As homeschooling mothers we love to have everyone think we have it all together! That our picture perfect children are enjoying each & every day of being taught at home, the house always looks immaculate & the laundry is always completely caught up. As unrealistic as this is, we often strive equally as hard to appear 'all together' mentally. Depression is something we rarely talk about. It is a subject that is hidden & very private, yet at some point it will touch you. Dear Mother if you find yourself hiding away as the tears fall, rest assured you are not alone. Always be assured that God knows, God cares & it's at that time when it seems He is so very far away that He is actually so very close!
I hesitate to share too much of my journey through the tears here. Mainly because I have not traversed fully this path ~ I am not at the point of looking back & seeing why I have been allowed to experience this time of mourning & heart break. Also I am a very private person & don't like to share my feelings. I am stepping out of my comfort zone & sharing today so that you won't feel alone when you cry in private, when those dark clouds begin to cover & you find yourself hiding, trying desperately to look on the outside as if live is going serenely, when inside your heart is aching with endless pain.
I was born an optimist ~ looking at the good things in life came naturally to me. I really had no experience with depression except for a minor bout of PND after the birth of our first. What a surprise when I found myself in tears at regular intervals over the past two years. The feelings of abandonment by God ~ although foolish ~ were very real. And I still struggle with the 'whys' (desperately at times). May God use this time in the shadows to create something beautiful in my life for His glory and when the sun comes out again may I rejoice in the character that has been grown within me! I cling to verses that promise joy & I am learning each & every day that even though my plan sounds great, God's plan is best.
What I have found helpful:
*** I have no experience with clinical depression. Although I do hope these are helpful to you, if you think you may have a chemical imbalance that is causing depression, please pursue medical help. If you find yourself having harmful thoughts please seek professional help immediately ~ it is never shameful to seek this!***
A strong foundation in God's Word will be eternally helpful throughout life. It will help when the hard times come & the sadness seems impenetrable. It will help when you wake with joy & gladness. God's Word is amazing and it will guide you through everything your life will experience. I truly do not know how anyone can get through the rough & tumble of life without knowing the Lord.
It is important to make sure we believe what is written in God's Word ~ truly believe!
If we feel abandoned.....God says that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) ~ believe it!
If we feel we can't cry another tear...God says that weeping my endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)~ believe it!
If we feel that God is far...God says that He will watch over you (Psalm 121:3) ~ believe it!
If we feel our sin is unforgivable....God says that if we confess our sins He is faithful & just & will forgive us our sins & cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)~ believe it!
If we feel our heart is breaking.....God says that He will heal the brokenhearted & bind up their wounds (Psalm 147:3) ~ believe it!
There are so many verses that show how much the Lord cares for YOU! Please dear mother, never, ever believe the lies of the enemy that God doesn't care. If he knows the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30), how more does he care about how you are feeling?
2. Know your hormonal cycle
The rise & fall of hormones brings the full myriad of emotions with it. We women seem to be particularly susceptible to these changes as our hormonal changes are so incredibly regular. If you get to know your cycle there will be days in the month when you are more susceptible to sadness (thankfully there are other days when you feel like you could conquer the world). This does not mean you won't feel down on other days, but these are the target days when you most likely will.
Sometimes finding distractions on those days when the tears come too easily is a good option. Getting out around other people & distracting yourself from the issues that trigger the negative feelings often helps. As homeschooling mothers this is not always possible, but listening to encouraging talks or by learning to look 'outward' when we want to only look 'inward' helps to alleviate our pain as we aspire to help others with their own.
3. Share with someone who understands
I am not someone who shares my pain ~ ever! (Except today, but this isn't because I want your sympathy, but because I want to encourage you ~ let's see if I'm brave enough to post it :) However talking to someone who understands often lessens the load & helps to break the clouds. Sometimes professional counselling is helpful. Sometimes it is easier to share these deepest feelings with a friend over the internet who you will (probably) never meet in real life. Recently God allowed someone who is experiencing the exact same thing to email me offering support. I had been praying for God to open up a door to someone I could communicate with as I felt like I was bursting with holding it all in. (As I am a women of few words in real life, I would rather type than talk so this was perfect for me.) I was able to openly share with this dear lady & she was such an encouragement to me ( as I hope I am able to be to her). She shared her feelings that were so very similar & we are praying for each other. It didn't change anything, yet it changed everything!
Please feel free to EMAIL me with any prayer points or to share your story. Everything will be kept in complete confidence.
4. Know your triggers
I do not know what issues you are going through today. I do not know what burdens you are bearing or what is breaking your heart. I do however know why mine is heavy at times & there are some definite triggers that will generally cause those dark clouds to begin to gather. I cannot avoid these things completely, but I can make sure I don't put myself into situations that cause excessive heart break. You may be able to identify for yourself what is contributing to yours and come up with ways of coping.
5. Count your blessings
Dwelling on what we have been blessed with often reduces the sadness that plagues us at various times in life. I highly recommend Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts"(affiliate link). The very process of counting my blessings has helped me many times throughout the past years. To look at God's beautiful world that He has put me in with such a precious family can't help but make me thankful. May I strive so hard to live a life overflowing with thankfulness knowing that I deserve nothing, yet are blessed with so very much!
When those inevitable tears come, when the storm clouds begin to gather, please turn to the LORD! He is there waiting for you and will be your strength & shield when you are at your very weakest. He loves you just the way you are!
Never, ever be ashamed of having emotions ~ for God made you sensitive & caring to ensure you can be such a wonderful mother!
God bless you friends