journeying onward

so as i hinted at a month ago, this has been quite a summer. after spencer’s ulcer bleedout and subsequent hospitalization, his job felt that his bleeding disorder (going to emory to meet with a specialist next week over this one) and ulcer were too much of a liability, and let him go the second week of july.

i was in the hiring process at uga, but the position was only part time, and would have started too late to be of any value to our immediately diminshed budget. we were able to stay in our house until the third week of august, as our landlord was willing to let us stay the month of august and forfeit our security deposit. the only caveat was that if he found a renter, we would have to vacate sooner than the end of the month. so zoe’s first week at school saw her coming home to a mountain of boxes, and spencer frantically trying to pack and organize our home…

which brings me to the central part of our journey. the week we moved, i was barely functional. i slept all day, stayed up through the night, and felt absolutely overwhelmed in a black cloud of sorrow. this is not anything new, which is the terrifying part of the journey. i can throw parties, cater baby showers, graduate with honors, love my child fiercely, but i have not ever really been out from the shadow of this mountain. things came to a head about 2 weeks ago, and with a lot of fear and trembling, i started the steps towards getting help.

the first step was getting a diagnosis. at work, i was googling my various symptoms, not entirely able to believe what my friends and family were telling me… depression. and as it set in that perhaps this was real, i started feeling so much fear. afraid that somehow, i would be told it was all in my head. that i was really just undisciplined and selfish, that my inability to get out of bed some days, my inability to truly be present in my life, and the worsening of my internal recriminations and self doubt were nothing more than a need to grow up. and it frightened me so deeply. i read through old journals i kept, from my early teens to my early 20’s , and over and over, i struggled with feeling empty, numb, disconnected and lost. the sadness never approached until later, after spencer and i married, but the numbness has been there a long time. i attributed it to a lack of spiritual discipline – that somehow i didn’t love God enough to fill the numbness, i was faithless, disconnected from the Lord and His presence. it was easy to want to believe that that’s all it was.

yet, i made it to an intake appointment with the local behavioral health group. and in one breath, she confirmed my greatest fears and hopes. hope, because it meant there was a path – a road to travel to getting well again. long term, untreated major depression. it made so many moments in my life suddenly coalesce into meaning… and threw everything into blurry soft focus again. the things that i felt were intrinsic to my personality were and are in question. it’s confusing, scary, and some days make me want to curl up in my bed and not come out.

those are the bad days.  at least i know what they are. though as of yet, i don’t entirely know how to overcome them. wednesday, i see my general practitioner, and get referrals to a psychiatrist as well as a counselor. i’ll be going to a local support and education group, with a focus on cognitive behavioral therapy. a three pronged approach is likely the one i’m taking: medication of some sort, counseling and a support group.

and of course, in the midst of all of these painful and scary things, the disorganization of the move, the shuttling between homes, my camera has been lost. we are hoping and praying it got packed, as i had it in a bag but cannot remember which one, or where it was.  whether this is symptomatic of the depression, or just my lack of organization, i don’t know. and i don’t know what is going to change as i do – what facets of myself will change as i seek wholeness. there’s always a level of fear there, and on many levels, it has always been there.

i wanted to bring a level of transparency to what is going on. it’s too easy to pretend everything is happy and shiny, and captured in a few instagram photos. but if you couldn’t tell, i’ve been pulling away from the blog for several years, and it heightens when i am feeling stressed and overwhelmed. i won’t have a whole lot of pictures right now, and my funny anecdotes might get swallowed up in the enormity of what we’re facing. but at least this way, there’s no pretending it’s not happening.

we’re staying with our friends, matt and erika, and erika runs an incredible blog. she actually posted on zoe tonight, and in lieu of copy/pasting erika’s amusing tales of my kid, i’ll just send you there. stick around, and browse through. these are wonderful, wonderful people, to open up their home to us – while we are lost and broken, they opened their arms.

which, while i could go into a long description of how much this is emblematic of the Lord and His desires for the church, i won’t. suffice it to say, i’m feeling a little less dark-cloudy. and hoping we continue this journey to sunnier places, and strength to strength.

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