Saturday, October 26, 2013

Keeping on

I won't lie, the last month has been a hard one. I've been ok, I'm ok but I have been fighting hard against depression. God's been teaching me so much.

A few months ago I faced news that was quite painful. I've experienced a gambit of grief emotions. God has been super tender and close to me during all of this and from the very beginning one thing has rang true in my heart and that is this: He has been so incredibly faithful to me all my life, I know He will be faithful in this too. He's been too faithful to not trust Him on this.
It's been a beautiful thing to have such security and such promise when my world at times has felt like it's caving in on me. Our Savior is quite familiar with pain, He experienced more betrayal and more abandonment than any human could bare. I have to believe then that God is pretty compassionate when it comes to our sufferings. I forget often, but He's well acquainted with grief.  I take comfort in knowing that I am NEVER alone.

As I said, I've been battling with depression, it hasn't overcome me yet I have felt it's shadow on many occasions recently.  God has been showing me that it often starts with "depressive thoughts" and I often give into those thoughts and "go with it" and allow the depression to take over. I'm learning to recognize the thoughts and to go to Jesus with them and work at fighting them instead of surrendering to them.

I think recent circumstances have definitely weakened my defenses against it but I also think that my eating habits have hindered me in a big way. I spent the summer eating crappy foods, we went on several vacations, I just kind of slowly went off my whole foods diet until I wasn't even thinking much about it. I found it hard to resist certain foods when it seemed like I felt great even having added them back in my diet. I know that sugar isn't helpful for my depression, I know that the additives and preservatives wear on my body and add unnecessary chemicals, I know the caffiene gives me anxiety, etc. etc. but for the most part I felt good this summer so I was really having a hard time convincing myself to eat healthy. Well I can officially say that has all caught up with me and I am not feeling so hot with all the crap I've been putting in my body. I'm noticing depressive symptoms more and more lately. I was at Renewal this week and was having such a hard time focusing on what our Leader was sharing, and I felt like I couldn't wrap my brain around what she was saying. I'm finding it hard to absorb things, remember things, I feel foggy. I'm finding things overwhelming too.  Marc and I talked Tuesday night and I told him I needed him to help me think of the tangible things I can do to help myself fight this depression. I wrote down all the foods that I can't eat and what works. I've been eating healthy for 4 days and I can honestly say I'm already starting to feel better. I think talking all this out helped so much too. I'm also going to start exercising. That's something that I hate to do and have never ever embraced. I know it's a missing key to helping myself through and to ward off depression so I really need to do it. Feel free to ask me how it's going and if I'm doing it or not!!

One thing God has been teaching me with this bipolar struggle is that I have choices. Tuesday night at Renewal our Leader taught on Step 3 of the 12 steps... which is "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him." More specifically he taught on CHOICES. We all have choices. In every situation how we respond is our choice. This is something God has been speaking to me about my depression. Over the last couple months there have been times I've had depressive thoughts and God has been showing me that while I may not be able to change having bipolar, I do have choices in the midst of it. It was a timely teaching for me as it spurred me on to come home and really process what choices I have right now and what I can do to move forward and not get stuck in depression. So I'm trying to cover my bases and look at what I can do and not what I can't do. I find myself grieving this week. Grieving that I have to struggle with and face this depression thing, sad that it's a concern and issue right now, sad that I'm not just healed. It hurts to feel myself slipping.  I'm grieving that it's something I have to deal with yet I also see a lot of growth.  I'm seeing myself recognizing things sooner and I'm learning to process rather than just automatically allow it all to play itself out. God is giving me grace and willingness to fight the darkness rather than give in at the first sight of its shadow. That's a choice. In many ways it seems easier to give in, to just keep sleeping every morning, to just sit and go with all the thoughts and feelings that run so freely. I see though that God wants to walk me through this, and I gain nothing by giving in. That's not to say there aren't times the depression is so great that I am overcome with the inability to deal with it, and it's not to say there haven't been times when the darkness was so thick and so great that I couldn't see anything but death. I pray though that I don't get to another time like that. I'm thankful for the reminder of those times, it spurs me on to eat this dag on crazy strict whole foods diet because I know that my brain needs the nourishment and my mind and my heart want to be healthy.  I'm learning to surrender to Jesus and not surrender to the depression. It's hard. It's much easier said than done, but I am making progress.

I'm so grateful that this man named Jesus picked me to be His one and only. I'm so grateful that although my heart and my flesh fail me, that God is the strength of my heart and my portion- FOREVER, period, no matter what. I'm so grateful that although I struggle with a mental illness, the illness isn't who I am and it doesn't define me, yet God uses it to draw me to Himself and bring Himself glory. I'm grateful for a husband that's compassionate and loving even when I'm not at my best. I'm grateful that I have a Savior who is acquainted with pain and anguish, who weeps for me and with me.  I'm grateful that one day there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more illness. I'm grateful that though I am weak He is strong. I'm grateful that as unsure and all over the place my emotions can be, my Jesus is solid as a rock and crazy in love with me. I'm grateful that there is so much hope in Jesus, that He is beyond faithful and beyond trustworthy, that He knows my name, and that He dances over me. I'm grateful that although I can't even grasp some of these truths He will continue to help them become more true and real each day. I'm grateful that it's not about me and it's all about Him.

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