Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

When depression surfaces

When depression begins to hover over me, I feel an immediate sense of dread. The other feelings associated with it are hard to articulate; they don’t make sense either.

It’s a vulnerable subject to talk about, much less write about it on my blog. But I started this blog to share stories about me and my life, and this dark stuff is part of that story. I tried writing an encouraging and happy blog post, but my heart wasn’t in it. Life goes up and down, and I’m down in the valley for the present. But I’ll climb out of it like I have in the past. These experience teach me that people are fragile, no matter the external, and a smile can hide many tears.

I tell myself that if I try a little bit harder and hold fast to that positive attitude, I can overcome it. Maybe if I keep busy I’ll forget too. Maybe I’m a bad Jesus follower and a poor witness of my faith. The more I push it down, the grumpier I get. One thing I detest about this is how it affects my family. My kids wonder why mommy cries for no reason and gets hyper-annoyed by things that were non issues in the past. Disowning it takes it toll on all of us.

When people I know share stories with me about their panic attacks and bouts of depression, I empathize. It’s tough enough dealing with those feelings without the extra stress of convincing someone that you are not feeling this way on purpose. I need to return that kindness towards myself.

Ready for battle…I’m feeling her attitude!

I’m grateful for God who knows and still loves me. He doesn’t get offended by this kind of stuff. Instead He draws closer and shows me, through various ways, that I am not forgotten. I have purpose. One thing I don’t want is for you to feel sorry for me. I’m just sharing what’s on my heart with you.

K, giving myself a big high five that I am not going to delete this post but will publish it. Eeeeek.

Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

— C.S. Lewis

Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

A personal talk about depression

Photo by Bryan Schneider on Pexels.com

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that November and December of 2018 was an upheaval of sorts with my 5-year-old daughter getting hospitalized three times in one month. When she gets sick, it affects our whole family taking us time to recover and settle back into our regular life. After the last hospitalization, we spent the last week of December catching up on sleep and physical rest.

January couldn’t come any faster. I wanted to put 2018 behind us and start new: a new year, a new attitude, new experiences, new adventures, new plans. The first two days of this year went well for me. Then, on January 3rd, a rush of sadness and hopelessness swept over me. These feelings surfaced intermittently, but I pushed them away so I could keep moving forward. But at Ellis’ cardiology appointment on January 3rd, a casual conversation with the social worker brought my despair to light. I didn’t know why it was a big deal that we had a rough month; I was doing just fine.

On these clinic visits, parent/s and child meet with various specialists to discuss issues, progress, and questions. Many parents with children who have chronic medical conditions suffer from depression, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD (hospital experiences become a war zone in the mind). Doctors always ask parents how they are holding up. But this time it was evident to me that I was not okay. I recalled what happened each time, which events led up to it, and how I was coping; having someone ask me with sympathetic eyes just broke me down. I was hurting.

My depression has made another grand entrance in my life. I’ve struggled with it since my twenties, and I notice it reoccurs with major life changes or stressers. It’s hard to talk about depression openly with all the negative stigma attached to it and as a Korean-American. These kinds of things are rarely discussed, acknowledged, or admitted in Asian cultures; there’s lots of shame attached to self and to one’s family. It can be seen as a sign of personal weakness and lack of willpower. Oh well. So be it.

I have depression with propensity for panic breakdowns. I wish I didn’t have it and many times I white knuckle it through those anxiety sweeping moments. But talking about it releases the grip it has on me. Sometimes I get tired of smiling and making it seem like I’m doing fine when really I’m scared and hurting badly inside. This kind of stuff is hard to share: what if my feelings burden someone else?; what if it makes people dislike me?; will they think I’m crazy?; will this label me?; will people think I’m a bad Christian?

I don’t want to be seen as the party pooper who walks around with a dark cloud above my head. It’s not all the time, so I would rather keep it to myself. With depression, it’s hard to articulate those waves of sadness and hopelessness that overpowers the self.

I made a doctor’s appointment the next day. My current medication was not working. I couldn’t let it get worse; I really was holding on by a thread. I’ll see a therapist again. My constant irritability and crying were affecting my family members; it wasn’t only about me anymore. I feel very vulnerable and weird sharing this on my blog. But this blog is about my life and how can I ignore it. Believing in God does not mean that I’m immune from things like this; God is here in the midst and helping me work through it. I cling to Him more in times like this.

I’m learning that it’s better to seek help to get better than to sweep it under the rug. I do the latter a lot and it explodes in various ways. I hope anyone who is depressed and feel hopeless will reach out for help. It doesn’t have to stay this way.

BTW, if my writing sounds defensive or too explanatory, please understand. This is a vulnerable topic for me and something I feel ambivalent about. Thanks readers!!