“Are you depressed?”
I sat on the cold table, the white paper sticking to my legs. In his quiet demeanor, with the intern looking on but feeling his stare he asks, “Are you depressed?” I should have had my happy light.
Awww shucks doctor. Make me feel like a heel for laying out all my complaints. The minor complaint was my listlessness at night and months later it became my major, isolated problem.
Isolated. Alone. A good description of what slowly became my life. During this time I wrote Are You Simply Treading Water?
God nudging me.
Couple years prior I was co-leading my church’s women’s Bible Study and training leaders. Homeschooling behind me after dedicating 16 plus years to this calling, my personal mission was to work with women and equip them to lead effectively.
I was fulfilled. But I felt God nudging me out of this area I felt confident and trained to do. He was lighting the spark that was laid on my doorstep at age14 and lay dormant for over 30 years. Write. The quiet voice, subtle, whispered into my soul. Write.
I listened. I began to learn my craft. I took online classes. I participated in online groups. I joined a local writer’s group. I even began the process of laying aside my insecurities and with some help, created a website.
Change was upon me in how God worked in my circumstances.
I argued I didn’t have a sleeping issue.
A year after my passing on the co-leadership position, I began to feel lethargic. I insisted to my doctor my hormone level needed to change. He hinted I should get a sleep test. I balked. I argued. I insisted I knew better. I proclaimed my sleeping issues were nothing compared to my snoring, startle awake, can’t breathe husband.
My doctor tasked to change my current sleeping pill. It took months of experimenting, waking up drugged, sick to my stomach, extra hyper to low motivation and finally settling on the lesser of evils. I was given a med that helped my heart rate so I could rest at night. I tried to refuse but eventually took an anti-depressant. On good periods of my journey I would take 50 mg and when things got bad I would take 100 mg twice a day.
I still struggled. I even added melatonin on my desperate nights. But nothing worked long-term.
Lingering in the back of my mind probed the doctor’s question.
While withdrawing, I needed community.
I withdrew from life. I couldn’t even write. The second year, I decided to push through my emotionless life and forced myself to write. I didn’t always feel good. My saving grace was hiding out at my favorite coffee shop and writing for two hours. After two hours my brain would shut off, my emotions were depleted and I had nothing left. But I learned how to write in my current circumstances.
I wasn’t able to do anything else, except do my volunteer job at Open Arms once a week. It was by God’s grace I showed up every Thursday and He gave me the energy and stamina I needed each week.
I looked at my pills each morning and felt more depressed. Was I ever going to move from this place I so despised? God had called me out of interacting with women regularly to live a life where I was islolated? God called me for a life of this? I recognized I needed community in I Don’t Want to Give in Anymore.
My doctor and my hormone doctor both told me during the same week, “Get a sleep test.” My hormone doctor wouldn’t see me again until I got the test.
So I did. I even told the sleep specialist I didn’t have a problem but I was here upon doctor’s orders.
On the road to healthy living.
The test came back. And I was right. I didn’t have sleep apnea. But I was wrong. I did have an issue. Upper Airway Resistant Syndrome. There was this little thing called air and I wasn’t getting enough when I slept, especially with my tongue wanting to block my airflow. I detailed this experience in Too Afraid to Hope.
In a few months and after fighting with our insurance company, I wore my mouth piece for the first time. It was amazing. I started to sleep. Good sleep. It wasn’t long before I knocked out my meds one at a time.
And today? I’m on 3 mg of Lunesta and feeling great.
I’ve wondered, why?
I wouldn’t have known.
~I wouldn’t have known what true depression feels like.
~I wouldn’t have known the feeling of isolation and thinking no one really cares.
~I wouldn’t have known that I could relate to other women who though their struggles were different, we were actually on the same plane.
~I wouldn’t have known that being on the outside of ministry would feel hurtful and painful at times.
~I wouldn’t have known that being on the outside is where many women find themselves and no one is there to help pick them up.
God brought me through this terrible time so I would know.
I’m continuing on my journey pursuing healthy living where my focus isn’t on my skin and bulges, but on learning to feel good. It’s a journey.
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