The Low Down

Being a grown up is hard.

I’m in a place right now where my insides feel like goo, my brain feels like puddy, and my heart isn’t whole. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe. Sometimes I forget to eat, or when I look at food, it just doesn’t look appealing. I get jumpy, anxious, nervous, terrified, doubtful…moments of strength ebb and flow. At this point in my life, I feel as though I can completely relate to an individual with bipolar disorder. How ironic, I never took that mental illness seriously before. I’ve always been naturally wired to be happy, so someone who isn’t doesn’t really seem legitimate to me. Doesn’t everyone long to be happy? Why would you want to feel any other way? I think I now finally understand that feeling depressed isn’t a choice. And although I try to fight it every day, and do things like watch funny videos or read text mess ups that make me laugh so hard I tear up, and then want to cry a really hard, soulful cry, at the end of the day, the feeling that has remained constant and ever powerful is misery. Perhaps those bi-polar friends are really desperate for fulfilling happiness, and attempt to seek it daily as I do, but at the end of it all, just fail terribly. It feels like trying to climb up a steep, muddy embankment while grasping to the flimsy roots and weak limbs on the way up, only to be defeated by gravity, the weight of your own body, and sludge, plummeting back to the ground at the end of each day. It seems hopeless; it seems senseless.

The troubling part of feeling that misery when you have a child is that you can’t let it show. I am so thankful that my child has inherited the optimism gene; he is just a ball of happiness. I want nothing less than to invigorate that spirit in him, to cement it in his brain so that he’ll always be able to “look on the bright side.” While his happiness is contagious, and he does lift me up, there have been times where my sadness has shown on my outside because it eats at me to hold it in. Fortunately, I can typically stay on the up and up until just before he goes to bed. And no matter how I’m truly feeling, I always make sure that bedtime is a positive, loving time for him. Thank God he sleeps soundly after I leave the room and burst into tears.

I’ve learned much lately about shame. I now know the name of that feeling I could never pinpoint when I felt “bad” for feeling bad. I’ve always been taught to “keep [my] chin up,” as I’m sure many of you have, and as a result never really felt that it was acceptable to feel anything less than optimistic. Even now, I often feel guilty for sharing my true feelings with someone who isn’t in a recovery group (where I feel completely comfortable and at home). But thankfully, through reading Glennon’s blog and attending meetings, I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to not be okay. No shame in that. Additionally, God wants us to talk to someone we trust about those feelings. (I talk about them here because I want others to feel comfortable sharing how they really feel inside. I’m not a huge fan of small talk.) And don’t you just feel so much relief after expressing your true feelings to someone? I’m feeling better already just writing about it!

I’m trying to keep myself busy throughout this low point. I’ve made plans with friends for the entire weekend. I talk to my friends/family on the phone (it really does feel better than texting). I am trying to keep my chin up, laugh, enjoy life, but I don’t beat myself up if that depression rears its hideous head throughout the day. Accept it, talk about it, pray, and try to divert it. That’s my pattern these days.

Because as we know, this too shall pass.

Love,

B

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