I don't know how I didn't recognize it at first, but it hit me hard today after I woke up from my afternoon nap. I had been napping in the afternoons a lot lately. Last week, I felt the blahs and just out of my element and downright awful.
My body ached. My heart ached. My mind ached. Everything felt painful. I wished for the days to fly by so that I could go back to sleep and get some rest. "I am just really tired" I reasoned with myself. I just need to get more sleep. Take more breaks.
Then I would crawl into my bed at night and the wave of guilt would ride over me because I was worried I didn't talk to my kids enough or hang out with them enough or that I was turning into a horrible mother.
I found myself back to that place I was at in late 2010, early 2011. I would take a 2 hour nap every single day when my son would lie down for his nap. My daughter who was almost 5, would lie in the bed next to me, either playing with her Barbie dolls or watching a move I put on for her. I had no energy. No output. I could barely play with her. I felt guilty because of it and I believed I was a horrible mother. I believed I didn't deserve my children.
Back then, I was able to turn things around with a little counseling and I got into fitness and health. Moving my body was the mental breakthrough that helped ease the fog and confusion of the depression and extreme exhaustion I was experiencing.
But this time, even with me working out I am noticing that the waves of depression are press over me more frequently. I am grateful that I am able to recognize it and that I am not one who needs to be on medication, but to seek out resources that will help me, especially since we are all in a place where isolation is real. We are forced to stay in our homes and only go out to "approved" places (I have so much to say on that, but I will spare my rant for another day) and there isn't a lot of hope being given by those in charge. Just a lot of fear and uncertainty, as if giving their people hope is a bad thing.
So I am going to give you some. If you are someone who is experiencing depression, anxiety, or anything serious with your mental health, I want to tell you that there is hope. I watched in horror as the Governor of New York stated, and I am paraphrasing that depression is bad, but it does not equal death. I was angry for those of you who I know feel like they are already dead.
Dead in mind. Dead in their spirit. The last part of death is their physical body. So with all due respect to that Governor, he does not realize what he is saying.
The enemy seeks to kill and destroy us. A way for him to do that is by attacking our minds. If he can get inside our head, and play the same stories over and over again, providing "evidence" in order to support his lies, and cause you to spiral downward. Combine that with those who have a very real medical diagnosis of depression and anxiety, my sister friend, it can feel like you are already dead.
I believe that the church is getting better when it comes to depression. After two pastors in Southern California took their lives within several months of each other, it was a big wakeup call that we needed to start paying more attention to those who serve our congregations and truly walk with them and help them. Now, with this pandemic and people who are forced to leave behind their jobs that are considered non essential, yet it feeds their families, I know that the depression rates are skyrocketing. People are feeling hopeless and powerless and those in power are not hearing us. I know our leaders in California are not. I believe they are tone deaf, but again, I will share my political rant on another day.
What I want to offer you is this: while you are in your waves, as they crash over you and you feel like there is no end in sight, I am going to beg you to reach out and tell someone. This is scary. I know. The judgment is can be real. People don't always know what to say so they end up saying something stupid. If you are able, have grace with them. I am not a doctor, nor do I tend to diagnose you or give you medical advice.
The only thing I want to do is give you this piece of hope. I don't believe in being stingy with hope. I believe that hope keeps people going. It keeps them alive. I don't believe in false hope....because that means you are lying to them. That is really what people mean when they say don't give false hope. They believe it to be a lie.
There is an end to this, but you have to fight for yourself.
There will be an end to this evil pandemic and economic crushing, but you must rise up and fight for yourself.
More shopping, more drinking, more eating....they won't save you or help you. I will be honest, most of the time it just makes it worse. Even good things like more exercise, and good nutrition, while so good for you and definitely helpful....they can't save you.
Only Jesus can.
If you need medication, please, take it. You are not a hero by not taking it. It doesn't mean that you don't trust God. I know you do. Please, take it. Please stop listening to the ill-advised Christians who tell you that if you trusted God more you could get off it. They are not your doctor. They are wrong. Please. I beg you.
If you are not clinically depressed, but your mental health feels off, do something about it. Go for more walks outside. Work in the sunshine. Hug your children. Visit your friends via a drive by. Write your words. Tell your stories. Sing songs. Get in a small group. Exercise (one of my favorites), take a bubble bath. Get off social media and stop listening to the news and the doom and gloom. Let those people live in fear if they want, and you rise up against it.
You are worth fighting for.
If I can pray for you while you are experiencing a season of lows, please reach out to me. I would love nothing more than to write your names in my journal and lift you up. I also have a free resource filled with my favorite scriptures that help me when I feel the anxiety and sadness overwhelm me, exclusively for my subscribers.
I love each of you.