If we had been facing a global pandemic five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed.
Five years ago, I was in the crux of debilitating anxiety and depression. Had I been told then that we were going to be sent into a forced quarantine and become solely responsible for the education of our grade-school children, I likely would have crumbled under that pressure.
Holding the reality of a global pandemic, and the required social distancing and quarantines that have followed, are hard enough. But holding that WHILE holding the debilitating hardships of clinical depression and anxiety, help.
If that’s you today, friend, please hear me: YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE.
Here are some truths I want to remind you of as you take this thing day by day:
YOU. ARE. NOT. CRAZY.
YOU. ARE. NOT. CHOOSING. TO. BE. DEPRESSED.
YOU. ARE. NOT. CHOOSING. TO. BE. ANXIOUS.
THIS. IS. NOT. A. FAITH. ISSUE. IT’S. A. HEALTH. ISSUE.
I know few people understand what it’s like to hold these illnesses and offer the grace and support needed to feel both loved as we are and motivated to get the help we need.
Few people understand it’s not a choice to be clinically depressed or anxious.
Few people understand how to help us hold our overwhelming, illogical fears that lead to physical pain and deep sadness.
But this mama right here, I get it. Because I’ve lived it.
So, I can tell you first hand that you are not alone in your struggles.
Here are TWO QUESTIONS that helped me begin to process my feelings and fears that I pray will help you too. These took me MONTHS to really get the hang of (and I still struggle), so be gentle and gracious with yourself as you do the hard work of learning to reframe your perspective in the midst of your circumstances.
Emotions are God-given and healthy.
Learning to distinguish the difference between primary and secondary emotions may help you regain control of your feelings. This article from BetterHelp.com is helpful in walking you through the process.
Additionally, this graphic can be helpful in quickly identifying primary and secondary emotions.
The goal is to figure out what’s really going on, all the way at the core.
- If you’re angry (a secondary emotion), take some time to discern what the source of your anger is. Are you feeling overlooked? Unheard? Taken for granted? Unseen? Unworthy? Are you disappointed? Envious of someone else’s success?
- If you’re feeling scared, think about what’s under the fear. Do you feel helpless? Confused? Ill-equipped?
This question is one I have to go back to on a day-by-day, situation-by-situation basis to help me keep my interpersonal relationships in tact (read when my husband and kids are getting on my nerves and I lose my grits on them) 😉
I also love this Q&A with Brené Brown about her new book, Rising Strong.
Another way to ask this question is: Will this matter in 5 minutes? 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? 5 years?
A dear mentor mom friend of mine, Kim Nowlin, challenged our moms group with this question. So much of what we hold on a daily basis seems like an immediate need that requires all of our energy and attention. But is it?
If you’re in a battle of wits with your kids, a friend, co-worker or spouse take a moment to ask yourself if this is a battle worth fighting or if it’s time to send up the white flag and agree to disagree.
Don’t lose heart, dear one. There is hope and there are resources. We’re in this together.