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!