I’m not just talking about seeing a shrink in that title. I’m talking about the whole process, beginning to end. Like starting at the first episode you had when it felt like all happiness was officially sucked out of life to the moment when you’re actually emotionally sustaining and motivating yourself again and don’t feel like hiding at a party.
(for part 1 click here)
PART II: CHANGES
The week at my friend’s house was nice. It was relaxing. My friends helped bathe me when it was finally time to take the thing off my knee and brought me food. I really couldn’t walk around freely, and it was just so nice to be so well-taken care of. From the day of surgery, I wasn’t able to run for 6 months; so physically speaking, I had a long way to go. Then it was time to go back to school and the daily grind of campus life. As an involved student, this didn’t just mean classes; it also involved meetings and a campus job. I had to get around, not just slowly move back and forth between classes and the cafeteria and my dorm.
Coming back to Taiwan after my 6-week break in America was one of the most difficult experiences of the whole thing. I didn’t have the emotional stamina to deal with anything. I was a complete mess of self-pity when my parents saw me off to the airport and I cried almost the entire journey back to Taiwan. No matter what happened, it didn’t feel like there was going to be any peace for my soul.
Back on campus, I used crutches to get around. I went to college in Minnesota and it was wintertime, so this meant snow and cold I had to slowly move through every time I made the “commute” to the main building. I was moving SLOWLY. I am not slow, but I needed to be for the time being. This forced me to leave a good 10 minutes before I normally would for my next destination. Because of this, as much as possible I would try to have everything with me and just camp out in one place where I would stay for hours, getting things done. I couldn’t be as mobile as I once was.
In Taiwan, I was still on “break-status” with the ministry. Depression had really messed me up, and it was still there. My first week back was terrible. I felt left out of everything, attacked, and hurt. My previous role in church functions was no longer mine, so I felt extremely worthless and misplaced within the community. I wasn’t ready to hear the good words good friends were saying to me that week. I only knew my pain. During that first week, it didn’t feel like anything had changed.
Along with my loss of mobility and speed, I discovered a terrible solution that made life easier – but only if I was willing to ASK. I needed help. People all around me were offering it as well, but I felt every ounce of my personal pride screaming each time I accepted. It got easier and easier, however, when I started seeing the love that was actually being shown. I realized then that to receive love from other people, pride needs to go. And then the door is open to abounding grace that can be found in God’s true family. I needed this grace, and I learned to accept it.
It’s funny and a little sad, because that terrible first week back to Taiwan was supposed to be the most exciting and nerve-wracking week of my life. It was the week leading up to my marathon, the 42-kilometer race that I had never stopped training for, no matter how depression was making me feel. It was my island of victory in what seemed like a sea of failure. After conversations with friends and God, I realized I still had this race before me to run and that I was ready for it. This was something I COULD do and could do well. So I ran a marathon on January 12, 2014, and I even came out with a trophy finish for being first place in my division. The difficult week-long moment of my return really was only a moment. There was hope, there was peace, there was joy. I would get there. Just like I got to the finish line of my race. I would get there.