Friday, 8 October 2010

Fit for purpose?

Morning Prayer -- 5 days out of 5 this week. No, it isn't about the numbers... but setting a time, having a structure, seems to be helpful. Structured prayer doesn't confine my prayer to the limits of the structure but it does ensure that some prayer happens.

In addition to the thinking I've been doing about vocation or purpose, I'm struggling a little with a general mental malaise or low mood. I don't think it's a reaction to the things I've been thinking about or coming to recognise, though of course it could be; it doesn't feel like that kind of emotional response. I think it's much simpler. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and some years it's worse than others. I'm using my lightbox, and that's helping, but I still feel low.

As anyone who's had a major mental illness would be, I'm rather frightened that this mild low patch will develop into full-blown, whimpering-under-the-duvet depression.

I know that I have much better external support now than I did last time.

I know that I have much better mental tools now than I did last time.

I know that over three years of therapy did help heal a lot of the things that made my previous experience so debilitating.

I know that I don't react badly to some of the dried frog pills and that medication, though inconvenient, is an option.

I know that I'm aware of this and in a much better position to do something about it than I once was.

And I know that there is a chance that even if I do all I can, I will still get very ill.

And that's scary, because even the work I'm doing now -- which I love -- will fall apart if I get too sick to do it.

So I find my prayer this week sliding from "Please tell me what You want me to do" to "Please let me remain well enough to do it..."

I keep using the lightbox, I keep practising, I try not to sweat the small mistakes while allowing myself to focus on the small pleasures. I ask friends, loved ones, for help and company, I try to pace myself in terms of what I take on, and I reframe, reframe, reframe every all-or-nothing, black-and-white condemnation of myself or the world that my maladapted lizard brain tries to throw at me, trying always to turn toward what is good, turn toward what is God, the ground of all being, wanting to believe that love is stronger than this greyness.

Turn us again, O God of hosts; •
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

from Psalm 80


Richard Littledale said...

Thank you, thank you thank you for the honesty of this post. As a blogger, I sometimes struggle with the self-disclosure which comes with an honest post. As a reader, this post has reminded me how much I love it.

Song in my Heart said...

Thank you, Richard.

Self-disclosure is not always easy; I blog semi-anonymously here for a reason. On my public blog I don't talk much about mental health or my prayer life!

Ernest said...


Thank you for such and frank and open expose of your current situation.

I know that prayer discipline can be a struggle and like you, I have had to set times aside to do it. I am now also allocating at least 30 minutes per day as a quite time - where I turn everything off and just sit and listen (or try to) what God might be trying to say to me. I have been given a small regime of preparation, which really seems to work.

As for vocation - I will be praying that you remain well enough to discover or to explore as God takes you.

Song in my Heart said...

Thank you, Ernest.

it's margaret said...

God bless you Song. May you find this lull or low point merely a new note for you in an expanding range.

You will be in my prayers.