Watering Depression

Posted by Jennifer on February 27, 2014 – 2:50 pm

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“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I don’t know when it started exactly. There wasn’t a specific moment or event that I can recall. The third week in January I remember having a bad cold and feeling like I couldn’t make it through Master Kids Club at church on Wednesday evening, but knowing there wasn’t an alternative. Was that where it started? I’m not sure. Since I don’t know exactly when I started down the slope,  I can’t say exactly how long it took for me to realize that I had been here before three years ago.

I’m tired. So tired. Physically and emotionally. If I could do anything I wanted, I would sleep, or stare at a wall. Something that requires nothing of me. Everything is so hard. Getting out of bed is something that requires me to summon  every ounce of energy I have. I get dressed, make breakfast and function because I must. Where is my joy? Somewhere, I know I have it somewhere…but it’s down, so far down that it is easier to just function without it. I don’t want to see people. Talking requires a lot of energy, which again, I pull out of…somewhere…because I have to. Making it through the day is the goal. I wake up and try and figure out how I will make it to lunch, then dinner, then bedtime. Survival. Just make it until I can go to sleep again. Life’s point? Right now I’m not sure.  But tired, really tired, is what I am.

And while I recognized that I was in this dark place, and perhaps my husband noticed, I couldn’t bring myself to say the words aloud to anyone. Three years ago I wrote that depression isn’t a bad word and yet, I live like it is. Why? Fear, I guess, of judgment, of assumptions that I’m not fit for ministry, for parenting…

“She mustn’t be trusting God, she isn’t a good Christian, she’s not fit to be taking care of her children, she doesn’t belong in the ministry, she has a problem, she’s not capable, she’s got too much on her plate, she can’t manage, she shouldn’t be homeschooling…”

Of course that isn’t true, and while some may make assumptions, I’m sure most wouldn’t. But fear is a powerful thing.

And I don’t like to ask for help. I’m not good at it. And I don’t even know what to ask for. And it seems like too much work. Even when I am not battling depression, I struggle with not doing things in and of myself.

I’m not a fan of doctors or of medicine, unless it’s truly needed. Very seldom do I take medications for colds, headaches etc. I prefer to ride it out. I don’t like to put things into my body that don’t belong there {chocolate excepted}. We vaccinate for the big things, like polio, which are life-threatening and very well could make a reappearance without the proper vaccinations, but my family doesn’t get flu shots. I say all of this to say that I haven’t been to a doctor because in my case {based on past experience} I don’t believe it is a chemical imbalance or anything like that so I wouldn’t take any medication so what could a doctor do? I suppose they would test for thyroid issues or something related to energy?

Then I went to a MomHeart Conference. I had already bought my conference and plane tickets so I had to go. I felt awfully tired and was tempted to pack pajamas for each day of the conference, but I packed happy, dressy clothing instead. It was an incredible conference. Women Living Well did a great summary but something that Sally said offhandedly really struck me.

If you water depression, it will grow. ~ Sally Clarkson #MomHeart

Now she was quick to qualify that she isn’t a doctor, she doesn’t know everything about depression and that she  is not making light of it. I don’t remember what all else she said at that time because I was so stuck on that statement.

I wasn’t crazy about it to begin with. It made it sound like I was choosing to be in the state that I found myself in, which is so not true, who wants to be at the bottom of a pit? But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the statement.

It reminds me that I have a choice. I have here, in this place right now. I can choose to embrace this dark place or I can choose the hard work to head towards the light.

What does it look like to water depression? For me, it means choosing what is easy, like staying where I am because requires the littlest amount of energy. Doing what I feel like doing – which is nothing!!

If I am choosing not to water my depression, what does that look like for me? Choosing to continue on, despite how I feel. It’s work, and requires effort which means it’s hard. Choosing to physically get up, get dressed, feed myself good food, get outside for fresh air. I’m choosing to water my soul rather than the depression. It won’t magically fix me overnight, it takes time, but it puts me on the climb back up. I guess in my head I kind of imagine myself walking along life’s path and then it isn’t a sudden fall but a slow slide until you find yourself down there. You’re not sure exactly what happened, and it’s not like you like it at the bottom, but it’s much easier to stay put at the bottom than it is to step by step come back up. It’s hard to climb, to choose to keep on, to do things to nourish yourself when you are exhausted on every level there is to be exhausted on.

imagine walking along and then…—v

I found myself facing depression three years ago, at a time when I was really, really thrilled to be expecting my third child. So of course, being so happy, I couldn’t figure out why I was battling depression. Before that, I had the occasional down day but had never considered myself depressed. This time round, I was equally surprised to find myself in this place. I have a wonderful husband and three children, whom I love so much. I have a beautiful home, a great church, I’m thankful to be a stay-at-home mom who can homeschool, we have a great support team of therapists for littlest one – my special needs son – who is making progress at an incredible rate…my life is not full of hard things, or stressful things…what is wrong with me? The other morning while reading my bible, I read this verse.

Psalm 27:13

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

I love seeing the goodness of the Lord in my life. And I can see His goodness when I fall expertly {this was supposed to say unexpectedly but then spell-check changed it expertly, and I thought I would leave it because I am definitely an expert fall-er} and it is by His goodness and His faithfulness that He brings me out of the pit, one step at a time.The truth is, I don’t know why I am battling this or why I need to go through this but I do know that in time He will bring me out of it and that during that time, I need to water my soul and pour life into it. I wrote about a few things that helped me come out of my depression last time, I find they still hold true this time around.

Pray. Read His Word. Eat Well. Drink Water – Lots. Sleep. Fresh Air. Beauty – candles, bubble baths, flowers. Friends – when when you don’t want to see them. Get Dressed. Go Outside.

I think one of the biggest things for me in this season is sleep. My little guy will be three in June and he still doesn’t sleep through the night. Sometimes he’s up once, sometimes twice or three times for a bottle. As we work through trying to wean him off the bottle, this also requires a lack of sleep as I listen to see if he will fall back asleep. Because he has no words, it’s important that I listen to the tone of his “aaaaaaa” to know when he needs me. Being away this past weekend at the conference, I slept through the night soundly for 3 nights in a row and was able to sleep in a bit for two mornings! Ahhhh, it was lovely.

Anyway, I wouldn’t say this is a helpful, tip-filled post and but rather a this-is-where-I–am-in-real-life post. Maybe you out there who stumble onto this might be encouraged you aren’t alone; that His light is there, just look for it.

Have you, or a close one, battled depression? It’s more common than you think! What do you need to water your soul today?

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