Help for Difficult Days!
My prayer is that you won’t find yourself having too many difficult days, but I’m constantly amazed at how how easy it is to get depressed. Sometimes one little thing can go wrong and if I don’t watch my focus, all my joy goes down the drain. FAST.
Matthew was diagnosed in March of 2010. By August, I was in a state of severe depression. Here’s a quick look at how it happened and how I got out of it. If you’re struggling today, I pray this will help you.
At Matthew’s diagnosis, I went into a brief period of shock and sadness. It’s usually the mom who sets the tone for the family and I wanted to be strong, but how? It seemed impossible.Well, once I got through that first night in the hospital, everything changed. I went into what I like to call “Adrenaline Mode.” I was unstoppable.
During our hospital stay, we went through intensive education on how to care for Matthew. I filled an entire notebook with facts, figures and formulas. I remember sitting there through the training with thoughts racing through my head. I can do this. I will bury myself in every book I can find. Three hours of sleep every night? No problem! I will do whatever is necessary to take care of my child. Where did I leave my Super Woman cape?
I stayed in that mode for quite a while. Oh, I was still a weepy mess and utterly exhausted, but the adrenaline ruled for about 6 months. Then one day I crashed and burned.
Before long, I found myself in the doctor’s office. And, gasp! She offered me drugs. I was a little surprised–I never told her I was depressed. Thought I was doing a good job of hiding it.
Thankfully, she saw right through my bad acting job and did an amazing thing: She encouraged me! She challenged me. My amazing doctor looked me in the eye and said: You can do this. I really believe you can get out of this depression. If you can’t, call me and I’ll give you a prescription to help, but you can do this. Take it one step at a time.
Everything changed after that. Oh, it took a good 6 months before I really felt like my old self, but I did it. And without medication. I came close to calling my doctor several times, but I sought the Lord for help. In my heart, I knew God was going to get me through the depression without drugs.
(SIDENOTE: I am NOT against using meds to help with your depression. I know some people who are using drugs with great success and think it can be a huge blessing for some people. Talk with your doctor who can advise you on what is best for your situation. If you’re struggling, don’t put off a visit to your doctor! Your child needs you to be healthy.)
SPECIFIC THINGS I DID TO GET JOY BACK IN MY LIFE
1. I began having quiet time with the Lord faithfully. Every. Single. Day.
2. I made walking a part of my daily routine. I’ve grown to LOVE this time!
3. I decided to change my thinking. I started giving myself pep talks. Yes, this may qualify as talking to myself, but don’t judge me–it works!
4. I began taking naps when I needed them and I STOPPED feeling guilty about it.
5. I no longer worry about keeping the house clean. Yes, I pick up and the house usually looks pretty good, but I don’t stress over dust bunnies anymore.
6. I started a support group for other Doctor Moms.
7. I cleaned out my closet. Trust me—it was a disaster area and it made me depressed every time I saw it. The simple act of cleaning it was a new beginning. A fresh start. I knew if I could transform my closet, I could transform my life. Maybe one day I’ll get brave enough to post the before and after pics. But not now, we’ve only just met. Give me time to get to know you! ; )
8. I printed out a few bible verses and posted them around the house. Every time I see one, I say it out loud. Here is the one that helped the most during my dark days. When things go wrong–and they do!– I start saying this verse out loud:
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time;
thank God no matter what happens.
This is the way God wants you
who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
(1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 MSG)
9. Finally, I’ll share with you the one thing that helped me the most. Every day ask yourself this question:
How do I want to be remembered?
Personally, I don’t want Matthew to look back on his childhood and remember me as being sad and depressed. He deserves a happy, joyful mom who hasn’t forgotten how to laugh!
And quite frankly, I don’t want my husband to view me as a basket case! A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies…Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. (Proverbs 31:10,28 NIV)
I pray this will help!