“Let this be your task, let this be your greatest joy, to give people back to Themselves. Even in their darkest hour. The world waits for you. There is much you can do.” – – Conversations With God Book 3
This time I really didn’t see it coming. After a marvelous finish to last year including a promotion at work, I started to feel a mild depression. As a lifetime dysthymic it was certainly not cause for alarm. As often is the case, it did linger, on and off, in and out for two months. The weekend of February 26th is one that I have circled in my mental notebook as memorable. I dropped into what I believe is very close to the worst depression I’ve ever felt. Hopelessness was nearby, and yes I had “that” thought, my immediate indicator that it would be a good idea to call for help.
So I called my sponsor, went to extra meetings, prayed and used my phone to stay in touch with my friends, right? Of course not. I wallowed as I felt trapped deeper and deeper in a hole that seemed bottomless. I had energy for nothing. I felt like doing nothing but sleep. Monday came and I called in to work. Tuesday was the same. As was Wednesday. It was on Monday that I felt the tiniest flicker of looking at my situation as an opportunity. For what I had no idea. Luckily I have a very understanding management group at my workplace. Ironically, I work in the mental health and addiction area. And so in all of my waking time (what there was of it anyway) I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. I’ve held dearly to the belief for years that the directing of thought is the highest form of prayer. But for three days it felt like it was getting me nowhere. I checked my phone messages on Wednesday and was reminded that I had a doctor appointment early the next day. Thank God.
My doctor and I talked for only ten minutes or so and we decided on tweaking some medication I’m on. I honestly think that unburdening myself by spilling what I was going through began to alleviate the misery I was in. Something I could have done days earlier. Once again I called in to work, went to pick up a prescribed medication at my local pharmacy, took said medication and went home. And prayed. And prayed.
It was a matter of hours. Everything lifted. It feels like I’m writing some sort of fairy tale now but I’m reminding myself that this series of events really happened. And happened that quickly. I’ve heard over and over again that in order to experience Light one has to experience darkness. I wish sometimes I just didn’t allow things to get to such extremes. I’m certainly not advocating not reaching out while sitting in a cubby hole of palpable depression. Gratefully, it has a Divine opposite.
I was scheduled to tell my AA story at an open meeting on Saturday March 5th, just two days after my doctor visit. For much of Friday I thought what a sham it was to be going through such a time and then talking about the glory of sobriety. Thirty-three years of it, in fact. Then the thought began to come to light: what better time is there?
I remember telling a quick joke, playing off of something the earlier speaker had said. After that is mostly a blur. I do remember that it felt as though lines were being “fed” to me, and edited if I was straying in an unapproved direction. I would ever so gently be brought back to the beautiful track I was on. My take on spirituality entails believing that as our physical lives go on, we are to chip away at the pieces of ourselves that we are not, thus allowing more and more of Spirit to come through. So, not so much a matter of living “God’s will” as I hear so often, but letting Spirit live It’s life through me. Like everyone, I’ve experienced a miracle here and there. and occasionally felt what seemed to be a gentle nudge in a direction, given by an Unseen Hand. This night was easily the most profound I’ve had. It felt fun. The closest I’ve come to describing it is that I felt as though I was visiting the space I was in through a human body. Such a beautiful, beautiful night. What a powerful example of opposites I lived for myself. Or for my Self.
After I got done talking a friend walked up to me and said “That was extraordinary.” I said “Then I must’ve gotten out of the way.” There was a time not that many years ago when I would have said that but still reveled in the shadow of self-aggrandizement. Not this night. I was blind and then I saw all within a span of one week. As I mentioned earlier, I certainly don’t recommend mimicry of the inaction I took. If a depressive episode of this magnitude ever hits, please, please reach out for help. I truly believe we are all temporarily here with a body housing our souls. We don’t belong here permanently. But nothing says we have to fast forward to the end. As The Messiah’s Handbook says in the book Illusions, “There’s one sure way to know if your mission on earth is done: If you’re alive, it’s not.” Amen to that.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255