We all have seasons in our lives that suck. One thing after another going wrong, bad news at every turn, sad things happening to loved ones, or maybe to you. But when you suffer from depression, a bad season can be paralyzing and suffocating. Depression and hard seasons together can be detrimental if not properly handled.
I’m in one of those seasons now and it’s been going on for several months. But something is different about this hard season. It feels different than other ones I’ve had before. This time I’m feeling a little lost and numb, and it’s scary.
I’m going to talk a little bit about what’s been going on, but I am going to leave out names and specific details in order to respect the privacy of my friends and family.
It began a few months ago when a former first-grade student passed away. Though she was not in my class, I saw her every day and interacted regularly with her. When you’re a teacher and work with a team, all the students in that grade level are your students. It’s just how it is. She had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago and fought hard, but she lost her battle.
For months I think about her Mother. All the mothers who have lost their babies. I look at my kids and my heart hurts. I cannot imagine what it feels like to have your baby taken from you. To have to wake up every morning to their absence.
Not long after her passing, a childhood friend of mine passed away. He and I had been friends since I was in sixth grade. We hadn’t spoken in a couple of years, and that has really been bothering me. I have no idea what the cause of his death was, if he was sick, or if it was sudden. My logic tells me that it’s normal that life passes by, you live day to day life and lose touch with people, but that doesn’t change that I wish I had kept in touch more.
About a month after that, a close family member lost someone they loved very suddenly. There was no chance to say goodbye, no closure, no service. And it was heartbreaking to watch. It still is. One day this person was here, and the next gone. Plans were made to see each other the day this person passed and instead, there was just quiet and solemness.
Then, about a month after that, another friend of mine, who has suffered great loss as well, was diagnosed with cancer. She began treatment, and though the tumors are smaller, the cancer has spread. She is strong, and she can beat this, but it hurts my heart to know what she is going through. My heart hurts for her, her family, and for the pain that she may have to endure in her fight.
Also, my Mom suffers from chronic pain and has for several years now. She cannot seem to find relief or a doctor who can help. Diagnoses are made by one doctor only to be withdrawn by another. This isn’t new, but it continues to progress and it’s hard to watch and know there isn’t much I can do. She continues to struggle with new illnesses and can’t seem to get in for appointments in a timely manner. It’s infuriating.
AND… we will be putting down our 16 year old yorkie this week. We’ve had her and loved her since she was 8 weeks old. And it’s time to say goodbye.
I’ve noticed a significant increase in how tired I feel lately. I’m unmotivated and my energy is nonexistent. The worst part of this is that for the first time ever, I don’t care. I don’t care to find a way to get better or get out of the cloud this time. I’ve been going through the motions of the day, checking what I can off the list of things that need to be done, but there is no feeling of joy or sense of purpose anymore. I know that depression and hard seasons don’t mix well. Even writing this post is taking me days when it should be hours.
For someone who suffers from severe depression regularly, a bad season can be a turning point. I know this from the last really bad season I had, which you can read about here. Bad seasons are the ones you have to be the most careful about when you suffer from depression. They are when we are most fragile, and coincidentally when we want to hide how we are really feeling the most. We don’t want to talk about it, and we want to pretend like everything is fine because we’re exhausted.
I know that this is all part of life. None of us are free from pain, loss, or heartache. Life is hard and we all go through hard seasons. We cannot forget that there are people who need us to be at our best even when hard things are happening around us. We have to take care of ourselves. It’s okay to be sad and feel what we feel, but we must find a way to get it together and continue moving forward.
I’m still working through all of this. This isn’t a “how-to” post and I don’t have any advice to give because I’m not sure what I should do this time. But I wanted to share it with you because I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is in this situation and I think it’s important to feel connected and “in it” with others.
I don’t know how long it will take and I don’t know why this time is different for me. The only thing I can come up with is that this time, I’m experiencing a lot of death and loss, and fear. As I get older, I know that this is unavoidable. And that’s just it.
We waste a lot of our lives fighting change and avoiding pain. The thing is, we will always lose. We cannot and will not win against change and pain because we have love. Without love, there would be no pain. We feel pain because we love. Change brings uncertainty, but it also brings joy.
Because if so, what we should be doing is embracing change. Accepting that there will be pain. It won’t be easy. Bad seasons are significant because they represent the love that we have around us. And although it is very hard, feeling pain is worth the experience of having love and experiencing the moments full of joy. There cannot be love or joy without pain.
With Easter just having passed, I think a lot about Jesus suffering an unimaginable death and pain for the love he had for us. His death, though sad, piercing, and hard, brought joy. The joy of eternal life and the joy of victory against death.
So I will hold on to that and I will seek him to help me through this period. He will strengthen me. He will guide me. He will change my heart. I know that this is just a season and that I will get through it. It won’t be easy and it will take time. But my hope is in love.
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