Last week I let a mess of dishes, food globs, and flour dust sit on my countertops; ditto dirty laundry on my floors. Perhaps the only productive thing I did over the last seven days was to start this blog—which I did from the confines of my bedroom while coughing, hacking, and otherwise fighting the fuzzy-headedess that comes with the flu.
You see, after cooking a lovely dinner for my husband Monday night, I came down with the bug—and until Thursday, I couldn’t even fathom standing up long enough to clean my dishes. Ditto the laundry in the living room. Some of it was even folded and ready to be put away, and yet, the effort would have cost too much.
Now that I’m feeling better, here’s what I’ve decided I think about the flu: it’s a lot like depression.
You see, with both, it’s a burden to wake up. With both, sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe. With both, your thoughts are cloudy and you can’t plan, because the future seems to hold nothing but pain. With both, your life seems downright inhospitable to you; and sometimes, like this week, even the weather will not smile on you.
Imagine feeling that way every day for months, even years. Given how hard it is to get out of bed when afflicted with the flu—a physical malady—now try to fathom making plans for your life, much less for one day, with depression—a mental illness. It’s virtually impossible.
Now why am I digging into all this junk that doesn’t describe my life anymore, not since I gave my life to God several years ago?
Only this: When I woke up this morning to discover I could breathe easy, wasn’t dizzy, and felt like doing something for the first time in a week, it reminded me of how blessed I am, in general, to no longer suffer mental illness. It also reminded me of how important it is to have something to live for. Because when I was sick, I didn’t feel like I did. It’s a bad memory, but that is the essence of depression: not having a reason to live.
However, for today, the flu has reminded me to give thanks. And so: Thanks, God, for not only saving my life, but also for making it meaningful.
In my next post I will talk more about how the meaning I’m currently deriving from life goes back to my roots—those good ones that my book project, and blogging, is helping me to rediscover.