|"Mean or Nice?"|
Now, more than ever, my medicine regime needs to be closely monitored, as variations in meds and/or other factors can bring on brief times of moderate depression. The variables appear to be amount of sleep, the amount of stress I am under, the effectiveness of the PD drugs to deliver the correct chemical balance to my nervous system, and most importantly whether the Blazers win or lose (just kidding). From what I can deduct, I appear to have a 3 to 5 day cycle in which I can go from the mountain top to the dark valley below and back.
Depression is quite a new experience for me... one that has been hard for me to imagine what it must feel like UNTIL I have now experienced it for myself. I've never have had to deal with oppressive feelings to this degree every before... and as such, I have a new compassion for those who struggle with depression long term. Thankfully, I have an understanding wife, and we talk and pray through these brief dark times until we are safely on the other side.
Have you ever thot about how difficult it is to write coherently about how you brain is slipping when it's that very same slipping brain doing the writing? Hard to be objective (at least I think it is...) During a recent coherent moment, I wrote a note to some dear friends explaining how I feel... Dorrie thot it would be good to share with you all... so here it is:
Dear Lisa and Dick,
I wanted to express my thanks for your kindness over the past few years... whether it was simply the times you were flexible to give Colton a ride back to your house when needed, or the many times you have gone beyond and extended yourselves otherwise, even financially... thank you!
When Colton was much younger, he was fascinated with guns and loved playing "mean or nice" with people. Like any good homeschool parent, Dorrie and I taught him responsible toy gun ownership; to shoot only "mean" people with his toy gun! Colton would ask us many times through the day whether we were "mean" or "nice". Of course, I was mostly nice. But sometimes, much to Colton's delight, I was "mean"... and the inevitable consequence of being "mean" was an invisible bullet to the chest.
In my battle with Parkinson's Disease, I'm mostly nice... but, fighting "Parks" (the mean guy, as named by Dorrie) can leave me exhausted and in debilitating pain. Many times throughout the day I'm unable to speak with enough clarity to be understood. I can sometimes "push through" and find maybe 60 seconds of social grace, but no more... then, it's as if a 10 second fuse is lit and I find myself quickly withdrawing from conversations to the safety of being alone. Any delay in my retreat often produces an awkward moment for all...
Tonight, when I picked up Colton, I was doing quite poorly (if I appeared otherwise, it was only a temporary burst of God's grace!) Thus, your genuine and thoughtful questions were quickly answered by "Parks" before "I" (the nice one) could answer. Predictably, when I got in the car I could not speak clearly enough to be understood even by Colton. I found myself yet again, driving home inside a body locked in silence, longing for the once possessed ability to connect with a teenage son needing his dad.
Yet, somehow through all of this God is good... And I trust Him to make up the lack where I fail as husband, father, and friend.
Hopefully, this explanation helps you have a greater understanding of this complex disease... please don't feel awkward or feel like you need to do anything different next time... and when you see me distancing myself from conversation, it's only because "Parks" overpowers me and drags me away...
Thanks again, dear friends... your prayers are cherished. Know that I'm praying for God's grace and peace to be your daily bread.
Trusting in Him,
An earlier post contains this video which attempts to portray how it feels like to battle the "mean" guy named "Parks". You can watch it here.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Again, thank you for your continued prayers...
PS... sorry for the poor object lesson on who it's OK to shoot. In the above letter, the simplistic "good guy, bad guy" world seldom exists in real life. Telling our toddlers it's OK to shoot "bad" guys in play should probably be re-thought, or at least clarified, in today's shooting-crazy world...