Many of you know of my past struggle with Clinical Depression. 13 years ago it was so bad that I would break down in tears at the pressure of answering the phone. Every decision, no matter how small, seemed insurmountable.
I haven't had depression like that for almost ten years. Then a few weeks ago, it came back like an old disease. It was horrifying to find myself spiraling down into the same conversations with myself and finding that nothing brought me out of it.
It was discouraging to find that depression is like what you hear about alcoholism- "Once an alcoholic, Always an alcoholic." I refused to believe that the imbalances in my brain chemistry could uproot my life without the slightest warning. Granted, I've had a hellish past three months, but I'm stronger now, older, more mature!!....right?
Well last night it all came crashing down. I had been running around, and the kids were tired and had eaten and napped in the van. We were all weary. I had only a half of a muffin for lunch, and now we were getting home and it was dinner time already. I hurriedly made some sandwiches and cut some melon for the kids. While they ate, I ran outside to work on some training with the dog. Then Dear Hubby came home and wanted to lay the concrete pad that's been put off by rainy weather, and the children came outside to play.
At 9:00, I went inside to nurse the baby and put him to bed. As I laid him in his bed, I realized that I hadn't eaten dinner myself. I just lost it. I sobbed and wanted to just drive away. The baby was settled and didn't need me until morning. I would gladly check myself into a hospital just for a solid 24 hours of no responsibility to answer mind-numbing kid questions and no disciplining.
The feeling to run away was immense. I called a dear friend and was told to "Hold On. This is just a 'mist of darkness'. Hold on to what you know to be true." The trouble is, I could not think of anything that I knew for sure. I don't know what I'm doing with these kids. I feel like I'm making it up as I go. In that moment, I was sure that I was the worst person to parent them because I am not happy. Life should be happy. It shouldn't be such a struggle. I shouldn't feel that all I do is cuss kids, repeat myself, pull kids out of bed, and put them back in bed- Endlessly, Every day.
If raising kids is this hard, I must be doing something wrong. At least that is what I felt at the moment, so I could not find anything to hold on to. If I was doing it wrong, then the Lord had sent them to the wrong person. So if I trusted the Lord, I would have to trust that he trusted me.
I felt to hold on. That like childbirth, just when a woman feels like she can't possibly go on, her suffering is almost over.
I woke up this morning. Nothing had changed. I still had breakfast to make, five kids to care for, music lessons to drive them to, lunch and dinner, feed myself, and shower (if possible). I still feel tired, still frustrated, and weary. Somehow, the list didn't change, but it no longer seemed insurmountable.
I don't know what has changed. Maybe the Lord removed that one straw that was breaking my back. Maybe he let me carry the same load, and carried me.