Exfoliation of the Soul

I love writing. This blog thing is really a huge source of delight for me. I like getting my thoughts outside of myself. It’s different from a journal in that here I connect with others… that is what brings the extra dimension of what I want to call “Exfoliation of the Soul.”  In putting my thoughts out before you, I become more responsible for them.  It means I spend a little more time thinking about my subject or my verbage.  I might even go deeper here, since my experiences could help someone else, if I am bold and honest enough.

So…. my thoughts for today are a little sober.

This week my husband and I took an important step, mostly preventative, yet hardly unemotional for me… we decided that I must return to taking meds for postpartum depression.

As I contemplate this decision, I realize I have a jumble of feelings about it… mostly good ones.  It has been about six months since I stopped taking meds prescribed during the second trimester of my pregnancy, when the strain and isolation I faced due to how heavily sick I was became more than I could handle.

My thoughts are akin to a Tex-Mex Stirfry… a bit of everything thrown into a slippery pot.  Where’s my margarita?  🙂

I am sad, because it discourages me that I cannot do this alone.  I want to simply make choices and have them be enough to balance this issue out of my life.  I want to receive enough prayer so that my mind and heart will have the healing or protection they need to work properly.  I have gotten extra sleep; more exercise; more time with the Lord, more time with my husband; healthier food; help with the house, finances and baby; time with friends, time to myself; more or less activity at church as I can handle it; vitamins; you name it.  But this time, it’s just not working.  Which is a bummer.

On the other hand, this is how I can make the choice with my hubby confidently.  We have done everything we can, and nothing’s working?  <waving wildly> <ding ding!> Time to put the call in.  That’s all there is to it.  I can almost shrug at this point, and just be glad I have the help!  I’ve been in far worse points than this before… at least this time I can recognize it before I’m crying all the time.  Praise the Lord!

Then there is the embarrassment part… not necessarily from the depression as much as from the symptoms.  No one I know is happy to cry and be weak and is glad when they feel like they don’t have it together and are messes.  I mean, really.  It is easy to beat myself up about this, like it’s bad to be embarrassed, but really it is.  Now, does it have to stay embarrassing?  No, I don’t think so… but there’s something about that first step, admitting it, asking for help, that is humbling to me, partly because it hurts my pride (that’s my junk — I always thought from a young age that we have to aspire to having it all together — more from church stuff than family stuff), and partly because it’s a facet of vulnerability that is at once beautiful and painful.  It’s like seeing a fracture at the heart of a diamond… which makes the diamond no less beautiful, even more attainable and colorful, and yet, it is not perfection.  Ouch.  However, the beauty of my identity comes from a far different place… which is what makes all this bearable, sharable, and shrug-offable.  My identity is only and all about my existence bringing joy to my Creator; the rest is all peripheral.

So… there you have it.  The truth is that some of the frustration I face is from desiring openness in this area, but needing to guard who, when, or how much I tell someone else since my reaction to their reaction is one more thing I have to balance.  In the past, friends have said I am not clinging to God enough, or that I am not taking care of myself right.  For me, those things were symptoms and not factors, and the hurt of being misjudged was excruciating.  Since I have learned that about myself, I have to then forgive others whose response is less than perfect.  And lean on that ever-constant Creator who loves me.

Okay… that’s enough for today.  God bless you, dear readers.  🙂

“You Have To Know How To Cope”

The newest phase of my healing… I am reading an old 80s YA fiction on astronaut kids.  I love it.  It’s right out of that genre of Space Camp, etc., triggering kids to feel like they could all become astronauts.  I believed that, when I was a kid.  My math and science ended up not being so great… really lost a lot of steam there.  Haha.  But I hope that one day I will still be able to visit space.  I think that will be possible, in my lifetime… and affordable.  🙂

So, in one of the chapters, there is an emergency procedure being run through where the kids learn they “need to know how to cope with problems” that may come up.   I felt like the Lord told me this is something for me, too!  Last night my small group Bible Study had a worship night… great stuff… during which I felt the Lord nudge me to “renounce depression.”  Depression is a classic response of mine to issues, frustrations, blocks or dislikes.  I might curl up in a ball before I even realize it… just to “cope” with the hurt that I feel, or the anger or frustration….

So, instead of just allowing the depression to hang out, I am learning to denounce it.  To say, “Get outta here!  You don’t belong!”  And turn to the Lord for a better way of coping with whatever is going on in my life.

Right now, I’m the Mom of a 7-month-old and a teenager, in a blended family, and a stay-at-home-wife without a car, and any one of those things could come with major emotional taxes…. put them together, and you have me staying inside and not wanting to get dressed, simply because it all seems too much to deal with.  And, by the way, where’s the food?  Let me eat.  And what’s on TV, or better yet, Netflix?

Maybe I’m beating myself up just a little too much… another issue.  Ugh.  It’s just possible that I am coping by resting and doing these things that I *do* enjoy.  And I don’t do them all day, I don’t have laundry piling up and dishes in the sink from a month ago (been there, done that, don’t like coming out of it).  I am doing what I can, as I can.

Anyway… the coping part is the trick.  We can’t avoid the problems or the frustrations or even the hurt… can we!  No, but we have a safe God who loves us, and loves us even when we just lay there in our PJs, eating instead of working out or watching TV instead of going outside.  But, let’s try to do something a little healthier once in a while, huh?  Yeah, baby.  You and me.  Let’s go.  🙂