For those of you who live in Santa Rosa, have you looked outside? It is absolutely gorgeous! It’s funny how Spring appears overnight and suddenly, all is new and beautiful again.
The joy that this season is invoking in me reminded me of a time when these images meant nothing to me. After Connor died, I rapidly fell into a deep depression. Connor died on the first day of autumn, and fall and winter were darker than usual that year. I spent the days inside with the curtains closed. Our house took on a dark dungeon effect, and everything around me was death. There was no springtime in my life.
That fall my mom encouraged me to plant daffodil bulbs. She said they would bloom in the spring, and be a yearly tribute to my son. I spent weeks taking my aggression out on that rock hard soil to dig a foot’s depth into the ground. If I hadn’t been so angry at life, I don’t think I could have dug into that ground! But eventually I succeeded, and spent as much time as I could taking care of that garden for Connor’s sake. I know that my mom was just trying to get me to be outside and soak in that sunshine for endorhphin’s sake. It worked, because when I was outside I thought of Connor in a happy light.
Springtime came, and so did the daffodils, as promised. Spring held an all new meaning to me. It was the time for rebirth, happiness, starting over. This first Spring was still slightly less than hopeful, but I was just greatful for the Winter to be over. I wish that remained in me, but eventually the depression took hold of me even more, as my outer circumstances got grimmer. My marriage started to seriously fail, and my ex was changing. Visions of flowers, sunshine, and nature faded and death took over again. But this time it was darker, no hope to be found. I prayed for death. It consumed me. The house got darker, and going outside was just too much trouble. Everything was too much trouble. Just thinking about having to do something made me feel exhausted. It was like mountains stood in the way of everything. Winter came again, and it became unbearable. It was the next Spring, when a little hope came with the sunshine, that I finally had to leave.
This past Winter, I escaped the depression. I expected it and waited for it. But it never came. Yes, I felt sadness throughout this past year, but it was different this time. Last time the sadness never left, and weighted me down. This time, sadness would come, then go and leave me feeling refreshed and ready to keep going. A good cry felt refreshing, but smiles came much more than tears. I’ve come over and beyond who I’ve been lately, and have recaptured the happiness and lightness of my teenage years.
And here we are, another joyful Spring. And this year it feels even more wonderful. I watch with amazement at apple blossoms cascading down from their trees in the wind, or watch the water ripple at Spring Lake under a cloudless sky. I listen to birds and am in awe of their innocent love lives as they flirt with the wind, the trees, their mates. There are times I want to stretch my arms to the sky and, as corny as this sounds, shout my praises to the Lord. And hope is alive in me. In the past, each day was viewed as jsut the same old thing. I would wait for the day to be over, but knew that the next day would only be the same. There was no purpose. Now, each day holds new blessings. Every little thing leaves me greatful and thanking God for letting me experience all his gifts.
Having been through such a personal hell reminds me that there are others who are facing depression today. There are people out there who do not find joy in anything, and are slowly withering away. I would not wish such misery on anyone. Depression is a serious illness that must be treated. At the risk of sounding like a public service announcement, I implore you to seek counselling if you are suffering from depression, or help those you know who are suffering to seek help. The symptoms of depression are changes in eating and sleeping patterns, loss of energy, weeks of sadness, not enjoying things that used to interest you, and more. When you are suffering from depression, it is extremely hard to seek help because it is hard to view your life as worth saving, or you are in denial that there is a problem, or you are ashamed to be depressed in the first place. Sometimes it’s hard because seeking help is too much of an effort. That is why if you are a friend of someone who appears depressed, please help them! And pray for those who are depressed. I cannot stress any of this enough!