A special thank you to Stacey Patrick of Gracefully Overcoming for sharing her #depressionis story today.
And, yes, Stacey, you can be honest here, and no, you’re not alone in this! And just for the record, I love Twistables; they make great highlighters, too!
Not the happiest…
Chuck E. Cheese is not the happiest place on earth.
Disneyland is not the happiest place on earth.
… Not if you face depression.
… Not if you face anxiety.
… Not if you have survived a traumatic event in your life.
Crowds are the opposite of what you need. But, you fight. You fight like nothing before. You know it won’t be easy. It won’t be pretty. But, you resolve to do it in advance. Because you love someone. Because God’s track record of getting you through – is pretty amazing.
Those first moments going into Chuck E. Cheese, or Disneyland, or any place where there are crowds of people. Those moments can be brutal. They are difficult. You fight tooth and nail. To just be there. To just resemble some outward appearance of normal. To just keep from allowing them to see you cry. To just hang on long enough to make it through.
… Because depression, anxiety, and those emotions of that traumatic experience, they don’t take a break.
… Because somewhere inside, you want to be able to move past the difficult moments.
… Because we deserve to see the beauty in life.
… Because we deserve to be able to make it through a happy experience and experience the joy those moments hold for those who are elated – instead of depressed.
Depression is… A Fight!
We cannot look at any other person facing depression, anxiety, or a traumatic experience and say “oh this is a cake walk”. Because, we all know how fierce, difficult, and draining it honestly is. Depression is a fight. It seeks to destroy every aspect of our lives. It can tear us apart on the inside. But, if we can just find the God-given strength to hang on, we will get through it. We may have to decline more invitations than we accept. But, each day – we are continuing to live. To get through those moments, when we can’t seem to get out of bed.
Today, I went to a good friend’s child’s 2nd birthday party. Let me be honest for a second. (Can I do that?) I ran away and cried. I would have done absolutely anything to get out of that place (tell me I am not alone in this). I would leave at all cost. But, I couldn’t. So, I did the next best thing: Yes, I ran and broke down in a herd of tears. I couldn’t think about anything else, but how in the world am I going to get through this? (And, honestly, I am glad she only has one kid – because I can’t go through that again!)
My saving grace was, I took coping tools with me to the party.
How do you cope with depression? What tools help you to cope, to fight, to pray – in these moments where everything you do really counts?
In my most fierce moment, I kept getting phone calls. Why don’t they see how hard this is for me? Why can’t I have twenty minutes to try and stop crying? I can honestly say, God is the only reason I survived this party. It was terrible. It was hard. Words cannot explain to a person who doesn’t experience depression, just how hard it truly is.
Depression is a fight. Like any fight, we need to have weapons on hand to help us fight. To help us cope in the middle of the storm. I have a few coping techniques that I utilized at this party –
~ Coloring (yes, I brought my coloring book and twistable crayons to Chuck E. Cheese).
~ Music (My phone has music, and I have earbuds. I can hear the hallelujuah chorus in hindsight).
~ Friends (I was able to send a friend a facebook message in that moment. Nothing more reassuring than her stopping everything to pray with and for me.).
Each thing used in those moments – really counted. Each little thing I had today – really counted. I was able to make it through. I was able to be present. I was able to fight. It was not easy. It was hard.
The fight against depression, anxiety, and any traumatic experience – is hard. But with God, it is possible. With Jesus Christ, I could make it through a really hard thing.
Even if I had left in those moments, when I was in full on emotional breakdown, I would have still been an overcomer. I would still have been victorious. I would still be proud (or I hope I would) of how I handled it.
But, stuff happens.
Hard stuff happens.
… yet, we keep going.
… yet, we keep fighting.
Even when the fight is hard, we are still here. We are still fighting. We are still trying to push to make the emotional boundaries of our souls go a bit further. We are still fighting. We are still pushing. We are still here. We have not given up. But, we are still us. Depression, anxiety, and that traumatic experience haven’t won. And even on the worst possible day we face, there is still that hope. We still have our safe places. We still have our walls of comfort in some area of our lives.
1 John 4:4 teaches us that “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Depression, anxiety, and traumatic experiences are absolutely devastating. But, God will place people in our path who will be there to comfort us. Or perhaps, we need to be the one fighting to share with others that it is okay to be real. We don’t have to fit into the stigma. There is more. There are people who are broken, crying hysterically, tears that can’t be stopped, and they need folks to just hold them – and let their presence be that reminder that you are not in this fight alone!
Depression is… a fight.
But, you are not alone.
I’d like to invite you to get to know my new blog-friend Stacey better! As well as her blog, you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter; Instagram is her favorite! Click the link below to learn more about her upcoming six-week walk, study, and write journey through Ephesians!
Stacey is also the author of two books:
Available on Amazon in Paperback.
Read more great posts here!