Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Rant on Struggling

After being so grateful in so many ways, I almost hate to talk about this. But it's a reality of life, so while gratitude is always appropriate, so is the honesty of struggle.

And I'm struggling.

Not that this is anything new. My struggle began very early. When I was six, I was throwing up and having stress from hives. At twelve, I considered jumping out my second story window in order to kill myself -- and then logic (God's Spirit in disguise) prevailed, and I realised I'd probably only break an arm or leg, land in the bushes below, and certainly get into trouble for doing it!

At fourteen I went to family counseling. This continued throughout my teens. In my early twenties, I saw a couple of chiropractors who manipulated me and tried to put me on very stringent diets, to no avail. The considerations of suicide came far more often and were far more serious. More counseling followed, along with the occasional chocolate milkshake.

In my thirties, I considered at one point checking myself into the local hospital's "stress center." A counselor told me I should be on medication -- except that I was pregnant -- surprise! Later, another doctor gave me medication for seasonal affective disorder. Several times I considered running away to France and changing my name, disappearing from society entirely. Seriously. I would consider what name I'd have, and look forward to being bilingual, and wonder how I would live without my kids. Would they look for me? What if they found me?

In my forties -- actually, about 5 years ago, I saw a wonderful doctor who put me on something called Effexor. Once my body adapted itself to this drug -- it takes several days of unpleasant symptoms -- I felt like everyone around me finally saw the real me. Life was very, very good.

And then Hunk O Man lost his job, and we had to move, and my blood pressure was through the roof (a side effect of this medication). More medication was prescribed to combate the hypertension. We moved. We all coped -- I survived. I changed drugs to Cymbalta, hoping it would alleviate the blood pressure problem. I vowed to exercise. I coached and coaxed and held it together for my girls, who missed their friends up north. And then they made new friends, even better, and things began to balance again.

Living in the south has been, for the most part, quite wonderful. The people are gracious and kind. But slowly, I have been turning into someone I am not. My prolific creativity has ebbed to a creative bent with occasional spurts. I sleep a LOT. I have gained almost 30 lbs. When I sleep, I dream -- then wake, then dream, then wake, etc. I wake up feeling "end of the day" tired, and by the end of a normal day, I am bone-numbing fatigued. I crave sugar. I drink caffeine to survive, and then when I hit the wall as it wears off, I take a nap. And then another.

And then we have the allergies to virtually everything. And worse, the allergy meds!

Recently, when Babydoll asked why I was crabby, I told her that between the happy pill side effects and the allergies and the menopausal symptoms, it's a wonder I'm ever not crabby.

I feel quite useless, actually. My house is a mess, my kids are wonderful but I don't keep after them and keep them consistent as I should, and the people at my church wonder if I really exist. It's like Hunk O Man, this great minister of God -- and his phantom wife.

Waah, waah, waah. And yes please, I would like a little cheese and crackers with my whine.

Now before all of you go prescribing all sorts of remedies for me, please understand -- I don't tell you all this so that you will do that. While I appreciate (honestly and truly, I do) everything you will tell me, I am a complete and total information junkie. I will take it all to heart and try and process it and practice it. And it will be too much and I'll end up throwing my hands in the air and giving up.

So instead, I would ask that you pray for me.

I read this passage this morning, from Second Corinthians 4:7 --

We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at.

Yep, Paul, no kidding. Although I would like for this clay pot to function a little more efficiently if it's not too much trouble! A happy pill sort of loses its essential function when you become happy but fat and sleepy and lassaiz-faire all the time.

I also read this, from later in the chapter, Second Corinthians 4:16-18 --

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.

So often in my life I have felt like giving up. But not this time -- I feel instead, and am encouraged by a very good friend, to hit my knees. All this is so temporary. Discomfort and nusiance is gone in an instant. It may come back, but it never stays long. And what is ahead is just so much bigger and better. This gives me great encouragement in my struggle.

And while my body is struggling, my relationship with God is actually quite good; better than it's been in years and years, actually. Prayers are being answered, circumstances in my family are improving. God is so good to us! It's a stark contrast to the sorry state of my physical body.

You know, I really do get the whole thing about creative people being wacked out. We really are. Many are so wacked out that they accomplish great things while being unbelieveably self-destructive. While I am not quite that brilliant -- far from it! -- I teeter along the edge. I feel as if I have emotional cerebral palsy. I do my best to get along in my circumstance, and see others breeze through their circumstances, and wonder how that feels. How does it feel to be content and happy and able to let things go, and not have emotion blow through you like some kind of uncontrollable hurricane? And this without drugs? Is there a cure? Certainly there is hope.

So I am seeking Him yet again, knowing I cannot breathe without His grace and mercy, and knowing an answer will come in His time. Maybe it will be another drug. Maybe it will be a release from all the drugs and a healing. Maybe it will learning to cope with the current drug in a new way.

But it will come. He has given me faith, and I love Him for it.



Patsy Baker said...

I did pray for you, and thank you for sharing. You are not alone.

Lea said...

Praying for you!
Struggled with depression and 2chronic medical conditions for almost 10 years now. I have two precious kids, pastor hubby of my own.

Thanks for sharing so honestly - it feels like we're so alone in this struggle. But we're not! And we have God's grace - the best medicine ever!

I'll keep praying for you!