During the most difficult time of year, the coldest months, some animals hibernate. Bats hibernate in the winter by finding an abandoned area and going into a state of torpor. This is where most bodily functions are slowed down to help them regulate their temperature. They can drop their heart rate down to as low as 10 beats per minute from about 600 beats per minute or more. Sometimes bats awaken and adjust their body temperature, but they continue in this state of torpor throughout the winter months.
During the times I struggle most with depression and suicidal ideation I tend to hibernate away from people. I stop communicating what is going on and isolate myself so I don’t have to explain how I feel, or even experience what is going on inside of me. It is part shame and guilt and part fear of the next possible step. You see, I have been in the hospital probably 30 times in the past three years. I am afraid of being away from my family or inconveniencing friends who need to take care of my son while I am away and my husband is at work. I am afraid of what people will think of my process and progress.
I hear people tell me all the time how well I am doing and how proud of me they are, but I see the failure and know what is going on in my mind that I am hiding from them. I don’t want anyone to know how I am feeling, but I also don’t want them to falsely notice the progress they see. I get angry when people see progress that isn’t there, but I get anxious when I consider sharing what is going on in my head and heart.
Recently, though, I have begun to wonder if people see me better than I see myself. I recently read a book by Eckhart Tolle entitled A New Earth that talks about our identity, among other things. Perhaps others see me for who I really am while I see what I believe makes me who I am. Others see me as a child of God, created in His image. I see myself as flawed and identify with the loss in my life and response to it.
Maybe this hibernation is actually unhealthy. Maybe I haven’t stored up enough resources to get me through my winter. Maybe I need to wake up, connect with people, and let my heart begin to beat the way it should.
2 thoughts on “Hibernation”
I think the biggest lies Satan tells us are “you are all alone” and “you will never be enough”. It is when we lean into fear we find those lies. When we acknowledge in that moment to lean into the Spirit and His Truth is when we choose to leave those lies behind. I am convinced that the lies are so deeply imbedded at times we can not simply choose. Right?!? I mean the Bible teaches us to take captive every thought and that we find our worth in Jesus. What does that truly mean? How do those play out. I think the church often teaches us to pull up our big girl panties and just choose to do it. Like just choose the truth. But if the Bible teaches us to take captive every thought, could it be that it starts with the thoughts not the choice? I seem to think that the church needs to teach the practicality of changing our mind/belief by starting with the actual thought first and rewriting it. The repeitive rewriting against the lies we tend to fall into. We think over 100,000 thoughts a day. If we can find which ones repeat and instead repeat the truth daily – multiple times a day – we can reset the like and instead start to believe the truth.
I think when I experience hybernation I am not hiding from others, but hiding from myself. Hiding from the lies that I am believing.