Friday, October 06, 2006

Down in the Dumps

Blestwithsons is doing a great series on depression over at her blog. Check it out if you've ever experienced it, if you wonder if you are there now, or if a loved one deals with depression. She started on October 1, and has posted several new posts as well. In her post, Why Me?, where she gave the statistics that only 10% of the population suffers from depression, I admitted in the comments to being one of the 90% who don't.

But this week I've been down in the dumps, a little off, hormonal. I know that it's not the same as depression, but it's unsettling nonetheless. I know that there are a couple of things that can bring on this feeling, some of which I can control and some of which I can't. Busyness is one trigger of mine, bringing on slightly different feelings of just being out of control. That is something I can, and do try to, control. I only try to schedule a couple of additional commitments into my weekly schedule. The other factor is often personal sin, which leads to a feeling of discouragement. I feel unsettled and restless because there's something that I'm not dealing with before God--a sinful attitude or behavior or even disobedience to something that He's asked me to do--will eventually gnaw away at the false assurances that all is well in the world (or at least my life). Worry can also cause the general black cloud, and I think that may have been the issue this week.

It's such a contradiction. In these times (which do hit me more frequently as I've gotten older), I bemoan the fact that my children are growing up so fast one moment, and the next I wish for more freedom that grown up children afford. I feel like a horrible mom, and like I should be more attentive, and yet I only want to be left alone. I feel fat and unatttractive, and yet I eat ice cream. I know that there are things that I should be doing, yet I don't do them.

The first time I really noticed a prolonged feeling of something feeling not quite right was in September of last year. I shared my thoughts with a friend. She asked me how old I was, and said, "Yep. It happens."We've named this condition the thirty-five year old crazies, although they can begin any time in your thirties. She (not being a medical or psychological expert, just a wise mom, and a good friend) says that it's just one of those cycles a woman experiences. We have puberty, accompanied with raging hormones and physical changes, fertility and childbearing, again--raging hormones and physical changes, and then a post-childbearing yet pre-menopausal time that only seems right to bring with it some hormonal and even physical changes (can anyone say decreased metabolism? or the return of acne?). Fortunately, it never lasts more than a few days. If yours do, do some research. Talk with a doctor, a friend who you think might understand, or read a book from the library.

A dear friend of mine is going through a trial right now. She signed off her email with two well-used and oft-quoted verses, but also included a third from the same Psalm that I don't often see. Let's all hold fast to these promises, regardless of the circumstances in our lives.
I lift my eyes up to the hills--where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
The Lord will keep you from all harm--He will watch over your life.

Psalm 121: 1 - 2, 7
A little postscript: I wrote this originally on Thursday afternoon, in the midst of the black cloud. By Thursday evening, I genuinely felt like it had passed. I think that a couple of factors could have been at work of the clearing of my mind:
  • I got a communication report from Amanda's teacher. I had definitely been worrying about some of Amanda's schoolwork, and the report put my mind at rest. I knew I had been worried about it, but I didn't think I was that worried until my mind was put at ease.
  • I wrote down all of the issues here. I think that helped me work through them, to an extent, but also, I think that God may have wanted me to share them (which is why I'm still posting it).
  • I did get some long-postponed chores done this afternoon.


Katrina said...

Very good post, Jennifer. As you know, I can lean toward depression, although most of the time, I live life on an even keel. But all those things you mentioned - busyness, sin, worry - definitely add to that unsettled, down-in-the-dumps feeling. For me, "mental clutter" is a big one too - when I am just feeling overwhelmed by thoughts, obligations, abandoned goals, ignored chores - it builds up and I need to re-organize my brain or I find myself in a real funk.

Thanks for those verses. They definitely help to keep the focus where it needs to be.

And...wait a minute. You're telling me acne comes back? Mine still hasn't gone away!

lrlwreath said...

Jen, great post. I have missed Blestwithssons posts Iwill have to check it out. I have medication I take that helps my hormones stay balanced (that is another word with helps me deal with depression).

Thanks for the heads up.

lrlwreath said...

Oh and I am glad you are doing better. sorry should of said that first, =)

blestwithsons said...

I haven't even mentioned the hormones! That's a whole 'nother series! ;-) Yup, my mom has long warned me that the mid-30s are dangerous. I know that some of my restlessness stems from that.

I'm glad you're already feeling better. It is amazing how helpful writing things down can be.

Love ya!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for all the encouragement. I think we've all been there, and I wanted to share, especially since I'm the kind of person that most people think is happy and easygoing all the time.

And yes, Katrina, mental clutter (and physical clutter which causes it) definitely contributes for me as well. I am NOT a neatnik, but sometimes clearing away a few piles helps!

master of none said...

Great post Jen! I'm way passed the 30's...but gravity has set in and for the first time in my life I'm starting to gain what do I do? so much candy I am sick. Then I wake up with a headache in the morning and put off my time with the Lord...until late in the evening...when I'm so exhausted! I'm not one to get depressed but in the last month I feel like withdrawing from everyone. It dawned on me that I felt like I did when my mother passed away. An empty sick feeling in my stomach...but it wasn't my mother I was my Lord Jesus. For some reason that was a wake up call for me, to get off this roller coaster ride. Make myself go to bed early and get up early to start my day reading God's Word and praying. When you said personal sin that rang a bell for me...laziness, eating wrong things. Thanks for your insight!

Barb said...

I think every female in the world deals with this at least occasionally. And hormones have a lot to do with it although every other thing you mentioned also contributes.

Glad you're feeling better. I so hate feeling down that when I feel it coming on, I deliberately make myself do things that will help me snap out of it sooner. But sometimes, it just happens.

Lori said...

You really opened up there - and I am truly amazed at your vulnerability in this post.
I'm glad that your update showed a change for the better. You really are in that 90% - and are so blessed.

e-Mom said...

Diet and excerise (or the lack thereof) play a huge role in our moods. I can't eat a lot of carbs or sugar, and walking always lifts my spirits... something just shifts. Thanks for letting us know you feel better now. You obviously knew exactly what to do.

Anonymous said...

Honestly written. Thank you. I had my insane Mom moment today. My kids fondly refer to as Psycho Mom. There is a blog coming up in me with that title I do believe. =)