Walking Out Depression

It has been hard to get out of the house and I finally had to admit that I have been struggling with depression. I knew something was off when I no longer had interest in the things that delight me–mostly being around other people and taking those walks that I had committed to for this blog.

I know what depression feels like. I have experienced it before. I know many of you have too, or someone close to you has. For me,

  • Depression isn’t just feeling a bit down. It is feeling like no matter what you do you can’t get up.
  • Depression isn’t just feeling grief after the loss of a loved one. It is feeling as if life will never be whole again, and you don’t care. You just don’t care.
  • Depression isn’t being tired and staying in bed. It is wanting desperately to get up and yet the best you can do is make it to the bathroom and back to your bed.
  • Depression isn’t just skipping events to which you committed to attending. It is wanting so much to see people and yet being so sad that you can’t imagine getting dressed and putting on your happy face.
  • Depression isn’t about feeing sad and overly emotional. It is sitting on the edge of the bed and crying and you don’t know why because all you did was wake up.

It can take some courage to recognize the symptoms and ask for help. Unlike other illnesses, there is a conflict between shame and pride associated with depression. Sometimes well meaning friends try to cheer you up and get you past a down period. Religious leaders are often ill-equipped to diagnose or treat depression. And the communities in which we live frequently don’t have the patience to support someone with a ‘hidden’ illness. And more often, our pride stops us from sharing with others that we are living with depression, even if we are undergoing counseling or taking medication.

My life is better this week. I have the support of my closest friends and family. I’m doing what I need to get better and each day I feel a little more like myself. And I finally got out the door and into nature. I have to take the steps back to normal living and make the most of my treatment plan to find my center again. 

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Lewinsville House, 1659 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, VA

I was amazed by the simple beauty of the world just a mile away from my home. I found a touch of God out there as I walked with a friend and our dog. I found that my inner spirit was renewed in the midst of God’s creation.

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I walked in gardens planted and felt a new being breaking through. The bright colors of flowers coming into bloom. The promise of second chances and renewed life.

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Take the walk. Let the wonder of the world open your heart and lighten your journey into healing.

Sit. Rest. Be.

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If you think something might not be quite right in our life, I encourage you to seek professional help–start with your family physician. Let people close to you know that you are grappling with depression so they can encourage you and walk in your recovery journey. Be brave enough to ask for prayer and to seek out spiritual healing and direction.

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And remember to keep walking. One foot in front of the other. Out the door. Down the street. Around and over the rocky parts. Into the garden of new life.

Walking with the Light,

Maggie

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Inspired Change

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Have you ever found yourself in a place where you know something has to change but you aren’t sure what next step to take? Have you stayed in a place out of a sense of obligation when you know something isn’t right? Have you wondered if it is time to move on yet you feel trapped or you fear the change?

I think we all have these struggles from time to time. Change is a choice. We can choose to stay in the uncomfortable zone and ‘suffer through’ it or we can choose to ask for help to discern which next step to take. For me, this decision starts with prayer and asking others to pray with me so that I can get out of my head and away from emotions that might influence my decision to stay or to bolt.

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Hearing What We Don’t Want to Hear

As I lay out my plans, I have found it helpful to have someone who will ask me the questions I don’t want anyone to ask me. I have a coach and a spiritual director who does a great job of seeing into my carefully concocted plan and finding the areas that I am avoiding because it might cause me to regroup and take new action. As much as I dread these questions, they get at the meat of what God intends for my plans and away from how I envision things. Some may call this an accountability partner, other wise counsel, or maybe just a concerned friend. Whatever title you give this person, make sure you have someone who will tell you what you don’t’ want to hear—and this applies especially to relationship building! Continue reading