(This entry was written a few days ago but due to certain challenges beyond my control, I could only post it late)
Fighting depression is difficult. Many a time you look to ppl who you love n who love you back to reach out to but they are not available. The devastation can be lethal n it often is. Depression isn’t really timed to come up when it is convenient. It just hits you and one minute you were this happy person looking forward to doing the next thing n the very next second you’re this weepy, teary person who can’t find anything worth holding on to.
It is a mental battle, whose gravity I’m beginning to appreciate. Sometimes there are triggers so if you are aware of them, you steer clear but often times, it’s subconscious…. your mind is battling issues, blowing them out of proportion or telling you that you can’t resolve whatever issues, or convincing you that you are indeed alone, unwanted, unloved, worthless etc. You might have the most supportive of family/ friends/ partner/ colleagues but all those pale into the shadows of this strong mental battle that rages silently in your head. We live in this world where we got lots of struggles and are pressure to deliver, to keep time, to meet deadlines etc, and we often push these ahead of people. We often forget that we’re in this hustle for others (be it to provide certain things- a financially stable life for family; products and services for bosses; salaries for employees; clean and safe home for family; gifts for friends etc). In our bid to meet these targets n deadlines, we push away n ignore the very ppl we are doing this for.
I was moved to write this after reading Max Soutter ‘s Facebook post (When you’re late for a meeting and your son is finishing his “I love you, dad, drawing for you n it’s important to him that he gives it to you) Many a time, we’re caught in these scenarios- two equally important things need our attention. One of these things is important to you (the meeting, in this case) and the other is important to someone else (the drawing, in this case.) When was the last time you made someone who’s important to you KNOW and FEEL that they are important to you? When did you last pay attention to those who are important to you? Do you even know who is important to you? How do you show/ tell them?
It is often difficult for someone to reach out and tell you that they wd want your attention. Trust me, the feeling of guilt is huge. They already know that you have many demands on your time and attention as it is. Picture this- you have a deadline that’s already running late and you’re working from home. You’ve got kids and your spouse who also require your attention. You also have family n friends who know that you’ve clocked off n therefore assume that it is time to catch up etc. This deadline is a make or break for the company/organisation and must be met. (I’m already feeling pressured by this scenario I’m creating as it is) Now, if your partner or relative wd want just a few minutes to offload/vent or to sound out something/seek your confirmation on something, they already know how under pressure they are (or they might not)
How you handle their reaching out to you for your attention becomes critical. Most of us tend to speak from a position of pressure- irritated/angry. The tone and/ choice of words often speaks more to your spouse than what you’re actually saying. Of course, they shd know better than to try n reach out to you than when you’re under such pressure. BUT that doesn’t make snapping or ignoring them the right way of handling the situation. Maybe they have been struggling for weeks now to tell you that they are being retrenched and today was the day they finally gathered the courage to tell you because tomorrow you’d hv gone on to make that booking to some holiday that you’ll no longer be able to afford. Maybe today was the day they wanted to tell you that they have been struggling to tell you that they were diagnosed with some terminal illness three months back n time is running out on their life. Maybe today wd be the day they finally gathered the courage to tell you that your parent/sibling has been keeping away from you some devastating news. Maybe just maybe today wd be the day they WD open up about how they think that they are useless/worthless/problematic and it’s better off they die.
I don’t know what today cd mean for them or for you. But for me, as finally the words n encouragement I’ve been receiving from my dear friend n family behind to sink in, today means I take stock of what’s important in my life. I take stock of who’s important to me. I am important to me. I need me at my best before i can be of any hello to anyone else. Only when I’m in a better mental space can i make sure that I can love my family and friends and reach out to them, listen to them when they want my time and attention. After today, I can reaffirm them of my love for them. I am deliberately setting aside time to focus on PPL because I realise that it is ppl who have helped me stay sane, who have held my hand when i had given up, who carried me when i didn’t see the need to walk on, who listened when I was overwhelmed by stress, grief and pain, it is ppl who validated me when I felt worthless, unloved and unwanted. It is ppl who have reminded me that being loved isn’t only about the feel good time but it is about the willingness to get into the mud of despair, hurt, pain, grief etc and do what it takes to bring me out. It is ppl who have prayed for me, shared scripture with me, encouraged me with songs, words and offered their ears n shoulders.
It is a difficult getting out of bed on some days. It has been difficult to eat even. It had been much easier to sleep and cry and complain n feel rejected, unwanted and unloved. It has been much easier to listen to the voice in my head telling me that I’m worthless. It has been much easier to pretend to hear what my friends n family have been saying about loving me, appreciating me, than it has to silence n drown that voice that speaks of darkness n worthlessness.
I am a fighter and have this sunny disposition but there are demons I battle every once in a while. They are dark and powerful and I don’t take them for granted cz they can easily overpower me. I’m learning to reach out to friends n family when they come but it’s not easy. (I don’t want to hear the disappointmentt n shock at how someone like me can be so despairing of life. I don’t want to hear the judgement in those holy ones who see me as being blasphemous when I question my faith or God. I don’t want to take precious time away from my family n friends cz they have more than enough on their plate already- I don’t wanna be selfish. I fear that what I’m falling to cope with is going to be trivialised and ridiculed….. the reasons are many)
Today, I am grateful for my very life. It might not be where I want it to be but its definitely not that bad. I might not be the person I thought I’d be by now, but I’ve surely come from far from where I started. I might not have what I wanted to have had by now but I surely have learnt a lot of lessons, achieved more than I can count or be grateful for, I have a whole lot more storms I’ve survived, there are more scars that show me that I’ve overcome that I’m stronger today than I was yesterday. I can accept this self comfort knowing that the clouds are blowing away and tomorrow I look forward to smiling for a longer time and crying for a lesser time. I might even dance but above all, I’m actually looking forward to a tomorrow!
(The album Open Heaven by Hillsong is on repeat and has helped me to smile. Kari Jobe’s Holy Spirit helped me to recenter myself when the tears would not stop. Somehow, my friends, family n prayer circle have kept watering my faith thru this difficult time. I’m grateful)