Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting Over Depression

Every once in a while I succumb to my genetic birthright, depression. I hate it. Though I've been able to cope with it more lately because I finally understand that it does pass, in the past I experienced depression so deep I wondered if I would ever climb out of it. I was looking at life through eyes covered with yellow cellophane. 

Yesterday was my youngest daughter's 25th birthday. I expected that at my age, I would be writing for a living, and that I would be making money from it. So yesterday, when I realized that 25 years after giving birth to my youngest daughter I STILL was not making a living at writing, I got depressed.

I looked around at people like Cher and Dr. Phil and other successful people my age who are already retiring. I wanted to punch myself for not being successful. I climbed into bed and grabbed a pillow, fully intending to soak it with my tears, but nothing came out. I was angry that I couldn't even cry, and that was what pushed me to change my thinking.

I paced and I paced and I thought and I thought. I wanted to jump in the car and drive until I ran out of gas, then walk until I ran out of energy, and drop where I landed. I felt like a failure at everything I attempted, because I couldn't just stay home to write and research. 

Whenever I feel that shroud of depression covering me like a blanket of protection against all my imagined enemies, all of whom I realize are me, I slam myself with emotional fists, because I can't stand myself for not living up to my own expectations.

And it is in those moments that somebody is sent from somewhere (Heaven?) to save me from myself. I call that grace.

Grace, to me, is what happens to people when other people pray for them.

My mother was the first to call. My mother was the one who took me out of journalism class in high school, because she thought it was an unstable career choice, to throw me into something that would guarantee me a career – bookkeeping (I've never had a job utilizing that skill). 

I always blamed her for my inability to succeed with my writing, and I had a hard time getting over the fact that by the time I reached the age of 18, I was the one who was in control of my life.

I sometimes wonder, though, even now, how different my life might be if I had been allowed to continue in journalism. I try not to dwell on it, however, because in its place I became a mother, and I have never once regretted making that decision. 

So Mom talked to me about what it might take for me to get to that place where I would feel successful. And after a while, I began to feel better. I decided that going back to school might open doors to future success in writing.

And then my friend Denise called. And after talking to her, I felt even better. Before I knew it, I was completely over the depression and into the "do something about it phase," all in the space of three hours.

I've learned over the years that TWO THINGS can pull ANYBODY out of depression – LOVE and FAITH, even if, as it says in the Bible, faith is only as small as a mustard seed, which, by the way, is even smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. And it can come from family or friends. This time it came from both.

1 comment:

  1. I've been praying for you this week. Sometimes depression is my middle name, so I sensed your discouragement in your writing. I'm glad you're feeling better. Bless you.