Are you ok?
It’s been a rough couple of months for everyone. For me it started last June when we temporarily moved to Boston and I unintentionally began social distancing myself (I am working remotely for the year and started a distance learning master’s program in Biomedical Egyptology—which turned out to not be my cup of tea). In January, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) was no longer creeping in unwelcomed but loudly proclaiming its presence in my life. Then Covid 19 happened and continues to spread in more ways than one.
The only reason I feel OK enough to talk about the last few months is that for the present, I feel better! This makes it confusing to explain. Last Wednesday night I was texting my sister at 1am unable to sleep, stress gripping my chest, fear, shame, and utter sadness overwhelming me. Saturday morning, I was singing, dancing, and baking banana chocolate chip muffins (don’t get too excited, they were extremely healthy). This makes me question my sanity. Am I broken?
I sit here trying to justify how I belong in the category of people suffering with depression or SAD yet most of me desperately wants to run from any of this and join the other indifferent group of people who tell me that I have a choice in this, or that they can’t relate because they’ve never struggled with a mood disorder.
I didn’t know what it was like until I was in it. Somedays it feels impossible to get out of bed. Somedays I can’t stop crying. What choices do I have in those moments? All I can do is try and take one hour at a time and be kind to my heart. All I can do is try to rest as the anxiety grips my heart.
I feel shame and that shame leads to intense feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Shame. Because I can’t handle change.
- Shame. Because I can’t be supportive.
- Shame. Because the cold and dark sky affects me so badly.
- Shame. Because I can’t flip the internal switch to just be happy.
- Shame. Because I may always be like this.
- Shame. Because I will never be good enough.
- Shame. Because I want to go home.
- Shame. Because I don’t trust Jesus with my future.
This is a recipe website not a religion laden self-help blog but before I start sharing recipes to boost your immune system or utilize all the rice, oats, and beans you’ve stock piled, I first had to get real. My pastor dad once told me to never preach a sermon on something that hadn’t changed my life. Well, here it is. This is real. I am not ok, but that’s ok.
I offer to you a few things that seem to be helping me right now:
- I stopped listening to the news and reading headlines. If something important happens I know I’ll hear about it, but I don’t have to seek it.
- When I start to feel anxious, I lay on the floor and do several minutes of deep breathing.
- I upped my vitamins D and B complex intake. According to Dr. Gregor I haven’t been taking enough of either.
- I started running almost everyday—rain, cold, or shine. When my legs get tired, I walk instead. I need that fresh air and day light.
- I’m avoiding sugar, for the most part, and eating lots of nuts and seeds, garlic, ginger, turmeric, dark green leafy and bright orange vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains.
I grew up in a uber conservative religious community. God is very real to me and through all of this He has continued to feel very present. I know that my whole life one of my biggest issues is that I have trouble being present. I’m always dreaming about the next thing. I’ve known for a very long time this is something I need to surrender to God, but honestly, I don’t know how! I keep looking for the “trust God” switch in my brain but I think it’s broken! Jason suggested a few days ago that maybe it isn’t as dramatic as I think it’s supposed to be (Me? Dramatic?). “Maybe it’s as simple as believing, with God’s help, ‘it’s gonna be okay.’”
- It’s gonna be okay!!
These things are helping me to feel a lot better. Ok even. This morning, however, I could feel the storm clouds hovering. I took my vitamins D and B and sat down with Jason to express my feelings. This always helps. Then the sun popped out from behind the clouds. I think this might turn into a good day.
This isn’t a cry for help, because I’m making it. I have the loving support of my husband, therapist sister, family, and friends. I share this post not to give advice, nor to receive it. I share to give hope. If you’re anxious, depressed, or lonely. Let’s take a collective deep breath. You are not alone. Find someone to talk to. Get outside. Clean up your diet, take some vitamins, and start repeating over and over “It’s gonna be ok.”
“He’s got the whole world in His hands…”
Image Credit: Pxhere.