That's what depression feels like for me.
It starting creeping in last winter. Eliza was about 4 months old, she was sleeping through the night, not nursing quite as often. Liv had adjusted wonderfully. Things were going well with our church plant. I had a steady stream of freelance working coming in. Life was good.
And I was mad all the time.
I spent most of my time feeling offended. Mostly by Duff. If he didn't put his bowl in the dishwasher, I was offended that he was making me do it. If he scheduled a meeting late in the afternoon over a beer, I was offended that he wouldn't just come home in time to help while I made dinner for the kids. My kids weren't really bothering me, and neither were my friends. But Duff could hardly breathe without upsetting me.
I thought maybe we were just having a hard couple of months until I heard someone else describe her depression. She said it came in waves. That one time, she was talking to her husband and he made a comment about the weather. She was personally offended by his complaint because somehow his disappointment in the forecast felt like disappointed in her. This obviously makes no sense. That's when she knew.
Everything was fine, but something was wrong.
I heard this woman's story at a church planting conference last January and it was a lightbulb moment. I'm in a fog. I feel wounded all the time, by things that shouldn't wound. I've lost my spunk. Hearing her talk helped me step into awareness of my own dip in affect. It wasn't just a hard month or two in our marriage, I was depressed.
I'd tried to communicate how I was feeling a few times, but before the conference I hadn't been able to do it effectively. On our way home, I was able to explain what was going on in my head and my heart to Duff. He was able to hear me this time. Being able to talk through it with him, within the safety of our covenant, was hugely helpful. I felt like I was gathering myself as I talked, starting to put the pieces of me back in place. The conversation continued as needed when we got home, and the thick fog that had settled in my head lifted little by little.
I didn't make an appointment to talk to a doctor, but I did talk to my doctor. One of my best friends here is a physician, and I talked to her about what was going on. I intentionally gave her license to be in this space in my life. She followed up with me and still does; we just don't talk in her office. I'm so thankful for her care.
So I went from being the girl who knew a lot of depressed people, to the depressed girl who knew a lot of depressed people. These dips are common, y'all. And I don't say that to make it feel less serious; I say it because it's true. Depression is not always an emergency, but it is something to take seriously. I remember hearing that the age of onset for depression (and this might be just in women) is in the thirties. I'd never considered that a little depression might be part of my picture, but it is. I experienced another dip this winter, but was able to recognize it earlier this time.
So this is the start of my depression story. I'm not an expert, but I will say that because we are spiritual, emotional, and physical beings we should expect this kind of thing to impact each of those areas. Finding that line where a spiritual struggle stops and serotonin levels start is a tricky game, isn't it? Being thoughtful about these things is important. Being unnecessarily hard on ourselves by emphasizing one aspect of who we are over the others just isn't helpful. For me, part of what that means is knowing that winters may be hard for me from here on out, but we'll work through it.
And I'm not alone in it.
The Lord dances over me, my husband loves me, my kids think I hung the moon.
Ultimately, even when something's wrong, everything's fine. More than fine.
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