Mental health is not something you can switch on or off. It is not something you need one day and can put to rest the next. It's an easy concept isn't it? At the core I don't think it is. How many of us really feel like sharing our true feelings and vulnerability? How many of us priorities our feelings and emotions? My guess is that if a close friend, coworker, spouse or family member asks you in the morning "how are you?" It's likely that your reposes is good, fine or ok even if deep down inside you feel pretty sucky.
Know how I know that, because there are many a day where I put on a pretty tough outer shell to keep others on the outside. Heaven forbid I open up to what is really going on. These barriers need to drop in order for us to build relationships and show the mercy and grace of God. He has already paved a road for you and died on the cross for you. There should be no shame in your feelings and we should take the time to understand them.
I had thrown that understanding piece to the wayside as I had taken somewhat of a hiatus from my counselor as I thought life was too busy. A reminder to everyone that life is NEVER too busy to address your mental health and the factors that are contributing to it. These sessions have lead to a better understanding of who I am and how I tick.
I now can identify when the spiral is happening and what I need to do to get back. For example I am currently home on maternity leave and will have my phone nearby as I nurse. This has ultimately meant endless scrolling, for what sometimes could be 1.5 hours at a time (insert embarrassed emoji!). For myself this was not a healthy habit, creating guilt and a loud response from my inner critic. I needed a solution, a compromise that allowed me quiet time with my baby but was not consumed with endless guilt. My solution has been to turn on a podcast or audio book. Less guilt and more meaningful snuggles for 1.5 hours.
There are so many times that I also look to myself for answers when really I should be looking to God. My counselor is always quick to remind me of that. He has paved the road for all of us. He knows our faults and strengths. He knows when to catch us and when to let us fall. I am forever grateful for a counselor who is sure to include my faith journey in our sessions. The true reason for my mental healing is centering my life around the Lord and what he desires for me in each day. My prayer for you friends is that you take time to asses your mental health and to reach out to someone if you need to visit. Mental health is important, YOU are important.
The weeks long slump of not looking at the word is in full swing. Really during Advent I should be delving into the word, reflecting on the sin in my life and preparing for the Lord's coming. Instead I am scrolling Instagram and hoping God will just show me the way. You and I both know that is not how this works. It takes work to be a follower of God and yes at times we may get into a slump. It is not different than a slump in exercise, meal planning, or managing schedules. I slump in all of those ares simultaneously most days.
Do you want to know the mental difference in my slumps from a year ago? I don't feel nearly as guilty. Through my work with my wonderful counselor at Valley Christian Counseling we have been talking through this guilt and need for perfection. It is ok to get into slumps. The mindset behind the slumps has changed. As I start planning for the week I have started to use the word "could" vs "should." I don't feel nearly as guilty when I don't accomplish something that I could have done versus should have done.
Every day and every week is a new opportunity to overcome the slumps that may consume our lives. The final days of advent will be spent in reflection for me while dreaming of the future with God at the forefront.
Today was a BIG day. Today was a day that I made a commitment to myself to truly get better. To officially start kicking postpartum depression to the curb. By official I mean I am seeking help from a counselor. I've waited too long in this fog and I am ready for it to start to clear. I know that this isn't going to be easy. It most definitely won't be fun, but it will be worth it.
I can look to the Bible for reassurance. In the past week I have submersed myself in the bible like never before. Each day I am taking the time to open up this wonderful book and surround myself with the story of the King who gave so much for all of us. In the book of Psalms we see that we should give him our worry and our strife as he will always keep us afloat.
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalms 55:22 ESV
No one else has made a sacrifice like he did. Who else do you know that says "cast your burdens" on me? Our parents, spouses, siblings, friends, and counselors surely don't want to see us suffer and hopefully they are reaching out to help us on our journey, but they should not need to carry our pain, strife, fear, worry, etc. They will walk through the dark hours with us but we are not to cast these burdens on them. A counselor is someone who I can share my history with and in my case be counseled by in a Godly manner. I believe this is what HE would want for me. HE gave so much for us to give it all to him. When we are seeking help let us seek it from the one who can provide it to us. Again I look to Psalms for this reassurance:
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes form the Lord, who made the heaven and earth." Psalms 121:1-2 ESV
I could repeat one part of that verse over and over. "My help comes forms he Lord..."
So I will leave you with this, a reminder to run to him.
God bless, Lisa
I'm Lisa, a farm wife turned city slicker. A child of God, wife and mother. I'm a dreamer relying on God's grace to get me through.