I have a confession to make. That’s always a show-stopper, isn’t it? Some of you have kindly mentioned to me that you haven’t seen a post from me in a long time and you wondered if you had missed one. The answer is “no.” It’s been about 7 months since my last post – this is where the confession comes in. I have been struggling these past months with depression – again. I’ve thought about writing about this for quite some time, but I just never seemed to be able to get it together and actually do it. Well… you know how it is.
Before I go any further, I feel I should let everyone know that this is a very mild case of depression – nowhere near as deep or black as what I have overcome in the past. Still. Having to accept that you’re depressed (again) after you have already worked so hard to overcome it is, well, depressing. And then, of course, there is the self-recrimination, the frustration, the anger at myself for allowing myself to be here (again). And the vicious cycle begins. I am, however, taking my own advice from past posts on this blog and I am taking steps to overcome it (again). Actually, I already am on the way to climbing out, which is why I’ve finally sat down to write about it.
This is kind of a good news, bad news situation. As I usually prefer, I started with the bad news. The good news is that the reasons for depression this time around are different from past times. Mostly. I consider that personal growth, which is encouraging. This time it really isn’t about not forgiving people from past hurts, but I have still fallen prey to really bad messages from my past that I have chosen to listen to and believe. It’s taken several months, but I believe I have narrowed down my issues to feelings of insignificance. I find myself still wondering what I want to do when I grow up. I feel that there is so much more I have to offer, but I don’t know what that realistically looks like. In truth, I haven’t transitioned into the “empty nest” all that well. In my own defense, however, I think I’ve done a lot better than I thought I would back when my boys were in high school and I had the void they would leave looming ahead of me. Unfortunately, I think “significance” for me requires a great deal of focused activity. It seems that I’m only fulfilled when I am “doing” and I really struggle with just “being.” Metaphorically, I am invigorated by swimming with strong currents and white water; it’s treading water in deep, quiet pools that drains me. I have long known this about myself, which is why I have resisted just jumping into a lot of possible activities in the last few years – I don’t want to be so busy and worn down by doing “good” stuff that I miss whatever God has planned for me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still doing quite a bit of stuff, just not as much as I could.
WARNING: EXTREME CHRISTIAN CONTENT TO FOLLOW. I just wanted to warn my non-Jesus readers so you can bail out here if you choose. I absolutely believe in spiritual warfare. I believe the Enemy tends to leave us alone when we’re not doing much for the Kingdom of God. Sometimes we struggle because of sin in our lives (including, but not limited to, forgiving other people and ourselves) or the fallout of sin from other people. But I have seen over and over again how the Enemy dredges up our past and past negative messages to keep us from something God has in store for us. Satan can’t claim us, but he can certainly derail us.
All of this is to say, if you are dealing with depression or sometimes have recurring depression, I’m there in the trenches with you. The crucial things are: admit the depression – you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge; be honest with yourself and examine the reasons for the depression; choose to take steps to get out of it (see previous posts on this blog, if you need some suggestions); forgive yourself, get over yourself, and determine that you will not allow depression to defeat you. It really is all a matter of determination and a choice. No magic incantations, no fairy dust. You have to choose, and keep choosing. It’s not easy, and it’s not a quick fix, but it can be done. Again.