Depression, part 1: Partly Sunny
Describing depression has always been like the weather icon with the sun peeking out from behind a cloud. From childhood, my inner sunshine was concealed. Cheering my teenage self out of bed each morning became routine. Early feedback taught me that depressed people are …. well, depressing. So, I designed a pretend personality to use publicly.
This girl was funny and upbeat. By college, I deduced not everyone started the day overcast and lived in fear their true feelings would leak out. I sought solutions. Twenty-five years passed before I found any.
During my quest, I visited counselors and a psychiatrist who kindly insisted depression was mind-rooted. As a Christ follower, I knew that my mind was supposed to be transformed daily, joyful. Mine was perpetually overcast with drizzle. I completed homework and followed the recommended strategies. Black clouds persisted. With age, it became tougher to overcome my inner Eyore. Becoming pregnant was an emotional typhoon. Whatever was wrong inside, pregnancy made it worse. The buried brightness inside me stopped fighting to overcome.
After the birth of our daughter, we switched family physicians. By now I had chronic health issues like joint pain, headaches, irritable colon, and other annoyances. During a doctor’s visit, I couldn’t muster up my pretend personality. All my shadowy feelings poured out. When I had used up all my words, Dr. Reynolds solemnly stared at me then wrote in my chart. My inner gloom had escaped and the room filled with uncomfortable heaviness. I waited wearily for a referral to another psychiatrist. Finished writing, he stepped to the examination table where I was seated. I looked into his kind, grandfatherly face, bracing myself. My eyes brimmed with tears when he said, “Honey, I don’t know how you get out of bed each morning. Can you stay longer? Let’s talk about hormone imbalances.” I felt the smallest stirring of hope.
In my next post, I’ll share what I started to learn that day about the many physical causes of depression like low blood sugar, hormone imbalance, and food allergies.