Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Denial and Depression

Now that I am going on my 3rd month not being deeply depressed, I am able to see the benefits of being in a major clinical depress. Yes, there are significant benefits which actually protect us by not giving us more than we can handle. Depression allows us to deny everything outside of ourselves.

When depressed:
• Nothing matters except living through the day… the next hour even.
• Relationships take too much energy. It’s hard to take others feelings into consideration when you can’t even tend to your own.
• All you want is people to leave you alone so you can sleep. The bills pile on the table, laundry piles in the basket, and housework ‘to-do’s’ do not exist since you don’t care about your surroundings.
• You save money by not taking care of yourself… who cares if your hair is so overdue for coloring that you have a line around your head where roots are contrasted with last year’s dye?

When depression has lifted:
Your future matters. There’s a sense of urgency to accomplish all you should have accomplished 6 months ago.
• You start thinking maybe it would be nice to be in a romantic relationship. Loneliness appears, as does the longing for quality friendships who understand and challenge you to be a better person.
• You are bothered by the clutter and disarray of your home, and suddenly, NOT doing housework is no longer an option.
• You look in the mirror and suddenly see everything wrong with your appearance… and you want to fix it, to better your appearance.

I am definitely in the latter category now. While my situation has been MUCH worse since June, I have an ongoing sense of urgency to get out of this mess. Suddenly, I don’t want my electric shut off or my car repossessed. I want to get my hair done and buy new clothes. And I feel empowered to do whatever it takes to get away from taking from others, and am ready to be the one who gives to others. Who surprises a friend with flowers, or buys that Life is Good shirt for the friend who loves the brand.

I heard the following explanation of denying oneself as addressed in 2 Corinthians 4:10,11: We deny our selfishness, ambition, pasts, or damaged emotions the right to cheat us of His far higher plans for us.

When depression lifts, so does our self-absorption. Suddenly, we realize the best way to tend to our needs is to deny ourselves and tend to the world outside of us.

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