How many of my posts start out by me saying, “I’m having a hard time”? At least one more.
I’m having a hard time. The antidepressant I’ve been taking for the past few years is not really working anymore, which happens sometimes. There have been some significant, intense changes in my life recently, including insurance changes, which means that I’ve been waiting about 40 days to see a doctor so that my medication can be adjusted to hopefully address the more severe symptoms of my depression and anxiety. But 40 days is a long time, so I’m trying to cope and it’s not going so well,
-Because my depression hasn’t been this bad since before I was diagnosed and began treatment.
-Because I’m scared about the process of starting new meds.
-Because there are moments when I literally have to coach myself through breathing, through raising my hands to do simple tasks.
-Because I vacillate between thinking I should prioritize my oncological care, since I haven’t been to a cancer center in a year, to thinking I should prioritize my mental care, since I’m falling apart at the seams.
-Because I wish at the end of every day that it didn’t take every ounce of my strength to survive.
-Because the world seems overwhelmingly full of hate, and I feel particularly incapable of contributing to any positive and meaningful solutions.
-Because whenever I see the kingdom coming I feel like I’m knocked off my feet by how far we still have to go and how long the journey is.
Last Sunday I got to hear Bishop Mbanda preach while he was visiting my church, and he repeatedly stressed Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
I’ve been meditating on this for the past week, all the more so because existing at this level of depression is like being Leslie Knope with the flu (minus the awesome public speaking skills): everything is written in Egyptian hieroglyphs and the floor and the wall just switched. Walk very carefully.
I’m groaning for redemption and praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” a hundred times a day. And my own understanding says that it’s taking too long. My own understanding panics and screams that this is all too much to bear, even with the strength of the Holy Spirit.
And so I am even more acutely aware than usual that I cannot lean on my own understanding. And it’s scary and it feels like flying blind when something as fundamental as your brain is so untrustworthy that it takes a massive amount of effort to get out of bed in the morning, to answer a phone, to brew a cup of tea. So in the midst of this pain that feels total and unending and suffocating I find myself crawling and collapsing at the feet of my Savior.
And it hasn’t cured the physical brokenness or made the pain go away. But the love here at the feet of Jesus is more real than the temporary failing of my body. And he gives us so many good gifts to sustain us: his church and his Word and his Body and Blood.
This way is really hard for me. As we all know, I don’t carry pain well. Cancer and depression and anxiety feel a lot like hindrances that I cannot lay aside, no matter how much I want to. Especially the depression. My own understanding keeps saying that if I weren’t such a colossal mess of a person, I could be effective in the kingdom of God. But since my own understanding has been vetoed, all I have left to lean on is the truth.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9
Great is His faithfulness.