Coming Clean

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged about anything that wasn’t related to a book release. I haven’t looked at a Twitter, Facebook, or any social media feed in just as long. (You know it’s bad when you get a baby announcement from a friend you had no idea was even expecting.) I had my excuses: been working the day job a lot; health hasn’t been so great. But it actually comes down to one simple truth I’ve been trying to avoid–depression. There, I said it.

I’m no stranger to this. From the ages of 7-21 I struggled with severe depression and suicidal ideation. But in my senior year of college, God moved and gave me healing which miraculously changed my life. So you can imagine that, seven years later, when I started recognizing the symptoms in myself, I was both terrified and fully in denial. I never wanted to go back to that dark place again. God had healed me; end of that chapter. Besides, life was good. I had two careers I loved, close friends, and had been writing like a super ninja. There was no reason in the world I should feel “depressed.”

So I brushed off those weekends that were particularly bad as “being in a funk.” Everyone’s allowed to crash once in a while, right? I tried to ignore how that one weekend a month turned into most weekends, and then how when the weekdays came about I could no longer shake it off. Things I used to enjoy no longer held any interest for me. Even writing became like pulling teeth at times. “You’re just tired,” I’d tell myself. Weeks turned into months, and I watched helplessly as for the past year and a half, I slowly yet steadily backslid into a place I never thought to find myself again.

The depression is real.

But God wastes nothing. And so here I am, coming clean on an issue that so often hides and festers in the dark, secreted away from the light. It’s uncomfortable, admitting weakness. It feels like admitting defeat. If I am to blog about such a serious topic, it should be to encourage others, to call out from the other side of the tunnel and shout with joy, “There is light!” Instead, I’m standing here bearing a broken and battered soul saying, “There is light, but there is darkness still. It ebbs and flows like the tides.” Doesn’t sound all that encouraging to me.

But perhaps the difference this time is I know the darkness does not last forever. It has its phases, this is true, but I have seen and experienced the relief and joy in between, and I can have it again. If you’re currently in the dark, you can have those again. The first step is to shine a light on this burden, to admit the hurt is real so we can confront it, rather than running away or suffering in silence and solitude. For I know all too well that ignoring a problem does not make it disappear, nor can a person “snap out of it” on their own power. The journey is long, and hard, and often sucks.

But in the meantime, God wastes nothing.

Riding Into the Sunrise

Yes, I said into the sunrise, not the sunset. Sunset is so final, the end of a tale, a sad farewell. Sunrise is full of new adventure, new sights, new promises. How about going out before dawn and racing the sun to see who will crest the hill first?

That’s what I did, though I was driving a car, not a horse. Hey, faster speeds, baby. A week ago I picked up my bag, got in my trusty vehicle, and headed to San Diego. That’s an eight-hour drive one-way. Was I crazy? Well, yeah. Crazy from life, chaos, frustration, health issues. I felt like my rib cage had turned into a pressure cooker. One by one, all the activities in my daily routine fell away until all that was left was work. I’d come home and ignore email, Facebook, blogs, writing, and even books. I made a fairly good imitation of a vegetable. The how I got there isn’t important, but the how I got out.

When I found out some WANA gals were getting together in San Diego, I really wanted to be a part of it. In addition to meeting some awesome friends in person, I figured getting away from my routine of wallowing would be a good thing. Get away from whatever kept dragging me down. Breathe some different air space. Going on a long road trip is good for cleaning out your car’s engine when it’s been subjected to in-town commutes for a while, so I figured the same goes for our mental and emotional gears. (Not our physical ones, though, as I painfully found out.)

And I started my trip with racing the sunrise. That was the best part of the drive—first starting out, watching the dark sky bleed into lighter hues, whipping past familiar scenery and into new ones. And the time away did do me good. Though, I left on Friday and came back Sunday, only to begin a twelve-hour work day the following morning. I’m writing this post on a Wednesday and it’s the first time I’ve had to actually sit down with the time for it. But that’s okay, because I am writing this, rather than curling up with a depressing playlist on my ipod and turning the volume all the way up, lol. (I’m not knocking that, because music is also very therapeutic.)

The weekend away was great, full of good company, laughter, and fellowship. But I can’t drive to San Diego every time life starts pushing critical mass. But getting up before dawn and racing the sunrise to the top of the mountains…yeah, I could go for that.


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