Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD The truth is, right now, I am exhausted, I am one giant emotion, and I have nothing to attribute the reasons to. My hormones are a confusing mess, it is not "that time of month," and I am not pregnant. My thyroid is fine. Simply, life feels like chaos; and that is because it is.

Who ever said life on this earth would be easy?

Certainly not Jesus. And He is who I look to for guidance.

The truth is, right now, I feel as though I am suffocating and gasping for air. I feel weary and tired, always ready to fall asleep, but when the time comes to lay my head on the pillow all of the worries and cares and burdens of those I love and spend time with come flooding into my brain all at once. As well as the long list of to do's, the ways we should change our life, the cool ideas to implement for our church, and many humans who I wish I could meet with. It is as though my mind's cue to run at full speed is the comfort of a cozy pillow.

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The truth is, right now, the weather is my favorite but is also my body's nemesis. I love the colors of every leaf, the temperature invites a scarf, and I do love walking with a warm something in my hand. But something happens during these darker months - you can look it up, its science - where people struggle a little more than they would throughout the year. Let's talk about it, not hide it. Let's shine light on it, so that it doesn't grow scarier in the dark. "Mushrooms only grow in the dark." SAD, seasonal affective disorder, is a real thing and doesn't have to be this big and dark hidden secret. Especially among Christians.

Though I am fickle and my emotions and hormones and feelings are often unpredictable, Jesus is not. Jesus, my God and my Lord, is stable, steadfast, reliable, and so extremely loving. This is the key to my finding peace among the angst, joy amidst the despair: that He loves me, that my weakness is not what defines me, and that I get to experience His grace on a deeper level when I fall into these pits. I am made in the image of God, as is every human being who has ever walked the planet Earth. Or the moon. He has called my by name, He has said I am beloved, and He is my defining value. He is my Redeemer. He brings joy in the darkest nights and hope in the dreariest days. My friends, He is real. This is not some made up thing for the weak- though I am so very weak. But in my weakness, He is made strong, and He works in me.

We get to experience His grace deeper when we are falling apart & broken messes, because even when we are those things, He loves us perfectly.

Jesus did not tell us to hide our despair or wear a facade of okay-ness. In fact, He invites us into this place of freedom called Honesty. An honesty that faces the facts and then moves forward, pursuing His heart in every situation.

The Truth is, I have a lot to celebrate, a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to praise Jesus for. I have food multiple times a day, I have a warm shelter, I have clothes to choose from and create outfits with. These are some of the most obvious things. I have a team of people that I get to call family and coworkers, team members and pastors, and we are honest about this real struggle and have opened it up for discussion: that is celebratory. This church I am a part of is something else, I must say. More reasons for thanksgiving: I have three of the most blessed jobs: shepherding people I love and building them up and pointing towards Jesus, Doula-ing and supporting families during child birth, Photography and capturing beautiful humans with a camera. But here I am, still battling down-in-the-dumpness. And together, me and you and our church communities, we can point one another to our King, to our Healer, to our true source of actual Joy.

This is a vulnerable and risky thing, sharing my heart on the internet. But to me, it is worth it, if it means one more person has a bigger glimpse of what it means to follow Jesus. If one more person has a deeper glimpse at His love and the life He craves to offer, it is worth the risk; because friends, we need this Life. You need this Life. We need His love to live fully, and not just survive. He is our answer and I hope you'll join me in discovering His heart for us, individually & collectively.

psalm 43

Read here some tips for battling the weather blues.

"Three times He said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."

2 Corinthians 12:9

"His grace is enough for you: you are okay, just as you are. Tears, shortcomings, strengths, all. His power is demonstrated through times of weaknesses, so they are okay. And you are okay. It is a relief to remember that and that it is okay to not be perfect. In fact, the times of depending upon grace when we are imperfect are the more beautiful powerful times. Not so much the seemingly 'perfect' times." A piece of encouragement from my friend to me and now to you.

A note to those in ministry:

Acknowledging that sometimes the circumstances in life are hard to deal with.   The demands of ministry are hard, the constant rejection is hard to not take personal, and this is a season where our bodies and minds have a hard time adjusting and handling those pressures.

A key to overcoming depression isn't just being reminded of how you should feel, because then you just feel worse for not feeling how you know you should feel.  It is reminding ourselves and each other of Jesus and how loved we are, acknowledging and validating each other's feelings and helping to get each other active in using our gifts in selflessness.

Learning that being broken is the norm and leaning into Him is freeing;

Natalie

The Weather Blues: they're a real thing.

the weather blues are real. SAD I love fall. I always look forward to fall. I always want fall to stay.

But what I forget, every year, is the blues that tend to follow fall's arrival. I forget that it is quite normal and that our bodies are affected by the weather change. I tend to get exhausted easier, pack too much into my day, fall into a pit of feeling discouraged and depressed.

I fall into this swirling downward spiral of exhaustion, discouragement, loneliness - even though I am constantly meeting with people. It is an odd thing. Craziness threatens to overtake my mind and I wonder why I am a despaired soul.

The article linked below was posted in our church facebook group, because we care about each other and crave to remind one another that it is okay to be human on this earth: Dark Days here for folks with seasonal depression disorder.

Posted with the article were 5 additional steps to take that I have also taken and experienced true freedom as a result:

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Depression is a real thing. If you're struggling this time of year, this article has some great ideas. I would add a few...

1. Talk to someone about it. It is not scandalous that Christians struggle with depression. It is scandalous that we don't talk about it! Depression is not just a spiritual issue although it expresses itself as a troubled spirit.

2. Engage with your church family. Seek community and reminders of how valuable we are. Remember, others may be feeling the blues so don't take things personal if it takes a bit more effort than normal.

3. Serve someone else. I am convinced from my experience that if we can serve someone else, it lifts our spirits and gives us the right perspective that we are at our best when we are acting selflessly towards one another.

4. Pray and ask for prayer. This should be #1. Ask your pastor, friend, parents... for prayer. Prayer moves our hearts to be more in line with God and God did not create you to be depressed. So when you spend time in prayer with Him, your heart aligns with His and you will feel His presence.

5. Talk to someone... seek community and listen to advice. Remember, your perception of what is going on is wrong... you are the affected one. So listen to others and seek help.

That is what the strongest people in the world do. They ask for help.

seasonal affective disorder

In addition to all of these things, I encourage you to really dive into Jesus's heart for you. I have experienced this as the best thing for me. When I spend amounts of time reading His love letter and praying through the words so carefully etched into our Bibles, I find so much peace. I find that, "Hey I am okay, I am going to make it." When I am soaked in His presence, I am less offended and have a clearer head, even when discouraged and feeling the blues.

Recently, as in the last 4 days every day at least one time a day and up to 3 times, I have found myself turning to Psalms 17 and 18. There I pray through the words of David, his cries to his Father God. In his honesty, David cries out letting the Lord know that he is despaired, exhausted, beat down and attacked on all sides. He praises God because He is so worthy of our praise. He claims God as his savior, redeemer, refuge, protection. Every time I have sat down and claimed God as those things, I am overwhelmed with peace. I am reminded that I am okay and He has placed an identity of Belovedness over me.

Im here to remind you that if you experience SAD, you're not crazy. You're not a bad person. You're still youu!