My family has been going through a very difficult time during the last couple of weeks. Though the current heartache is a burden my whole family bears, the cause of it is not my secret to share with you, so I won’t go into details.
When my husband broke the news to me my first words were, “I”m going to be strong.” Because I’m not. I fall apart in these situations. And I was strong, for days. And I took pride in this strength, though like a good Christian girl I told my husband, “God is giving me lots of strength”.
As it turns out, I am not strong, though God does continue to carry me. The wear and tear of trying to be “strong” has left me overwhelmed and depressed. My form of being strong was hitting the situation head on whilst emotionally avoiding the reality. Now that the most emergent phase of the situation has passed I am less busy and have more time to feel. After all, you can only go on pretending that a situation doesn’t break your heart for so long before you have to face reality and let the tears flow. Sometimes a period of depression is suited to the situation.
I obviously don’t like feeling so low, and I know it is hard on my husband. I don’t feel hope for the future though I know, by God’s grace, it exists. I don’t feel strong anymore, like I did before, but I know I am still being strengthened. Maybe the most real act of strength is letting God carry you in weakness.
I’m going to let myself be sad now in the knowledge that this feeling won’t last forever. There is always hope. For me, and for my family.
I have officially dropped the ball. My children are watching Cars 2 for the second time this week (and it’s only Tuesday), my house is a disaster, I’ve dropped out of all my classes for the semester, I’m behind on all my correspondence, and I am weeks late letting you know that Heather Hansen is the winner of the beautiful Ming Dragon pillows featured on Free Pillow Friday.
In regards to Free Pillow Friday, and blogging in general, I am also going to be dropping the ball. I am currently forcing myself to write this blog post, mostly to tidy up loose end regarding the contest. To put it bluntly, finding out I am unexpectedly pregnant with a third babe has sent me into a depressive spiral and I am functioning on survival mode (barely). Because of past experience and my nursing education I am aware that I am in a major depressive episode at the moment but despite this awareness I have little energy or motivation to work my way out.
I’m essentially writing to say that I won’t be writing much in the next while. Though my husband is bearing up beautifully to my complaints and moaning I won’t expose you to “the pit”.
I’ll see you on the other side. When I get through this. Because I always do. Prayers appreciated dear readers.
This morning I attended “Sports Day” at my daughter’s preschool and brought Charlie along for the ride. While sitting at the playground afterwards, a lovely mom from the preschool came up to me. She complimented me on how “put together” the kids and I always are and how I always have a big smile and radiate peace.
Her intentions were the sweetest and I appreciate her view of things but I had to laugh (as did my husband when I told him). How deceiving appearances can be (though I never thought I could possibly appear this way to anyone.). Would those other moms who I envy for how “with it” they appear be just as bemused as I was at this kind of interpretation?
Perhaps I smile so widely when dropping Sofia off because I can’t wait for a break from my challenging “threenager” and perhaps the same smile emerges when seeing her after a well needed breather because I do really love her. Perhaps I look put together because my hubby ends up late for work on preschool days in order to help his frazzled wife get the kid’s ready and allow her a moment to throw on some lipstick (he irons my clothes too!). And radiating peace, well that’s got to be Jesus in me because on my own I am anything but peaceful by nature.
The truth of the matter is that I’ve spent the last week and a half grieving my (Steve’s) grandfather’s passing along with the rest of his family. That I am emotionally exhausted from both experiencing my own grief and being surrounded by others grief. The truth is that minus a week or two of sweet, productive, DIY bliss, I spent the month and a half before grandpa’s passing gradually spiraling downwards into a pit of destructive self loathing, depression, and eventually stupor due to an attempt to adjust my medications.
The truth is that my house is a total mess, my husband is the one who keeps the kid’s bathed, and I often feel that I won’t be able to make it to bedtime if I have to answer the question “why” one more time.
This is the truth of my life. Is it the same for those I view as “super moms”?
Most people realize how prevalent depression is. Myself, I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of people I know who struggle with it to some degree. These same people have been treated with therapy and medications with varying degrees of success. Some like myself have, through medication and other treatment, come to cope well. Others have not found any effective treatment. It makes me thankful that I am one of the “lucky ones” who seem to respond to medicine.
Recently, I have been thinking more about what it would be like to not have medications that help. My brain was a very dark, stormy, and volatile place before I sought treatment. There were long periods of time when I would live without experiencing feelings of hope, joy or peace. The reason that I finally sought help is because my mind was gravitating towards thoughts of suicide and I was scared. It was a long road out of that pit but I am in a good place now.
What would it be like if medication hadn’t been effective? I know people who have tried every conceivable avenue to find their way out of depression to no avail. I don’t think that I could do it. If I hadn’t found treatment which worked for me, I don’t know if I would have the courage to keep on living. And that is what I recently realized. How profoundly courageous it can be to simply keep living. Suicide is an easy way out. Consider how much bravery it takes to continue living from day to day without the benefit of feeling happiness or hope. And for those who are Christians, what immense faith it takes to continue pursuing their faith despite what must feel like a greatly unmet need.
I want to take this moment to say to those I know who suffer from depression, as well as to those I don’t know, that you are amazing. You may not be able to fully embrace these facts, I know it is hard to acknowledge anything positive when your mind is in a dark place, but hear what I have to say. You are strong. You are courageous. You are a warrior. Your battle may not be against flesh and blood, but you fight on none-the-less. I love you for living on.