I have to admit, I started writing this second post couple weeks ago but found myself succumbing to my depression. I felt sad, I felt alone, I felt overwhelmed and couldn’t find the energy to focus. For the first time it impacted my ability to go to work; I had to take Thursday and Friday. I feel easily back into my old habits, trying to fill the gaping hole with binge eating and alcohol. I zoned out the thoughts in my mind with TV and stayed away from my phone and social media. I find that social media makes me feel worse about myself when I am in a depressive state because it shows the wonderful lives of everyone else. Makes me wonder why I can’t be happy too.
I am certain I am not alone in this experience. Depression is where the enemy lives and whispers his lies. The lies that we repeat over and over to ourselves until we actually believe it. Here’s the irony for me…..I recognize they are lies. I recognize the things I’m feeling aren’t reality but my heart takes them in and absolutely aches. Then I begin to feel shame and guilt for letting the intrusive thoughts in. I have been working on my depression for over 2 years now, and it is still so powerful sometimes. This bout did not come out of the blue, but if I think back, it wasn’t. It was a slow burn.
I ask myself what could have caused this backslide. I have attended a couple powerful events with my local church and really been asking Jesus to help me heal from my pain. I think by doing so, i have been chipping away at the wall and it finally broke. I was flooded with feelings and emotions that I just couldn’t deal with all at once. I realize that while I have known I may have to grieve some of my relationships but haven’t really started the process. And to be honest, I’m scared. I’m scared to explore the feelings, I’m scared of really understanding my feelings, and I’m scared of how the outcomes will affect my life.
I was talking to someone just today who was asking what it was like to post my first blog. I said it was like trust fall. I don’t know what is going to come out of this blog, but I’m convicted to write it and walk into the unknown. I hit post, put my arms out to mu sides, closed my eyes and fell, knowing my Father would catch me. I think addressing my pain is going to be much of the same. Reconciling with my feelings may result in some hard conversations (likely will). They may even require me to have to forgive myself; I need to give myself grace through this process. Easier said than done.
My husband asked me if by doing this, I risked losing people. I said yes. its true. I cannot control how others internalize or take in my words. But I do know that my feelings matter and I need to give them life in order to let go. I have to trust that God’s plan is already in motion. Some people are meant to be in our lives for the long haul; some only a season. Only He knows and I have to trust that whatever happens, it is according to that plan. Doesn’t mean its not going to be painful; it will if that is in fact what happens. Through it I have to keep my eyes on Him, trusting Him, knowing He loves me, He is there for me, He is unwavering.
I do recognize that I will need a support system throughout this entire process. IN order for that to work, I have to continue to be vulnerable. I have been doing alot of work in this space; allowing myself to be vulnerable in spaces that I know are save and won’t judge me.
I posted on my church’s Facebook women’s page and just asked for prayer and 4 minutes for those who felt compelled to do so. I was so blessed with the responses I received. Not just with the results of the 4 minutes, but just the trust some had in me in admitting that, they too, struggle with depression. There was a sense of strength that comes with knowing I am not alone in my struggles. Some of these are women I look up to, thinking they have it together, they are confident, successful, killing it in their relationship with God and just living their best lives. While they are amazing, and successful, and so many wonderful things, some of them struggle with the whispers. People I would have never imagined also felt insecurities.
I also joined a few Facebook support groups for Christian women healing from Trauma or depression. I had some very amazing women, once again, telling me they struggle with the same, praying for me, and encouraging me with scripture and words of wisdom. Sometimes just knowing others care enough to pray for me moves me. What has really impacted me is being able to respond and be there for others. I certainly don’t have the answers; I’m quite a hot mess myself. But I hope they find the same peace I do when I know I am not alone. I can share with them my experience, and while I don’t know a lot, I can tell them what I do know. Even if I only reach one person, there’s a real sense of fulfilment that comes with that.
I have been moved by the wonderful people that have come into my lie; that reach out to me to check on me (always in the perfect moments; I see you God) even though I don’t reach out to them. They recognize my pain, recognize my coping is to isolate, but never let me feel alone. I see a theme here as I write this out. Community. They say it takes a village to raise a child, I think it takes a village to live life, period. I am thankful every day for my village; old and new. He really is so good.
What I Have Realized
I have realize a few key things this weekend:
#1-I am not alone. We all put our best foot forward, but so many of us are struggling with how to combat the enemy’s lies. I heard someone say recently that there is an attack on Women right now and after seeing and hearing the struggles of other Christian women, I fully believe that.
#2-I don’t always make room for Jesus to take on my burdens. As much as I know I need to, I treat Him the way I treat everyone in my life when I am struggling. I shut them out and self-isolate. Seems obvious that the one person I shouldn’t shut out and that will be there for me without judgement is Him, but I do. The why is something to explore.
#3-None of these facts make it hurt less in the moment. I need to be gracious with myself.
#4-I don’t think I have been honest with myself to really understand the feelings and root cause. I often cannot explain the feeling or understand why I am feeling it. I think I am afraid to dive in and figure it out. Some of the feelings that I encounter are awful and I am ashamed of having them.
I suppose the next step is to face my fears. To really start digging into my pain, one hurt at a time. But I must first really sit down and think about what experiences linger with me and how they make me feel today. This means really having to be honest with myself about my thoughts, intrusive or otherwise, and really leaning in to my time with Jesus and my therapy. I’m scared but I realize I need to walk through this valley to get to the next season of my life and experience the mountaintop and blessings in store for me and my family.
I did another 4 minutes today and intended to try to tie together my visions with those of the ladies who did 4 minutes for me. I was running through the books of the bible in my head thinking maybe He had a verse for me and I got stopped at the book of Kings with no chapter or verse specified. You mean I have to read the entire book to find the message? Both books? I have read them quite yet; guess I have some homework. I will continue to focus on Him, speak to Him, read his word (which I need to be much better at) and most importantly trust Him.
One thing my amazing Pastor said on Sunday really resonated with me. Well everything he said really did; but a couple things stand out.
- he entered jerusalem that Palm Sunday knowing he was the sacrafice for my sins and that I am worth that sacrifice. He did it because I am “his workmanship”. He created me with such care, I am perfectly made.
- He has need of me. What a profound statement.
Those two things I will carry with me in this season. I am worth it, and He has need of me. When I feel like I am not strong enough, this will give me strength to push on. He has need of me. My God, creator of all things, needs little old me. I would so love to hear if and how that statement impacts you. He has need of you. Its so profound to me, I think I’m still trying to take it in. If you would like to share, I would love to hear, either via comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.