Monday, August 15, 2011

Keeping Life Real & Honest

Lots of people accuse social media participants like myself of only presenting the good side of our lives. There has even been research showing that the more time people spend on social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc...), the more likely they are to be depressed. The theory is that they think everyone else has a great life because we all post cute stories about our super smart kids or brag on our husbands for being so awesome. And that theory makes sense to me.

On the flip side, I've always thought about myself as a blogger who presented my life as real. I've shown you pictures of my messy house, Bruce's unemploymentMary's medical issues, shared my bad mothering moments, and how my vanity kept me from serving my family. Of course, I try not to share stories of my girls that I think will embarrass them when they are older or stories about fights with my husband. I learned a long time ago that even though we may resolve the issue in our marriage, other people aren't present and they may harbor grudges unnecessarily. In this way, I am very loyal to him and I would never want to say anything to make him look bad.

I share all of this with you to get to this point - I want to continue to be a blogger that is real with you. So I'm going to tell you this next story in an effort to connect with and reach out to those of you who may be experiencing similar things. No one should assume that my life is perfect or that I have it all together just because I can write well and manage to eek out some meaningful moments with my children and then blog about them.

The thing is, I am depressed. As in clinically depressed. And no amount of non-medicinal coping methods have made this beast called depression go away. And last week, after meeting with a psychiatrist, she suggested I take medication to help lift me up so that I can see life clearly.

This isn't a new condition for me to be in. I believe my depression began as a teenager and I've used medication at least two times in the past to try and deal with it. Both times, I gave it up because I felt like the fog had lifted enough for me to live well and because the side effects were no longer acceptable.

This time though, I fought the idea of going back on medication a lot. I wrestled with it in my brain since late last year. I've cancelled and reschedule appointments because I was afraid to address the issue. Slowly though, the beast has grown and taken over more of my thoughts. For the most part, I'm very good at compartmentalizing my life and was able to keep this part of me from most people. Now, I'm just tired of fighting with it and want to wake up each day with enough energy to properly take care of myself and my family.

It is not easy to live with someone who suffers from clinical depression, especially the kind that seems to fluctuate and peak and doesn't stay steady. I applaud my husband for the many graces he has extended me as a wife and a mother, and for understanding that I am not depressed by choice.

I want you to know that, if you are dealing with depression, you are not alone. I promise to not be a fake Christian who pretends that life is a bowl of cherries. Instead, I'll be someone you can vent to and someone who will pray with you. God desires His best for each of His children and I'm going to be more honest about my journey to get it.

7 comments:

  1. Jenn, thank you for sharing this! I have dealt with depression after my last 2 babies and it is a butt kicker! I have family members that struggle with it also. You are right, I think that more of us should be real and open up...share our hurts as well as the hurdles that we have overcome! I am praying for you, and I admire you so much! XXOO

    ReplyDelete
  2. So proud of you for seeking help and sharing about your journey! So thankful for our friendship!!! Thank you for being REAL and for being YOU...you are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It's nice to see someone else who struggles. Not nice that you also fight the beast but nice that you are willing to be honest and real. To let those of us in the same type place know we aren't as alone as we feel. I've been fighting it since middle school. Thank you for this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey sweet woman,
    Much love and wisdom to you on your journey!
    You're right that medication lifts the fog and makes you feel ready to handle stuff...and yes, most people drop the meds then...
    But meds are a tool in your recovery; they help you lift the fog so you can do the work. I heartily suggest partnering up with a therapist or a coach (no I'm not plugging myself but I'm here if you need me) to help once the meds have eliminated some of the physical barriers to wellness. Remember, the physical manifestations are you body's way of telling you something is wrong.
    There are also some real food triggers to depression. It'd be good to speak with a professional about what dietary components may be a hindrance.

    Much love!
    Babs

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so proud of you and am praying for you daily. I couldn't make it without my "un-cranky pills" as my hubby calls them. I went through a very dark time when we first moved from Charleston 3 years ago, and it took my monthly bouts with kidney stones to realize that I didn't want to get out of bed whether I was in pain or not. I come from a long line of depression that was never dealt with, and I am changing that in this generation.

    Hugs, sweet friend.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you to each of you who have shared yourself with me in these comments. It is so encouraging to count all of you as friends!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a great open and honest post. So many people are afraid to let others know that they are hurting privately. I applaud your courage - that alone has probably helped a lot of your readers, in ways you may never know about. My mother also has clinical depression and it is something that she has to take medication for. She tried going off of it a couple of times, but realized that she needed to continue taking the medication...even when it seemed like her symptoms had went away.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! Be sure to leave an email address in your profile or in your comment if you'd like a reply.