Some mornings I get out of bed, and unpacking the dishwasher is an empowering, focussing task. I notice the day blossom into being. I participate in the emerging freshness and looking out the window strikes fascination with the way the light is shafting through the trees, unique to today.
Other days, the effort to drag myself out from between the sheets, is surpassed only by the work of prying open my eyes. At that point I wonder if there is any energy left in my body to continue with today. Over the next hour I gather whatever pulse I can find within and drag myself tardily on. (Emphasis on tardy - I am punctuality impaired).
What makes the difference?
How can our moods be so capricious, unpredictable and erratic? Mine depend on tricky combination of sleep, hormones, hunger, caffeine, the moods and behaviour of those around me, my current self-estmation, the state of the house and the direction of the prevailing wind. And I'm a reasonably even-tempered person.
I've had mood disorders on my mind this week. I am trying to understand a little of what someone experiences when their moods are wildly mercurial. When a low mood drains the colour out of everything and thinking drowns slowly in hopelessness, death and failure. When great moods bring creativity, productivity, optimism and possibility unbounded. When this tips into grandiosity, invincibility, irritability and thought disorder.
My moods are prosaic and pedestrian in comparison. Yet they seek to rule my behaviour and responses, creeping into consciousness after I have over-reacted or failed to listen. Moods are so much a part of us that it is impossible to live without reference to them.
Moods are a gift, as well as sometimes burdening us. Have you felt the buzz of possibility and inspiration that pulls you into action and opens your eyes to brightness, colour and enchantment? This is God-given excitement and creativity, a taste of the morning and evening of the first seven days.
I stop at naming depression as a gift, but perhaps it reflects the sin-destroyed desolation of Calvary.
Jesus said in Gethsemane, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death." (Matt 26:38). Can it teach us of Jesus' broken-hearted torture? Can we better know deep joy having tasted of despair? Perhaps we need the consolation of this balace to accept the existence of wretchedness.
Sometimes I see the perplexed, helpless, listless faces of the melacholically depressed, and cannot understand a reason for such agony.
And yet I thank God for moods, for minds that experience them, for the light and contrast they bring to our lives. For those who have experienced mood disorder, high or low, what is your response?