(Foreword: the majority of this was written mid 2011)
“Roller coasters go up, roller coasters go down. Apparently I picked the mother of all roller coasters to ride. The past few weeks have been a series of whiplash ups and downs. Today I’m at the bottom, in the pit that feels never ending, but that is reliably followed by an up…onto this certainty, I hang with fingernails.
I was standing in the kitchen earlier, crying…yup…must be Sunday. Another inventory-taking moment. Pain that is making me twitch, stiffness in my neck, fatigue. I don’t want to be here, I feel too tired to make a smoothie and don’t much care anyway. However, I took supplements and had a cup of tea. My friends all have their own things to deal with and I’m tired of complaining about my stuff to them.
So, this is the bottom, again…feeling helpless, alone, sorry for myself, unwell…depressed.”
I wrote that a couple of days ago, and stopped there. Don’t know what I hate more, the experience of being a victim, or stepping back and observing how I’m being when I am a victim. This is simply not who I am at my core, but I have to say, sometimes I allow this ass-kicking experience to get the best of me.
From January through mid-April I took on the well-being of my body at full tilt. I ramped up my protocols until I was taking or doing something to support my body, every 90 minutes, from 9 AM until 9 PM, day in and day out…supplements, enzymes, brain support, detoxing, chiropractic adjustments, massage, resting…mostly raw vegan diet. This was my full time job. And then, finally, I went off all supplements for a week to clean out in preparation for some tests. And I felt absolutely great!! Let go of all my fluid retention in 3 days (8 lbs of it), felt clear, felt well…and quite honestly, didn’t quite know what to do with myself. At the end of the week I was in a pit of depression, something I hadn’t anticipated in my wildest dreams.
While I had experienced short bouts of depression previously, this was different. Too many mornings of waking up and being sorry I had woken up. Too many mornings of starting the day in bed, crying, followed by standing in the kitchen crying, feeling empty and hollow. The self-imposed isolation of depression was taking over my life. To start the day at ground zero feels soul destroying. And then there is that surprising little something that has us take the next step in the day, that one thing we are prepared to do next, or must do next. For me it was taking the dogs for a walk. I’m grateful for their company and endless enthusiasm, for never being put off by my depression or lack of interest in life. They love me just as I am, no matter what, and they shadow me as I drag my gloomy self from one room to the next.
The day usually improves. I don’t know if it is because I manage to get a few things done or if it is because by the end of the day I can let myself stop doing things. Maybe it’s because soon I can escape into sleep…no longer left with my thoughts and questions of: what’s wrong with me? will this ever end? should I make it end? how will I make it end?
And so the weeks dragged by, each minute feeling longer than the last. It was the longest month of my life. I was waiting for some magical entity to walk through my front door and steep every cell in my body with a love and joy so deep it would be worth living another day. It didn’t happen.
I attended a Lyme seminar and had the pleasure of meeting two of my online friends in person, and I listened for some magic bullet to be revealed that would save me from myself. It felt good to talk to people involved with Lyme in a variety of ways, it felt good to hear a doctor talk about the effects of Lyme in a way that validated my experience. But what got my attention most was the talk by an author of a book called “Coping with Lyme”. As an expert on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Denise Lang walked us through causes and symptoms of PTSD. Surprisingly, many chronic Lymies share these symptoms.
I did not feel I had PTSD, but I could see for sure that I was not alone in dealing with the emotional backlash of feeling chronically sick, that it was normal, and that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Just distinguishing that helped me enormously.
I still began the next day lying in bed crying, I still walked the dogs. What was different on that day was that I began talking about feeling and being depressed, only to find that many of my fellow ‘chronic sickies’ were in the same boat.
And then I reached out to my Naturopath and learned that I had two components to deal with. One was the physiological cause of depression and the other was spiritual/emotional. He tested me, gave me a protocol of amino acids to follow and we talked.
It only took a couple of days for the depression to lift (yay for my aminos!!) and I undertook yet another journey within myself, probably the most valuable one to date, and I saw what was missing; love of Self. And life shifted…
It has been more than 6 months since I had to deal with the depression facet of my healing process. I no longer have a need to be loved by someone else, although I love being loved. I matter to me and it’s fine if I don’t matter to someone else. I see my shortcomings and can experience compassion for my humanity rather than self-loathing. Just as I am and just as I am not, I am perfect, whole and complete. I am.
My life still has ups and downs and I have the opportunity to experience it all from a place of love. And yes, sometimes I fail like the perfectly imperfect human being I am, and I will always have new things to discover about myself, …and no matter what it is I discover, it will be worthy of love.