Sometimes, in life, there comes a point where you are forced to look up from your cheerio smattered floor, your bathroom that smells like six chickens live in it (in all fairness, six chickens DO live in my bathroom,) and your hair that has not been washed in roughly a week. Maybe you do a smell check on the pajama t-shirt you haven’t changed in a couple of days (that odor is barely even noticeable…if you’re standing at least six feet away and wearing a respirator!) You press pause on all of this crazy and have a come-to-Jesus meeting with yourself. Eventually, the two of you come to the conclusion that maybe this whole Postpartum Depression thing is actually just regular ol’ Depression. The deciding factor on that verdict being that your “baby” is a year and a half old and you still can’t figure out how to get out of bed in the morning. So yeah. These sad/mad/crazy/guilty/overwhelmed/anxious I-Don’t-Want-To-Get-Out-of-Bed-Days are probably not going to be taking a hike anytime soon. They’re sticking around.
Well, I guess at this point I’m sort of already broken down. So instead let’s cue: cryfest with your husband. That dude doesn’t have enough on his plate already. Let’s just dump all of this junk right there.
This has been my week. And I want to tell you something that has been MEGA surprising to me:
It’s kind of exciting.
Now, I am not excited by the prospect of being in the trenches of this battle for (potentially) the rest of my life. Not even close. No. I wouldn’t wish Depression on anybody.
If Life is an ocean, then folks suffering from depression are crippled swimmers. We struggle along, working beyond the point of exhaustion and going nowhere. Sometimes not even staying above water.
As an aside, to all the able-bodied swimmers out there, can I ask you a favor on behalf of anyone in your life struggling with depression or anxiety or another mental illness? Please, please, please: Do not pity us. We don’t need your tough love. We are working twice as hard to get half as far. We are fighting to the last breath. We are warriors. If you can’t get in the pit with us and just sit in comforting silence, then at least cheer us on for our small victories, even if they don’t look like victories to you.
Okay. PSA over. Climbing off the soapbox. Back to my breakdown. And my excitement.
Depression, for me, has been wave after wave after wave, dashing me against a rock, spilling my guts out, breaking me open and exposing me for what I am. It is taking everything I have felt pride in: My ability as a mother, my faithfulness as a wife, writing, homeschooling, my appearance, my usefulness in ministry, my sunny disposition….breaking it open. Spilling it out. Showing me where I have erred in finding glory. I have failed at everything. Everything. It’s not just the obvious areas of struggle for me anymore. It’s all of the good things in my life. All of the areas I do well in. All the bits of me that cause me to puff out my chest and hold my head up a little higher. All the things I use to convince myself that “it’s really not that bad,” or “I’m doing pretty okay,” or *gasp* “Well, I’m better at this than she is!” And why? Because some things have always come easily to me. Well. Not anymore.
So, I am excited about this new acceptance in my life that Depression is just going to stick around for two reasons:
- I am not waiting for an end-date anymore. I am officially out of the waiting room in regards to depression. It is going nowhere. So, I have no choice but to try and find ways to live with it. But I can start living again instead of just waiting to get better.
- Ya’ll. Talk about your humility. I am so. So. So excited to see what Jesus will do with my mess. Because He has promised, hasn’t He? He loves to use the base things, the things despised, the broken and useless and foolish things, the things that are nothing to bring to nothing the things that are? Right? In God’s economy, being poor (destitute, positively BANKRUPT) in the spirit, I am set to inherit the Kingdom. What?! Yes.
I am excited because the rock I am being buffeted against is no ordinary rock. It is the Rock that is higher than I. My glory has been stripped away from me, and all the little “g” gods I have made for myself. And, maybe for the first time ever, my glory is only in the Cross. Only in the crucified and risen Christ.
“Beth Biggers has been following Jesus for 11 years, married to Brandon for 7, and a mom for 5. Her sons Luke and Liam provide her with adventure, laughs, and content for her blog at http://www.bethbiggers.com where she writes about family, faith, and urban homesteading.”
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