Ever since my son Jack was born, I have struggled with recurring bouts of depression. If you know me personally, this might come as a surprise. It’s not something I talk about very often. It’s just so dark and heavy. It’s hard to talk about without losing it. And, as Marjorie Hinckley said so well, “…crying gives me a headache.” For a while, the depression got rather serious. Every day was a challenge. I just couldn’t remember ever feeling happy about anything, and my days were punctuated with questions from my five-year-old like, “Mommy, why do you cry so much?”
It’s gotten better. We just celebrated Jack’s first birthday last month. As the dust settled from our move, and the daily routine settled into a productive(ish) life with four kids, so did the emotions (and the hormones) begin to balance out. But, every now and then, there is a backslide. I can feel the storm clouds gathering overhead. I can feel myself begin to withdraw, huddling deep within the recesses of my mind. And the battle against the darkness resumes.
Interestingly, the worst part of this particular battle for me is the guilt. I mean, there are people out there in the world that have real, legitimate problems. And here I am, crying in the shower again and feeling sorry for myself.
I don’t have all the answers yet. But it is getting better. Today, this talk given by a church leader I admire has given me great strength, and great hope. There is peace in knowing who you are. And this reminded me that I am not my depression.
I am not my bad days.
I am so much more.
Photo courtesy of Helena Zanting at https://www.flickr.com/photos/helenajz/