I’ll be honest, life has been rough recently.
For those of you who don’t know, I have Lyme’s disease, which, among other symptoms, can cause depression. I had experienced it in brief segments previously, but at the turn of the year it became more frequent and more intense.
Late February it got really bad. I’m a very logical person and not really emotional, but I had points where I was in such despair I crumbled to the ground screaming and weeping. There were several points where all I wanted to do was to curl up in a corner and wait for life to pass.
The worst part was that I recognized that I was experiencing depression, but because it’s a chemical reaction in the brain I couldn’t just think myself out and feel better. Lyme has caused me to experience all sorts of health problems, but the flip side is that I can sympathize with so many people with health issues, from those experiencing mental health issues to growing old.
Fortunately, I seemed to trace the cause to a food sensitivity so I cut it out and the symptoms have gone down for now. I have several friends who have battled depression throughout their lives, and it made me think of what they’ve had to go through.
A Soul Well-Fed
Self care has been a trendy term this year, but it’s something I’ve had to practice for the last few years because my health is so fragile. Once I contracted Lyme I had to approach my creative hobbies differently, and I’m still figuring out how to work creatively while keeping my health a priority. This last month of depression forced me to look at how I was spending my time and what I really wanted to accomplish with my creative work.
Blogging has been an excellent outlet, but my approach has been so businesslike it has eaten the desire to simply create. In the past I would post most of my photography and writing on facebook, and for years I had people I knew randomly make rounds through my albums and comment on how wonderful my work was. Now it has become an obligation.
Because the depression last month was so crippling, I took two different weekends off from posting. To my surprise I began to create again for fun, picking up bookbinding again and brainstorming an idea for a video. There was so much joy that I don’t have when I approach this as a business, and I realized that I needed to put aside all the advice I’ve read about blogging and marketing.
Rather than trying to grow a business, I need to grow, and be content to create slow.
Going A Different Pace
Lyme caused me to step out of the typical arena of human life when I was rising in my potential. In particular, my typical conception of career was shattered, and I couldn’t work consistently, and I fell behind.
Or so I’ve felt. The truth is, I’ve come to see this time of best rest and illness—while an evil—a strange twist of God’s mercy. I can work on my creative projects when in normal circumstances I would have been too busy. (I doubt I would have tried blogging.) While I feel the whole world on the Internet races by me I’m in my little forest den, snuggled in for a long winter that is lonely, but warm and life filled nonetheless.
I am no where near understanding the ways God has used this to shape my life, though I catch glimpses from time to time, and I am in awe.
It’s a time of quiet, like a bulb in the earth, full of life and waiting to burst. I try to see myself this way, rather than comparing myself to the speeding world around me.
Maybe I’ll burst out like a rocket, or maybe I’ll crawl through the soil to the sun.
Or maybe I’ll be in the soil a long, long time.
When I think of that option I get scared and worried. I don’t want to be here forever. I don’t want to be lonely or so ill. So I pray that I might abide in God’s peace, no matter how long this season.
It’s a terrible, frightening, humbling prayer, to tell God that my dreams are not mine, but his, and that I want to follow his call, no matter how far or how slow it is. I often don’t want to pray it. I only have courage to because I trust him to be good, and that goodness is greater than my fear.
He’s cared for me so far, and it is in that care that I rest and create slow.
Thank you always for reading. I appreciate your comments and time. <3
P.S. Fieldnotes is a new series I’m starting on the blog where I want to share about my life and what I’m facing as a human and an artist. I’m not sure what it will become, but it feels like a step in the right direction.