I took a break from blogging yesterday, had a slow day and enjoyed a walk, today it seems is another slow day, I inadvertently had a lie in, the cats obviously decided to leave me to it, that or they gave up trying to wake me, I am none the wiser! I guess it doesn’t really matter as I am still signed off work, but I am trying to keep a regular bedtime and wake up time, routine helps with depression, even a laid back one.
Routine does help, and as I walked yesterday, a walk is something I try to make a part of my routine, I reflected on a tendency to want to do everything and to spread myself so thinly that I do nothing well, to become overwhelmed and then to retreat, recently I have talked about the unhelpful practice of wearing a mask, of trying to show at least a smile to the world, and to appear as if I am coping and competent. The flip side is that I often feel neither, the truth of course is somewhere in the middle, I am competent, but I cannot cope with everything, nor do I need to have the answers to everything. That is a trap I have fallen into so often.
A friend added a long post to Facebook this morning, and it really resonated with me, you can read it all here if you have a Facebook account, she had added a bit about her experience, and I copied and added a bit about mine, here it is;
I take Sertraline for depression and anxiety, I have suffered with depression for most of my adult life. Also in my teenage years though it wasn’t diagnosed and I was called moody or too sensitive. CBT and talk therapy have both helped me a lot. I am currently off work due to a bad depressive episode, I am not ashamed of this, though I have been in the past. We need to talk about mental health.
I have suffered from depression for almost all of my adult life, and have felt ashamed of it and tried to cover it up too often, it probably stems back to teenage years when it wasn’t understood, and I had no way to talk about it, depression wasn’t really talked about in the 1970s and when it was it was akin to madness, and derided and ridiculed. I was called moody and selfish, and coped by either retreating into myself, or by presenting a false façade to show how well I was coping with life. Old habits can die hard, it has taken a long time for me to accept how I am and not to try to force a bounce back, though I do still try to present a smiling face to the world!
I think sometimes that this is why the Easter story resonates so deeply with me, and why I find the celebration of Easter jarring so often. The long run up preparation of Lent, and the rollercoaster ride of Holy Week, where we enter the story of Jesus last ( or seemingly last) days lead us to the horror of the cross and the darkness of the tomb, the despair and devastation of Good Friday, and the silence of Holy Saturday are all to quickly replaced by shouts of Alleluia, flower strewn crosses and Easter bonnet parades. The Scriptures however lead us in a different direction.
The women approach the tomb with tear-filled eyes, tear stained faces and heavy hearts, they find an empty tomb and are filled with questions, the first one being, where is his body- subtext, what have they done with him now?
The male disciples we are told approach see and believe, or some of them do…
May mistakes Jesus for the gardener.
The couple on the Emmaus road are arguing until Jesus joins them, and yes they are filled with wonder as they race back to Jerusalem to share what the others already know.
But note, nobody is throwing a party, stunned bemusement seems to be the order of the day as the news sinks in slowly, Jesus breathes the peace of the Spirit over them but does not push them towards celebration. He promises never to leave them, offers the healing of acceptance to Peter, and challenges him not to ask about the journey of others, and finally leaves them, with the instruction to wait and pray.
So, they do just that, they gather, still fearful of the religious authorities and probably the Roman rulers, and they pray, they wait and pray, and they are not sure what they are waiting for. Did they build one another up recounting tales of Jesus deeds, and the wisdom of his words? How often dd they wonder when the gift they were waiting for would be given, how many times did they ask what it would be?
Easter joy unravelled slowly for the followers of Jesus, the memories of the cross, especially for those who stood and watched must surely have brought flashbacks, seeing him risen yet bearing scars was evidence that this was not a dream.
Resurrection is a deep ongoing work in all of us, and requires many personal dying’s and requirements to let go of things that hinder and hold us back, taking in the fullness of the message of Easter means that we must grow into it, it doesn’t even come to completion at Pentecost, but is connected in place in the full story of creation to the ultimate new creation, taking in prophets, incarnation, resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit along the route, and we return to these as we travel on. The end is held from the beginning and All will be well. Yes we need times of celebration, but sometimes we need to allow celebration to dawn slowly… well I do anyway!