Lingering effects I never wanted

While I was at the lowest points of the depression I experienced, every morning was a struggle. Typically a morning was preceded by a night of less than adequate sleep, ending at 5 a.m., when I woke to eat breakfast and prepare to be to school by 7 a.m.

Every morning was filled with dread. Every morning was dark, difficult, and a struggle. Every day I wanted to give in and not leave the house. I was anxious about going, and I didn’t want to put myself in a place where that anxiety could grow and my feelings of hopelessness would increase.

Over time, those feelings became associated with volleyball–all vitality my passion for it brought was sucked completely out of me. It once was the haven to which I fled when the struggles of the day were over. Now it is the main trigger for depressive thoughts.

Now, I am mostly through the depression I experienced while teaching. I’ve had healing that allowed me to regain love for life and for moving and doing new and difficult things.

But my anxiety toward coaching volleyball remains.

I don’t want to think about the fact I have to coach a tournament today. I just don’t want it. I know I’ve written about hating volleyball and about having brief moments of enjoyment while coaching, but right now, I can’t convince myself to get out of bed and shower so I can be halfway presentable for the day.

And when I can get out of bed, I know I’ll have the same feelings in the shower–a place that once was energizing, not enervating–I did before school: dread, worry, near breakdowns, occasional, breakdowns. Nothing logically founded, but everything vividly real, nonetheless.

Volleyball brings me no joy. I feel the same way about coaching volleyball that I did when teaching school. Cognitively I want to enjoy it. I know I should. But I cannot convince myself to enjoy the experience, even though I know nothing unfortunate will likely happen, nor is there any reason to be anxious about it.

Eventually, I hope healing will occur. Possibly time and separation will heal the wound. In the meantime, I’ll do the same thing I did while teaching: force myself to get up and out and rely on my kids to provide some amount of vitality.

Benefits of depression: Increased insight to atonement

This dovetails very closely with the previous post. Sacrament is an important part of applying the atonement daily in my life. 

Before I spiraled, I had a pretty good understanding of the atonement. I had benefitted from it as I repented of sins. I had cognitive understanding it could be used for other things, but I had not experienced it strongly relating to weakness. 

Because of what I was in the middle of, I could not do certain things, I could not motivate myself to do certain things. I was weak. And that weakness was not something I had experienced so poignantly before. 

By going through that period, I had to pray for strength provided through the atonement every day. 

Every day I struggled to gain, ask for, and receive the strength to push forward. Every day I had to humble myself and ask Father to give me strength from the atonement. Every day I was forced to recognize my weakness and work to accept it and overcome it with help. 

The atonement is for sin. It is for pain. It is for weakness, generally and specifically. It is for broken hearts. It is for depression. It is for physical and mental shortcomings. It is for illness. It is for healing in every possible meaning of the word. 

I understand it a little better now because I have been through more trials. Healing is real. It comes from atonement. 

Apathy

So I have pretty much the coolest job ever. I program independent video games. So I make things like FTL, Rogue Legacy, and Spelunky. It’s pretty much awesome.

Cognitively.

If you did that, you’d probably wake up every morning stoke to get to work, fix the next problem and have something really cool to show for it.

I love working with my partner. He’s great. I’ve always wanted to do something with him professionally, and this perfectly fits our training and strengths. But I have a hard time caring.

I want to make money as much as he does, I want to make enough that I can support my family (future), and I want to make enough for him, so his wife can stop working if she chooses.

But I’m still rather apathetic each morning when I consider my prospects. Is this normal for a job? Should I not be excited to do something I’ve always thought was awesome? Is my apathy common? Is it related to the depressive mode I’ve been in for a few weeks?

I don’t know the answers to all the questions. I don’t know what God has in store for me. I know He wants me to be more than vestigially interested in what I do.

So I keep fighting. I keep going to work every day, I keep focused on my and our goals so we can be successful. As I fight, I find purpose in the struggle. I may remain mostly apathetic, but maybe I will find purpose and motivation. God gives only good gifts. Somehow this apathy may be one of them.

Season of thanks: Football

This is about the real kind, not American.

Football is probably the best metaphor for life that exists in the sports world.  Or, at least, it’s the one I’ve thought most about.  For 90 minutes, players run, defend, find holes, and attempt to score.  Compared to other sports, scoring is rare, but is generally well deserved and highly celebrated (check out this awesome celebration from Icelandic football).

The point is life is full of struggles.  Often those struggles can go on without any sight of success.  You may be making great runs into open space, but the passes aren’t finding you.  You could be under an onslaught from FC Barcelona and barely keep your head above water defending.

Sometimes the struggles pay off; sometimes you can knick the ball into the back of the net and celebrate three lucky points away.  Other times, you knock the ball into the back of your own net and give up three points at home in the 95th minute.

Football encompasses the ups and downs of life.  It takes struggles we face over months, years, or a lifetime and puts them on a pitch, in a way we can understand, for 90 minutes.  Learning life lessons from each game I watch is what I’m grateful for.  Sometime I win, sometimes I lose; sometimes I’m promoted, sometimes I’me relegated; but there’s always another game to play.

The choice we make is how we play it.