I was driving home from Raleigh after Tuesday’s Lord of the Rings rehearsal (yep! We’re singing it this summer with the NC Symphony — check out this site! — and I wasn’t feeling my usual euphoria after a rehearsal.
Then it hit me: depression season. It always gets me this time of year, don’t know why, some anniversaries in more than a month, but can’t put my finger on why it starts in mid-May.
The body knows what the mind chooses to forget, and when we haven’t allowed ourselves to adequately grieve, or address a sorrow, the body repeats it for us until we’ve done.
Now until mid-July, though, with the anniversary of my dad’s death on July 10, I’m in the dumps.
I was diagnosed in ’91, not many weeks after Dad died (only four months after Mother). Mom’s old doctor knew the family history well enough that, when I went to see him for vague infection-type symptoms, he knew the questions to ask; he answered the riddle of years’ worth of suffering for me. He gave me a prescription for a fairly popular antidepressant.
I hated taking the pills. It was nice to be able to get out of the morning and to get through the day without wanting to retreat back to my bed at every opportunity, but I also felt rather flat and incomplete. Things I had enjoyed before were meaningless to me while under the influence of the meds. I felt as if I’d lost the emotional equivalent of depth perception.
It’s odd to think of depression carrying gifts and graces with it, but it does. A mockingbird’s song is exquisitely beautiful any spring, but even more so when it becomes God’s voice in cheer and encouragement during dark days. Colors of the sunset have more vividness, greater brilliance during the bad times. Poetry is wiser, deeper — music more eternal.
I stay out of bed, days, taking nutritional therapies. It’s not perfect, but it gets me through the hard times without robbing me of important, valued parts of myself.
This year I’m going to make a more concerted effort to develop some of my “melancholy” gifts and abilities during this season. Be prepared to have some of my attempts at poetry inflicted upon you — and maybe more prose essays and short stories.
Ya just never know what I’m going to come up with, around here.
Thanks for the prayers.