Summer

Ah, summer.

My most un-favourite time of the year. I don’t know what it is, but something about the heat and sunshine doesn’t do it for me. I’m pretty sure I have the opposite of seasonal affective disorder. Instead of lack of light triggering the blues, it’s the abundance.

Honestly? It’s just something I try to get through every year.

So where does this leave me now? In the beginning of July? Do I continue and be content with riding it out, or do I try to work through the general malaise summer seems to bring out in me?

No Zero Days.

I came across a post on Reddit this week – I’d like to attribute it to the author, however no info was attached. Regardless, a commenter left a response for a young man who was dealing with depression and anxiety. The gist of it was “no zero days” – basically do something every day. Even if it’s only a walk around the block, one push up, one sentence written, one sketch. Do something, even minuscule, to help you on route to your dream/s.  Never go to sleep, no matter how depressed you are, without doing one small thing in the direction of your dreams.

No Zero Days.

This deeply affected me – so much so that I promised myself that to get through this summer I would have no zero days.

But what of the dreams/goals? I admit, disappointment has worn me out. I currently have barely an inking of dreaming left. What if I pretend for now? What would I long for?

  • Art – an artistic life. Freedom to explore colour and shape and form. And the discipline to increase my skills.
  • Writing – memoir, non-fiction, fiction. Communicate the God-given talents and tasks God has blessed me with.
  • Fitness – a healthy weight along with a strong body. Endurance, flexibility,
  • Relationship – a man to be my “person” – have my back in stressful times and vice versa. To share a home. A passion for Christ. A dual obedient spirit

That’s it for now.

Maybe it’s because it’s summer or I’m over-tired, but none of those things get me from 0-60 in 10 seconds. For now though, I can work on this list. No zero days.

 

 

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The Lost Song

For many years, I was a singer. A good one, and if I’m honest? Maybe even great.  I had range, impeccable pitch and an ability to pick out harmonies with relative ease. I spent hours honing my craft and struggling to learn an instrument so I could write music and perhaps, someday, even accompany myself.

And then one day it was gone.

Oh, not the talent – I could and still can sing.

But the passion was gone.  The desire? Completely vanished.

I lost my song.

My song, my talent – was my identity. I was known as a singer.

Until I wasn’t.

~

Throughout my 20’s, whenever I faced adversity or disappointment, I would withdraw. Darkness became my reality. Immense sadness took over. I now know depression runs rampant through my blood line, but at the time I thought I was broken. I believed I should be able to handle life like my peers. They had the same struggles as I did, but could bounce back and move forward.

I, on the other hand, took each setback so hard.

And then it wasn’t just circumstantial blues: a deep melancholy took over. I went to work. I went home. I buried myself in books or television. Anything to escape reality. On the outside things seemed so good. I owned my own home. I had a great job. Savings in the bank.

But I was entrenched in sorrow so deep. I wanted the pain gone. Several times I contemplated ending it all, but the grace of God kept me from following through.

Shortly before my 30th birthday my mother gave me an ultimatum: either seek professional help for what was going on or she would do it for me.

The story of my mental illness is a long one and much more complicated than “just” depression, but for the sake of brevity, (for now, anyway) I sought help and I received a definitive diagnosis. And with the diagnosis came treatment.

In March of 2000, I began to take SSRI’s (commonly known as “anti-depressants”).  Within a few weeks, I noticed a change. The world became brighter. My ability to deal with conflict became easier. I took delight in little things again. As I came up to six weeks on the meds, I began to ask myself, “Is this how other people get to live?” I was astounded by my transformation. Simply speaking: I had JOY!

But with any medication there are side effects. In my case I lost my song.

Up until that time, my identity was found in music, but in a few short weeks I abandoned it and moved on. My creativity didn’t go away – rather it shifted. I began to write more. I embraced a new passion for the visual arts. As I became accustomed to my new reality, it seemed I didn’t need the song anymore.

In the years since I have changed antidepressants several times, but I have never regained my passion for music. I love to listen to it, but being a part of it isn’t essential to me anymore.

I sometimes wonder if my passion for music was a gift from God for only a season. He knew my circumstances and my condition. Music was the part of me which helped with family issues, uncomfortable situations, disappointment and fear.  It was the thing I knew I could do well, perhaps better than most, in a time where I felt I had nothing to offer.

It’s been 17 years since I lost the passion. From time to time, someone who knows me from before will ask, “Why don’t you sing anymore?” And I’ll answer with some glib comment about having had my turn and letting the younger generation take over. The truth is I left my identity in it a long time ago.

Yet.

Lately I’ve been experiencing some renewal of musical passion. This time it’s not about my identity, rather my personal act of worship. I can write and paint and pray and meditate, but for me personally there is something missing from my expression of praise to God. He created me to be a worshipper – in all sorts of artistic ways, but I believe I may be being called back to my home in song.

This time it looks different. I have no interest in the limelight – I desire to put God in the center of it all. I don’t need attention, I desire to offer the sacrifice of praise. I long to put into words and melody my deep love for Him. My passionate desire for His will. Fears creep in such as, I’m too old, or I’m not talented enough. Yet the desire remains.

 

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.