Sorry for the delay on this depression writing thing. I’ve been busy overthinking. I do that a lot.
My dad calls it “analysis to paralysis.” We laughed about that this week because he has been calling it that for years and we are still doing it.
Often when God wants to get my attention, He repeats something over and over.
Through people. TV shows. Books. It’s cool.
Lately I’ve heard the phrase “chipping away” over and over again.
I’ve heard it in my own head, and then my brother said it, and then my husband said it, I heard it in a podcast, and then I realized that’s a huge part of my fight against depression.
When I look at depression from a big picture perspective, it overwhelms me. That’s when I get stuck in the analysis to paralysis thing my dad always warned me about.
But when I give myself permission to just chip away at it, using tools each day to push back the darkness in my mind, one decision at a time, I find a lot of freedom. Looking back, the choice to chip away at depression on a daily basis has brought me a long way.
It’s the little things.
Like what I learned from Rachel Hollis in her book Girl, Wash Your Face, about not breaking promises to myself. When I say I’m going to do something, and then I don’t do it, I start down a shame cycle that is really hard to get out of.
I’m not talking about a promise to myself to mop the kitchen floor. I’m sure that might apply to some people, but not me. I don’t mind breaking that promise.
I’m talking about promising myself that I’ll plan a lunch with a friend and actually show up. Depression will try to talk me out of it. Every time. In a moment of clarity and hope, I’ll reach out to someone and say “Let’s do lunch!” I will think about how fun it will be. I will imagine the table and the food and the laughing and the tip sharing. But then the day comes, and often if I’m struggling, I’ll cancel. Then I’ll shame myself for breaking a date with my friend. But my biggest issue is that I broke a promise to me. A promise to get out more. To enjoy people. Because every time I show up, I am so glad I did.
Every time I show up, I’m chipping away at depression.
After our boys outgrew diapers and sippy cups and needing mommy’s supervision 24/7, I found myself with some more time on my hands. I actually remember the moment where I stood in the kitchen with my hands in the air and said “Does anyone need anything?” There was silence.
Beautiful, awkward silence.
I wasn’t sad.
But it did mark a new season for me. And the seasons have changed a lot more since then. The teenage boy mom role is really weird, in my opinion. One minute, you’re dealing with a young man, wanting to empower him and respect him and believe in him. The next, he’s acting like you’ve never taught him anything about life at all, and you wonder if you should look into boot camp.
As all 3 boys approached the teenage years, I got pretty lonely. They aren’t big conversationalists. I’ve heard that’s pretty consistent among boys their age. So sometimes even when we DID get to spend time together, it was in silence as I drove them from one place to another. I would ask questions, get one word answers, and give up.
Depression told me to feel sorry for myself. To shrink back. To stop saying yes every time they wanted a ride to a friend's house or to go get a coke or to run up to the gym and shoot baskets for an hour.
I decided that saying YES as often as possible would be chipping away at depression. And self pity. I think it’s also called being a mom. But that’s a whole other blog.
My YES to the boys has brought me so much joy. Often my YES to them is also a yes to other kids. I really love it when boys pile in my car and start laughing about some silly YouTube video they’ve watched, or something a teacher said, or when someone farts and we have to roll down all the windows. Yes, I’ve even learned to laugh at THAT.
Every moment of laughter is chipping away at depression too. It’s proven. Like scientifically. Or something. Google it.
I used to think that smiling or laughing on the outside when i was feeling super depressed on the inside was just me faking it. I think it’s actually me telling satan to shove it. It’s me choosing joy. It’s me laughing until that joy gets into my bones and pushes out the darkness of depression.
I think about that verse that talks about letting go of all the things that hinder us. Throwing them off. Throwing off regret, throwing off self pity, throwing off discouragement, throwing off depression. I imagine myself driving down the road throwing that stuff out the window. I’m sure the idea of the “race” reference was for us to RUN but I’m more of a driver than a runner. Either way, the point is for us to persevere on the path God has put us on, right? Throwing off sin AND the stuff that tangles us up.
“…So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin that we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path that has been already marked out before us.” Hebrews 12:1ish
Cheers to passion & determination….and chipping away. <3