Today: Speaking from the Pit
By Jenny Beall, Therapist, MA, LPCC
©January, 2018Threads of Hope Counseling
Today I'm just... Today I'm just feeling overwhelmed and tired and defeated and like an imposter.
I am in my 30s, in good health, I have a thriving business, two beautiful children and a very supportive husband; there's no reason I should feel this way. And yet, I look at the little things that are not perfect in my business, and the hiccups along the way in parenting, and the fact that we have yet to achieve that next piece of our family dream and I pile them up into a mountain of negative that somehow outweighs in the mountain of positive that everyone else sees. Fortunately, over my years of self-reflection, a little counseling of my own, and support from loved ones I have learned to recognize and name this feeling-- It is depression.
Some people think counselors are supposed to have their life all together. I teach the stuff right?! I help people walk through valleys and get to the hope on the other side on a daily basis. And yet when I'm in the pit, it's really challenging to pull myself out and it's really challenging for other people to pull me out. Sometimes I question whether God allows me to face depression in order to strengthen the impact of my work with others struggling with this intangible black cloud.
I still function day-by-day. I still get up in the morning, dress myself, take a shower, hug my children, get them safely off to school. I even go to the office and encourage clients who are struggling. Yet there is still this feeling of emptiness which few people know about and few people could truly understand. Depression is isolating not just because it creates a sense of hopelessness and removes the desire to connect with others, but also because people who have not lived through it—just don’t get it.
What can I do?
Today I'm too tired to speak positive words to myself. Today I can't get the emotional help that I want from my husband. Today I don't have the Motivation to clean my house despite the mess that adds to my feelings of overwhelming chaos. Today I may not even write this blog in a fully organized and coherent fashion because my mind is in a fog. Today I might try a tiny amount of self care-- even though (today) I don't believe that I deserve it.
Today is not the worst day I have ever lived through; it is not even in the top 10! Today I will continue to function and do what I need to do to continue living, supporting my family, and at least minimally engaging with the world around me. But maybe that's all I need to do today. And that will have to be okay. Today I will refuse to completely give up hope and I will trust and remind myself that I might believe and hope again tomorrow. Even if it is weighing me down today, Depression will not destroy me. Today I will have the last word and it will be a hopeful one.