13 September 2008

Thoughts on S.A.D.

Yesterday was day when I felt things slowly to change. My eyes opened early morning about 7:30 AM, I did not want to get out of bed as much as I tried. I'd sit up out of bad, look around and shortly after that my head would go crashing down back into the pillows. I'd pull the covers back over my head and try to sleep for a few more minutes, after awhile I pulled myself up and felt the stiffness in my neck and back.

The clouds were grey and gloomy, the winding blowing in short spurts and the sky letting droplets of water hit the earth as it pleased. I was very tired and lethargic,tense and anxious. I know these feelings, they associate with something called Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. for short. It affects millions and millions of people a year. Its very tough to live with, and very often it can be very difficult to confront.

Its very difficult to live and cope with as the seasons change, it is said that S.A.D. is caused by our bodies lack of sun light. So light therapy is one the best treatments to date, along with various medications. I wanted to write about this illness because, its very real and there is still a real stigma behind it and various other forms of depression. As I said a bit ago, it can be very hard to confront and talk about, because sometimes people don't know how to react to such news.

There's a great fear that lingers. Most may think "What are people going to think of me?"

While depression and other forms of mental illnesses are just that, and illness. I believe love and grace is the best medicine possible. With this condition it really takes control of your mood. You become cranky and fits of anger at times, and the smallest acts of love for the moment will not seem to help, and that would be enough for anyone to pack their bags and run the other direction.

But if you have friend or family member who suffers from this illness, you must learn to stay close and yet at a safe distance. What I mean by this is, sometimes with depression one desires to be left alone, doesn't want advice, doesn't want to hear things like: "It'll be okay, just think positive". And while this may very well be said in love, it can add to the agitation.

Often a close silence is best, the silence often says things the voice can't. With that said I want to address the spiritual side of mental illness. A majority of believers see any mental illness as some form of demon possession, I honestly I have yet to see any biblical evidence of such of statement, and in all truth... This is beyond annoying and sometimes can be a smack in the face.

I believe those who follow Yeshua (Jesus) and are afflicted with S.A.D. have said the prayers, lost all hope in Church and want nothing more then to have someone pull them through the gloom of the seasons (fall/winter) and that is exactly what needs to happen. There is hope. I believe God has a extra grace and stillness with those who don't have the strength or energy to move.

And we as humans regardless of world view or spiritual belief should as well. In the words of Matt Kearney: "I can be the wall when you fall down, find me on the rocks when you breakdown." I believe that all our minds need to be transformed and renewed, if they are not, we will never learn what it means to love the oppressed. There is no greater calling in life than to do that.

So, may we learn to sit still.
May we learn to quiet ourselves,
and learn to breath, and understand
that life is not only fragile but beautiful with every passing moment. May we endure the full force of life, in the pain and hope. May we see with new eyes and start to change our perspectives for a better tomorrow, and softer mornings.

Go in peace.

-Brandon Ryan

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