My whole life I have felt like I am missing out. Missing out on the fun, the party, the trend. As though I am standing on the edge watching everyone else live the greatest life. I don’t know why I feel this way. I have always yearned to be where everyone else is, do what everyone else does, be everyone else. It is conflicting though. I am a big dreamer. Always imagining my name in the bright lights, exotic living in a high rise, and social status living. However, my heart brought me back home to Nebraska with two little boys to raise and single mom status.
I live a very ordinary, normal life. And I struggle every day with this.
Depression has a way of altering your view and thoughts. The disease clouds emotions, making them dark and painful. The loss of hope and joy in everyday moments and tasks. Loss of interest in things that make one happy and content.
For some, depression is short, and they can bounce back to their former selves. However, for others (most likely me), the symptoms can become part of their personalities. Negative. Hopeless. Forlorn. Focusing on the bad. Focusing on the hurt. Focusing on the impossible. The why mes overtake life. Selfishness is present because these traits make you only focus on you. How you feel. How you suffer. And what do you need to do to make it all go away. I can see how people turn to drinking, drugs, and unhealthy relationships to just make them disappear.
I believed I had a really good handle on this. That I was able to keep myself positive and free of those traits. I have always been very honest and open about my depression. I continually see a counselor to work on me and my life. I share my struggles and hope through my writing.
However, the last year has clarified that I haven’t done a very good job. I struggle with enjoying and accepting the normalcy of it all. I fail to appreciate all the good in my life. Friends and family point it out to me, but I still have trouble believing it. Just when I see a shimmer of it, the loneliness and pain regenerate the negative.
Making me perceive my life as dark. As unworthy. As useless. As boring.
I need to make a change. I have to make a change. Soon, others who love me will tire of my pity parties and oh whoa is mes. They may realize they can’t have negativity in their life. Afraid it could change them too.
I do not want my boys growing up to see the world this way or their life this way. I am adamant about providing them with as much love, light, and faith as they deserve. And to succeed, I have to put the work in. I have to step up and realize that how I have been viewing my life is not healthy. For me. For them. For others.
I have to learn to love my ordinary life.
I am the only one who can do this. I will literally have to change the way my brain processes. I will have to analyze every feeling, every event, and every day. Stopping myself when my thoughts turn dark. Forcing myself to rethink. Seeing what I have and not what I don’t have. Asking myself:
What is good?
Where is the good?
How can I thank the Lord?
What is He trying to say to me?
What is He trying to show me?
When I start to change my thoughts. When I start to focus on the littlest, tiniest detail. When I start to believe in those things. I will change. I know it is a slow process.
I know it is going to be difficult to make myself think a different way.
I am trying to alter the way my brain processes. Processes everything. From the way the sun shines. From the way I wake up in the morning. From the way a smile from a stranger is precious. From the way I didn’t yell at my son last night when he threw an epic, long-lasting tantrum. A text from a friend to say hi. An unexpected gift from far away friends. A job that pays my bills but also is a place I look forward to going to. Daycare that loves my children. A somewhat friendship with my former husband. A God that loves me even when I sin.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Not only do I need to show others this but myself as well. I can be very hard on myself. Expecting great things from a very flawed individual. God is gentle and patient with me. I need to do the same. I need to be kind.
I have to remind myself that I am a work in progress.
Reiterating that there is good in everything. In pain. In suffering. In loneliness. In growing. In changing. Because the beauty is in how it forms me.
How will I accomplish this? With the Lord. The Bible. Continuing to see my counselor. Having my friends and family hold me accountable, reminding me that I am swaying off course.
The darkness is creeping in. I am making a blessing/thankful jar. Daily or weekly, I will drop a little note in to remember how the Lord blesses me. At the end of the year, I will read them to remember.
Right now, I am finding it difficult to write even one. So I am going to share my first one: January 3, 2017, Lord, thank you, for granting me patience in motherhood. I was able to show my son love and compassion when he was upset. Yet, I know that when I lose it, You are still there.
Every night, before I sleep, I always thank the Lord and ask Him to grant me strength and courage to get through the day.
I will be adding three things that I was grateful for that day. Last night, it was strong coffee, a warm bed, and two sweet sleeping boys who slept in their beds all night.
By doing this, constantly and consistently, I am praying that my mind and heart can finally see the beauty that is my normal life. The Lord’s light perpetually shines upon me. With hard work and with a humble start, I will finally see what I have. I will finally see what God grants me every day. An extraordinary, normal life.