I used to take anti-depressants. I suffer from genetic based clinical depression arriving on stealthy waves of inscrutable darkness and hopelessness manifesting in uncontainable rage. Years ago I realized there was a problem when I noticed after I walked into my kids' nursery they flinched playing there on the floor. It was heartbreaking, both as a mother and as a Christian. I had to do something to get my rage under control. It was beyond my own ability to solve. I went to my doctor. I poured my aching heart out on the sterile floor. I got some little white pills and I slowly came to grips with what "normal" might feel like.
While I did begin to recognize my "normal," I realized I had lost most of what elation, joy and manic happiness felt like as well. I became numb. After two years and talking extensively with my loved ones, I decided to try life without the drugs again, with the understanding that if I became needlessly angry once more I would take the medicine without hesitation. I am not a normal case. I was able to do quite a few things to detox off of the drugs, flanked by the amazing patience of my husband and good friends. I was diligent about changing my diet and my lifestyle so that I could begin to find "normal" without the anti-depressant. For me, thankfully, it worked. It does not for most people and I am not an advocate for what I found worked for me as a blanket cure for others. If you are on medication, stay on it! Stop taking them only under the care and support of your doctor.
Having clarified that, the feeling of being without emotions... It was what drove me to want a different solution. I am a passionate person in extremes. I get passionately excited, passionately elated, passionately angry. I learned how to control my responses through counseling, diet and stress management. I realize that my clinical depression had to be mild for me to do these things. I also realize daily that keeping ahead of the darkness means that I have to be diligent in all of my approaches.
Today I am feeling the passions once more. I feel angry, heart broken and sickened by the loss of so much life at the hands of a deviant. There was a shooting at the midnight showing of Batman in Aurora, CO. Amidst the movie goers were small children, women, teens and men who's only desire for the night was to be mightily entertained. It is no wonder that when the gas filled canisters rolled into the theater so many describe feeling confused. Somehow this had to be a joke, a part of some movie promotion, an ill timed prank. It wasn't until the gunman opened fire that reality, never mind how surreal and terrifying, finally set in. This was not part of the movie, it was part of their life - lives that would never be the same.
Listening to the reports I realized, like myself,as a society, we have become desensitized. We look at canisters rolling down a theater aisle way and we no longer heed the "danger!" signal that should be coursing through our bodies. We assume that it must be a joke, a part of the unreality we view on television and in movies every day. We have become numb to the violence we see around us as if we could never be touched by it. Today, at least 12 families have been touched by it. There is life lost - young, productive and hopeful life that will never regain it's ability to sense hope again. Reports have said there are 13 deaths to contend with.
"Senseless" doesn't begin to describe how I feel on this tragic day-after. I am enraged, incensed, devastated, crushed and terrified. I have kids who desire to see life from a safe and wonder-filled vantage point. I have to keep reminding them that if something doesn't' feel right, heed their instinct. God gave it to them as a gift and a safety valve. They roll their eyes at me and hug me as they chuckle. How many Columbine students did the same thing that fateful morning? I weep at the thought.
As scared as I am, I realize that there is wisdom in my children's approach. We cannot hide in our padlocked, dead bolted, alarm-armed caves and never step into the light of God's creation, but we can be more diligent about our sensibilities. We can be on the look-out for the desensitizing of our kids, of ourselves, of our communities. We can step up for those being bullied, those unfairly discriminated against and we can heed our inner alarms when those instinctual warnings are screaming in our heads to run! We can be the change we want to see in the world.
We simply must not be "senseless."
Carelessness kills; complacency is murder. First pay attention to me, and then relax. Now you can take it easy - you're in good hands. (The Message, Proverbs 1:29-33)