If you read my blog, you pretty much fall into one of these categories:
1) Living in a hard marriage,
4) Single mom,
5) Going through a hard/sad season of any kind,
6) You like all the pink,
7) Or you’re my Dad. (Hi, Daddy!) (Bless your heart, by the way.)
So, categories 1-5 should really resonate with today’s topic. We get sad. I get sad. I understand sad from the angle of going through a handful of super hard circumstances in my day and from having what I would consider to be a melancholy bent. Shoot, I think part of me even relishes being sad because it’s just so darn comfortable to me. I know how to be sad. If you need sad lessons, call me. I’m the sad expert.
But say you’ve gone through a hard thing and you’ve grieved it well (so you think) and you’ve analyzed it thoroughly (hypothetically) and you still feel sad. Then what?
This summer, I will have been divorced for two years. I still get the grace card on being occasionally sad over the death of my almost-nineteen-year marriage and I totally get that. However, I’m at day 27 right now over the ending of my recent five-month friendship with the good man, and I feel like I am supposed to be done. Over it. Moved on.
I heard Carrie Underwood say in an interview that, pre-marriage, she didn’t really spend too much time dwelling on break-ups, that she’d give herself a day and then she’d go be awesome.
I really loved him; he loved me better than I’ve ever been loved; and I thought he was the man I had been looking for my entire life. Oh, and I’m not sure anyone else will ever get me or treat me or partner with me like that again. (Geez, Beth.) (I know…I told you…a real malaise fest over here.) So, all that to say, not really running off to be awesome on Day 2. (Or Day 27 apparently.)
And yet, I feel guilty. I feel wrong. I feel like I really should, at this point, be further along in my healing. Even though I have taken some major strides. Like lessons learned and huge breakthroughs. And please know, it’s not like I’m crying all day every day. In fact, I’m still totally engaged in mothering; I’m eating and sleeping just fine (not too much and not too little); I’m having quiet times; I’m going for walks every day; I’m getting huge amounts of work done (like, I wrote an entire e-book in two weeks kinda work done).
My mentor asked me if I thought I might be in despair; but that’s not it. So here’s how I know something’s not right: I don’t feel like me yet. I have this baseline sadness humming throughout my every activity. Like, I’ll read a few pages in a book and then look off and sigh. Or I’ll still occasionally cry on my walks. Or I’m just not really smiling or laughing all that much.
Listen, I spent twenty years feeling sad and not allowing myself to act that way. I know how to fake it. But I don’t want to fake it anymore. “As long as I keep pretending, my soul keeps dying.” (John Ortberg) I have spent the past four years recovering my heart so that I could be fully me, so that I could live as authentically as I wanted to. And my reality is that I’m just blue.
So, I’ve done all the usual steps. My typical bag of tricks is empty. I’ve journaled. Lord, have I journaled. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. I’ve eaten copious amounts of ice cream. I’ve talked with my mentor. (Bless her heart, too.) I’ve had a ritual Girls’ Nite In involving chocolate and crying and a cat sweater. (My friends have an odd way of trying to prod me back into the saddle.) I’ve even put on my calendar another Girls’ Nite In where they will help me sign up for eHarmony (I don’t want to talk about it). I’ve walked on the beach. I’ve written a goodbye letter I’m not going to send. I think you see my point. I’ve done the work.
I’ve grieved and processed the crap out of this thing. And yet. This still-not-myself thing lingers. This sadness follows me around. I’m tired of being sad and kinda hopeless when I’m alone; and I’m equally tired of pretending I’m fine when I’m not.
So, here’s what I’m doing next: I’m going to set up an appointment with a counselor. (No, sweet man, YOU did not send me into therapy; the first whatever-we-were post-divorce has just thrown me for a bit of a loop and triggered, turns out, e-ve-ry-thing apparently.)
I know I say on here a lot that counseling is a great tool for you, but I wanted you to understand that it’s a tool I have used and that I’m not ashamed to let you know when I can tell I’m stuck and need some extra help.
I cannot heal myself. (I’ve tried.) And I’ve asked Jesus to, and he has been, but if there’s anything that I’m missing because I’m just too close to the situation, then I want to be completely open to whatever that is so I can learn and fully heal and then move on.
So, sweet girl, if you’re just still too sad over anything, if you’re not yourself, if you feel stuck, reach out for help. He gave us each other for a reason.
Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You.
My heart pants, my strength fails me;
As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.
My sorrow is continually before me.
But in You, O Lord, I hope;
You will hear, O Lord my God.
Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me.
P.S. Allow me to add something here: Just before my reconciliation attempt several years back, I went on an anti-depressant for about eighteen months. It’s not for everyone. But I want to help erase a bit of the stigma if I can. If you find yourself stuck – like really stuck – for a while – like months and months or even years and years, I want to encourage you to go to your doctor for a complete medical exam to make sure you are physically well, and to prayerfully research your options regarding medication. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Not one thing.
Resource: Christian Counselor Finder