Thursday, February 18, 2016

Struggling To Smile, My Battle

I've thought about writing this post for a long time now. I guess I haven't really known how to approach the topic and want to do so as honestly and sincerely as I can. The best way I know how to do that is to just put myself out there.

I struggle with seasonal depression.

 The first year I noticed it was the winter of 2013. It was the year I suddenly developed heart palpitations and ended up seeing a cardiologist at 29. Life with a 1 & 4 year old was chaos to put it simply. The passing of the holidays and the beginning of a New year left me floundering. Weeks passed by and I just couldn't shake whatever it was looming over me. I cried, A LOT. I was so confused. What was happening, why wasn't I happy, why was I so sad and angry? I excused it by saying it must have just been a funk... a very long, horrible funk.

In 2014 it reappeared. It was our first year of homeschooling and my just turned 2 year old gave up taking naps. I was busy, so very, very busy. I didn't think much the looming dark cloud, but something didn't feel right. I blamed it on stress, lack of sleep, worry, whatever label I could slap on it, I did. It was "just a phase" I'd get through it soon.

Then 2015 arrived in the dead of winter, the middle of January I felt it all over again. I once again found myself feeling lost, empty and hollow. Crying over everything and nothing on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I would sit and stare at wall for abnormal periods of time, The lack of joy I felt was confusing to me. I was again left questioning why I wasn't happy and what was wrong with me. "What is my problem?!"

And then one day in a texting conversation with a dear friend the words came out...
"I think I am depressed"

For the first time in my life I actually meant those words.

It felt like an "Ah-ha" moment. For so many years I had struggled and cried and felt broken and miserable. I tortured myself with thoughts of "what is wrong with me", It didn't make me feel better. It didn't make it go away. But knowing that what I felt was something real was exactly what I needed to be able to try and move forward. Slowly I began to connect the dots linking my depression to being seasonal with the months of January, February and March being the hardest. I started picking up on patterns, triggers and finally little things that helped.

So why am I sharing my story?

I know that the struggle isn't mine alone.
I know it is real and it is a painful, scary, frustrating and hopeless feeling.

I fully believe that the struggles we go through in life can become our biggest ministry if we just open up and share them. I walked through some pretty dark times for years not having a clue about what was causing my pain. Maybe by sharing my story someone else won't struggle for so long.

I had plans to share some ways that I have found to fight back against depression. But to avoid making this post forever long I'll pencil that post in the blog planner as a part two and share those in the next few weeks.

Until then I want to leave you with this.

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
Psalm 37:23-24  

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