Feeling Lost

Have you ever heard of people describing non-believers, or those who do not believe in Christ as lost? I am not sure what to think of that term, if it is appropriate at all or not. We are each on different paths, so who is to say who is lost?

In a different light, do you know that feeling of purpose, a feeling of being on the right path, that gives you a sense of knowing, of being in just the right place? I am missing that feeling…I miss that sense of comfort. I miss knowing exactly what I believe in and exactly where I should be. I feel lost.

Feeling lost is so uneasy. There is a type of being lost that can feel like an adventure, but at this moment in time, it doesn’t feel exciting or adventurous, it feels yucky. I am wandering around inside myself, feeling a bit hollow, and searching for something familiar. I am incredibly alone here. I would so enjoy the act of an outstretched hand right now. I call out my name, but all I hear are echos in this cavern. I would like to hear a welcome or a greeting of some kind, something like “I am here.” or “Hello my friend.” But the emptiness is too much, too vast.

It frightens me to feel this alone. It frightens me to question things that usually keep me grounded. And even when I am not questioning lately, I am just not “feeling it”. I want to feel it. I want to know with all of me the things that I can count on, the truths that are ever-present and ever-lasting. Have I gone to some place where it just can not reach me?

Thank God for the drive inside to keep pressing forward. Thank God for the gift of knowing that if I go to bed, tomorrow will probably feel better, at least better enough that I can keep moving forward and continue my search. I am grateful for the gift of being responsible for others, for it gives me so much meaning and reason to put one foot in front of the other, to take a deep breath ( or several) , and to find a way to live the next moment as best as I can. Thank God. At least I know who I want to thank, that I can give thanks to Him and feel sure of that. That feels good.

I may be lost right now. I might not know where I am going. But I will keep moving and sometimes I will just breath and that will be enough…

It’s Delicate

Watching a portion of the PBS 3 part series, This Emotional Life, tonight, brought back so many vivid memories…times of depression, times of searching, times spent yearning for understanding. I am ecstatic for the understanding and awareness that quality television, such as what is produced on PBS, brings to our world. It is a joyous moment to sense the eyes opening across the nation as people watch and learn about living with major depression. In my own living room, I sensed a desire to better understand it, even though I am living breathing proof of what life with major depression can be like, for some reason it is better understood out of the mouths of others.  Chevy Chase did a spot on the show, candidly describing some of the challenges faced when battling depression. I found that particularly interesting and a good way to draw my husband, who is a big fan of his, into the audience.

I couldn’t help myself, but secretly, I wished I had been given the kind of opportunities experienced by the 18 year old who’s story was told. Her family was very proactive and she was in the care of great and knowledgeable professionals at the University of Michigan. They did not allow her to continue suffering when a treatment did not work, they continued on, and searched together for solutions, eventually ending up using ECT as a method of treatment. So many who struggle with this condition could benefit from having a support system such as the one she has in her family, therapists and physicians.

I remember so clearly my first devastating experience with ongoing and relentless major depression. I had been experiencing anxiety and bouts of depression for a couple of years previously, but it’s presence was “off and on”. It was when I was a freshman in college, and also 18 years old, that I would have given anything to have experienced “normal” life. I was truly taken down by the disease. The young lady featured on “This Emotional Life” reminded me so much of what it was like laying in my dorm room, suffering but not knowing why or how to deal with the illness. There was a moment during the program that the narrator said something about how life is stolen from those who suffer … and yes, I can think back now to the losses I have suffered. I have lost so much time. I have missed opportunities for education and achievements. I left college in my last semester before graduation largely because I was non-functioning due to depression and anxiety. I have yet to obtain my Bachelor’s degree, although I am far too close to let it slip by me. ( A goal on my horizon!)

Just now, as writing this, I recall a moment when I was given an award while attending the University of Kansas for my accomplishment in my studies of the French language. My parents made the trip to the college town (Lawrence, Kansas) to go to the awards ceremony with me, but because of the depression and such a deep-seeded feeling of inadequacy, I refused to go. I was unable to see myself as worthy of the award. I was frozen by social anxiety. I was paralyzed, sad, and also perplexed by my own behavior.

Depression is a dreadful thief.

But, I have been given so much life, still. I see that my life is a continuous journey filled with more joy each and every day. I will not let this thief rob me of everything! There are new studies, new findings, and efforts being made to help the millions who suffer from depression and other mental health issues. My life is not wasted. I can share with others, relate with others, and offer hope to others. I am not left with a sadness too great tonight.

The one thing I really took from this evening’s program was that there is indeed a very delicate balance of our emotions and we all do the dance as best as we can in life … sometimes dancing in darkness, other times in light.