We have many terms for our bad times don’t we? Slumps, lulls, depressed episodes, dark times, black dog times, (hm I have never liked that one and think it particularly unfair to black dogs), the emptiness, the nothingness, falls, crashes.
In truth I think we all have our own individual ways of labelling them and indeed may well have different labels for different levels of severity.
Perhaps we need something similar to the DEFCON scale where as instead of DEFCON (DEFense CONdition) we have a DEPCON (Depression Condition) and conversely we could have MANCON (Mania Condition).
Can you imagine it? Friends and loved one’s would be handed little laminated cards with the different color-coded DEPCON and MANCON scales on each side and perhaps as small pocket or handbag sized handbook on what the protocol is when we reach a certain level.
I can see it now. Concerned and frantic telephone calls between family members. “Moma, It’s Janey. He’s at DEPCON 2.” A call which launches Moma into a frantic flurry of activity where she rummages through her handbag for her handbook, looks up the protocol and then cooks up a batch of comforting chicken noodle soup and some biscuits and then drives round to deliver it in person. Thus affording her the opportunity to ensure that I eat it. Plus secretly affording her the opportunity to remove all the sharp objects and excess pills from my house.
Of course, despite my mood, I am trying to make light of the situation. A situation in respect of the crash – the depressed episode – that all too many of us know only too well. But that’s the problem So many of us do know it only too well. And that is where I am at the moment and where I have been for the past three or four days.
It started coming on earlier in the week last week and has gradually increased in severity with each passing day.
My physical health deteriorated. Lethargy and general aches and pains, gave way to (or progressed into) sleeplessness, a complete lack of energy, more aches and pains and specifically chest pains. And just to add to it my breast lump is back and whist I know this is nothing major it is darned uncomfortable. All of which is killing my attempts to lose weight and get healthier.
My mental health deteriorated along with the my physical health. Normal moods gave way to (or progressed into) darker moods, emptiness, nothingness, with flickers of suicidal ideation. Concentration is as much an effort mentally as sitting up at my desk is physically. (Which explains the relative lack of blogging activity lately.)
My spiritual health is taking a battering also. I couldn’t make church, have no appetite for fellowship. Praying is difficult at these times as the voices and harmful thoughts attack and tell me what a fraud I am when I hold fast to the message of hope when the reality of experience is so very much different to that.
But they are of course wrong. My knowledge of the Bible convinces me that there are no guarantees of a problem free existence this side of eternity and in fact the very opposite is true. That the Bible clearly acknowledges that we will face difficulties in this life and how coming to faith will not remove that from us and in many ways can increase that.
Yes DEPCON 2. is probably just about right. Perhaps a high three bordering on a low 2 but most definitely around the 2 mark and that is worrying.
Of course there are no concerned telephone calls going on (to my knowledge) and certainly no chicken noodle soup and biscuits being made – my family (apart from my son) all live in a different country. And certainly no one is going to come round and remove all sharp objects and excess pills from me. Isolation does that for you, it presents you with the reality of the removal of those safety nets and is never an avenue I would recommend for anyone other than for short visits.
But isolations presents you with another reality. The reality of the fact that if you truly are going to drag yourself out of DEPCON 2 you are going to have to do just that. Drag yourself out of it! Or at very least drag yourself far enough to seek the help you need.
I need to start that journey and I need to start it now. There is a slippery slope leading to the abyss and I need to start the journey away from the abyss and back up that slope no matter how steep or slippery or difficult that slope may be.
This is not new! I have been here before! It is not new and it has been conquered before! And if it is not new and has been conquered before then it can be conquered again. I can conquer this again.
I need to go for a walk. Walking involves taking steps and taking steps is what I need to do right now and walking is a good time to pray. To remember that I am not alone in this and to fight back against the lethargy, the emptiness, the nothingness.