The Truth in Depression
There was a time depression looked a certain way. I carried a visible sadness in my soul, and it filtered out like a light from the sun. The downcast gaze of hollow eyes carried deep burdens and painful times. As I grew up, depression did, too. I worked through my day with ease and carefree, able to hide the pain with cute smiles, bright and cheery greetings, and flowing laughter. The home was where the real me escaped and was free.
Depression is relentless. We struggle to overcome, and it fights to defeat us. The pursuit of our mind is that of a hunter and it’s prey. Over the last several years, I have been forced into a whirlwind of drama and hurt. One day I closed my eyes, then opened them to chaos and calamity.
Grandchildren are a blessing. I have been in guardianship of two of them for a while now. Their presence is a joy and keeps me going daily. Their mom is dealing with consequences, leaving me to care for the beauties. As much as I love these two, I would rather be their nanny and do all the fun things I am supposed to do. Instead, I am busy teaching (literally, with this pandemic), disciplining, and being in a role meant for their mom. My mental health is moved to the back burner while I work to sustain theirs.
Hiding for the Sake of Others.
Instead of running home and unleashing the wardrobe of release, I bottle up my mental illness and keep it all away from sensitive minds. I fight off mood swings like a warrior and do my best to provide the environment they deserve. Depressed Lisa is not allowed to enter. Yet, there comes a time when the burners are full, and there is no more room to shuffle me around.
I realized I am not hiding from others; I am hiding me from me. In my private thoughts, I know my truth, in my outward life, no one else does. Navigating this mental health highway is hard. Balancing all the details is an act of precision. Will I succeed one day? I hope so. Until then, there is work to do.
Plan for Success
We can’t forge a new road to recovery without understanding exactly where we are starting. To move forward requires intentional thought patterns and goals. We cannot set those in place without admitting what hasn’t worked in the past, confessing our shortfalls, and coming to terms with our truth. I do not want to be depressed, but I am. I start right there.
- Start with confession and acknowledge the areas of concern.
- Set goals and follow through to accomplishment.
- Allow for setbacks and rest your mind.
- Admit when you need help.
- Seek accountability and guidance.
- Face the difficult days with Jesus.
- Pray more.
- Read the Bible.
- Give yourself grace. We are NOT perfect.
- Keep in touch with friends, support groups, pastors.
- Be honest with yourself about how you are doing.
- Be honest with God.
- Remember, it takes time to heal.
- Count your blessings.
Depression erects borders that hold me in. Only I can take down the barriers one at a time. However, if I never open my eyes to see the walls around me, I will never be free. Today, I began step one- confession and acknowledging I am lost. I shared this with a support group I am part of at my church. In sharing, I have created a scope of accountability. I trust they will check in on me and help me through.
I refuse to stay burdened by depression. I accept it is a permanent part of my life, but it will not keep me permanently down. Taking a stand for myself is nothing new. These episodes come and go; it is what it is. I have a power in me for survival, I choose today to cry out to Jesus, and lay back in his arms. Together, we begin again.