Depression Isn’t For Wimps…
This AM, as I was making my kids' lunches, I was struck by the ‘gift’ it is to make them. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and peace. You may think I am crazy (I won’t argue that..) for having a moment of gratitude over one of the most awful chores that plagues mother’s. I hate making lunches. Maybe because I am OCD and my hands get Peanut butter on them? I don’t know.
ANYWAY, I was reminded that just a few short years ago when I couldn’t pull myself together enough to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my kids. If you have ever been depressed, you understand. Keep reading. If you haven’t been depressed, you can keep reading too… I have a few friends with really good biology. They could get run over by a bus and find the silver lining in the wheel well as the bus is hovering over them. I, on the other hand, was born more with the inclination of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Just because I smile doesn’t mean my heart is always smiling. I believe we in the western world have perfected the smile and the, “I’m good, how are you and the family?”—which could also mean, “my world is crashing in around me, I didn’t really want to get up today, but my bladder awakened me to the reality of another day on this awful planet…but I am good! How are you? Please tell me every detail of your amazing life I wish I had..”
Depression sucks. Having that doom and gloom cloud hovering is outrageously difficult. I remember some friends (optimistic biology friends) lovingly saying “just move on.. God has so much in store for you.. you have a hope and a future”. Awesome, thanks. But I didn’t feel any more hopeful. Depression is a slow (and sometimes fast) awful death. If depression is a taste of death—I don’t want that death. And the drugs don’t always help. I tried prozac and that took away the gloom but brought in the era of 3 hour naps. Not the most realistic side affect to live with when you have 2 young children. And wellbutrin made me want to go cliff jumping…but only once. So I quit immediately. Obviously these drugs, as with all meds, affect people differently—this was only my experience with them. And this is just my experience with depression. Everyone has their own experience and story with it. Some people go through seasons of depression. Dealing with the loss of a job, the loss of a marriage or the death of a dear family member or friend. Others of us experience it even in the good times. I NEVER thought I was depressed. I bought in to the lie of smiles too.
But the reality is that depression is up in recent years. So if you aren’t suffering, I guarantee you someone within 3 feet of you is. Love them through it. Show up. Make their kids lunches. Take them on a walk—exercise has SO helped me. Don’t argue their feelings. Love them in them. Just as God loves us in our feelings. In Galatians 6:2, Paul said, “Carry one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”. It doesn’t say “correct” them or “fix” them…it says “carry” them.
I believe ultimately God’s desire is for us to be free from depression. Sometimes it happens instantly, sometimes through a process. And we have to trust Him through the process. Please don't give depressed people your cliches’—they don’t work and frankly all they do is shame people for feeling what they feel.
I still have my moments of despair. But I am making my kids lunches today. I clean my kitchen (pretty often). I have found one of the best medicines for me when I am feeling that weight of despair is to share it, talk through it. It’s amazing the burden that is lifted when we share it.
God never intended for us to walk alone. He is with us, the Bible calls Jesus “Emmanuel”—which means “God with us”. He is with you when you invite Him to be, He is for you always. It doesn’t matter your gender, race or lifestyle—He wants your heart. And He will help you build a small army of relationships for you to walk through this broken world with. I didn’t use the word “army” by mistake—we need people who will not only walk with us, BUT fight for us, even fight us…FOR us. My “army” has been the grace of God to me time and time again. But we can’t mistake God’s people, with God. They are a Grace. Not The Grace.
I don’t have any magic formula other then being open, honest and accepting yourself right where you are. You don’t have a right to beat yourself up any more than someone else does for your struggles. For me, when I began to accept the struggle, that helped it diminish a bit.
I don’t curse my depression any more. I have come to a place of thankfulness for it. I came to that place of thankfulness today over a jar of peanut butter!
I tend to have a short memory and if I didn’t know the bad days, I wouldn’t revel as much in the good days! And there are good days! MORE good days than bad in this season. And I am realizing no matter how I feel, actually they are all good days. My feelings lie to me all the time. But I stand on the truth of who I am in Christ and on the Word of God. And the Word of God says I am His chosen child, and YOU are too. The amazing thing about Grace and Jesus is, to be “chosen”—we just need to choose Him. It’s the most amazing paradox in the history of humanity. Choose Him, because He already chose YOU!
You are enough right where you are! It’s not your job alone to change you, He will help. Trust Him. Trust His timing. And above all else trust His love for you… Hang in there—awful feelings don’t last forever. But His love does. Psalm 136 says “his love endures forever” 26 times! And my husband thinks I repeat myself when I am trying to make a point.
God Bless you all!
Daily Grace to you.
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