If you’re looking for Part 1 of this post, you can find that HERE.
In that post, I talked about the history of my depression, and where I am now. Food, nutrition, and supplements were a big part in my current improvement, but only a piece of the puzzle. What this truly boils down to for me is my overall health and wellness. Holistically. I cannot solve this by only treating my physical needs. There are spiritual and emotional needs that are vital as well. And as hard as it was for me to admit that I actually do struggle with things, and am, in fact a normal person, I truly feel that things like this fester and grow in the dark. It’s not until they are brought out into the light that true healing can begin.
The biggest thing I’ve realized is that it’s okay to take care of myself.
I have always struggled with feeling guilty when I take time for myself or leave Superman with the kids (and not because of anything he’s said, just because that’s the way I feel). Even just last night, we were at a friend’s house for dinner. The moms went on a little walk around my friend’s property, while the men stayed back to hang. The whole time we were gone (not more than 15-20 minutes), I was thinking, “Are the kids being ok? Is Superman stressing out having to watch them or discipline them? Is he doing ok?” I guess this stems from his health issues over the past 10 years and feeling like any time I needed to leave, I was burdening him more than he should be. And it has nothing to do with anything he has ever said. He has been nothing but gracious, kind and supportive. It’s just my own demons popping up. And it’s ruining my happiness.
I let my stresses seep into my mind all day. And all night. When I wake up at night, a flood of thoughts come into my mind; mostly about what needs to be done, what I’m not doing well at, and things that I have absolutely no control over. And that leads to feelings of inadequacy, stress, and ultimately depression. My mind reels with whether I am doing a “good enough” job educating our children, whether they will grow up hurting from my failures, and unfortunately, what people who are close to me think of the job I’m doing. It shouldn’t matter, even for one second, what other people think of me. But like I said in my previous post, I am a people pleaser at heart, and that sets me up for repeated failure, as I’ll never be all things to all people.
So, what am I doing about it? Multiple things:
Taking time for myself (and being OK with it)
Like I said, this is my biggest obstacle. I feel bad when I go out for a girls’ night or a church event, or go running, or anything that involves leaving Superman home with our brood. But I thrive when I get to go out with my friends. I come back feeling filled. I know, I know. They’re his kids, too. And he is an amazing dad. He has always been happy to watch them. What the heck is wrong with me? I don’t know. Upon Superman’s advice and encouragement, I am carving out time for me. Whether it’s just sitting on the front porch reading my Bible, or going to Starbucks and sitting by myself, or going to a friend’s house to just hang out and talk, I’m really, really, attempting to embrace rejuvenation and not feel guilty about it. That last part is the hardest.
Soaking in quiet moments
Superman pointed out that I feel I need to be busy in order to feel content. He knows me so well. He encouraged me to not try to fill every waking moment with things to do. I took up crocheting because of this. It helps me to feel like I’m doing something, even though I’m just sitting in the quiet and allowing my mind to just rest. Instead of leaping up and doing something at the slightest lull in activity, I am trying to be more conscious of enjoying those moments of quiet. And the biggest thing: I made a list of all my responsibilities, all the way from heading up the adoption network at our church down to the laundry. Then, I prioritized them. I prayed and asked God to show me what I needed to get rid of and what I needed to focus more on (I was hoping to get rid of the laundry responsibility, but it wasn’t in the cards just yet). And ultimately, I decided to step down from leading 2 ministries at church and allowing someone else to step up and take over. That in itself was a huge burden off my shoulders and is allowing me to have time to focus here on my blog and on my personal growth.
Keeping a gratitude journal
I used to keep a gratitude journal of things I’m thankful for, but with the busy-ness of life, I let it go. Jotting down a couple things a day that I’m thankful for helps pull me out of the pit to remember that I am incredibly blessed. It refocuses my attention onto something else, and connects me to the heart of God–where I can feel at rest. And even though it may not completely erase my feelings of darkness, it definitely helps bring some sunshine into the mix, and often gives me the reminder that there is hope at the end of the tunnel.
Making sure I exercise regularly
The past year has been a bit up-and-down for me in the exercise department. I’ve realized that when I’m not exercising, I quickly get into a funk that seems to only be relieved by exercise. Unfortunately, once I’m in that funk, it’s hard to actually want to get off my rear and go sweat it out. So, I started out by doing one of my 30 Day At-Home CrossFit Challenges, just to get me into the swing of things. Just starting my day with that 10-15 minute workout makes a world of difference.
Trying to remember that I will *still* have bad days
It’s easy to feel like now that I’m doing all these things right, I should just be happy all the time. But I’m not. Reminding myself that just because I may feel down right now does not mean I will feel that way tomorrow, or even in the next hour. Praying for encouragement, and doing some of the above steps helps with that. The main thing is, knowing and acknowledging that everyone has down days, and that’s ok. If I can remember that, I truly think I’ll be ok. My life will not be perfect from here on out, but it can at least seem less daunting if I can remember that there will be bad days. It’s up to me on how I handle them.
This is something I haven’t started yet, but I do have plans to try out yoga. I think it would be good for me and will not only give me some of the quiet that I need, but will also give me the benefits of exercising. I look forward to trying this!
Thanking God for each day
When I wake up now, before I get out of bed, I quickly thank God for another day. As desperate as I may feel at times, each day is a blessing. I could be taken at any moment (as could anyone else in my life), and I am grateful for each day I get. It’s one more day listening to my kids giggle, watching them play together, connecting with my friends and family, experiencing God in nature, and just living the life He wants me to live. I am merely a vessel here. My hope is that He uses me each day, in whatever small way it may be, to draw people closer to Him and to spread love and joy around me.
So, that’s my journey so far. I will definitely keep you posted over these next few months on how things are going. I am anxious and excited to see what the future holds for me! And just so that we go out on a positive note, leave me a comment telling me one thing you are thankful for today!