St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday, and that’s what I tell people when they ask. But I always answer under the pretense that Christmas is taken out of the running, because Christmas would automatically take the cake. Everything about it captivates me. From the bright lights, that give ordinary scenes a whimsical twinkle, to the crowded parking lots, filled with hurried shoppers leaving a hum in the air, it all is truly magical. I know what you’re thinking: this girl has seen one too many Hallmark Channel movies. And you’re right. I definitely have. But that’s besides the point. The joy that comes at Christmas is addicting, and I always want to savor every moment of the season. This year, savoring the sweetness of the season has been hard. So this week, instead of our usual frappy friday post, I’m going to share a little piece of my struggle. For the first time, I’m going to share my personal battle with depression and anxiety, something I’ve never done before. So if you’d like, or if you have a minute, take a seat and I’ll pour you some coffee…..
For the sake of time, I won’t start from the beginning, and that’s partially because I’m not sure I would even know where to begin. Instead, I’ll start at Monday, when my depression took an unprecedented hold of me. This week has been filled with more tears than I care to admit, and a whirlwind of emotions that has left me exhausted and depleted. One night this week, my mom had to come down and spend the night with me because everything just seemed to be too much. So, here is my humble attempt at explaining what this past week has looked like.
Depression makes me feel like I’m trapped in my own body. As if the real me is being kept locked away in a glass box, forced to watch as someone else inhabits her body. An inhabitant that doesn’t smile or laugh, that is easily irritable, and that is quick to anger. Simply put, someone who is hard to love. All the time, the real me is forced to look on, while her laughs are stifled and smiles smeared away, being replaced with lifeless substitutes. I think the hardest part of depression, for me at least, is knowing just how difficult it must be for others to love me. Because I know that I don’t love me and the person I become when depression takes its grip. All I want is to laugh and smile. To make you laugh and smile. But days when depression hits, those simple tasks can seem impossible to accomplish. Nothing seems funny and it feels as if the world is against me. It’s like a shadow has been cast over my eyes, and everything has gone dark. The joy and magic that usually come so easily during this season seem impossibly far off. And that’s when the anxiety creeps in, mine usually manifest itself in my chest, like a weight has been dropped on it. Occasionally, it may steal my appetite, or on night’s like tonight, it robs me of my sleep. But I make attempts to fight off the gloom of the depression: I fake laughs and force smiles. While on the inside I’m fighting tooth and nail to shatter the glass box and take back control. However, this can take a toll. It can leave me feeling depleted wanting nothing more than to lay in my bed where I know I can avoid it all by falling into a numbing sleep.
Tonight, I’m left lying awake while my thoughts wander to my worst fears. So, I do what I normally do when the tears are welling up and my thoughts won’t seem to settle. I pray to my Prince of Peace. I pray that His peace unexplainable would flood my heart and mind. That He would ease my anxious thoughts, calm my racing heart, and wash His love over me. This is what I want you to know, that I’m fighting. I’m not giving up and I’m not backing down, though I will have moments when I may need to be held because I’m not able to stand on my own. There will be times when I’ll run and push you away. I’ll do my best to isolate myself. Don’t let me. Remind me of my fight, and that as Shania Twain would say, “I ain’t no quitter.”
This Advent season may be harder than I ever expected, but I wait with hopeful anticipation for the birth of the Prince of Peace, who came to save me. I don’t know what you’re facing this holiday season, but whatever it may be, I want you to know that you’re never alone, and like my mom tells me, “there’s nothing we can’t get through.” Squeezing you tight and wishing the happiest holidays to you and yours.