So, is life crazy busy for anyone else right now? No? Just me? Alrighty then…
I’ve had this post on my mind for a week. A crazy busy week and it’s only now, on Thanksgiving day, that I’m finding time to sit down and write it. Probably in snippets of time found here and there.
I am feeling incredibly thankful this year, mostly for being alive. I mean, there are so many other things I’m thankful for, but without that one detail, I wouldn’t be able to be thankful for anything. I was thinking this morning that on our family’s Christmas card (which I make every year) I should put: “Anessa: still alive after fighting a battle with major depressive disorder!” I have some doubts about how that will go over. Last year I put a picture of Trent and I on our Christmas card because I was so happy and excited to finally have someone. This is how my family is dealing with that on the card that hangs on our fridge:
But, this isn’t a post about Christmas cards or my family. Like most every other post I write, it’s about me and God (since Trent has already snuck in here once, I guess you could say he makes a guest appearance too. Shocker).
Guys, my recovery from my latest bout of suicidal thoughts has been slower than the first time, if I’m honest. Any little fluctuation in my hormone levels has taken me right back down, and I feel it’s taking forever for the St. John’s Wort to kick in.
Maybe that’s because I’m impatient and I want to feel better right now! But I was thinking about it the other day and I realized some differences between now, and August, when I started taking it initially. Let’s play a little game I like to call “spot the differences”, shall we?
See any differences between now and August? Nope? Yeah, me neither.
No, I rode my bike outside almost every day in August. I saw the sun tons and was out in it a lot. Now all I see of the sun is a sliver of the sunrise if it’s not cloudy and the glow of the sunset in the evenings. I worked in a bright cheery place, now I work in a pretty drab room (my first thought when I took a tour of my new office was “man, they should paint each hallway a bright, different color so it won’t be so easy to get lost!”). I was much more active in August overall, now I take two 15 minute walks per work day if I’m feeling like it and not buried under a deadline, and my goal is to exercise about 3 times a week. Indoors. I am very thankful that a few years ago my sister bought an exercise bike so I can still “ride bike” when it’s nasty and cold out and the sun is down before I get home from work, but it’s not the same. I miss riding bike outside. One thing that hasn’t changed is being intentionally grateful – I still write down what I’m thankful for everyday.
And now it’s the holidays. A dear friend asked me the other day “are the holidays hard?” Yes. Yes they are. I didn’t think today would be too bad, and so for the first part of this post I was pretty good. Then I went to our church’s annual Thanksgiving dinner, where I helped serve and clean up a meal for 1,300 people, which left me exhausted, which does nothing for my serotonin levels. Now I’m at my family’s Thanksgiving, hiding away in the basement writing this post and remembering that at this time last year, Trent was picking me up at church and kissing me hello. Those hello kisses were always the best and the worst – usually after a month of not seeing each other, still a little bit nervous and butterfly-y so a little bit awkward, yet so eager and excited to finally be able to kiss each other. And now I’m alone, surrounded by people I love, and who love me, but none of them are mine. That was probably the best part of being with Trent. I had a person. My person who chose me, wanted me, loved me differently than he loved anyone else. I loved him differently (and probably more) than I loved anyone else. I remember coming out of the bathroom at Cedar Point one time, feeling overwhelmed by all the people, then seeing Trent sitting on a bench waiting for me. The joy at having my person waiting for me was wonderful and such a relief. I hope I gave him a kiss for it, but I don’t remember. If God puts us back together, I’ll give him a kiss for it, just in case I forgot to then.
Anyway, kind of went down a memory rabbit hole there, sorry. So, I am getting better. I don’t think I’ve built up a resistance to St. John’s Wort or anything – it is still working, I can tell. Just taking longer because environmental factors are slightly more against me this time.
Back to Trent, we have talked recently. Now stop it, don’t get too excited. He sent back my Christmas decorations that I had taken there this last January. I figured I would need them there for this year, so we took them to Indiana and put some of them up because he decorates for Christmas from October to February (or March) usually. When he moved he packed the boxes full and he didn’t look in them before he sent them back. So now I have some of his decorations and stuff that I have to send back. That required some communication.
Then, out of the blue, he started commenting on a post of mine on Facebook, which led to a discussion about gender roles. It was an amicable discussion, and he even referenced it in a post of his (I think I was the “dear friend” he referred to in his post anyway). That whole public conversation felt like a resolving of our last fight, the one we had the day before he broke up with me and we never really resolved. So I messaged him, saying that I finally understood why he reacted the way he did in that fight. I thought it was more of a philosophical debate but to him it was very personal and it felt like I was attacking him. I apologized, and he forgave me. We talked a bit about the reasons for the break-up, and agreed on them (with my mentor chiming in. No, she is not privy to our conversations, but since we were talking, I thought I’d better alert her, so I sent her screenshots and she responded). We agreed that his not dealing with his divorce and my depression were the main two issues that caused us to fall apart. I told him that I had reread all of our texts from June and came away from it feeling like we were a horrible idea (cue a depressive episode). He said we were a good idea…when we started last year. My mentor said we have a good foundation (God), but the house we were building on it was not solid because of our issues and eventually it collapsed. Now I feel like we’re clearing away the rubble and that’s going to take time, and that’s okay. Will we build again? I don’t know. It’s not up to me. It’s up to God.
Speaking of God, the last thing I said to Trent in that conversation was that since we figure I’ve been depressed the majority of my life, I kind of feel like I don’t know who I am without being depressed. It’s like all my life Satan has been telling me I’m not. I’m not smart enough for a good job. I’m not pretty enough for a guy to want me. I’m not brave enough to move away from home. I’m not worthy, not even to live (at times), I’m not this, I’m not that, I’m just not!
And I couldn’t not believe the lies. Satan is the father of lies, all of those came from him, but he exploited a weakness in my body (a weak adrenal gland leading to low serotonin levels) and has been force feeding me these lies all my life.
Now my body has what I need to fight the lies. So I’m finally fighting back. But who am I without them?
I’m asking God who I am. I still pray “God, please put Your desires in my heart, Your plans in my head, Your words in my mouth.” I want Him to define who I am now. He’s telling me “I am.” Which has two meanings. He is “I AM” – all that there is, all that I need. He is everything. He’s also telling me that I am – I am good enough, I am pretty enough, I am smart enough, I am worthy, I am enough (with God)! He is enough for me. Do I need Trent? Nope. Do I want Trent? Yes. Still. So since I still pray that prayer sincerely almost every day, I figure God is fueling that desire. But it’s up to God to fulfill that desire. Even if I am single the rest of my life* I’ll be okay, because I have God, and He has my heart. I trust Him. I trust the plans He has for my life.
Even if it takes a long time.
* I am willing to consider other men: I tried signing up for Christian Mingle when I was only slightly down on Sunday and feeling like I needed to just get over him already! but I only made it as far as the bio section before I was super down and I went and laid on the couch wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fire and watched the Vikings lose. Didn’t help my depression at all, but it was the warmest I had been all weekend!