Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The importance of purpose

After a couple of days of sleeping through most of the day, and after a full night's sleep last night, I awoke this morning feeling more positive. I feel ready to start rebuilding. And I am grateful that God has brought me to this place this morning. Were the many hours of sleep God's gift to me, helping me through a difficult time? Perhaps.

A few minutes ago, I watched my cat as he washed himself in a shaft of warm sunshine streaming through the window. And it occurred to me how we humans need so much more than animals do. Animals are content with eating and sleeping. They don't seem to need much else in the way of purpose. But we humans require more than that to be complete. We need a reason to live - a reason that goes beyond acquiring food and rest for ourselves. Without such a purpose life seems meaningless. And when we're depressed and it becomes difficult to pursue a meaningful purpose, we often get so we don't want to live anymore. Lying in the sunshine is not enough to keep us happy.

At the last Living Room meeting two people who were living with depression complained about the lack of purpose they were experiencing. Purpose was what they needed more than anything. How they wished for a reason to get up in the morning! How they wished for something that would give them an appetite for life!

It struck me how this is what we most need help with when we're depressed. How can we help each other find meaning?

In the throes of a black mood, I had breakfast with a good friend yesterday. She ended up our time together asking me what I would do the rest of the day. She asked me to commit myself to filling the dishwasher and getting it going and also to emptying my clothes dryer which had been waiting for my attention for a number of days. She gave me these two items to give some purpose to my day. Something manageable. It occurs to me that this is one of the best things a friend can do for a depressed friend. This helped me find a purpose for that one day. It wasn't much, but it was something I was capable of trying for. No more was required of me for this one day.

Today I feel up to more. I will empty the clothes dryer (which I didn't manage to do yesterday) and I will do more. My dear, patient husband has offered to support me as I catch up on some things I need to do. I will make a list, a simple one for now. And I will putter, thanking God for this better day.


Brenda said...

Thank God for friends. they are such a gift. Now the tables are turned, Marja. You are down and I am up. Let's think of ourselves on a seesaw together. What goes up must come down and what goes down must come up. I'm here.....not doing much praying yet....but I'm sending hugs and warm thoughts.....and I'm going to check back in tomorrow and see if you accomplished the tasks on your list. :)

marja said...

Good thing depression is temporary, eh, Brenda? Although that's hard to believe when you're in the midst of it.

Wendy Love said...

oh Marja...I know that feeling too well. That is where the computer and writing and blogging has been such a help to me. I can DO something! I have given up so many other activities but this writing is filling a huge hole. Give yourself time to come around again. That good sleep was a great start! And yes it is hard to believe the bad feelings are temporary when you are in the midst of it, just as for me it is hard to believe that there is anything wrong when I am up.
Wendy Love

Paula Joy said...

Hi Marja!

I like the idea of just setting a few tasks to do that you know is manageable and accomplishable. Then you can feel like you've done something. AND, there's something to cross of the to-do list! If you only put 3 things on there, then when you're done those 3 things you'll have extra excitment knowing you did EVERYTHING on the list :) (I think writing a post should be on the list - that's one thing done already!)

Hope you have a wonderful day!

marja said...

Wendy and Paula,

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to your comments. You're right, Paula, just two or three things is all we need to accomplish to feel better and writing a blog would be a good thing to be part of that. I'll try and write one now.