I woke at 4 a.m., laid in bed for an hour. These were the things going through my head:
- Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes song (just the words I know)
- Does Starbucks have pumpkin bread or muffins? I have to take the car in this morning for a front end alignment; maybe I’ll stop first and treat myself to a mocha and pumpkin bread.
- What should I take to S’s on Saturday? Brownies? Something pumpkin? (back to thinking about Starbucks)
Then I decided to focus my thoughts on times during depression when I felt relief:
- Taking a nap at B’s house – I remember laying down on her couch, a throw pillow under my head, her blue chenille-weave blanket over me. I felt so safe and sleepy. I must have made her whole family, including her two teenage boys, tiptoe around, because I didn’t wake for over an hour. I remember B doing dishes at the sink as I sat up. Her smile at me – just the best thing a weary friend could see. Do you remember that, B?
- My husband’s arms wrapped around me. Standing in the kitchen with my back up against the counter, and he pulled me towards him. I tucked my arms next to my sides, so he was completely around me, and I put my head down on his chest, under his chin. I felt safe, supported, enclosed. I knew he was with me through this thing called depression – his hug, and holding me, proved I wasn’t alone. I still like that position of a hug, with me wrapped completely up in his strong arms. I feel so safe there.
- Walking into Ted‘s office (my therapist) – the stillness of the room; the sensation of taking off the invisible heavy backpack with the weight and cares of the world, and laying it beside my purse; sinking into the cushions, usually clasping a throw pillow to my chest (part comfort, part protection of my vulnerabilities that I will be sharing). He sits across from me. He smiles and I can feel the tension of the world leave my shoulders. For a few times, I sat in the rocking chair with the cream-colored fluffy blanket – the rocking motion is still soothing to me. But I prefer the couch, where I can sink down into the cushions, put my head against the back, and slouch behind my pillow. Soft glow from the lamps. A candy dish on the table. Kleenex within reach. I look up to the windows at the top of the wall – stare out at the clouds and branches. The quiet is almost tangible, like the room is doubly insulated against the terrors and pressures of the outside world, where my depression has me in its grip. But this is a safe place, and I can talk about my fears and sadness here.
- Later, walking into Elizabeth‘s office (my therapist when I moved to FL) – the beauty of the room, the cheerful patterns. Though my need wasn’t as strong, she had throw pillows for me to clasp, to hide behind. Her gentle voice. Her soft words of encouragement and prayer.
Now, it’s almost 4:45 a.m., and I start thinking about my previous post on Scripture, particularly Philippians 4:6-7, NIV:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I think more on this verse, and how it has helped me, just not when I was in my deepest depression. In my “lighter” versions of illness, I can quote these verses and feel some relief. But I’ve also come to realize that the second part of this – the promise of God’s peace – isn’t necessarily an immediate response to the first part – the praying and petitioning. The peace comes eventually, but not necessarily immediately. This in itself is comforting to me, since I felt like I was failing somehow, when I didn’t sense God’s peace after begging Him to help me not be anxious, even after thanking Him for depression and all it was teaching me. To realize that I didn’t immediately feel peace, the peace promised in verse 7, I felt like I was failing at trusting God for my relief and His peace. But now, to realize that the peace of God, which is beyond my understanding, will come and take its place in my heart eventually, is great relief.
Now it’s 5 a.m. I think I’ll get up and write this all down.