Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sheer happiness

Wow! Over the past little while I have found out what happiness truly feels like. I've been removed from that feeling for so long that and I've become so unfamiliar with it that I actually feel kind of high, though my friends say I'm acting quite normal - just the happy Marja they haven't seen for a long time.

Looking back over the past 8 months or perhaps longer - perhaps much longer - I can see that I've been depressed, even though at times I thought I was doing alright. I wasn't doing alright. I had forgotten what it was to be truly happy.

Truth of it is that my husband had to help me with many things that I should have been quite capable of doing on my own. I've needed him so much - with cooking, shopping, cleaning, paying bills. For a long time I've been avoiding shopping, buying only as few things as I could get away with. No big shopping lists for me. Though the motivation only completely disappeared during the times I was extremely low, which happened a lot, I was very often only moderately motivated. And at those times I thought I was doing quite well. I was coping.

But things could have been much worse. I was able to keep my commitments. Living Room continued, though I had to lean on others to do the devotionals a few times. I was able to keep supporting people, though there was one time when someone asked me to pray with her and I had to tell her I couldn't. I was having too hard a time myself.

I'm grateful that God brought me through as well as he did. I'm grateful I have a ministry that is of utmost importance to me, one that gives me a purpose to live for. I'm grateful that I was able to keep clinging to God, even though I didn't always trust him as much as I should. Grateful for my husband and friends who supported me. Yes, things could have been much worse.

Today I know what joy feels like. I'm energetic, motivated. Eager to continue the work God gave me to do.

With other people in place to carry on the responsibilies of my group, I'll have time to spend the next while doing some of the broader Living Room work. Work on the manuals, the website, and - hopefully - some more writing.

I thank God for where he's brought me. God IS good.


Di said...

Marja, this is such an encouraging post. God has answered prayers that have been prayed on your behalf. YAHOOO! Way to go God!~

marja said...

That's right, Di. It was only a few weeks ago that the congregation prayed for me. God really did answer.

marja said...

PS, Di. Such a dramatic turnaround after such a very long time not knowing true happiness. Wow, eh?

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
Isn't it grand? I feel the same way when I've had a depressive episode seemingly go on interminably. And we are both so lucky to have such wonderful spouses and friends.

All my best!


marja said...

Yes, grand, Susan. I only hope I'm not going into a manic episode now. Really a bit worried about that.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
I hesitated to mention that as well. But when you wrote about all you intend to do, I thought, "I wonder if she's feeling slightly manic."

Sometimes, I can reduce my energy level by doing breathing exercises, which, for me, is a modified form of meditation.

Other times, it just helps me to keep a daily diary of my activities, and when I see that I'm truly overdoing it, to reduce the load before I so over-commit myself that the responsibility becomes daunting.

Actually, today I posted about energy ebbs and flow--which would seem to apply.


marja said...

I think I should look into getting off my antidepressants. They'll cause mania. Unfortunately I think my pdoc has left on holidays. Don't know if I can stop taking prozac just like that.

Crumbs. I had asked for prayer for stability - not an all out high - even though it does feel very good. We need to be wise and disciplined about what kind of mood we'll allow for ourselves though, eh? Need to stay in some kind of control.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
Since I respond to medication so differently than other people, I don't know if you can either. And I only took Prozac very briefly.

Since I take a Adderall, which is a stimulant, I have to immediately go off it when I feel the least bit hypomanic. And that happened yesterday. I also have to immediately go off the Ativan I take in order to sleep because of the Adderall.

But, I don't know of anyone else who can go off medication the way I do. And going off the Ativan is very difficult because I sleep so poorly for weeks. Alas...

It's never easy, is it?


marja said...

Susan: Amazing how we're all so different and respond so differently to drugs, eh? Makes a doctor's job pretty difficult.

Periwinkle said...

Hi Marja,
very nice post, I am finding saying the verse "This is the day the Lord hath made and I will rejoice and be glad in it" helps me along with my prayer each day"Lord help me to get through this day with bipolarism" hope this is an encouragement.

marja said...

Hi Periwinkle,
Thank you for visiting. Yes, I love that verse as well and, in the past, have often started the day with it. At the church I used to belong to we used to sing a hymn with those words. We often started the servie with it.
May God be with you as you live your days with bipolar as well.

ChantyG said...

Hi Marja
Unfortunately my hubby is not as supportive. I often have days where I battle to find the energy to just cook a meal! When I am down, he withdraws and gets angry. He makes me feel like I am such a useless wife. Sigh...

marja said...

Hi Chanty,

Thank you so much for visiting and for commenting. So good to hear from you.

Yes, having a husband who isn't supportive must be very hard. Is it because he doesn't understand bipolar? Would some educating about the disorder help him, do you think?

My husband has gradually come to understand the illness because I've had it for all the forty years that we've been together. I had it when he first got to know me, when I was in a far worse situation than I am now. Yes, I'm very very fortunate.