I heard that slogan and, not being a big slogan girl, rolled my eyeballs and thought it was stupid. Those who don’t know me, I am about as real as it gets. I don’t fake anything on purpose and on principle. To me, it resembles a lie too much, it is a lie. Faking sick to get out of school was a lie. Faking a funeral to get out of work is a lie. So on, so forth. I don’t fake anything. But when we are someone we know and they ask how we are, we say fine whether we are fine or not. I used to think that was a fake/lie, but it seems more like “hi” rather than a genuine question and answer nowadays, we are as as society so inundated with lies now. But I digress. But I saw recently a use for this annoying phrase, “Fake it ’til you make it”. While I still find it dumb and contrary to my plight for honesty in all things, a point can be made for a strategy in dealing with depression. I never suffered from depression miraculously until I lost three very important and beloved people at one time. Since then I still fight to smile rather than cry and laugh at all. I fight to want to be fun, and these things were my natural bent. I am a fun loving honest natural girl, loved by all until they see how weird I am. But I have not been myself. I miss them. And because my inner friendship and family love circle is so tiny (those few who get and love the weird musician/artist/honest thing), a huge part of my world was dropped from under me. And yes, God comforts those who mourn and yes, absolutely God strengthens and nd heals stronger. Definitely! There are just these human emotion things floating about screwing everything up and it seems difficult to shake off and be light and carefree again. Because I care and love so deeply. So to fake happy might actually be a tool until I am fully happy. My family is helping and my few friends and maybe just pretending to be happy is and good strategy to get into practice of n it again rather than practicing my sad constantly. Maybe that is one way to pull out of this funk and head for higher ground. The Bible does say to dwell on the good. Might work, I will keep you posted, as many I know suffer from some form of depression. Love you!
I have found myself of late within a series of difficult events, fighting new battles within my mind. Throughout, I have navigated the rockiest of shores with a wide range of careful triumphant precision and something akin to trying to wrestle a live goose into a large pot of broth while blindfolded while crying like a chef who has just chopped no less than 100 raw onions. So, somewhere in the top!er coaster that has been me, I blew by my giftedness and focussed on, well, me. Disturbed by narcissists worldwide, I realized I was in very real danger of becoming one. So, what I can only call a revelation from God, just entered my mind. I have two things to use as tools in not becoming someone I hate or worse God cannot use. One is the biggest most powerful tool in the universe… the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, God Himself. Amazing! Grasping my problem with a firm grip and shaking it loose from me with a ferocity that rivals a lioness protecting her cubs is God protecting me when I ask. He is my powerful Heavenly Father after all. I am His and He is mine. Second tool is the gift of perspective of a sound mind naturally seeing the big picture. My innate zoom out camera in my mind. I had borrowed a friend’s attention to detail and fixated on the little nuggets that I generally, when true to self, would never have given the time of day. I had let go of who I was, the crazy, zany, wise one I was cut out to be who rises above the now and easily breathes in the big picture. I saw how tiny my own problems were compared to thousands being martyred and worse now, politicians as corrupt mob bosses of old, morality being plunged to negligible levels in the country I love the most, and so many other problems worldwide. My little issues are tiny specks compared to these things. Yes, they still matter to me. Of course, I love very very big and am passionately tender hearted so feel the recent losses in my life vehemently, but I cannot live there for there is much to be done. There are many hurting. If I live in my own hurt and get stuck there, who will be there to help others who are hurting? And who can help them best than someone who intimately understands and can empathize with their experiences? Oh how I would tie my own hands and God’s work through them if I gave in to sorrow and depression? What good would I be? Who would love these other hurting people? Whose hands would God use to heal them if not mine? And it hit me, I had given in to the temptation of selfishness and distraction and I refuse to give up my freedom to such petty things. So, here we are, arriving together at this momentous crossroad in my life. No doubt prayers uttered on my behalf brought it to fruition so I thank you dearly for them. And off we go, me with jobs to do, taking care of my family and home, serving others with my kids, visiting shutins and bringing them joy, being a part of the world again. No more protect and preserve mode. I have better things to do. I will save my tears for the onions.
With a few exceptions when the weight is too much to bear alone, my tendency is to be strong and just take it all, wearing a smile or a laugh or an encouraging word. I always feel God would not have made me so strong and capable of doing so much if He wanted me to burden everyone else with it. I burden Him only, for the most part except a few very close friends I that love me and I love and can count on. And God is, well, God so there is nothing a burden to Him at all. And sometimes He trusts me with more than I can bear at that moment and I need prayer support of my people or a listening ear. Sometimes I just can’t even get to the phone in time before I completely lose it and weep unmercifully. And then God answers my cry for comfort and He hugs me and dries my tears and strengthens me for another go round. And I smile and I laugh and I encourage and hang with my people. And there are so many living like this. I never knew how many until I opened myself up to blogging about it and we are not alone in the struggle. But the very cool thing is this. God is big enough to help us all and we are never alone or without strength.
There is certainly no loss for things to work up our emotions about. There is an enormous amount of pain all around us that cannot help but come into our lives in time. We can protect ourselves to some degree by isolation, walls put up- literal and figurative-, self-medication for some, bad relationships for others, narcissism for some and meditation and Bible reading for others (by far the most successful). But in time everyone is presented with a very poignant opportunity to break down and cry like a baby. And I have to admit that I have done a great deal of that lately. I am as close as I have ever come to a bout of depression. And I am mentioning it now as an apology for not understanding the crippling effect of it before in some of my dear friends. To feel so much, to feel everything around you, the weight of your own battles, the weight of your family and friends’ struggles, to feel loss, to grieve, to feel close to God but distant from Him simultaneously, to feel the weight of bad choices, past failures, broken families- my own and everyone else’s. I feel it all. I am generally strong and God graced me with an enormous capacity to hold up and help under such stresses, but even I in all my strength am not strong enough to hold up under the enormous weight of all that I am feeling. It is the ugliest thing in the world to let fly the tears to let off the pressure and steam from the valve and immediately have it built up enough pressure to do it again. It is demoralizing, the pain feels like a giant is sitting on your heart. You long for understanding, love, you get criticism instead and limitations. You do not get what you want or need and it feels farther from your grasp than you thought anything could be. It is a very lonely, very isolated feeling and I do not like it at all. Why bother? What is the point? It drains you from who you are to a pathetic someone generally tucked away deep within you that quietly hold the pain you give her. So, to my friends who suffer from this debilitating hindrance to happiness and calm, I give you my love and understanding and permission to cry and permission to call me at any hour of the night because I am usually up lately and I get you, I feel you, I know how it feels, I understand, I love you. God built each of us with these emotions, with the capacity for extreme joy and deliniating pain. When we draw close to Him, He helps. It is not taken away, but you get a calm for a little bit. What pulled me out some was in serving. That is the last thing you want to do when you are feeling forsaken by the world and all those you hold so dear. To serve when you are not served is rough, it is difficult, it takes energy you don’t always feel you have, time, resources. But it is worth it to hear a thank you. Sometimes you have to force yourself to serve to hear one positive word that will keep you going. And then I swear it gets a little easier. Not every day, but maybe one more day out of seven, then maybe two the next week and on it goes. But however long it takes, keep trying, never give up. We are God’s and He is on our side. We can call to Him for strength and it is a conversation that is never in vain. It may be the only conversation for a long time that is productive and meaningful.