First of all, I just want to say thank you for all the support after I started this blog earlier in the year. I am so lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who rally behind my cockamamie ideas.
Secondly, I wanted to report back that I received an overwhelming amount of feedback from friends from all chapters of my life who shared that they, too, cope with anxiety and/or depression.
If you are following along with my blog because you can relate to some of those mental health challenges, just a reminder: We are SO NOT ALONE. I knew that, or at least suspected it, but it became very apparent when so many friends opened up to me about what they struggle with as well.
For this reason, I feel it’s important to share that I tabled the blog for the winter/spring because I got pretty walloped by a wave of depression. It wasn’t completely shocking – winter is historically a tough time of year for me, with like 7 minutes of sunshine per day. And after the fun of Christmas is over, January, February, and March (…and April…and most of May) in New Hampshire are long months. On the other hand, there was really no reason to feel so awful.
That’s what I’ve found to be so frustrating about depression. It can hit you so hard, and yet absolutely nothing is “wrong.” In fact, there are so many blessings in my life, I felt really ungrateful for feeling so down.
Thankfully, I wasn’t completely incapacitated, as I know many people can be. I just put my head down and focused on moving forward, but all of my energy went to keeping life normal for Rick and Ryan, and taking care of myself. There was no creative juice left for Finding Alice.
I want to put it in writing for myself, for when I have down moments again, and for anyone else who needs to read it: It will get better. When you are in the throes of it, it is virtually impossible to believe. But it will. It will get better.
Increasing my medication, maintaining regular check-ins with my therapist, lots and lots of prayer, adding more structure to my days, being patient, being grateful, and holding out hope for better days —these were some of the steps I took to help. I also tried to incorporate some exercise (let’s get real, this was minimal but since my baseline is fairly, um, nonexistant, I think even a little helped. To my body it must’ve felt like I was marathon training even though I was just walking on the treadmill!) Self-care was also key. For me, self-care treats are things like taking a bath while reading People or Us Magazine, and also watching or listening to comedians on Netflix and Spotify. Laughter is the best medicine, they say. (Well…maybe second to anti-depressants?)
As I prepared to get back into the blog, I was thinking about what to write for this post, and the Gospel reading on September 8 (Luke 14: 25-33) had a line that particularly struck me:
“No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple.”
I had to smile and have a little conversation in my heart with my Mom, who was very vocal about the fact that we all have our crosses, our struggles, to carry—just as Jesus carried his cross. Whenever I’d lament the (seemingly) perfect life of a friend at school, or get down about something, she was always quick with the reminder, “We all have our crosses, Katie. And you wouldn’t want someone else’s.” It was always hard to argue with that one.
So, here’s to carrying our crosses. May we all find the strength to carry them each day and look for ways to help other carry theirs.