The depression funk

Feeling depressed is not a new thing for me since I’ve been dealing with it for many years. But when the intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness surge, it’s more than I can handle on my own. For years friends and Ellis’ doctors have urged me to seek psychological help. Parents of chronically ill children develop psychological symptoms similar to combat soldiers in war, like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Every time we come home from one of Ellis’ appointments or any health-related scares, I’m emotionally spent and pretty much useless for the rest of the day. I run on adrenaline and stress; don’t have time to tend to myself. Once it’s over, I’m a basket case. Those fear emotions don’t stop there. The vigilance continues, as well as the pressure to provide a good growing up experience for both kids.

Rather than giving myself grace that this is a difficult experience, I tend to berate myself for being weak and unproductive. It’s a vicious cycle.

But you get used to certain things, even negative ones. I am so familiar with the depression pain hanging over me that I just accept it as a part of my life. Frequent nightmares are scary but you get used to that too.

This time I am slowly reaching out for extra help. I realize it involves work and perseverance; instead of just calling off the day as “done” or “bad,” I push myself to go outside with the kids. I finally talked with a psychiatrist. *gulp* *gulp* I just said it. Why does it have to be so hard? Why do I give the stigma more power by trying to hide it?!

I know that dealing with these mental health issues does not make me a bad Christian, yet so much shame is associated with it. This is old-school thinking I grew up with. I should be able to pray it out or have more faith. Yep, all that old, unhelpful stuff. It’s hard to talk about it because it takes too much time and words.

Just as much as the body hurts, so does the mind. I don’t doubt God loves me and helps me in my tough times. He’s done it plenty of times before and is still working. It takes time to heal and God is doing something new in me. What that new thing is is ambiguous.

eeek, this has become a vulnerable post. I’m working things out in the midst of life’s stresses and this unprecedented pandemic. I was conflicted about publishing a post so personal, but if I omitted this issue, this blog would not represent my life trekk.

This is a messy and painful journey, but I’m glad to be able to share it with you!

19 thoughts on “The depression funk

  1. It’s a good thing that you reached out for help and a good thing that you’re sharing. I totally get what you mean about the stigma surrounding being a Christian with depression but I do think that is changing. It takes people being brave enough to share their story to change hearts and minds. Thank you for being brave.

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    • Thank you for your encouraging comment! I tried not talk about it on my blog, but it wouldn’t feel authentic. Being a Christian with depression is something else to deal with. I hope honest discussion about it will lessen the stigma. One day at a time! I’m trying to stay brave.

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  2. By sharing dear Ester, you are helping many others who grapple with depression and feel alone – you have the spirit and courage to find your way through – I’m so proud to be your friend, Always, Pamela

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    • Pamela, thank you!! You have been my sage through my ongoing journey and we have both come a long way. I can’t thank you enough for the Sakura Riverside walks, blue table discussions, and teaching me to live free. Pretty fortunate to have a friend like you. xoxoxox

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  3. I’m glad you’re getting help, my friend. It’ll help you, surely, but it’ll also help you be a better mom, wife, friend, etc. to everyone else in your life. No shame my dear! The mind needs medical attention from time to time just like any other body part. Love you!

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    • Thanks friend! I appreciate your encouragement and support. I cognitively know that seeking help is not a shameful thing but it’s that old stigma thing. You always do ask how I’m feeling. Thanks!
      Have a great weekend and take care in this heat. xoxoxo

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  4. You have a lot on your plate Esther and are not weak, just need a little propping up right now. I liked your sentence “This is old-school thinking I grew up with.” You have nailed it as so often we were encouraged to “just work things out in our mind” or “keep it to yourself” … kudos to you for getting a little help. You have a unique situation and many worries about little Ellis’ health … that is easy to understand. The pandemic has magnified things so much that it is hard to stay clear-headed. I know I worry about everything – the angst to do simple errands in the outside world over the last several days made me wonder about myself. Take care and write out your feelings if it makes you feel better. It took courage to write this post, so keep us posted on this new journey, okay?

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    • Linda, thank you for your sweet comments!! I feel understood that it is okay to be feeling out of sorts. Life has been emotionally difficult and loving a kid who gets sick often can shred your heart. The pandemic is making it worse and I understand your angst too about making simple errands. It’s not easy to make simple decisions these days; this invisible virus could be anywhere.
      Thanks again for the acknowledgement that I did right in writing up my vulnerability! Blessed to have good blogging friends like you, and supportive friends near and far (you know who you guys are).
      Take care and hope the weather is milder where you are. We got new emergencies with George Floyd’s death, which is heartbreaking and unjust. Curfew is put in place in San Jose due to riots over the weekend.

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      • You are welcome Esther – my mom had many medical issues as a result of being hit by a car at age 11. She had 42 operations in her life, and it was not just orthopedic woes, it was medical issues that resulted from the orthopedic injuries. She spent from age 11 to age 15 in the hospital without leaving, so my grandparents had big adjustments. But living with a person with a chronic illness is trying and scary, you’re on an emotional rollercoaster much of the time. I get it as I was very close to my mom and worried about her well being all of the time. There are many highs and lows. I am happy to be on the other end of the computer for you even though we are 3,000 miles apart. I am sorry for being late responding to this e-mail, but I spent the entire weekend outside working in the yard (17 hours over the weekend). It was a gorgeous weekend weather-wise … no heat, nor humidity and got a lot done.
        But I finally sat down about 8:00-ish Saturday and Sunday nights and within a few minutes I had nodded off, so off to bed I went. That’s okay – it was hard but good work and lots of fresh air. The riots are scary for sure – we have them in nearby Detroit which is about 13 miles from here – Just peeking at the news stories today – pretty scary, so stay clear of all of them!

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      • I totally know what you mean about living with a person with a chronic illness. I do remember you saying your mom had dozens of surgeries, but I did not know she lived in the hospital for four years. That must’ve been challenging for your mom and her parents…how do you explain that to outsiders?! As an only child, you probably went through a lot too. Moms are the center of kids’ universe and it’s frightening to see them sick. My mom was sick all the time too and that created gutt-wrenching fears for me. Often I checked her pulse at night to make sure she was alive.
        Thank you for being a supportive friend! I so appreciate you sharing your time and stories with me. And don’t worry about responding late! I respond late too. Trying to carve out time to read and respond. In the past five minutes, I’ve heard “mommy” life 7 times.
        Yes, there’s a mixture of peaceful and violent protests here too. This morning a group of people (it seems) started 6 fires in a nearby neighborhood! Why??
        Please stay safe and well!

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