don't think it does. Oh, sure, some days I'm just being lazy. Others, I just don't want to do anything, even things I enjoy doing. I just want to stay in my pajamas, not put my contacts in, leave the curtains closed and the lamps off, and lie on the couch.

I recognize that as a symptom of depression, because I've been depressed before.

It seems different this time. It comes in spurts. Sometimes, it sneaks up on me in the middle of a happy moment. I'll have a few good days, and then I'll have the days where I want to keep the house dark and keep to myself.

I don't think I'm depressed because I'm unemployed. I think the unemployment triggered the depression. There's a difference.

I think if I were depressed because of the unemployment, I would have some sort of longing for my old job or for a new one.

Instead, I think the loneliness, a feeling of a lack of purpose, a feeling that I no longer contribute to our family, those things triggered my depression.

I don't want you to feel scared for me. I assure you I am not depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts or anything of the like. If anything, I would consider this a mild case of depression, because I can usually pull myself out of it (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course, because without Him, the curtains stay closed).

I'm trying to recognize when I'm feeling depressed and counteract it. When I notice the living room is looking dark and gloomy, I make myself open the curtains. When I look at the clock and it's almost 2:30 in the afternoon and I'm still in my pajamas (oops ... like now!), I make myself get up and put on real clothes. I make myself put my contacts in, brush my teeth, brush my hair ... you know, typical good hygiene.

One of the most important things I'm doing is striving to spend time with the Lord in the mornings. I notice a difference in my days when I do. I'm more apt to be joyful and to be productive around the house. When I connect with the Lord, I'm reminded that I have many reasons to be grateful and filled with joy. I'm reminded that He is with me always, even when the curtains are closed.

Also, when I connect with the Lord in the mornings, I'm more apt to connect with Him throughout the day. When I start my day talking to Him, I talk to Him throughout the day. When I bring others to Him in prayer in the morning, I find myself thinking of them throughout the day, and I continue lifting them up in prayer.

I also recognize the spiritual warfare connected with this depression. I've been seeking to trust the Lord and follow His leadership in this new phase of my life. I know the enemy doesn't like that. He is going to do everything he can to try to distract me and keep me from staying connected to the Lord. So I must suit up:

"10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand inthe evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." (Ephesians 6:10-20, courtesy of

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You don't know me but your post has spoken to me today. Thanks for writing.