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  • Veranita Alvord, Pastor

Low Grade Depression


Here's a scene we're all used to...the temperature check. I've been thinking about my temperature. Through peri-menopause and full-blown menopause, my internal thermometer is completely off. I hot flash/power surge when there's snow on the ground. My fingertips and toe pads freeze when it's 90 degrees. If someone asks me if it's hot or cold, I say, "I do not have a reliable temperature gauge." On Sundays, when we were taking temperatures, mine was typically low because all my blood leaves my extremities to help my heart and lungs function properly during the act of Worship! I suppose a physical manifestation of my anxiety and fear of unworthiness at conveying the Word in community.


A temperature might reveal some things about us, an infection, a condition, COVID. And yet, not everything depends on our temperatures. Our body heat rises and falls related to stress, emotion, movement. It changes with what we eat and drink. From buffalo chicken wings to ice cream, internal body temperatures vary. However, low grade fever that persists can be indicative of a chronic infection like the common cold or flu and even tuberculosis. A low grade fever can be symptomatic of the body's healing engine. A slight temperature burns away infections. The body works toward its own homeostasis, when we allow it.


Perhaps we are suffering from low grade depression. Sad and blue over the chronic presence of pandemic fears, so many safety precautions. Fearful over reactions to vaccines. Haunted by hanging questions about variants of the coronavirus. Frustrated with the reality that a "return to normal" is not happening. We have all been changed over the last 15 months. And what is "normal life," anyway? Our low grade depression may be symptomatic of our constant need of healing- physical healing and spiritual healing. We all might be depressed, low grade. In his Atlas of Depression, The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon refers to depression as the Psalmist does in Psalm 91:1-6.


You who live in the shelter of the Most High,

who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,

will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;

my God, in whom I trust.”

For God will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

and from the deadly pestilence;

God will cover you with pinions,

and under God's wings you will find refuge;

God's faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,

or the arrow that flies by day,

or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

or the destruction that wastes at noonday.


We have a pesky stalker in the darkness, our minds wander, cogitate, ruminate--we worry. We have a destruction that despoils at midday, an overtaking sadness. Solomon explores deeply the "noonday demon" of depression from personal, cultural and medical perspectives. The book is a worthy, educating read, all 688 pages of it. An atlas it is, a map. When I read it years ago, it was my food, as I struggled with making sense of my own depression through therapy, medication, using a small fork to excavate the depths of my transient, multi-cultured childhood.


As our bodies work toward their own balance, when we allow them, so must the soul work toward a whole and holy homeostasis. God is indeed our fortress and strength. In God we take refuge. Under God's healing wings we can shelter. Here are six hints toward balance related to our low grade depression, our fever due to the noonday demon:

  1. Reach out and stay connected

  2. Do things that make you feel good

  3. Get moving

  4. Eat a healthy diet

  5. Get a daily dose of sunlight

  6. Challenge your negative thinking

Click below to get more details on these hints:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/coping-with-depression.htm


Here are some other hints:

  1. Ask God to Help, to Shelter you. God is trustworthy.

  2. Pray Unceasingly. O God, Help Me. Heal Me. Make Me Whole. Make Me Holy.

  3. Give Thanks for 3 things everyday, even when you don't feel grateful. Write them down!

After 21 days of exploring these hints, if your low grade depression doesn't lift, please give me a call at the Church and we can find a counselor to help. If those hints seem overwhelming, I commend to you a song that the Morehead Messengers have been singing, "RATTLE!" by Elevation Worship. Here are a few of the lyrics:

Saturday was silent Surely it was through But since when has impossible Ever stopped You Friday's disappointment Is Sunday's empty tomb Since when has impossible Ever stopped You
This is the sound of dry bones rattling This is the praise make a dead man walk again Open the grave, I'm coming out I'm gonna live, gonna live again This is the sound of dry bones rattling

Here's the link to the YouTube Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrAdbH28gIg


God said, "Live!"


Grace and Peace,


Veranita





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