I thought that by the time I was ready to write about this I would be able to present it as a glory story, all neat and tidy with a bow. I would have a nugget of sage advice for anyone that might be dealing with the same thing. If I waited for that I think I might never write again.
I always think I need to have things figured out before I can reflect on them, especially before hitting publish on a public post presenting that reflection. Maybe it is OK to not have this wrapped up with a bow? Maybe the journey, as much as I hate “journey” cliches, is worth more than the conclusion?
Looking back, I think it is clear that I have been rather depressed for most of my life. I won’t pretend to know the root causes. Some seasons of life have plunged me deeper into the darkness than others: both times postpartum, the loss of my Gramma, and most especially the loss of my brother. If I am honest with myself, I have been drowning ever since his death. I have been drowning and have been too stubborn and proud to ask for help. Slowly I shut down from my family, my irritability reached an all time high, and more and more I would find myself fighting off dark thoughts.
You should never have been a mother.
You aren’t doing enough.
They would be better off without you.
I can’t handle one more day in my skin.
Seeing how negatively this was affecting my ability to mother was what finally pushed me to seek help, and in December I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and prescribed Zoloft and referred to a therapist. Getting used to the medication was not easy. It relieved my anxiety almost immediately, but I think I was hiding my darkness behind the tense anxiety. I spent two weekends in January unable to leave my bed, battling the darkness head-on. But, in the midst of this despair I nearly completely neglected my faith. I stopped praying. I was unable to lean on God in my anguish and tried, quite futilely, to pull my own self out of darkness.
I am finally adjusting well. My anxiety is tempered. My despair is minimal. My motivation is returning. However, it is still obvious that I cannot take on too much, which will always been my tendency, without very quickly becoming overwhelmed and sinking. For now, I think that is OK. I think it is OK to have limits. To ease back into life. To reclaim myself, or possibly, just claim myself truly for the first time.
In much of my reflection I have finally understood that I have been burying myself for as long as I can remember. I had been pushing myself into a box that I did not fit into, hiding my deep emotions and my wonderful, dreamy idealism. This is going to be silly, but I am quite obsessed with Myers Briggs personality typing and for as long as I can remember I typed as an INTJ. I could see a lot of INTJ traits in myself, but there were a lot of things that didn’t fit. Recently, with fresh and honest eyes, I retook the test and it resulted in INFP and I have never felt so completely understood reading articles about the quirks to this type.
A dear friend shared a quote with me during one of my darkest moments in January.
“It’s not fair to treat people as if they are finished beings. Everyone is always becoming and unbecoming.” -Kathleen Winter
This is my battle cry of sorts. I am in the midst of my own unbecoming and becoming. I am undoing many years of self-loathing and learning to love myself in my own skin, as God made me.
So, no, I do not have this glory story to share like I hoped I might. My story is still being written, and probably, I will never be able to share the glorious ending with anyone still on this earth. But, I hope to share it in eternity.