The human mind is a frail element of our being. I have been trying to track a few unexpected reactions I have had since moving here and come up with some reasoning behind a few days of battling mild depression since we arrived.
During the 5 years we lived in our last parish I was alone a lot of the time. Health issues cropped up one after the other, extended family issues took up a lot of my time and my ability to reach out regularly to parishioners and local people there was hampered by everything else that was going on in my life. I didn't realize until we moved that I spent far too much time there removed from direct human contact.
Since arriving here many of the health and family issues are resolving and my energy, both physically and mentally, are on the rise. I have had few days where I haven't seen or talked to people other than my husband.
So, why some days of mild depression? It has happened on those few days where I had no plans to see people. Days without social interaction have become days of fighting emotional panic: what if I am slipping back into the loneliess of our last posting??? What if I don't see anyone else this week??? What if...... and on it goes; subconsciously a fear of loneliness has developed.
Recognizing problems and fears and naming them is certainly the beginning of solving them. Yesterday morning I woke up in a panic because I had no specific plans for the day that involved other people. That is when I began to figure out what the problem has been since we moved here.
After I prayed about what to do about this issue I started thinking back to the days I have been alone this week. I have had only two days without company or a coffee time out with someone else. Even on one of those days, the day I went to the doctor, I met people sitting in the waiting room and we struck up quite a good conversation. It was unexpected and rather interesting. It made me feel cheery inside for the rest of the day.
Yesterday was the other day completely on my own and I could have had the same kind of emotional panic going on, but because I woke up thinking about the issue and sorting it out, I had a very good day after all and accomplished a fair amount of work around here. In the middle of the afternoon I realized I was starting to feel sluggish and unhappy, so I went for a walk to the grocery store and said a happy hello to absolutely every person I passed along the way. They all responded very positively and I felt buoyed up by the time I arrived home. During the evening I planned the lunch for my company today. Tomorrow my husband will be home for the evening before he leaves again and I have a list of possibilities for my own plans while he is gone.
Thinking ahead in order to see the upcoming days that could create emotional stress for me is key to organizing life events that will keep my mind balanced out while I make the adjustments necessary to living in a new place once again.
I spent so much time alone in our last town that I have traumatized myself. Time to get over it and get on with a new life in a new city. Creative thinking and planning is called for. Seeking out events to attend, buses routes for days I am carless, social experiences with friends, organizing well my times alone...all are necessary to maintain good mental health for me. Thank you Lord for helping me sort this out. I will force myself to go to greater lengths once again to maintain social contacts with the people where I actually live and will get back into the habit of planning in advance.
It is all good news.