I am not too happy about being depressed.
I took advantage of the glorious weather on Friday to attend a huge teddy bears’ picnic in the park (the event was huge; the teddies were generally teddy-sized). Many people who were there were known to me, including Lily’s class and friends from a number of circles. It felt good to be among people and to chat.
And then, wow.
It knocked me out emotionally all of the rest of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and half of Monday.
What was confusing was that I could function generally pretty well in my usual way. I just needed an inordinate amount of time and space to recover. Mostly I have been watching Frasier, season 5. Just the thing for knocking the edge off the blues. Eric Morecambe did the same for me when I was depressed at age 18. Annoyingly, I have already reached the point of finding the humour more irritating than funny. I may need to search online for the funniest episodes: Frasier is the only programme I own the entire output for and I know there is some genius writing in there.
When I was 18 I learnt to offset my self-centred depressiveness by serving and caring for others. By finding new purpose and God’s grace in being able to see him at work beyond my normal sphere. I had three amazing weeks in Bosnia and Croatia that summer and came back ready to move forward. This time around things have to be different; I’m not an ambitious teenager with high hopes and no one else to worry about. Ironically I have more plans to visit the Balkans this summer (Albania), but this time with my husband and children. I have also been learning that with God at the centre of all I do, my husband my next priority and my children after that, I cannot do any more or spread myself any thinner until I am recovered.
I am a Doer, so learning to just Be is a hard lesson for me – I know, I spent a lot of 2012 wondering what that may mean, but not achieving it. This season will be a lesson for me in Being, and in also learning not to feel utterly guilty about all those things I might have Done should I not have had to pause.
Do be patient with me. I care enormously – part of the reason I am where I am. But I cannot always help or serve others beyond the four of us just yet. I need more of God working in my life and healing and restoring me. I am determined to recover and I don’t know how long the journey will be. I will not be doing this in my own strength however; I need to get closer to God and listen to what is on his heart. And I might need some help along the way tuning in to what he’s saying on some days.
Until then, I don’t know what to do with these tossed salads and scrambled eggs.
a few years ago my husband and i had just finished a season of serving the church really intensely (whilst also doing day jobs and having our first child and both being ‘introverts’ in a ‘people’ role!). someone prayed for us as we made the transition to just being us again and reminded us that although we ‘serve’ God, he doesn’t demand us to be workhorses. we’re his children and he asks us to be just that – enjoying the playtime between the work sessions in the same way kids at school do.
i still recall that word often as my head munches these things over – have i had too much playtime? should i get back to ‘work’? what is work anyway?! and the apparent conflict between passions i feel God laying on my heart for others, and the current calling of wife and mother which is so all consuming just now. i also come back to the phrase from a psalm which says that God ‘gently leads those who have young’; there’s special grace for those of us mothering and serving our little ones. x
p.s. you don’t know me at all, so please let any of this just slip right past you if it doesn’t encourage you 🙂 my connection to your family is through the marfleets – my grandad and their grandad on the skinner side were brothers.