Yesterday, for me, was a day after the flu. I was able to manage going about my business just fine, not flat on my back like the previous day and night before that. I haven’t been wiped out like that for a few years, and yesterday was like a glimpse into an alternate reality.
By the grace of God, I’m not prone to depression or -real- anxiety. I worry some. But my shortcomings fall far more along the lines of pride and short temper. What I felt yesterday was not right or wrong. It was real, beyond my control, and quite different than my typical existence.
I have read a fair amount about depression and try to listen to those who deal with it. I know a few things. But this is not understanding.
The day after the flu, even an optimist sees through a clouded lens. Extroverted tendencies are squelched. You would much rather sit in the car than go talk to the other parents at your sons soccer game. You don’t really think about. You just…sit there.
Inertial is heavy and nearly overwhelming.
Professional goals? Fitness or life goals?
“Get through the day,” is the only thing on your agenda. Activities require effort and why on earth would you want to play, exercise, or move anywhere beyond what’s required?
Laughing comes slow. You understand humor in things and you are capable of laughter. But you feel no impulse to add to the party. Sleep comes easy, even though you slept plenty on the previous night and day.
Giving others the benefit of the doubt requires divine intervention.
Depression is not weakness, mental, physical, spiritual, or otherwise. But the huge stigma remains because, in part, we cannot see through that lens until we’re actually…behind that lens. Sure, there may be big-picture issues at play (and with the flu there certainly is). But there is something just…off…something highly chemical about it.
Which means there is something quite chemical, unearned, going on in the lives of the non-depressed, achievement oriented counterparts. And clearly, the strongest among us are those who strive and achieve, stay the course and generally get’r done DESPITE their depression.
They say that surviving a bout of the flu leaves you stronger. The immune system does not forget.
I do not want to forget the day after the flu, appearing and functioning fine among the living, but grey and cold inside.
The flu is an opportunity for compassion.