My favorite Scripture is in my head today. “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert , to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.” (Isaiah 43:18-21)
This Scripture has been important to me ever since I sustained my brain injury back in 1996. After many months or rehab when I began volunteering at a hospice and then at the Open Door Community – which is considered a “Protestant Catholic Worker House” in Atlanta – I thought of these words. When both things didn’t work out due to my brain injury challenges, I began volunteering as a Chaplain at a retirement community in town.
Working there was quite a journey through the wilderness for me. First I couldn’t drive so I took the bus. I wore my tennis shoes to walk to the bus stop and when I arrived at the center, I changed into my dress shoes, putting my tennis shoes into my Lands End bag. I met some wonderful folks there and was able to participate in some significant ministry.
I struggled with depression then. In fact, I have struggled with depression my whole life. Sometimes I think creative folks experience the darkness of the world to a greater extent than other folks do. I believe depression is a physical issue and I’m just one of those people who’ve had to learn how to live with it. I do think I feel things, both good and bad, more deeply than other people but as hard as it is, I do so see it as a gift.
Depression is part of any brain injury. I don’t really understand the mechanics of it but I do know that many, many brain injury survivors must battle it. Although it certainly is not fun, I have learned techniques to manage it. Writting helps me immensely. I’d be embarrised if folks read some of my journal entries since this is where I let my darkness out but I write none the less.
Music is another outlet for me. I often will sing at home when I’m alone and this really helps me express my emotions. Swimming helps as well. I take a pretty intense water aoerobics class and this past Tuesday I really let the water have it. I pounded my arms into it and kicked my legs through it. It wore me out but it felt so good!
So yes, I’m on a journey through the wilderness. God gives me water and I’m not alone.
Do you experience depression? If you do, how do you deal with it? Do folks understand you or do you feel very alone with it? If you have a brain injury, have you noticed it is worse not than before? Feel free to comment here – I think commenting on WordPress is much easier than on Blogger. I will have to figure out how to use WordPress though so it will probably be a while before I figure out how to post pictures!