Remember that movie?
It’s pretty old, you might, but just in case you don’t…
It stars Bill Murray as a weatherman that is assigned to cover the annual appearance of the Groundhog in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania. To his surprise the next morning he wakes up to find himself repeating the same day over again. The next day is the same and the next and the next….and so on.
I think that’s one of the things that makes depression and anxiety so challenging. You feel like a broken record. You wake up with an unexplainable sadness and nervousness every morning that is just THERE. You then work the ENTIRE day to try and feel better. You take a shower and get ready. You say your prayers. You go outside. You get things done around the house. You do yoga and eat healthy all day. You call a friend. You get 8 hours of sleep, You do something sweet for your husband….
the list goes on…
These are all things that are supposed to help you feel better. And they do, but the feelings of sadness and emptiness always find their way back in. Usually I go to bed and feel like ok, it’s getting better to wake up and feel like “It’s groundhog day again!”
That’s why when people say “I battle depression (or any mental health issue)” that’s truly what they are saying, I BATTLE it, it’s a daily battle.
I used to think (and sometimes still do) that if I just changed my attitude, if I just tried to be more thankful and positive that it would go away. That’s not how it works. Before my own battle with all of this, I used to say to myself, “man if depressed people would just get out of bed and get up in the morning they would feel so much better! If they tried to get out and serve others instead of being stuck in themselves they would get over it.”
It just doesn’t work that way.
When people have cancer, do we tell them that if they serve people and get ready for the day that they would feel better? Ya they might feel better about themselves, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they are facing a TRUE ILLNESS. And we rally around them and tell them how courageous they are and to keep going!
Well mental illness are real true illnesses too, just as real as cancer and just as hard in some ways, that’s all there is to it. But what makes it SO difficult to battle is that most people don’t see it as that. They see it as a choice, that people are choosing to feel that way. People don’t see any physical changes or physical ailments so to them it must be something that people can just get over if they just change their minds and do it. If they’d just get more motivated and not focus on it.
I can make myself look real pretty and done up and smile at everyone on the outside, yet be completely broken on the inside.
We fight alone much of the time.
It’s an unvalidated battle.
It’s not a tangible thing that people can see and understand and so they push it away accepting that it must not be as bad as people think it is. It must not be real.
I had a Doctor tell me just last week that she feels mental illness is something that the most noble spirits are facing in the last days. Here’s why. She asked me, “What is hell Sarah?” ummm… I didn’t know what she was getting at… “The very definition of hell is being cut off from God, being cast out of his presence not being able to FEEL him near.” she said. “Depression and mental illness is liking asking people to go through a little bit of hell, they feel only darkness most of the time, they have brain fog and confusion and it makes it very difficult to feel much of anything at all most of the time…”, hmmm never thought of it that way…
I like that. If I may be so bold as to say so myself that it is a valiant fight! Not something to be embarrassed of or ashamed of! It’s tough! God trusts that we will be loyal to him no matter what, even if we can’t feel him near. Even when our trial seems to drag on and on and we wake up day after day dealing with the same thing…
My favorite example of this is Paul
Corinthians 12: 7-10
12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Even Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh” or a trial, (could have been a mental health issue, we don’t know) that he asked that the Lord take from him THREE different times. And the Lord for whatever reason, didn’t. He said, “my grace is sufficient for thee”... or what I understand from it, no I know what’s best for you . I have a lesson for you to learn from all of this but my grace is sufficient for you to have the strength to go through it! Even if you have to wake up day after day facing the same trial, I will not leave you to battle it alone!
We can do it, with the help of professionals and the Lord we can face each day, even if it stays groundhog day for days, weeks, months and even years. Just keep on keeping on…. That’s all we can do right?