I lie in bed awake . . . morning has come, but I dread getting up. I know how I want my day to go . . . a day of productivity, of happy energy and joyful accomplishment. But as I lie here I find myself questioning once again . . . can I do it today? Can I choose to engage and not fall as usual. Not fall into the constant pit of depression that so often calls my name.
I try to be an upbeat person and for the most part, others would say that I am. I smile at everyone as I go through the stores and do my errands. I love to joke and put a smile on the face of others. But inside of me rages a battle . . . not just daily, but hourly. The battle of choices. The battle of peace. The battle of depression.
I am not sure when I first started dealing with depression . . . I remember writing sad feelings in a journel when I was still in grade school. Until my Mom read it and ridiculed me and told me I was too dramatic. So then I stopped writing them down . . . too afraid she would find them. My greatest desire is to wake up feeling at peace. Such a simple want and yet something I have struggled for most of my life to attain.
So as I lie in bed this morning I question . . . can I engage today? Can I make today productive . . . make it a day that counts? So many days I wake up with that goal and then somehow I get pulled into the pit again . . . an ugly pit that confines me . . . keeps me from being the woman God intended. I scratch at it's walls . . . sometimes I am able to climb out for just a while . . . and I drink in the short-lived peace and freedom that comes with this fleeting accomplishment. But it never lasts. Sometimes it is a phone call that throws me back into the pit . . . or words of friends and loved ones that just cut too close to words of my past.
This past fall I went on a crafting retreat with a gal I had considered my best friend. I was starting to really relax and enjoy being away from expectations and responsibilities. At one point during the retreat, I checked my Facebook and made mention to my friend of something politically that was happening at the time and how people were reacting on Facebook. I simply thought it was interesting and made for good conversation. My friend began prodding me to state my views on Facebook. I did not feel called to do this and the last thing I wanted to do was stir up controversy. She did not let it go and kept pushing me to do what I did not want to do. To make a long story short, it became very heated and ugly. It ruined what should have been a relaxing retreat and our friendship has been quite strained ever since. During this time she peppered me with words that ripped me to the core . . . I was negative, I was selfish, I was a bad friend.
This has caused me to spend a lot of time reflecting and thinking about things . . . am I capable of having a close friendship? Will friends ever understand who I am? Can I ever allow myself to be vulnerable to a friend like that again?
As the daughter of a narcissist, one thing I have learned to do, as a survival mechanism, is to avoid conflict at almost any cost. In the past I have shared my conservative views and it has gotten me into trouble with those that disagree. For many, this is not a big issue. They do not let the views of others affect who they are or lower their self esteem. But for a child of a narcissist, I think it is different. Our whole life we were told we were not good enough, were told we were failures and made to feel unworthy. Because of this we spend a lifetime over compensating. Going to extremes to be nice, to be loved, to be accepted. And when I am not loved or accepted, it sends me into a tailspin of self doubt and total insecurity. I am so very grateful for my husband . . . the man who has chosen to love me unconditionally. He is the one person that I know loves me for me. He sees my worth. While I am sure he sees my shortcomings and failures, he doesn't see them as defining me. He believes in me. Because of him I am finally starting to try things and learn to believe maybe I can do things. I wanted so badly to be an artist as a child, but my dreams were laughed at. "Use it for your own entertainment but don't ever think you can make a living at it," my Mom would tell me. For many years I would watch as others passed me by, becoming the successful creative person I longed to be.
And today, I have my own business and I am pursuing taking it further. But for ever step or two I take forward, it seems I always take one backwards. This fall I had a nasty accident with a table saw. I was so fortunate to have kept my fingers, but it has been a long and painful recovery. With over 30 stitches and a rod in my finger, I was not able to be creative. This last week I had someone get on my business Facebook page and blast me. Since I have not been able to post pictures of my own creations lately . . . since creating was not an option . . . I had posted ideas of others. I never claimed them for my own . . . I just thought it was fun to share creative ideas. I also posted photos that I thought were beautiful . . . simply to bless others. Photos of barns, and landscapes and beautiful old houses. Most of my followers posted great responses. But of course the one bad comment blasts loudly over the others. This person private messaged me as well and pretty much told me I was an uncreative fraud. Please note, I don't know this person . . . I have never met him and doubt I ever will. Yet still, he robbed my peace. He spoke into my insecurities. All the whispers in my head . . . placed there by Satan but fanned by my mother, played loudly in my head. "You are worthless." "You are a fake." "You don't have any talent." I spent that day lying on the sofa, not even knowing how to function.
Some days when the depression comes on, I can label it . . . find a reason why I am feeling that way. We have one child in rebellion that causes us a lot of pain and heartache. Another child who wants to do the right thing, but still keeps making foolish decisions. Our youngest, has his act together so well, yet sometimes even that will cause me distress . . . is it for real? Is he really well grounded or will it all come crashing down someday. Some days it is the situation with my parents . . . Dad is in late stages of dementia and quickly going downhill. My husband's parents are also in need of care and my father-in-law has Alzheimer's. So these things are real and can cause me stress. But so much of my depression is something much deeper than outward happenings. It stems from feeling unworthy, from feeling hopeless.
So I can wallow in self pity and maybe even be angry with my Mom for making me feel so worthless. But what good will that do? That only adds to my problem and sinks me deeper. When I find myself consumed with anger toward my Mom, I am overcome with guilt . . . the guilt of not loving my Mom like I should, of not honoring my parents.
I wish I had a simple answer for overcoming depression. It is not something I talk much about. In fact very few people know I deal with it. I could probably get a prescription, but I know, for me, that is just a simple way to mask the pain . . . it isn't dealing with the cause. So I will pray fervently for joy. For seeing myself through God's eyes and not the eyes of others. I know this won't be something I will fix overnight . . . and in fact I kind of think this issue may always be my "thorn in my side" that I never completely overcome this side of heaven. But I do know I will never stop fighting it. I will never give in to the lies of Satan. I am wonderfully and fearfully made. God would sacrifice His only son just for me alone.
I do believe in the power of words. Words can destroy. But they can also restore and rebuild. Where will I find such words . . . words to give me hope and a future? The word of God! I am not nearly as learned in the Bible as I wish. I have a hard time memorizing, but I know God's words do not fall void. So that is my desire . . . and maybe you, dear readers, can keep me accountable. There is life and hope in the word of God. We all need life and hope. If you too struggle with this seemingly never ending sea of depression, please join me. Get off the couch . . . grab your Bible (and maybe a cup of tea, while you're at it) and begin drinking in the words of wisdom and truth. The words of hope and peace.
I wish for you peace . . . the peace that can only come from God. Turn to Him and His promises . . . and His life giving words. Getting out of bed now . . .
With love and blessings,