2018/2019 have been immersed in my experience with depression. I’ve learned its names, kicked its butt and been trodden down by it too. Waves came in and waves went out and I laid hold of Hope. I hadn’t ever chosen a “word of the year” before, but it seemed right to claim hope for 2019. It was surprising how much power that decision produced. When difficult decisions came up, as they do in life, I made decisions based on hope. Meaning, when I was paralyzed by the possibility that I was making the wrong decision, I chose to make the decision out of hope for the best outcome. I won’t dig into it now. But it mattered. And helped.
The last few months, depression has been a little less heavy, but anxiety has been high. I get hit with it often and intensely, though no panic attacks, thankfully. It’s been a very physical and emotional response to life’s stresses.
I am tired and distracted and really struggling to form sentences and thoughts right now. But I want to get this out. I’m going somewhere with it.
The girls and I have been taking taekwondo twice a week. The instructor says it’s awesome, because we can leave everything at the door and think only about taekwondo. But I can’t always leave it at the door and it’s heavy to carry everything with me. He also says that he wants to live to be a 3-digit-number (meaning 100+) and expects us to respond that we do too. But, I don’t. I have had enough suffering and I’m tired and am hoping my work on earth doesn’t last that long.
I recognized something from trying to think of an answer to the taekwondo master if he confronts me about my not-responding to his 3-digits-old question. I realized that I am living each day, just crawling to reach the next. My goals extend only moments ahead, with the ultimate success being to make it to bedtime. I am so weary. I am so depleted.
And that’s why I’m blogging this morning. Because I realized that although I am not living a terrible, miserable, suffering-filled life 95% of the time, because of my physical fatigue and depletion and the fear of my own developing health issues and anticipation of other hard things in the future….. because of those hard things going on in my head and body… I’m living with dangerously low levels of joy. I am sincere, compassionate, determined, committed, supportive, caring, and genuine. And sometimes I am silly and sometimes I stop for a second to look at the gorgeous leaves as they change colors. But smiling, laughing, and joy are distant.
Joy is a big word with complex meaning. It can exist even within suffering. I want to find it.
2020…. when it gets here. I’m naming my word of the year… the word that seems most impossible to find. Joy. I did that with Hope and I discovered that I could find it.
Now I’m hoping for joy.