Warning: This post is full of rambling. It may be hard to follow, but I promise it’s full of reasonably good points.
You’re still reading?
Well bless your heart.
I am struggling because I have just made the decision to take medical leave this semester. This is difficult for me for quite a few reasons: I started the semester very well academically, I will have to tack an extra semester onto my undergraduate career, I am back in this place again where my depression and anxiety have stopped me in the middle of a busy road and now I have to fill my time with little things while I once more hold up the traffic that makes life.
This past week was my sixth week in a row out of classes. Week one, I went to the hospital with friends, hoping they would just give me a medicine change and send me home. I was in denial about how bad my depression was, as the hospital ended up keeping me for a week. The following week I spent at home. And the past four weeks I’ve been in outpatient therapy. As you may imagine, spending 6 weeks in intense therapy while coming on and off meds meant spending 6 weeks out of classes. And, to connect the dots, spending 6 weeks out of classes means it’s going to be pretty difficult to catch up in the semester. Thus, I have unhappily come to the conclusion that I need to take full medical leave, even though I began the semester with extremely good marks.
Alright, now that has all been explained, I will talk about why this is so discouraging to me. But to do so, I have to dig a bit deeper into my history. Bare with me. In the spring, I went to the hospital for one week for depression. Then I went immediately back into classes. Then over the summer, I went out of state for an intense internship that I was planning on doing for 2 months. This internship embodied most things that I want to with my life (service, education, ministry, exploration… sounds like a dream right?) Well I ended up getting so depressed that I had to be flown home as an emergency so that I wouldn’t seriously consider ending my own life. So that summer, instead of working on my dream internship, I stayed home finding ways to fill my time. Remember the word “filler”– I’m going to use it quite a bit more here… So my summer was a bunch of alternative “fillers” strung together over the months– volunteering at vacation bible school, volunteering at a city kitchen sort of place, doing yoga, babysitting, you get the gist. It wasn’t awful, but it was postponing my dreams. To me it even felt like postponing my life.
Well here I am now. I got depressed again, I spent weeks getting healthy again, and now I’m spending time finding fillers again (which makes me feel depressed).
Sometimes my depression is encouraged by such existential, deep thoughts as “what is the meaning of life,” “what is the purpose of us being here?” “Is what I’m doing with my life right now actually what I should be doing with it? Am I using my life as I should?” I question the big things and I spiral down with it, without ever finding an answer. But then, in this healing process, I can’t continue what I had been doing with my life; I have to find different things, fillers, to do at least for a few months.
This gets me feeling like my life is just one long phone call that keeps getting put on hold. I keep getting stopped from doing what my idealistic heart wants to do… but is that even what I was doing in the first place? I want to feel endlessly happy and content and purposeful. And if I can’t, I think “what’s the point?” Well hello, Tanya! Think rationally here. Just because many moments are not happy or purposeful does not mean that I do not live often with joy and purpose… But gosh darn it, I want answers and I wan’t them NOW!
I can only imagine that God is just looking down at me, patiently, lips curling into a knowing grin, just waiting for me to put all of my faith in him.
But it’s so hard!
Well, dear, nobody said it was easy.
So I am spending time figuring out how I am going to spend my time the next few months. And it’s excruciatingly difficult for me. I will even go as far as to say that it is painful.
I’ll let you know what I come up with, and how it goes.