Category Archives: Depression

The Struggle Is Real

The following is something I wrote on a day that was pretty rough for me. It’s unedited. Raw. I hope that if you are dealing with depression as well you may be able to relate, thereby feeling less alone. If you’ve never been depressed though, this may help you to see a little of the struggle that people with depression go through. I’d also like to add that often times in the worst of my depression it’s hard to express feelings so this post is actually not even the worst of the crazy.

“Today isn’t good. Well it might be good, but I’m slogging through mire so it feels all bad. Although when I say I’m slogging through mire it sounds like I’m making some sort of forward momentum but I’m not. And I ate all the bad foods in the house today. And I’m mad, but I have no good reason to be mad. But I can’t stop being mad. And I feel gross, which is probably because of the food. And it’s 10:14 at night and I should just go to bed but I just want to eat all of the bad stuff some more, even though it will make me feel worse. And I don’t care. And I don’t want to use punctuation anymore because it’s annoying. And I want everyone reading this to think I’m amazing even in my brokenness, but at the same time I want pity. Is it possible to be amazing and pitiful at the same time? I don’t even know. I’m going now to eat a cookie. Why did my husband and daughter make cookies? Because I hid my pain well enough today so that they didn’t know I couldn’t handle the cookies in the house. My poor family.”

Dealing With My Junk

November 14, 2013 was a very pivotal time in my depression journey. But let’s start with 3 years prior. November 14, 2010 was the day my mother died. She battled cancer for 7 long years. We weren’t particularly close, but I believe her death triggered my depression. Don’t read that wrong. I’m not blaming her. It was just a traumatic and stressful time for me. I am the second oldest of 5 kids.  All 5 of us kids were very much involved in our own ways with Mom and Dad’s care during and after those 7 years, but often many of the responsibilities of holding the family together fell on me. I’m the one who wrote regular updates on a blog for seven years to keep family and friends in the know. I’m the one who called Dad’s doctor when he was making grunts about being suicidal. I’m the one who held my tongue when someone blamed me for something I didn’t do, so as to keep the peace. I’m the one who went with my parents to my Mom’s last oncology appointment as my Mom sat confused because her brain cancer was taking over. I’m the one who was next to my Dad as Mom took her last, horrifically difficult breath. The one who sat with him on one side of Mom’s body while he was on the other side calling my siblings and the funeral home. I’m the one who planned much of the funeral and made sure the obit and funeral home were taken care of. I’m the one who moved my Dad in with me and my family because he was so severely depressed and couldn’t live alone anymore.

And somewhere in all of that, things were coming to a head. I have little idea as to what I could have done differently to prevent the depression and really, now it doesn’t matter. I can honestly say it was an honor to do the things I mentioned above. I’m not complaining. They just are what they are.

So back to the 3 year anniversary of my Mom’s death….with the help of the Pastor that was counseling me, along with the encouragement of my husband I decided I needed to take the entire day off from being a Mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister and just be alone to feel. I drove around to various places we lived growing up. I took pictures. I remembered. I pined. I took myself out to lunch and thought. And then I went to a park my parents had taken us to when we were little and I read through old letters and looked through old pictures and I remembered more. I remembered good and I remembered bad. I cried and I smiled. I felt.

And I wrote. First, I wrote my Mom a letter. I thanked her for many things, and then told her what she had done that made me mad. And then I forgave her for those things. Things I was ashamed of holding on to. Things I felt guilt over. I put it in the letter, wished her well and signed it. I know she won’t actually read the letter, but it was a HUGE burden to release a lot of that junk.

Next I wrote down every detail of the moments surrounding my Mom’s last breath. I often had nightmares, even 3 years later where I could again see in great detail that last minute or so. I’d wake up sweating and crying and couldn’t sleep again. I desperately wanted to forget but in a way, I couldn’t let go. So it felt like if I wrote it all down I’d still have it to refer back to someday, but I wouldn’t have to store it in my memory. And you know what? It worked. In the last 19 months I’ve only relived it once. That’s huge for me!

When the 4 year anniversary of Mom’s death came I was relieved to find that I no longer felt any guilt on that day. I could truly look back on her life and her death with peace. And I still feel that way. Even during the times when I’m at my worst I know that I have dealt with the junk surrounding her illness and death and it doesn’t pain me anymore to reminisce.

Whether you are dealing with depression or not, I strongly urge you to deal with your junk . Whether it’s difficult stuff you’re dealing with, or sweet memories that still pain you, DEAL with it! It’s sweet relief when you do! It is desperately painful as you deal with it, but so worth it in the grand scheme of things. What is it that pains you to think back on? Go deal with that!

Vital Mental Medicine

Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great British Explorer once said “We must have that banjo! It’s vital mental medicine!” While I do LOVE the banjo I definitely don’t consider it vital mental medicine for me (although I’d take it over bagpipes or the accordion). But the quote got me to thinking…what is MY vital mental medicine? What is it that, when I’m severely down, I turn to to bring me back up?

You know what I came up with? Nothing. Not one single thing. I need to look at this “vital mental medicine” differently. The word “vital” means “necessary to the existence.” It seems this “vital mental medicine” is something you’d take BEFORE you got down. Especially since when you’re down you don’t really feel like you exist.

I would say reading the Word would be my vital mental medicine. And so would meditating. Deep, slow, focused breathing. And so would exercise. Like a brisk walk outside, or Holy Yoga. But these are all things I have to do BEFORE I get down. But why do they all have to be things that don’t come easily to me? Things I’m not naturally drawn to? I have no answer for that.

The second part of this is knowing how to keep with your vital mental medicine even when you’re having a crap day. Eric keeps telling me, mostly on my worst days that I need to “work my plan.” When I was feeling good I had made a plan for each day of the week. The plans always include reading my Bible, exercise and meditating, along with all of my housewife and Mom duties. So when I’m feeling poorly I need to work my plan (plan your work, work your plan).

It makes sense. When I’m thinking clearly I made a good daily schedule. When I’m not thinking clearly the one decision I have to make is to do the next thing on my schedule.

I also give myself more grace on those bad days. If I’m not able to do everything on the plan at least I’ve done SOMETHING (which is a whole lot more than if I didn’t have a plan at all).

So there you go. I’ve got my vital mental medicine worked into my plan. Sticking to the plan I made when I felt happy and sane is what will keep me from complete nuts-ville on the really bad days. Now figure out what YOUR vital mental medicine is and then make a plan. If you only have depression-filled days right now then ask someone you trust to make a plan for you, even if it’s a temporary one. And then work your plan.

Oh, and for the record….I know that vital mental medicine is never alcohol or shopping. Don’t put those into your plan.



Don’t Always Believe Everything You Think

I often find myself wondering “Is what I’m thinking reality?” It’s one of the scariest things I deal with because I very much value truth. To not know if my own thoughts are true freaks me out! People who deal with depression often have a ridiculous amount of lies floating through their head.

An example from my own life…a few weeks ago the black cloud of depression was lingering over me for several days in a row. About 6 hours into it (literally, 6 hours!) I couldn’t shake the thought that this is how my life has ALWAYS been. That every moment of every day of my life has been spent under this dark cloud and that it will never let up.

Over the next few days I made it through those lies without building on them or acting on them. The black cloud lifted and I began thinking rationally again.

The only way I got through those days without making those lies my new truth is because of what I chose to do BEFORE the cloud came: I choose ahead of time to be aware of my mood and believe almost nothing in my head. Yes, you read that right. I believe almost nothing in my head. If it wasn’t a true thought when I was doing well then it’s not a true thought now. And I get people who know me and love me to tell me what to believe. I do have a mind of my own and I’m intelligent, but I have too many lies in my head off and on and so I choose to believe people I trust during that time. If I am believing something negative (“My kids would thrive if it weren’t for my depression.” “I’m good at nothing.”) and especially if it’s an absolute (“I can’t make ANY good food.” “My life is NEVER going to be good.”) I choose to not listen. It’s so hard to do though, and that’s why I have to decide to make those choices BEFORE I am in that bad place.

But I hate it. I hate that I can’t trust my own thoughts at times. They are in my head. It’s MY head!

Maybe someday I’ll have my brain back. Until then:

  • I Ask God to fill my head with His Truths
  • I try to memorize Bible verses (I got this idea from Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free”)
  • I keep myself in the Word
  • I do a lot of apologizing to people who feel the ripple of my acting on the falsehoods in my head

Silent No More

I’m a “just yank the Band-Aid off” type of a person so I’m just going to start my entire blogging/writing journey by saying this: I am a 39-year-old Christian woman who suffers from depression. Not like “Man, I’m so depressed and the only thing that will cure it is chocolate.” More like I’m sitting on the couch for hours on end crying and staring and I’m desperately tired and I have no way of moving forward.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression; meaning something is physically wrong with my body. I say this here and now because I think often in the church depression isn’t talked about openly and therefore most people don’t understand it. I personally didn’t understand it until I saw a godly family member suffer in the saddest of ways from depression. I had always thought that all forms of depression could be cured by being a “better Christian.” I was wrong.

This blog is my way of getting the word out there. I am a woman who loves Jesus dearly and is clinically depressed. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is what it is. Hopefully others suffering similarly can feel some relief knowing they are not alone.

If you are also a Christian woman suffering from depression I hope you’ll take this journey with me.