(March 6, 2007)

First of all, I want to tell you I’m not doing badly. Not good, but not badly either.

In my last post I raised the topic of waiting – waiting for depression to lift. Although I love the Bible and try to live by it, it does in places make waiting seem rather simple. My favorite Psalm 40 says: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” It misses the torturous feelings that come with that waiting.

In reading Nelson Mandela’s account of his experience with solitary confinement, it struck me that depression is very similar. It is an emotional solitary confinement, but probably just as torturous. Mandela said, “The mind begins to turn in on itself, and one desperately wants something outside of oneself on which to fix one’s attention. I have known men who have taken half-a-dozen lashes in preference to being locked up alone.”

Mandela found relief whenever an insect came from a crack in the floor. It gave him something to focus on, something to take him out of his self-consumed state.

I think that’s the way it is for us too when we’re depressed. We need simple little things to draw us back into the world. I’ve found relief in simple things – usually things of a physical nature – to draw me out of my dead emotional world: A nice hot bath, a glass of bubbly 7up or mug of sweet hot chocolate, begging a hug from a dear friend (if there’s no friend available, I hug my pillow.

Writing is important to many. The medicinal value of writing out our feelings is such a mysterious thing, yet so very strong. My journal has become a place where I seek comfort. This blog is where I reach out to others. Writing takes us out of ourselves and helps us make sense of our feelings. It helps work things out. It takes the worries and pain out of our minds and dumps them onto a page. I pray much better in writing than I do with spoken words. There is so much more certainty in it. David found that in his Psalms. They, too, were prayers.

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? …But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 13:1-2, 5-6.

I talked my doctor into not starting me on antidepressants. They’re dangerous for me because they might cause me to go manic….and I’m not that bad. I may pull out soon. I have many strategies at my disposal to deal with this. This morning I will go for a workout. I will putter at things, focusing on things that give me satisfaction, talking with friends….writing.