I keep thinking surely there will be things I won’t put on the blog. Like how my counselor said to me yesterday, “Yeah, you’re depressed.” Surely that doesn’t need to go out into the universe.
But then I thought about each of you. And I thought about how depression has a stigma. And I thought about how hard things can lead to depression and one of the things my heart totally desires to do is make sure that even one woman feels less alone and less crazy. (You’re not alone, baby girl. You’re not crazy.)
So here I am saying what my counselor told me: that I’m depressed.
Frankly, this did not come as too much of a surprise to me. Somewhere along the way within the past few weeks, I felt a bit of a shift. So those words actually made sense, didn’t upset me or shock me.
Now, here’s why I’m telling all of you this. Because I think that when most people think of depression, they picture a woman in her bathrobe in the middle of the day with bedhead and carrying a box of Kleenex around, if she’s even out of bed.
Yeah, no. That’s not how it’s playing out for me. And if I waited for myself to morph into that specific caricature, I’d have never diagnosed myself (and therefore, never would’ve gone to my counselor).
So I want to tell you what it’s been looking like for me, in case you find yourself here too, and you’re thinking to yourself, “I’m not depressed…because I’m not sleeping all day every day/not eating/laying around/getting nothing done (fill in the blank).”
So, for me it’s been this:
I’ve been getting the same amount of sleep I always get.
I’ve been eating probably about the same amount of food; but I’m not hungry. I’m saying things like, midday, Oh, I should probably eat something. I’m having to remind myself to eat.
I’ve been getting the same amount, if not more, work done; but not out of passion…to keep my thoughts distracted.
I’ve been taking one or two walks a day (i.e. getting outside, getting exercise); but sometimes they’re slow walks, or sometimes I’ll cry a little bit.
I’ve been listening to music; but songs lately, as I said to my friends, are the bane of my existence; they’re reminding me of everything him-related.
I haven’t done anything specifically just for the fun of it in weeks; I’ve had to tell myself to put earrings on because it felt sort of pointless; I haven’t gone clothes shopping in over six weeks (that right there should have been my one and only needed red flag that something was off).
There’s more…I’m not trying to make light of it all…I’m still crying some…I’m still dwelling…I’m still wanting to be home more than usual…I’m going through the motions. In other words, I’m just not me.
And I have no idea why this situation of all the hard things I’ve weathered has caused me to slip a bit down the depressed road, but it has.
My kindest-man-I’ve-ever-known counselor (who has walked me through the past four years of yuck) said this to me, “You have suffered yet another deep rejection…another wounding to your heart.” (Oh, thank you, sweet, sweet man for not minimizing this loss.) But he then said, “If a spiritual doctor could look into your heart, he would tell you that all of your other wounds have healed just beautifully.” (In other words, this one will too.)
So, what am I doing now that I’ve been “diagnosed”?
One, I’m not ashamed (clearly!).
Two, I told a few friends so they can be praying and checking in.
Three, I’m going to keep eating well, sleeping enough, going for walks, doing my work.
Four, I’m going to check in with my counselor again if I’m not feeling better in a few weeks.
Five, I’m going to be monitor myself carefully and keep being honest with myself.
Six, the tweaks: I’ve purchased some St. John’s Wort tea; I’ve changed out my walking music to all new worship songs I’ve never heard before so there can be no triggering; I’m going to think of something fun to do (soon, I promise); I’m going to work on halting my thoughts as they start replaying conversations – even though all the conversations were good – by simply saying Jesus out loud. (It may work, it may not.)
But even in this moment, I’m realizing that this is yet one more experience God is allowing me to walk through and learn from and put in my pocket of things that I will be able to empathize with and have compassion for.
I’m not worried. I am confident that I’m going to be okay and that I’m going to feel like myself again at some point soon. And in the meantime, I will be gentle with myself, show myself grace, do what I need to do to take care of myself, and keep moving forward.
I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace. –Jeremiah 33:6-