I had the sudden thought recently that maybe I have just been depressed for the past year.
It has been such a crazy, crazy year--last February we began the process of applying for a loan and looking for a house (with all the chaos and stress that entails)...by summer Justin had lost his job and we were juggling all of the house stuff while simultaneously hoping our work situation wouldn't cause us to lose our loan...he began picking up work in Seattle to help slow the dwindling of our savings account and then I was juggling the house/loan/money/moving/kid stuff on my own...we found Snake Hill and found in love with it and struggled with the details of watching it come to fruition (see earlier post) in addition to everything else...in September I discovered I was pregnant right when Justin was trying to finish up his work in Seattle...my grandmother was dying...I was trying to manage the house on my own and still get some boxes packed every day while battling first trimester fatigue...we got the house and started our long, painful move with the holidays fast approaching...Justin started up back at work after four long months...my grandmother died...we celebrated Christmas...and then New Years came, bringing with it another lay-off and more fervent searching for work and dollars. That was three months ago, and he has only just started back.
I am not complaining. On many levels, I think that this past year has been one of the most amazing that we have ever experienced. We are expecting the arrival of our sixth child in a matter of weeks and we have seen the house of our dreams delivered into our hands. We got to watch God provide for us in amazing, amazing ways over seven long months of unemployment (I had actually just emptied our savings account only a week or two before he was called back to work this last time. Somehow that money lasted the better part of a year!). We have drawn closer together as a family as we have struggled with our basic needs, instead of turning on each other in attack.
By the middle of March I realized suddenly that somewhere along the line, I had sort of lost all desire to get up and go. I had been canceling plans with friends for more weeks than I could count. I had stopped even trying to answer my phone...my birthday had come and gone and I had refused to see anyone. I was struggling to keep up with the housework, but it wasn't because there was too much of it per se, I just didn't care anymore. So--and I know this sounds backwards, but--the thought that maybe I had just been depressed for months on end was somehow a terribly comforting thought. I've been through depressions before. They are certainly nothing new. But I didn't recognize it this time because if I stopped and questioned myself, I was right where I wanted to be. I love this house, I'm pleased about the baby coming, I know my husband loves me. It was all that garbage stress! It takes a toll!
I might be wrong here, but I think they say that the top five stressors are: losing your job, moving, having a baby, death in the family, and divorce. I told Justin finally: We are experiencing four of the five; as long as we can stick it out (you and I); we'll be okay!
I'm probably butchering the way I'm saying this, but I don't think that depression is un-Biblical. What I mean is: I think that it is plenty natural that we are all going to go through times where we feel fairly well-balanced, and like we want to engage in life...and I think that we are also going to go through times where we withdraw and grow quiet and disappear emotionally for a while. It fits with what I see in the nature out my window; it fits with the weekly pattern of Sabbath. In our culture, we feel this sense of having to be "on" all the time, and I think it's extremely damaging. Nobody can live up to that standard. Even the trees cannot flower all year round!
Now I know, I know, there are many, many other factors at play, and I'm not even going to begin to get into the discussion about medications etcetera...all I'm saying is: I don't think depression always has to be a bad thing, or something we should always stifle or stuff. In some occasions, I think it can play a valid part in our lives as part of our story; I believe that God is still present in those moments when we shut everyone else out. Realizing that I had sunk into that pit was such an encouragement to me (backwards as that sounds) because in that moment, I realized that the season would come to an end. Winter always thaws at some point.
What I have learned is this: It is always dangerous to assume that your life today is the new normal. No matter what. Life is good? Beautiful. Use it, revel in it, because tragedy may strike tomorrow. Life is a pit, with no way out? Watch for a ladder to present itself. It will, eventually. This life is ever-changing.
It is the middle of April and we woke up this morning to snow dumping out our windows. It made me smile and made my children jump with glee. Just one more example that we cannot always see what is headed our way!