Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Perched

 

 

This is a letter to myself. A letter to myself that I am sharing with you in hopes that it might help you as it is slowly helping me.

 

Today I was at my wits end. Recently I have been struggling with intense overcast feelings to the extent of not wanting to leave my bed and feeling as one without hope. I blamed these feelings that I felt on many circumstances that I was drowning in. External pressures, external loss and disappointment. I was a victim of my circumstances. And I couldn’t overcome it. As a Type A personality I do very well at burying my feelings and emotions under work. I schedule my days to leave no time to think, reflect… or to breakdown. My mind is always moving, always achieving. But I couldn’t shake the cloud that had been following me. It was persistent, vigilant, shaking its hand at every ray of sunshine that tried to lighten my way.

 

Then something happened that took me from sitting under a cloud, to sitting under a cloud, as it began to downpour. With no coat or umbrella, I felt like shaking my hands at God. Was I not low enough? How well was I handling the cloud, that made you decide now was the time to bring the rain!

 

During this pity party, which was hosted and attended by me and myself alone, I came to the realization that my perception of the intensity of my circumstances stemmed from one issue. I tried to quiet all of the external voices for one second and the only voice left was my own. And I was screaming one thing. “God why have you discarded me! You have left me!”

 

The only reason my circumstances were drowning me was because I no longer believed that I had a lifeguard watching over me, ready to dive in and buoy me up. I felt that God was absent, uncaring, and un-invested. I felt like I was fighting a battle myself when I should have been letting God fight for me. But how could I sit back and let God fight for me if I didn’t believe He was on my side? Or even if He was on my side maybe He was unfeeling. He didn’t have anything to lose in this game! When I am doubling-over in pain that’s just me hurting, me alone. Why should I let him direct me if I have to face the aftermath by myself? When Job had sores on his body (Job 2:7) and his breath was putrid. God was unaffected!

 

I shocked myself with my thoughts. I pride myself on being pretty well read biblically. I could have quoted to you: Isaiah 49:15, which says “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” Or Lamentations 3:32, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”

 

But the problem was the Bible is just a book, unless you believe in the power of the words there in. In my pain I reached out to someone, which in and of itself is incredibly unlike me. But I needed someone to remind me of those words. But not just the word, the power behind those words. I needed someone to tell me those words and hear in their voice that they believed that which they were saying to be the truth. Like a match to a candle I was reminded of what I had long sought.

 

Romans 8: 38-39; “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

I wish I could tell you I am equally as persuaded as Paul was when he was writing this verse; after facing beatings and imprisonment. I am not there yet, partly because I haven’t been tested on that level. I don’t want to be to you like Peter who swore twice He would not deny our Lord and Savior, only to deny him thrice (Luke 22:54-62). But I will tell you that though I still remain perched under my cloud, the rain has slowed and when I reach out beside me I recognize that I am no longer alone.

 

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Not special, but Strong

Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you are strong. Stronger than you know. Stronger than you give yourself credit for. Strong despite those who left you or hurt you. Your worth is not a variable that someone can thumbs up on Facebook, or unfollow on Twitter. Your worth is grounded in who you are. Who God made you to be. Even on your worst day, after your biggest mistakes, in your loneliest places, you are worth something.

 

No matter how much loss you’ve experienced, rejection you face or road blocks in your way, the fact that you are still here, still alive, still waking up each morning, putting one foot in front of the other and weathering whatever storm life brings, proves your strength! I don’t care if you break down and cry, or get lost in periods of depression or self-hate. I see your strength when you put on a brave face and show up to work on time, smile at a stranger, or make dinner for your kids.

 

Take time to appreciate how far you have come without drowning in the awareness that there is still further yet to go. Notice the wounds that have become scars. Maybe they aren’t fully healed, and maybe they are still tender to the touch, but Praise God for the ones that no longer bleed!

 

This life is hard; but take comfort in the fact that your struggles don’t make you special, because we—individuals all over the world, are with you, struggling together. Your struggle is like a unique snowflake but together we are snow helping each other stay alive, whereas alone we might melt. Today I am praying for you, in the same way I hope you are praying for me. That we keep fighting, we keep surviving, and we keep overcoming.

 

You are strong! Find your strength.

 

 

 

 

A letter to myself

Lose sight of perfection, and get lost in the journey. Be okay with falling, failing. Be okay with scars. Be okay with never being quite good enough. Be okay if the finish line moves with every step you take. As you improve so do the expectations placed on you. As you go high, anticipate harder falls. But when you fall, don’t stay down. Don’t stay defeated.

 

Don’t let sadness engulf you or misery define you. When people criticize you take whatever you can from it, but do not internalize it. Hear it, listen to it, learn from it, and let it go.

 

Don’t let the sadness of a previous day follow you for the rest of the week. Don’t hide yourself from hurt. Allow it to hit you like a wave, then wash it away. Wake up every day and try your best. Brush your teeth, take a shower, and be grateful for another day.

 

Let perspective find you, let joy lift you up. Find a shoulder to cry on, and if none appear, tell your troubles to Jesus. He has the kindest ear, the softest heart, the biggest smile, and a light that brings cheer.

 

You are okay, if not, you will be. The weight you carry will grow lighter as you become stronger. Believe in yourself the way you believe in others. Have faith, love, and hope. Be kind, and don’t forget to smile.

 

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Sleep

I am encased by this deep fear.
Night after night sleep evades me.
I seek peace but I cannot reach it.
An enemy chases me that I cannot see.

I call out to my Father, but I don’t know if He hears me.
I am wandering this dark forest alone with no one to guide me.
I ask for direction and all I hear is silence.
I seek love and help from those who dwell on this earth with me,
but their aid is lost just as quickly as it was found.

The journey overwhelms me. I fall, and there is no one to catch me.

I call to my Father in hope that He help me.
That He heed my plight.

I want to give up on hearing His voice.
To claim that He isn’t there,
that He doesn’t care.

But I know He is there.
Standing quietly,
looking on lovingly.
Telling me that the night doesn’t last forever.
That light and relief come with the morning.

So I bide my time and wait.
When I can no longer form words,
and a cry is on my lips,
I just call His name,
Jesus, Jesus,
and I find the peace I need to sleep.

Overcoming obstacles

Sometimes it is easy to wallow in self pity. When I get in that frame of mind I tend to dwell in it for quite a bit. I wake up not so ready to face the day and with a feeling of two large hands pressing down on my chest. Then there is also the feeling of walking under a perpetual cloud. Today was one of those days, where I kinda just planned on barely making it through the day. I got to work and after some semi-challenging news I started feeling like the cloud above me was going to burst. I picked up my phone hoping to distract myself, but as usual there is never really anyone to talk to when you really need them, so I ended up going online and reading an article about a woman who has every reason to wallow in self pity but doesn’t.

She literally goes around giving TEDx talks exuding positivity and strength; when she can’t sit down and has a to use an external bag as a stomach. She’s extremely skinny because though she eats 8,000 calories a day she only retains 20% of it. Which most of us would think great right? But not when the rest drips out of what should be her stomach. I thought wow. If I was going through that I would be such a mess. I mean imagine relationships, the limits in getting closer to people, the constant rejection and explanations she has to give. Never really being able to be ‘normal.’  And the bitterness that doctors actually made everything worse. But she literally just pushes past all that and lives a meaningful life. Traveling, meeting people, sharing her story- her insecurities, and exuding strength and courage.

I know sometimes looking at how worse off others are can be a means of disregarding our very real problems and suggesting that what we are going through isn’t valid. But that’s not what I am suggesting you, or I for that matter do. I feel like stories like this should give us strength to tackle whatever obstacle we are facing, and encouragement that we are not alone in our struggles. There is no one out there living a ‘normal’ life. We all have our own versions of normal. But we don’t have to be overwhelmed by it, or just accept it, we can thrive through it.

Well I am off to finish facing my own obstacles. I wish you the best in tackling yours!

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Chasing after the wind

Recently I have been struggling with feelings of low self worth. I don’t understand why God made me, why I am necessary in this world, or what I can really offer.

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I wonder if other people can see me the way I see my self. Sinful, empty, and broken.

I go through each day exhausted no matter how much I sleep. I’m not only tired in body, but in soul, and in mind.

I try to turn to God, but the world seems grab more of my attention. I remember that God is love, but I am confronted with the fact that though God is love, there is so much real suffering in the world. I don’t blame God for this. But I just wonder when enough will be enough. When will there be enough rape, murder, hate, gossip, and unfairness. Why do children have to experience a hunger that eats away at their insides? Why do women have to walk around in fear of their sexual freedom? Why does the dark skinned 4 year old girl at my church look longingly at the light skinned girl who comes to visit and say she wishes she had her skin?

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Why are families broken, why does love hurt, why does friendship fade, why is loneliness and hopelessness a disease that takes away so many lives.

Our world is so messed up. Yes, there is so much beauty, and there are so many people with amazing souls that bring light to those around them. But never have I been so aware that this world is not my home. Never have I so longed for a place in heaven. Not that I could fathom that I’d ever deserve to be there. But simply because I’m tired of being here.

I long for the place where peace, hope, and love is not just a mental construct that you use as a bridge to find your happy place, but it rather an actually reality.

I would try to end this post with something positive, but I rather be honest. God gave us the book of Psalms, but He also gave of the book of Ecclesiastes and Job. As Christians I think we have convinced ourselves that if we follow God, we should constantly be happy, joyful, at peace, and one with God. But the simple truth is God did not promise we wouldn’t face this hardship, and this emptiness.

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”- Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

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Blame game

People often gather to celebrate the victories, but their presence would have been more greatly felt in the defeats.

 

anger

I woke up one day and realized that I was angry. That life, had made me angry. There was so much rage, bitterness, and anger. And it surprised me.

 

I don’t know when it happened. But it did.

 

 

Sadness, self-pity, disappointment, and depression often turns outward when the burden of self-blame becomes too much. We search for an object, a person, or an institution to blame. Anyone but ourselves. Perhaps if we pass the blame onto someone else, we no longer need to face our own demons. Instead we can turn sadness into anger. We can hold our parents, our teachers, our preacher accountable. We can say that our family rejected us. That the government neglected us. Or that God has left us.

 

The American Psychological Association defines anger as an “emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.”

 

In life we often times feel that we have been wronged by certain people or society as a whole. And for those taught to believe in a higher being, they begin to hold Him accountable for every bad thing that has happened in their life.

 

A brother was brutally murdered.
A wife, raped and killed.
A child, left to die after multiple gunshots to the chest.

 

After overwhelming grief, sorrow often turns to anger.

Retribution is called for. Someone should pay! The guilty party should suffer to the extent of the law. But when that doesn’t bring peace or equanimity. We need a scapegoat—who better than God?

 

“Why did God allow…?”

“If God is good, then why…?”

“Where was God when…?”

“How could a good God let…?”

 

It’s amazing how many of us today believe in good without believing in evil. We can by a stretch of the imagination believe in God. But by that same stretch we don’t consider that there is a source of evil.

 

Did God promise us roses, sunsets, no hardships, or suffering? Yes, He did. And then he also gave us freedom. Freedom that enabled the ability for pure, unforced love. And freedom that also allowed for disobedience. The fruit was eaten. Mama Eve, and Papa Adam left the garden. And we came to the knowledge that though “all good things come from God,” saying yes to the fruit allowed Satan to also take hold of our lives. There entered destruction, war, famine, hardship, death, and suffering.

 

God is surely stronger and wiser than Satan, thus Satan will not roam free forever. But since God will never force us to love him, or command us to follow him, we now have this freedom: to choose who will be our God, and find which side we will serve.