442. On Break, but Not Broken

This blog is taking a two-week break, returning on Monday, May 23.

I wasn’t planning on taking another break until TMTF reached post four hundred fifty. However, as the Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” Translated from the Scots language to contemporary English, this phrase reads something like, “Stuff happens, yo.”

In the past few weeks, I’ve had some dark days. Recent developments at my job have made it much more stressful—and it was stressful enough already! For an alarming number of days, I fought to keep functioning under the weight of depression and anxiety.

Depressed Adam

If you’ve ever caught a cold, you know how it feels to fight a temporary illness. You feel tired, achy, sore, or feverish. You have less energy. If you aren’t too sick, you continue going to work or school, but it’s harder to function than when you’re healthy. Even little chores—washing dishes, doing homework, or walking out the door to work—become huge obstacles. You are physically at a disadvantage.

My depression comes and goes, but at its worst it follows the same pattern as the common cold. However, its symptoms aren’t physical, but mental and emotional. The lack of energy still occurs, but instead of aches and fevers, I experience anxiety and hopelessness. I am mentally and emotionally at a disadvantage.

Then after a week or two, when I feel exhausted and ready to give up on everything, I simply get better. My energy, hope, and good humor return. After I recover, I doubt my memory and ask myself, “Was my depression really that bad?”

When the next cloud of depression settles over me, and light seems to fade from the universe, I give my own question this bitter reply: “Yes. Yes, it was.”

Fading light

Depression is a tricky subject for me to discuss. Its symptoms are deceptively difficult to distinguish from the ups and downs of everyday life. Nobody seems to understand it, and I can’t blame them—I’m not sure that understand it. Depression is a sickness whose symptoms are invisible. It’s like a shadow: elusive, intangible, and never far away.

Over the years, I’ve picked up tips and tricks for coping with depression, but I’ve also realized that it’s a problem with no easy fix. Even so, I’m still fighting.

Last week, I discovered that my employer offers seven free sessions of professional counseling through a local hospital, so I’m trying to set up an appointment. (The counselors’ schedule is full, but I’ll keep trying.) At some point, I may be able to get proper counseling instead of talking to plush toys. That’ll be nice.

The doctor is in

My honest opinion is that antidepressants would help me more than counseling, but chatting with a counselor is a good place to start—and my employer will pay for it. Free stuff is good stuff, yo.

In the meantime, I need a break from deadlines. The last eight or nine posts on this blog have really been down to the wire. I could use a couple of weeks to adjust to my job’s latest developments, work ahead on blog posts, and get some rest. Besides, I have a wedding to attend next week, so I’ll be spending some time on the road. With TMTF’s end finally in sight, I hate to slow its sprint to the finish line, but I think it’s for the best.

I usually republish old posts during breaks, but I’m letting the blog go dark this time; there shall be no posts published until the blog’s return on Monday, May 23.

There are tons of creative people on the Internet whose work you can check out during TMTF’s two-week break. My recommendations this time are The GaMERCaT, a webcomic about cute cats and video games; The Monday Heretic, which continues to share thoughtful thoughts about Christian living; my friend JK’s blog, which offers tips on creativity; and the hilarious YouTube series CinemaSins, which points out everything wrong with movies. (None of these suggestions are sponsored, I promise.)

All of my recommendations are guaranteed one hundred percent velociraptor-free. You will not be eaten by velociraptors if you click any of the links above, so feel free to check them out while TMTF is on break!

We’ll be back, guys. Thanks for your patience, and for being awesome.

5 thoughts on “442. On Break, but Not Broken

  1. Considering adding velociraptors to my site, just to be a jerk, but I won’t since you’re already feeling lousy.

    “My honest opinion is that antidepressants would help me more than counseling”

    Probably accurate, temporarily, but long-term ignoring the deeper seated issues by drugging yourself is not very beneficial. Pills are the temp fix (which I know all too well seems like the way to go some days) but the talking and working through things, that’s what will lead you to a healthy and drug-free tomorrow. It’s harder, but worth the effort. Spoken by someone who visits a psychologist once a month and has for years and years (and will continue to until death, because it is dang helpful, even when times are brilliantly good. I think everyone on the planet should do it). Life is too short not to work through issues. You don’t want to do this all again, do you?! Better to figure it out the first go around. 😉

    • The most important thing about velociraptors is for nobody to be eaten by them. If none of my readers are eaten by velociraptors during my blog’s two-week break, I’ll be quite satisfied. 🙂

      I’m not sure I agree with you on the subject of antidepressants, since some kinds of depression are caused simply by chemical imbalances in the brain. Someone I know recently offered me this helpful advice about clinical depression: “It’s like people who have diabetes. They could talk with someone about it who could be really encouraging and helpful to a certain extent. But if they don’t change their diet or go on insulin, there isn’t any way to just ‘fix’ it or get over it.”

      I’ll start with counseling, but I won’t dismiss antidepressants as an option just yet.

      • Right, therapy IS that “change in your diet” in your example. 🙂 That’s essential for diabetes, and it’s essential for depression. Only bad therapy is just “talking with someone about it.” It’s about working through and getting to the actual issue beneath. Otherwise it will never get better, only be slightly dulled.

        If it’s helpful, you can listen to my “shortest-sermon-ever” sermon I gave last week on “Going Back to the Well.” http://brightredfence.org/downloads/sermons/msba_sermon_2016-05-01.mp3 Maybe it wasn’t just me who needed the reminder of going back to the source. 🙂 Beauty thing is that it’s always there, waiting.

        Alright, I’m off to suffer through this vertigo I currently have, so catch you later!

  2. From someone who has to fight to push back the darkness, hang in there. Good call on taking a break. And good call on using free stuff that is offered to you for help. I like what this smart fellow said ^ (JK Riki). I bust out mantras like Exodus 14:14, The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still, and Lamentations 3:19-33. Read it from The Message, it’s ma fave. You, sir, are a brave gentleman. Keep hold of the courage and the hope.

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