Ever since I was young, I would have these dark-days periodically. I would want to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Even coming out from my bedroom to eat is hard to do. All I want is to lay down in my bed, reading books, playing games, not speaking with anyone. I don’t care about the mess, I don’t want to pick up any single thing, all the dirty clothes and dirty plates and glass I just let them on the floor or on the table. It’s so bad that my messy home would turn into some uninhabitable home. And this miserable period can last for a few days.
For years I’ve been battling this tendency, and while the past 8 years leave me with a solid reason – two babies with a short age gap and later cancer, I still feel I’m not normal that I can’t beat this up. I often think that perhaps I’m clinically depressed. But while I have so many things I have to overcome, I don’t find I’m yet in a condition that I should find medical help.
Very often I’m thinking, and searching in the internet, what easy shortcut I can do in order to avoid these dark periods, or to overcome them. To get myself out from them. Now I’m a mother, I have more responsibilities in my hands. When I was in university I would simply skip classes and lock myself in my bedroom for 3 4 days. But this is no option regarding the children, they still need to be fed, to be attended. I often let them play more screens and just stop communicating with them the whole day (or two days). But I also realized, even if it’s not for a longer period, it’s still not favorable to let my young children live in an auto pilot mode for days.
Two nights ago my husband left me to go to Paris, where he works on most of the workdays. Soon after the overwhelming dark moods got the control of me and I began my dark cycle. I hated myself for doing that but I couldn’t get out of it. And I was busy thinking what I could do even while I was exhausting myself in idleness. Hence this writing.
These things below are not new things for me. Some of them were self-founded, some of them were tips from the internet. These are the things might be effective to pull myself out from my dark-mode days:
Take a shower. Being filthy doesn’t make the idleness any better. I often disgust myself because I smell, or wear dirty underwear, but getting to the bathroom takes the courage of a hero and I often fail to do so. The funny thing is, once I start the water running, I actually love the shower and I immediately feel better afterwards. So taking shower is something I must force myself into.
Start working. The amount of mess I have compiled in one day (remember, plus TWO young monkeys) can be very overwhelming. And I just don’t know where to start. The thought that I have every single thing in the house undone is just breaking every hope that still left in me. But usually, starting to work can ease the stress and after a while I would endure the work. Perhaps I wouldn’t really enjoy it but looking at the progress of having less mess can be very discouraging.
Turn on the music. In particular “God’s liedjes”, that’s what my kids call them. Playing uplifting songs about God can help a lot. Listening and singing along, making me repeat the hopes and the prayers, and also the promise of strength I could find in Him. Songs like “Because He lives”, really reminds me why I must push on. But of course, on such days, even turning on the TV/handphone for good music is also considered hard work 😀
Set the timer. When the laziness caught me in his fingers, even doing the slightles work will be too much for me. I can’t imagine I have to do something for 20 minutes, let alone 1 hour. What helps is I set the timer at my watch. Often for 10 minutes, sometimes if the depressing thought is too strong, I even set the timer only for 5 or 2 minutes. And promising myself, I only have to do this for 2 minutes long, like two minutes doing my best for the glory of God. Two minutes of tortures and you are allowed to rest again… amazingly these two minutes or 10 minutes cycled would be repeated several times, and soon enough I would continue working for hours.
Taking care of what to do during the lazy time. My lazy time has often turned into my darkest moments. Things I shouldn’t do or think, can easily lead to beat me and make me do all things I would later regret. And the episode of being low and depressed can even last longer. I observed and I conclude that the choice of things I choose to do in my idleness does matter. I’m nowhere a saint, and I do all human and earthly things to beat my boredom. Playing games, watching dramas, reading novels. What I want is of course doing productive things while bored like reading good books or sewing, but it hardly happens. BUT, when it happens, actually it can shorten the dark period like gold. IF, IF, if I successfully force myself to read my Bible in the beginning of my low mood, it actually can avoid me from drowning in the mood and help me to move on. This is like a hotkey that I often forget. No wonder there’s a saying: Send him to labor, that he be not idle; for idleness teacheth much evil. Idleness looks harmless but can lead to many falling.
Kneel down and pray.This is a very dreamy point to do. Never, never, never in my dark period I actually (want) to come and kneel to pray. Or even only praying, without kneeling. The most that I often do is screaming inside my heart that “God, help me to get out! I don’t want to stay in these dready feelings!” But you know what, actually “praying” in heart and saying it outloud with your mouth makes a big difference. When we really say it, outloud, and even with kneeling (or bowing our heads), our physical gesture helps us to focus on the prayer and sets our heart to be ready to do the change. This gesture is nothing new for a devout Christian, but it’s absolutely put very far in the bottom part of my list. It’s very hard to be done for me. That’s why I write it here, as a reminder. Because praying does make a change.
I guess there are still more ways to add in this list. Perhaps I will update this list later if I can think about it. Or later I would also study what actually the Bible says about these issues, idleness and depression. For now I’m just glad that my house is already back into order. And I actually have cleaned window glasses. Yay for me!