According to Bing, Dysthymia is defined as persistent, mild depression. Synonyms include melancholy, sorrow, dispirited, heavy-heartedness, pessimism, desolation, discouragement, despair, and hopelessness.
According to my experience, dysthymia feels like hope is draining out of me drop by drop. It means feeling too tired to engage in life because even the smallest task requires more energy than I have. I am merely going through the motions of living, too tired to care, without interests or creativity.
Although it is a beautiful spring day and the sun is shining, I can’t grasp the loveliness of it all. I read God’s word to fill my mind with truth and maintain a journal reminding myself of the many things for which I am grateful, but every day is still hard.
At first, I refused to consider it an option. I wanted God to heal me without medication. As I waited, I wondered if this was one of those trials God was using to build my faith. I prayed and asked for God to remove this cloud that hovered, descending darker upon me each day.
Then I was reluctant. After struggling for over 5 years just to get through each day, I asked my doctor if I she would write a prescription for an anti-depressant. Only after my husband and then a near-stranger suggested I needed help, did I dare broach the subject. And the doctor acquiesced.
After that, I felt guilt. Within a week of beginning the medication, things were better. My sleep patterns improved, and my thinking became clearer. However, I started to second guess my decision, wondering if this was the easy way, the way of someone who is weak in her faith.
Sometimes I feel judged. We live in an age when medication is available to relieve pain. Is it unspiritual to receive Novocain before I get a filling, to request an epidural while in labor, to take an Advil for a headache or Prilosec for heartburn? Why is treating low serotonin levels questioned, yet treating low thyroid function considered perfectly acceptable?
Lately I feel grateful that medicine does help. I trust God that for the time being this is His solution and believe He can make it clear to me if He wants to re-direct my path in any way.
In times like this, I grasp onto the words of my Lord from Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.” His tender-heart to hurting people is a great comfort to me. In the meantime, I will wait for the Lord to renew my strength while longing for the day when I will mount up with wings like an eagle and will run (this race of daily living) and not grow weary.