Thursday, September 19, 2013

A beautiful mind...or is it?

I should be in bed.  I went to bed, I rested my head on my pillow and then it began.

I am confident.  I am smart.  These truths can be intimidating.  It has been at the root of broken friendships and relationships.  However, people are often shocked when they learn that I am incredibly insecure.  I am lonely.  I am depressed.  I have thought on more than one occasion that it would be better for everyone around me if I didn’t exist.  I feel like I bring pain to those around me on a regular basis.  

I have struggled with insecurities and self hatred for as long as I can remember.  From appearance to not meeting other people’s expectations, I have beat myself up brutally. I care so deeply about how other people feel about me that I begin to let their words define me.  I soak it in like a sponge.  When something happens that confirms that “truth” I pack it away to remind me that I am indeed a failure. 

I’m not sure what image you have when you think of someone who is depressed. Maybe someone who sleeps a lot?  Maybe someone who is really quiet?  I work, I run errands, I play with my kids, I tend to my husband, but in the quiet moments, I fall apart.  I start to wring out the sponge of “truths” and mentally beat myself up for being such an amazing loser.  

I have gone to church my entire life.  I think people expect church-goers to be perfect.  Obviously, if you believe in Jesus, you have everything figured out, right??? I believe in Jesus because I believe in his Forgiveness and Grace.  I believe we make mistakes and I’m thankful for his Mercy....and if He hasn’t given up on me yet, I’m pretty sure He’s in for the long haul.  

I often “preach” that people should tell their story because you never know what your story can mean to others.  I haven’t really openly shared my story and as I write it I’m still thinking “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” but since it is suicide prevention month, I figured I should put my story out there.  Depression is very real.  It feels very tangible to me and I am completely in its web.  

I know that there are people that don’t understand depression.  Once you let the “d” word out of the bag it is almost like they start packing bags. Their minds cannot wrap around the idea that someone ponder death.  I am certainly not condoning the behavior.  I HATE that I think about it.  I don’t want to think about it.  I want to be active and happy in everything I do and trust me, I work REALLY hard at doing it.  I want to be a positive role model for my girls.  I don’t want them to ever feel like they aren’t good enough, so I wake up every day and TRY.  

If you have a loved one that is depressed, don’t expect them to be over it quickly.  Don’t expect medication to do a magic trick with their thoughts.  It’s a long, painful process.  

I think it is important that we encourage one another.  It’s amazing the power words have, both positively and negatively.  So, my plea to anyone who is reading this, don’t wait another minute, let someone know that you appreciate them, that you love them.  You just never know what demon they might be up against.  Your words of love could be what gets them through another day.  


Susan said...

Beautiful words, Jennifer.
None of us want to admit to being lonely, depressed, afraid and more. But we are and we know it, we don't share it with others, we are too afraid of what others think. We think being a Christian we will never face this.I did not have a lot of patience or sympathy for others with depression or anxiety, until I discovered I was all that and more. When you admit to others your pain, it becomes real to you. I live in that world, too. I have been there, thinking & even planning suicide (many years ago).
I have been on the other side of suicide, with someone I love taking their own life, too many times. It is such a tragedy.
Jennifer, you are a beautiful, talented, special wife & mother.
Keep talking, blogging, never know who's heart you will touch.

Brazenlilly said...

Wow, Jennifer. This is powerful and beautifully written. My heart aches for you and your family; I'm so sorry you are having to suffer through this illness. I do believe it is an illness, out of your control, and the more you speak out, the more we can understand it, and how to help you and others. Thank you so much for being vulnerable with us. You're have no idea how your words will bless others.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story. You really can't know what is truly going on in someone else's mind. I, too, have been struggling with depression (and anxiety) for 20 years. It is a day to day process, God's Grace is an enormous part of the process that gets me through every day. He has blessed us with such terrific resources and I am so grateful to have had access to them.

Ruth Ann said...

Jennifer, thank you for your openness. I was having bad depression and found out that I had hypoglycemia. If I stay off sugar I don't have that problem. Could you have a physical problem that feeds your depression? I'm praying for you.
Ruth Ann, a friend of your dad--and I know your grandparents in Florida.