The life I imagined. Not quite what I have. That’s ok? I’m working on it being ok.
When change happens I am so tempted to cry over what has gone, what once was. If I am honest however, that stuff in the past is what has me here today. So while I miss it do I want it back?
I remember my first thoughts about my writing…my purpose with this blog of sorts…was to ruminate on the legacy I am leaving behind. What I imagined that legacy to be has changed. Is changing. I’m praying this process makes me stronger and I am praying for the strength it is going to take.
I’m not giving up. I’m keeping my mind focused on what I wanted at the start of this. Considering my legacy, discussing it, sharing it and now seeing it transform.
The struggle during this season has been balance. I waver between the anxiety that comes from the immersion into information required by my job and the dream world of avoiding the pain and suffering. Everyday I listen to the voice of families hurting in the midst of this pandemic. Everyday I offer words of encouragement, hoping that today my clients, the children within these systems, find ways to thrive and learn resilience.
It is tough to do this job in my sanctuary. I am not in my usual place of abode thanks to this damned pandemic. However, my home is where my family resides, so when I am with them I am in my sanctuary. This place of safety and restoration however has been invaded by my job. See, my everyday commute was a part of my ritual of putting off my day; physically distancing myself from the trials of others, leaving my files in my vehicle, not allowing clients access to my personal contacts. This was part of my coping.
With the situation being what it is, this has changed and it is affecting my mental health. I crashed this week, barely making it to the end emotionally, all my reports outstanding. Because I needed to grieve my losses, I needed to find new ways of coping. I needed to relearn how to protect my mind.
My balance was gone and ignoring it did not help. Slapping on a band-aid and moving forward, appearing competent, putting myself out there to be another’s support…..these were not working. I am reminded again, it is important to see what is happening accept it and create a plan to deal with it.
I am working on my new equilibrium for we are going to be in this for a while. The repercussions will exceed the life of this pandemic. If I am to live in the midst of this, protect my job, my family and my soul I need to find that sweet spot again.
God you are my strength through this all, . I ask to be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that I may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to You: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power, according to Your glorious might, so that I may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled me to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. Amen
This prayer was taken from Colossians 1:9-12.
I cannot walk this path alone, I trust in my God to strengthen me as we walk in it together.
My heart is burdened with disappointment, my soul feels shattered.
Yet I am not broken.
I reach for Your strength. I reach for Your quiet. I reach for that sanctuary, for Your guidance and relief. I am weary yet I hope. I have faith that through this all, My God,You are my strength. You are my strong tower.
Emotional regulation sucks some days. Always being one step ahead of my emotions, thinking before I speak or act, checking in to ensure reasoning rather than a bad mood or a wrong thought isn’t affecting decision making. It is exhausting 😔.
This has been the toughest struggle for me as I am recovering from depression (yes I do believe I can recover). I have always been sensitive to the emotions of persons around me. And for a long time I learnt to stiffle my feelings to ensure I did not upset others or make a bad situation worse. As a child it was the only way I knew to cope with my environment.
Getting older forced me to start to acknowledge my personal emotions. Unfortunately I gravitated towards less than positive expressions for my emotions. So I got stuck for a long time in particular behaviours that I transferred into my relationships. Behaviours which have not been fun for my husband, family, kids or friends.
Recovery requires facing your personal demons. Looking for triggers and breaking cycles. Adopting coping mechanisms which are all socially acceptable. I would like to believe that it should not be as tough as it is, or as exhausting for persons who don’t struggle with their mental health. Maybe it is. I don’t know.
What I am asking is if you know someone who struggles with their emotions and regulating them. Give them second chances. Not to keep hurting you, but a chance to start again. Sometimes, we forget, sometimes we have lost our control because we are exhausted. And sometimes the mask we have on has melted away after a long hard day of smiling and regulating. We need a safe space to feel.
Check in, don’t be afraid to ask if we took our meds, if we did our journal, if we need a shoulder to have a good cry on. If we need some time away to come back to ourselves. Read us. Learn the signs of our bad days the same way we have learnt yours and have learnt to cope with them. We are not perfect. No one is. Don’t expect more of us than is honestly beyond us. Help us. It isn’t easy being with us, imagine how we feel living with ourselves.
When I started this blog I did it to help track my thoughts, emotions, lessons I was learning etc etc etc. An open journal of sorts to share with strangers that accompanied my written journal that held things completely private.
It has been and continues to be an excellent tool in my coping toolbox.
On of my posts in the first couple of months spoke about leaving a legacy. I questioned the legacy I would leave and this thought has not changed. In my everyday life,most days I ask myself what others, my children especially, would learn from my actions, my words and the deeds of my yesterday.
What I have forgotten though is to have a plan. I have been weaving through the daily responsibilities just getting by and exhausted. I know I have done better but what I do has no real purpose other than survival of that day.
With the understanding that planning is a part of leaving a legacy I am working in this season to decide what my time is buying.
I am using the following Scripture from the Bible as my guide:
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:8 NIV
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8 MSG
Life has different seasons, I believe therefore, that my life has different purposes in each season (which may work together in the big picture of God’s plan for my entire life). For each season plan, it a guide, deciding what I am working towards, will order my steps. Ordering my steps will help me go to bed at night with less regrets and guilt about my day. I could be actually happy with my thoughts, words and deeds of the day.
My exhaustion would have a purpose, if that makes sense. The weight of my current season feels overwhelming at this time – empowering and encouraging my children, my husband, my friends, my clients (I’m back in my old job as a social worker) and the families of my clients. If I manage my everyday better and use my time wisely I will sow into the things of God rather than my own selfishness and want want want. My mind will be at rest. And I could then go to sleep without the help of medication. Because I actually accomplished something rather than running around like a headless chicken as we say in Trinbago.
As a Christian sowing into my spirit and the purpose of God is the only way to have life – a daily existence of joy – and to have life everlasting – continue in heaven with Christ. My deeds do not determine if I get to heaven – accepting Christ into my heart as my Lord and Saviour has done that; deciding to walk the path God has preordained for me is the only way I will get to truly live with joy everyday while I am here on earth.
The life I live is my legacy. My legacy is determined by my everyday choices. My choices are influenced by either the Holy Spirit or the selfishness of my flesh. My spirit or flesh therefore determine the legacy I leave behind.
What do I want to give to my family, my friends, the people I work with? What will be my legacy?
Videos of music or sermons which have influenced this post and have been an encouragement to me:
What is it that I want exactly? That is the question constantly gnawing at my sanity whenever I’m in the same space as you. My heart says it should not be this hard. Yet my spirit whispers forbear a while longer.
How much longer?, my sanity pleads. The walls crumbling, my soul begs for respite.
My peace wavers, my faith falters and I am weary. I want to do well, I want to do right. But the energy to exist just a while longer steals from my ability to live.
I read the Word and it says,
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
And I try to hold on to this truth.
If I am to be honest Lord, I am not coping well being trapped in a state of unknown. I make one request, open my heart to know the right actions to make and words to say. Help me in all my sorrow to choose love in all things. To be a light in this darkness.
Grant me peace so I have rest.
Grant me strength unfailing.
Fill my soul with hope so I do not grow weary of doing what is right.
Yesterday was a down day. I came home from work and behaved like a good mom – food, homework and weird kid conversation – while counting the minutes to my husband and remaining kids coming home. I tried to spend some time with them but the exhaustion took me.
I know my husband tried talking to me about important stuff and I lay there attempting to participate but the last thing I remember is asking him not to leave me alone until I knocked out. He said ok and I went to la la land.
“Not feeling well” has become a euphemism for my depressed, down moments. My oldest kid knows mom takes meds because it’s a part of my morning routine. Like any observant child, she asks questions and I answer as honestly as I can – respecting her age and how much she should know.
While my husband and I may not talk as freely as I like about my depression he has become more accepting of my moments and is quite more supportive than in the past. So I know when I said don’t leave he stayed. And when I got up at what o’clock to midnight I saw that the prep for the next day was done.
Living takes energy, energy someone learning to do more than exist oftentimes does not have naturally. It then becomes a fight to appear normal and then feel normal. I don’t want to live constantly exhausted. But when I am I must acknowledge it and do what I must to bring myself up and out.
Denying the fullness of what I am feeling stands in the way of working through the emotions and understanding their root cause. For me, trying to stay solution focused is not always the best way to overcome; I need to understand the ‘why’ behind the intensity of my feelings. That is how I maintain control.
I am back to work as a School Social Worker and for now I am exposed to old clients and it is somtimes heartbreaking. Many families continue in situations that are detrimental to their kids even with my past intervention and that of subsequent professionals. I needed to process how I felt today – the heartbreak, the hopelessness, the anger, the blame I placed on myself and others.
God it is not easy being human.
I slept first because I needed it. I could not do this processing without some rest because it took everything in me to try and maintain a professional exterior while screaming inside. And I was not doing a great job because my trainer asked on more than one occassion if I was ok. *facepalm*
So I continue to process so I can return to sleep before I am up again in a few hours for this new day. I am happy and proud of myself for getting to this point where I:
didn’t use pills to knock myself out
I was able to acknowledge that I was in a bad place, communicated this and stepped bàck from my regular routine to recuperate
Didn’t snap at my family
Am processing my feels
I am so grateful for not just existing, but living; even when it feels impossible I have faith that I can.
Some days it just feels like I am asking permission to be happy.
I’m trying to find a reason to stay in a situation that seems to have a not so joyful future. Staying is what I have to do because a commitment was made. But is there a point when you say I cannot do this? I cannot live everyday looking for joy. Or rather I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to have to put aside my feelings about my marriage and my husband just to find joy in my day. I don’t want to have to block him and the little things out. I don’t want to wait for him to catch up, to make an effort to make a change. I hate the relief I get from leaving the same room of him to escape the heaviness and unspoken words.
There isn’t anymore violence between us, there isn’t any fighting. Just the knowledge that this is what it is because a vow was made. It doesn’t feel like love anymore. Just a duty to the ‘right thing’.
I guess I have been avoiding a relationship with God because He seems to ask the hard and impossible. Bluntly, it feels like the woman is always being asked to be strong, to have patience to wait until the good work is completed in her partner. They get Oblivion, we get constant heartache and forced forgiveness. We get to shoulder to burden of letting go and constantly repairing our brokeness. They get to live in ignorance.
I’m not saying I’m the only one hurting in this relationship. But it feels like I am the only one being broken down. Constantly losing. Unable to make a life. While he gets to move forward, do things. I only have sacrifice and a longing for my own life.
I’m not sure anymore that I can live in joy.
NB: I have been struggling with my medication. While I have been forgetful of taking them on some days due to the busyness of three kids home from school and daycare, today I actually choose not to take them to just get a minute deep inside my head and feel something. Going to pop my pills now sigh.
Some days I need the reminder that no matter how unappreciated or unloved I feel that God is with me, loving me, teaching me and inspiring me towards a better life everyday.
Depression plays mind games with my thoughts and emotions; mind games which bring me to the end of my patience and belief in myself and my abilities. The negative thoughts and emotions influence my actions and words oftentimes before I am able to snatch myself back from a hurtful remark or behaviour.
It is very uncomfortable living with a person with depression.
It is also difficult and soul shattering to be the person who has to see the destruction their mind fog has caused.
That’s why I am grateful everyday to the friends who send me an encouraging word on a daily or weekly basis. Yes, it requires emptying my WhatsApp folder a lot more times than I would like to. However, some days, like today, I get a TRUTH that hits back at reality to add to my arsenal of TRUTH. It might be a scripture or a quote that reminds me that I am more than my disease, my actions and my words. That reminds me I am forgiven. A scripture I can use to fight the words the enemy has put on my mind; an ecouragement to raise the fog and live in TRUTH.
This is how I fight:
I am reminded that I am forgiven. I then remember the importance of turning away from my old ways, developing new habits that help me to not hurt myself or others. I remember that every day I should go to the Word of God to renew and improve my arsenal of TRUTH.
For my reality is a mess.
If I relied on my realtity to tell me the kind of person I am and could be I would take that trip to LaLaLand in no time at all.
However I trust in the TRUTH of God’s Word to get me past everyday. I live in a spirit of humility (some) days and give time for those around me to forgive me. But I remember every single day that I am defined by my heart, which only God can see.
So while to everyone around me I am an ungrateful, nit picking, short tempered biatch, to Him I am a forgiven, struggling, full of power and potential woman of God fighting for her existence while doing His will
Some days, the things you need to hear are the things you least want to listen to.
But for the sake of your sanity the words are needed.
Today, against my own dark desires which prefer to stay wrapped in despair and hopelessness, I was confronted by my GP about the stage of my depression I’m which o currently live.
While my recent distractions have enabled me to, what I consider, tread water, it seems that I am more akin to the swimmer dropped into the deep ocean spending more time fighting the crashing coming up for air every once in a while.
I thought I knew the signs of my darkest depths, but it seems they could get darker than I thought and could masquerade themselves as “holding on”.
I’m so grateful that my Doc stepped on and is helping me in ways I did not know she was capable, for I have never really discussed my mental disease with her. She always trusted that I took care of it. However finances have made this difficult and seeing my symptoms she refused to let me continue in despair.
I have a plan for the next six weeks at least to get up and get out. To overcome. Small, achievable goals which don’t stretch me beyond what I able of. Yet, they still challenge me to find purpose again in life and live. They find me that life is about seasons and I have to find the purpose of this new season and live in it with joy.
So today I am just so grateful someone saw me falling into the rabbit hole and is encouraging me to go beyond surviving and to live again.