What do you do when you feel like God can’t forgive you anymore? How do you break the belief that his mercy is finite like that of humans? How do you let Him love you when you don’t love yourself?
Some days I wish I better understood how to live. I glean little purpose from my waking hours.
The creative juice is running low. Not that it’s essential to this blog but it makes me feel like I have something worth writing and in your case reading.
Small town America. Where my roots began. It’s the setting for the American dream where Dad works, Mom raises the kids, and you grow up and raise your own family in the same manner. My hometown has all those intangibles.
But yet there’s something amiss. Not all the pieces fit together. The very place where I used to find peace under the shroud of my innocence no longer has the same vibrant color it did when I was a child. The trees are still green, the water is still blue, and the air is still fresh but I cannot take in their magnificence. A sliver of their fullness is all I’m allowed.
People are that way too to me. I know no one completely. If there is one thing that I crave more than anything else it is that. To see someone be completely vulnerable so I may have the courage to do the same.
I’ve wrestled a lot with the question of whether or not there is a God. I look at my life as I have lived it as one who believes and I wonder if I’m insane. Then I picture myself going forward as if I was an atheist and I conclude that I am sane.
This deep gnawing feeling of not being able to experience the fullness of one thing or all things that are beautiful in this life is the very thing that tells me there is a God. If our finite being alive was an accident then we would never crave the infinite.
To be great is to be misunderstood.
How closely I can relate to this. It’s a paradox however. Part of the gratification of being great is to be recognized; to be understood.
To what end is being extraordinary if no one around you can grasp it?
For the life of me I cannot figure out why I’m bored with living but how fulfilling would it be to be great and to be understood perfectly? Is it possible to not have to trade one for the other?
As I was reading One Nation by Dr. Ben Carson I came across a topic in one of the first chapters that struck a chord with me and one of my past battles with depression. The topic was in regards to what is and isn’t effective for lifting people out of poverty. In short, the more effective approach is to create a favorable environment for education for those who come from or are at risk for falling into poverty. Instilling a sense of self-worth and self-reliance are the keys to helping someone who is downtrodden uncover their human dignity and liberate themselves or their families from their individual and/or collective burden.
When I think of this principle applied to depression it proves true as well but in a different light. I recalled something from my most recent low point this past winter of 2013. I was debating my parents, who like me are politically conservative, on how they could “waste” time on helping me get better when all I seemed to be from my perspective was a financial burden on them. They would offer to pay for things which I needed but that I was too proud to accept. I had lost my belief that I would ever have any occupational value again after getting fired from my job.
I got stuck on that rumination and by the severity of my condition had come to associate “occupational value” as synonymous with human dignity. What I came to understand however is that in those moments it was imperative that they persevered in helping me uncover my own perception of self-worth and self-reliance when even I couldn’t see it for myself. They removed my immediate financial obligations so I could stay on the road to resurrection. Once I regained my health, I also regained my self-confidence and my ability to provide for myself.
What I learned from that is if you strip away anything and everything that we crave or try to worship in this world that is material, you find that the only thing that has any intrinsic value is our ability to lift people out from under their own crosses; our ability to love. When we fail to or stop trying to build people up where we are able we move backwards both as individuals and as a human race. Once we do this then we need to educate people by our words and actions so that they too can do what’s possible to help others. We cannot love outwardly if we do not first love inwardly. I thank God for his pure and constant outward love, for without it my life would be lost.
Time for an update again. The Protazen regimen continues to work as hoped. I don’t feel spectacular most days but I do feel pretty good. Energy levels are good enough that I can work 12 hours a day usually. I also saw two job offers come along since my last post. I also let both of them go. It’s weird to think of how desperate I was to have one in January and then six months later let both of them slip away. I took my time to discern each of them though. They both matched my skillset but I was pretty certain that at some point down the road I would be unhappy with my decision to take them.
I found that the thing I desire the most in a job is freedom. Being in business for one’s self allows you to do that. Originally I thought the risk was greater venturing out on my own. I thought I was incapable of it. When I started to think positively though things changed. I broke things down into smaller chunks and I tuned my mindset to only the one thing I was faced with at that very moment. When I do that I find success. I don’t get off track by overanalyzing the big picture and seeking out potential pitfalls along the way that have the capability to throw me completely off track.
Learning to talk yourself out of overanalysis is difficult and I’m still learning how but it’s a key part of figuring out how to find success in the situation you’re in when you have depression. It certainly isn’t possible for me to implement this method without Protazen but with it seems I can find my way out of just about anything and do it with a good result.
Well I’ve made it 90 days. I didn’t believe it was possible. I didn’t think I’d find anything that would make me feel normal after I ditched my prescription drugs. I didn’t think I’d be doing as well as I am after 90 days either. I have enough energy to function whereas before I could barely muster enough to get out of bed in the morning. I had no desire to get up and be miserable about everything in my life.
Today though I didn’t feel anything like that. I got up today and I did what I wanted. I like who I am. I’m anxious of who I will become. On Friday I was out scooping feed bunks by myself and about halfway through the job I stopped. I looked around at the farm I’ve called home all my life and I stopped and stared. First at the silage silo which was used by my great grandfather to store feed for his cattle. Then at the old cottonwood trees which though they no longer have all their major limbs are still alive and continue to stand guard next to the old entrance to the farm. Then I stared at the old farmhouse. It too no longer looks the same as it did when it was built circa 1906 but it stands firm; reinforced following its share of tornado near misses, heavy rain, blistering heat, and bone-chilling winters.
As I stood there, reflecting on these objects that have withstood the test of time, I was filled with a great sense of consolation and hope. As a person I too have endured my own storms and wicked extremes. And yet I have survived each one of them. They left their mark on me no doubt and I have scars to show for it; some visible, the others lie on my heart. Because of them though I am wiser and stronger. I have achieved victory after defeat.
Through my trials I have been purified. This is what Catholicism teaches. This is what lies beneath the surface of it for each human being to discover. Christ’s victory was supreme not only because he conquered death and resurrected, but because he achieved victory after defeat. In our human lives, the sweetest accomplishments are those in which we succeed after failure. If you are downtrodden, take courage knowing that your rise from the ashes will justify your trial.
It’s been a few short days since I passed day 60 on Protazen. I feel I’ve kind of plateaued on the base formula as nothing has drastically changed since last month. Since I ordered a three month supply I am on my last bottle but during the reorder I picked up some of the serotonin support so we’ll see how that plays into the mix starting day 91.
Moving on. I’ve been working lately. Quite intensively as a matter of fact. I stumbled upon some opportunities to work as a contractor/consultant thanks to a fraternity brother of mine who called me out of the blue. So that’s definitely been a plus since it’s not only expanding my fiscal reach but also restoring confidence in myself. I get pretty anxious from time to time that I’ll make a giant mistake and not having liability insurance, I’d be financially responsible for damages incurred which could run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Otherwise I’m enjoying what I do. It’s what I know and one of the things I’m good at.
I’m still “not all there” in terms of emotional stability. Working by myself gives way for my mind’s railroad to run and I ruminate on many different things throughout the day. Sometimes I dream. Sometimes I worry. Sometimes I laugh or smile to myself because of a good memory. Little things I keep to myself are sometimes the biggest highlights of my day.