How do we navigate depression and anxiety when they interrupt as unwanted visitors? We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control how we move forward. The multi-gen duo gets personal and spills the tea on getting through some of their difficult seasons of life.
02:11 Anna Gray My day sucked, honestly. I think when you're already anxious and then it's like everything that's really small seems so much worse. It can be really simple. But to you just nothing seemed to go right. I am still dealing with freaking…
02:29 Renee I shouldn't say that. I'm still dealing with… You don't need an adjective. Yeah, go ahead. You're still dealing with?
02:35 Anna Gray I'm still dealing with medical calls for medical scholarships from the two kidney rocks I had back in June. And it's annoying because, okay, Lily was telling me her whole college application thing and how stressful it's been. And I compared it to the medical world because every time they ask for papers or for documents, I send in everything. But then there's some deadline I don't know about. Are there something else there? There's always another… Oh, you sent in your bank statements, but we saw a transfer from this account. Send us your last three months. And I got a letter saying that I keep getting letters from them every single week. So today that was on my mind. And then I'm trying to finish a website that is just a very slow process. And then I went, I wore this new skirt that makes me feel feminine and free and kind of fierce to go dance, to feel good. And it was one of those nights where you just feel like you're not doing anything right or it's taking a hot minute. So I had… So you had bad dance nights? Yes. I mean, it was good because finally I got the steps correct, but I just felt tight. I felt tight. There was one point where I looked down and I just wanted to run away and cry. And it was not that… No one was unkind. I could tell I was frustrating, probably both my teachers at some points. So it's just one of those days. And I just ate a crumble cookie. Oh, and then I looked in the mirror during the lesson. And when you're already having a bad day, suddenly your body image and everything else… Yeah.
04:09 Renee It's like looking at a fun mirror. Everything's distorted and you can't see clearly. It's the worst. I say that when we have chocolate. How was your day? Actually, it was my yesterday that I had just a wall. And I forget. I wrote something very poetic about it. And I actually came up with a blog and I can't wait to work on that, but nobody reads blogs. But that's okay. I read your blog. I write. Well, thank you. You're my one person. But I was just… There's this ache. I've had this ache since Christmas. And I thought at first it was nostalgia for my parents, just remembering Christmas has passed. As you get older, I'm thinking flipping the calendar again, celebrating my 60th birthday for the second time. For the second time? Yeah. It's really great. Okay. So I was thinking about all these, but it's developed into more. But I called it a winter longing. That's good. Long story short, I went into a skilled nursing facility and ran into this sweet woman that I ran into often. She's a teeny little thing, much like you, but even smaller than you. But she has, much like me, she has really big feet. Or she has big shoes, and I can't decide which, but they're always pretty. She's very hobbitish, but I am too. I always comment on her shoes. Your hobbit feet look great in those. I didn't say that. It was so sweet. I usually just ask her how she's doing. She usually responds, or I tell her some kind of words or something. I just all of a sudden went, how can I pray for you? She looks real thoughtful. And Anne Grey, she about floored me. She goes, pray for beauty. And I went. That's so real. And she said, for good health. And she said a third thing, and dear Lord, may I remember it? Because I'm sure it was, I was so stunned by the first one, I couldn't barely remember. And so I prayed with her, but I was like, how do you pray for beauty? I mean, what is she talking about? So that set me on, of course, while I was walking in the field, and I was feeling this ache that turned from nostalgia to longing. I just called it this winter longing. There just seems to be this winter longing in my soul for so many things. Like a bluesy kind of feeling? Very bluesy, very melancholy at first. Melancholy, at first I wanted to say that. Melancholy. Would it be depressed? I don't know. But I was walking outside, and I just felt, even being outside, it was so cold. And it was just so quiet. And that even felt, there was a part of it, except with my faithful dog, Tinkerbell, it still felt very alone. Alone in a good or not alone? No, very heavy, very, I'm growing older. I was even talking to God, I said, God, it goes by so fast. All these things that you hear people say, and then one day you realize they're true. And just the weight of it, it's just flying by, flying by, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. I feel that. I'm just approaching 30, so. It's flying. And so I had this deep winter moment, and I wrote more in my blog. I added more to it, because I was like, what am I going to do with this? It was so bottled up in my thing. And so I wrote it down. But then I moved in today, and I was anxious. I was anxious because there's that trip I'm taking, I wasn't sure about the dates, and blah, blah, blah. And all I wanted to do is I called. I mean, I literally said to you, I just want to spend two weeks on my couch reading books. And not only that, the funny thing is I just wanted to read books I've already read before, because I know the endings. And they're happy. And so I found it very fascinating. I did not do that today, but everything started to come in place. I had my assistant slash friend, Steph, ask me to do a devotional with her, or a devotion with her every morning. And so we had a really good, rich devotion time. And she prayed. And my sister, we talked, and she prayed. And your mother, I think, prayed sometime in there. And it was really good. There was a releasing of it. It always gets high and tight. But I think at the same time, I think there's something in this, and I don't know what it is, but I think we need to talk about it, because we both felt it last January so badly.
09:42 Anna Gray Last January was, I think last January was the worst January of my entire life. And I know you said you felt walled up. It was like there was something in the air. I mean, we literally did. The coldest of January, we felt that in an inward sort of way. And it's funny because I don't feel like I did last January, and I've been in a happier place for the most part. But I also, during the winter, I don't know if it's seasonal depression or something else, or just the season change and everything being dead and not getting sunlight like I usually would. I don't know. Humans really are kind of like plants. But I think especially this week, I felt more down. And it's not felt like last year, because everything was so intense last year. But it's just when things compile and you can't get outside or something. And I know it's like the winter in January reminds me of, it makes it seem so much worse sometimes, especially when it's been a really either just a draining week or someone says one thing, then this thoughts in your head, and you then have other life stressors. It's kind of like a domino effect of one thing leads to another, leads to another. So I don't know. So do you feel like yours is more melancholy or like anxiety? Or do you think both? I think it's both.
11:08 Renee Yeah, like anxiety gives you depression and vice versa. Well, and not only that, we both have worked very hard on many things over the holidays, over Christmas, just over everything. And then you lead into the new year. And it's just been a lot of hard work, but it's been good work and it's fulfilling. And then part of me wanted to say maybe, and I wanted to ask you this, in this anxiety, depression, winter longing, whatever, was it because I had time to think and I wasn't busy that this came out? Yeah, because you had to sit with your healing. I had to sit with myself and actually walk with myself and look at the world, look at myself, look at my heart. And I wondered if there was something in that. And what about that with you?
12:06 Anna Gray That actually is so interesting you say that because I think that is ridiculously on point because I think without even realizing it, at least I tend to, I have a very avoidant personality. So my mound of applications for a health care system still are on my nightstand. And have I done anything with them? Well, yes, but also no. And a million other things. And so I tend to keep myself busy and occupy myself. Yes, busy, busy. Even if it's just going, like even if I need to do something, working on a website or editing photos, it's like all I can do to not leave the house, if that makes sense. So I find any way to just preoccupy myself. So like I'll go to the coffee shop or something and work on it. And I end up talking to a bazillion people. But then I look back at the times where it's just me and my thoughts. And I think it feels so intense because sometimes I don't know what to do with that, even though I've seen a wonderful therapist who has given me tools. And it's hard to describe to people, I don't want to sound like a snowflake as I say here with tea and a whole bag of chocolate. But it's hard to describe to people sometimes because I think it's such an on-off switch, but I do all the things like I'll go for a run, I'll get outside, take care of my hygiene, stay in community, even though it's hard and I'll become a recluse kind of, because it's hard to deal with people when I don't feel like I'm authentically being happy. And so I don't want to be like a killjoy. But that to say, it's almost like I don't know what to do when my thoughts become a racetrack of thoughts. And I think I voice memo'd you. It was four in the morning. Yes, yes, last night. And when I started- I looked at the time, I went, what? That reminded me actually of last January, I will say, because I had two all-nighters last year, like no sleep. And it put me in a very not so great, had a terrible sleep. It put me in a very not so great headspace. And so when I realized, wow, I slept two and a half hours and I'm wide awake, even though I went for a really long run, I should be- I was worn, slapped out, yet I was awake. And that was my first clue train of either it's too much espresso that I'm drinking too late or it's my anxiety because I tend to not sleep. Yes. And so it's hard when it's like a racetrack of thoughts that you can't shut off, if that makes sense. And then you wake up and I feel like I think of everything that was keeping me awake and the things that I have to do. And it's so overwhelming. And I don't know how to tell people that. Like even when I've mentioned it before, it sounds really dumb because I know it's like, oh, just do the thing. But it's almost like I'm trying to figure out what do I do first? How do I do it? And there are a bazillion different demands within each task. Right. I mean, you know, with like the whole college application thing, you get, they require one thing, but then the one piece of paper requires a bazillion things within one. And you have to wait.
15:26 Renee But back to your middle of the night thing, I think that's interesting because I mean, the past three, two nights ago before last night, so it'd been three, I was not sleeping well and I was not sleeping well. So two nights in a row. And then I get to last night after the long walk. And I don't know what was different. And I can't say anything broke open, but something did. In a good way? Yeah, in a good way, in a very, very good way. And I don't know. I mean, I did my good stretches in the evening and, you know, I did whatever I could. And all I could think of is, oh, no, am I just going to stay awake? Am I not going to sleep or I'm not going to sleep enough? But then, you know, and I knelt by my bed, which I do every night, but I just, I felt like something, I think the deal is, okay, now I don't know for non-believers, but I used to be a non-believer, so I knew this very well. But I felt like the Lord just took care of it for me. And it was just so sweet that somewhere in it, he was saying, okay, sweetheart, I heard you and I'm here for you. And like, I just remember kneeling by my bed and I just didn't say anything. I just kind of like threw my hands off and just went. Okay. And that's it. And in that, in that speechless, you know, we call it that groaning, that winter longing, there was something beautiful that he gave me so, such rich deep sleep last night. And I mean, that's not always the case, but it is sweet. It is sweet. But in that, do you think, I mean, what do you, like, avoiding sleep is a real thing because when you haven't been sleeping, you know, if sleep becomes something that is avoided that I think adds to our anxiety or depression or loneliness.
17:36 Anna Gray Literally, physically it does. But I think with what you were saying about having the time to actually sit with things, especially when, you know, the schedule start or KDAC schedule starts to ease up, it gives you so much time to like sit with things. I don't know. For me, at least.
17:55 Renee Do you think that's what I was doing in the field when I was walking? I was sitting with it. Because I mean, whatever happened last night, it was a nice… I mean, do you feel like you were? Something happened and I cannot tell you. I cannot explain it. I tried to put it into words. I wish I could. I mean, I tried very hard, you know, to write down as best I could. But there was deeper, it was like something changed in my DNA. It was just repaired or I have no idea. And that sounds all kooky, no edgy. But it was so deep adjustment. Not that I don't feel it, but I don't…
18:33 Anna Gray So you experienced divine intervention. I think so.
18:36 Renee I think it feels like I'm not alone. He is with me, but I can't explain it. I can't explain it. It just, I woke up and I was like, oh, it surpasses all understanding. He guarded my heart and mind and Christ Jesus.
18:52 Anna Gray And I know you've been stressed like this last week with all of the Switzerland. I mean, do you feel like it's harder for you to… Or do you feel like you become more anxious or prone to maybe obsessing over thoughts when you have more alone time? I'm curious. You don't have to say yes. Well, I've had a lot of alone time. Are you okay? Yeah, I'm good.
19:20 Renee I also have had some weird vertigo episodes today, so I'm falling apart. That's not… Wow, chocolate and stuff.
19:28 Anna Gray But no, no, I don't… No, I've had a habit of being very monkish and that's not a problem. But what about with you? Talk to me about your little circle that goes on. Yeah, I've gotten better, I think, realizing when I'm obsessing over thoughts and just going in the constant racetrack, which was last January, but there was just no exit. So I think though it's funny because I talk about how today was terrible and how anxious I was last night, but actually I did wake up. Obviously, I woke up, thankfully, because I'm here. I fell asleep for actually a couple hours after I sort of surrendered it over and thought, oh great, another all-nighter. But I woke up and it was like this still small voice in my head. It's like, okay, we've got this. I'm not saying, oh God, audibly spoke, but just this comfort of you're going to get through this, take it one thing at a time, make the one phone call, start with one thing. So I think I will see it. I envision a bunch of files that just scatter out. And having to clean them up looks overwhelming when it's just papers everywhere, but in my head. But I think when you start to go through it and you organize it, you make a stack, you name it, you have a sort of call to action and then realize, oh, this actually isn't life or death. And there are people who support you and encourage you. But I also go back to basic human functioning and like, okay, am I eating? Am I sleeping? But wait, I want to go back to what you did because that was amazing. So something happens in your mind that you get peace because you realize one the size of it. And then, but you also have some action steps and you felt relief. Yeah. I mean, I still, it's funny because then the day got a bit stressful. But sometimes once I actually get the day going, I think it's a control thing too though. Because when I'm lying awake at night and just thinking, I can't do anything, no phone lines are open for me to make a phone call I need to make. You know, or I'm not going to go and drive somewhere to get a document. Everything's closed. So you're kind of, or it feels like you're at the mercy of your thoughts. So I think for me separating that or trying to separate it and realizing that I might not be able to control my circumstances. But if I can find the exit to the racetrack of thoughts and even have some sort of game plan of, okay, like there's nothing, literally nothing I can do about it right now. So in a sense, I do sometimes come to the point where, okay, I can choose to keep dwelling on this and freaking out about it or I can surrender it over and know that even in my mental game plan, okay, I'm going to start on it tomorrow. So it's like knowing that I'm going to have an action step. If that makes sense. Yeah. Which sounds really pansy-ish, but I mean, I do get very, I tend to get really anxious and then I get really depressed from that because I think, oh, life is over. And have like an existential crisis.
22:51 Renee I do think what you're saying too, when I hear the underlining thing, I think the thing that I woke up with and I was sharing with my friend Tracy was in the end, it is so, and it's so cliche, but what a difference today makes. Because yesterday there was this deep, deep longing and, you know, ache and it just was just heavy. I mean, even the air felt heavy, everything. It just felt heavy to breathe. But then whatever broke and then I woke up this morning and nothing had changed. You know, all these things were still here. I still had these decisions to make things to do, blah, blah, blah, blah. These uncertainties. But there was something, I'm looking at that, that little word I have there, hope. Perhaps I had hope. Perhaps I had, you know, the idea that I don't know what it was, but it just felt easier. It felt like, okay, that was yesterday. This is today. And even though, you know, there were still, you know, lately having to deal with the college thing and there was a million other things that needed to be done and there were happy things, you know. And there were changes in the schedule. There were travel arrangements, blah, blah, blah. It didn't seem as drastic. And so it makes me look at, it makes me think of, and you always, I'm sure you've heard this, you know, everybody who is so depressed or, you know, going to act on that depression, if they would just stop and give it, you know, time. I've heard that before. Give it a day. Sleep on it. And even Dave Ramsey says like, hey, if you're going to buy a car, go look at the car and then sleep on it. Never make a major purchase.
24:51 Anna Gray The impulsive decisions to follow.
24:53 Renee Yes. And I mean, think about it, if we did that and I was trying to get back to the moral thing. How is this, how can this drive us morally? You know, what does this have to do with moral, you know, moral tea, moral codes, whatever. But I mean, just think if we chose, you know, not to pick up that drink or, you know, oh, it's not a good idea to drink with this guy because I know I end up in bed with him or. Knowing your weaknesses, like when you're in a weak spot. And just seeing where is it and what is the, what button will be pushed if I give in to this moment like that. I think that may be part of it.
25:39 Anna Gray I think too. And it's interesting because I actually have had two or three conversations this week on the idea of mental health and being. I think that when you're in a low in your mental health, because you're not as alert, I do. I personally feel like I'm even more spiritually susceptible, if that makes sense, because I'm not thinking as clearly as I normally would be. I am seeing life through this more jaded lens. And naturally, I get also the crave for, you know, coping mechanisms I don't really want to go back to. And so I think I had a conversation this week with a friend. I said, you know, he was sharing some struggling, some things he had been struggling with and wrestling with and in his faith. And I have to know at the end of the day, we can choose life or death in every single decision, you know, because you can say yes to five drinks or yes to looking at porn. Things, things that people turn to when they're in a weak spot or unhappy, they didn't return give absolutely nothing. You know, reality is still the absolute same. We're taking prescription pills that are not yours. Or I mean, it could be insert X, Y, or Z. But I think that when people are in a really low spot, I think that mental health, be it depression, anxiety, even if it's just a weird wave of it like we experience in January, you know, or just life happening as it does to you. Absolutely everybody. I think I don't think it's necessarily always spiritual warfare per se that's causing it. But I do think it is all spiritual, if that makes sense. And I think that people should be guarded and err on the side of their convictions have maybe even their own crisis plan written out, which like literally down to their own literally like morals, you know. You.