Monday was probably one of the best and happiest days I’ve had in a long time. And that’s a pretty big deal for someone with depression, days like that don’t come around like that very often. There wasn’t a particular reason, I slept in (NEVER happens, like ever. I may hide in bed all morning, but actually sleeping for more than four hours in a row? Unheard of). So that was such a great start to the day. I had breakfast (again, rarely happens, depression steals your appetite, it’s really irritating), probably more like lunch, which may seem like an inconsequential thing to most people, but was a massive deal for me. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon in the botanical gardens reading Joni (amazing and inspiring book, definitely read it if you get the chance) and chilling in God’s creation.
Imagine when you’re stuck in the back of the car, and the person sat in front of you has their seat ridiculously far back (either because they have really long legs, or they’re a sibling who is deliberately winding you up. Take your pick) and you have literally no leg-room. You have to sit all awkwardly, sometimes with your knees against your chest, sometimes with your feet squeezed under the seat in front or invading the foot-well of the seat next to yours. Not ideal. But then there’s that amazing moment when you finally arrive and you undergo a crazy contortionist act to get yourself out of the car, legs all over the place until finally your free! Relief washes over you as you can stretch out all those cramped muscles, loosen up and feel like a normally proportioned person again.
That’s what Monday felt like. It was such a blessing and I am hugely thankful for it. It was a day free of worry where I could relax and enjoy God’s company. Pretty awesome.
Then along comes Tuesday. Monday night I didn’t want to go to sleep. My brain decided that it had had such a great day that it didn’t want to go to sleep and tried to prolong the day’s high as long as possible. Sadly it doesn’t work like that and my brain shut down and gave me a few hours sleep. Eventually the next day arrives and boom, a bad day hits. No warning, no nice letter saying that between the hours of 7am and 5pm there will be disruptions to normal activity. I hid in bed for most of Tuesday. Hiding from the world, trying to pretend reality wasn’t real (it’s easier than you think). I felt pants, like nothing could go right, and I’d be stuck here for ever. These days hit me all the time – when you have no energy for anything at all, with no real reason. You just can’t physically do anything. Depression sucks like that.
Ecclesiastes 7:11 In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider – God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.
When you have a good day, and you feel like you’re getting better, you start to hope – you feel like you’re on the road to recovery, only plain sailing from now on. Sadly this is rarely the case, and you are most likely setting yourself up to fail. It’s like British weather: even if you have a good day, or even a run of good days, the rain is coming and will inevitably take you by surprise, and you’ll be stood there in your shorts and flip-flops looking like a right wally. But just like British weather when you know it will rain eventually, you can expect bad days too, depressed or not.
These bad days aren’t the end of the world; most of my life at the moment is taken up by bad days. But there are both good days and bad, and both are part of the normal healing process. It helps to approach these days without fear or fighting and just accept them as part of life. “It’s just one of those days, but it will end.” It might feel like a step backwards after such a great step forwards, but there will be more and more forwards steps and eventually you will look back and see you are making progress.
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.
Make the most of the good days, praise God for those good days, but on the bad days pray and keep walking. Persevere and run the race Jesus has set before us, keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Him.
Hebrews 12:1 ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
So even if you feel like you have taken a step back after a step forward, instead of thinking about it as a bad thing, just imagine you are doing a Cha-Cha-Cha through life and everything becomes that little bit more fun and beautiful. Fix your eyes on your partner – Jesus – and let Him lead you though.