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A Letter to My Child About Depression

6/5/2021- To my child,


First of all, I want you to know that cycles of depression or feeling “uninspired’ or “unmotivated” is a very normal cycle of life.  It will come and go throughout your life and it is nothing to be scared or ashamed of.  It does not mean you’re weird, or less than, or damaged in any way. Everyone in the family has gone through cycles of depression…some of us more than others.  As a clean and sober person…you’ll be more aware of it when it comes up.


Because I’ve lived with both chronic and cyclical depression, I can give you a few really important helpful tips. 


1.       Accept it as part of life

It is part of the circle of life as you let go of the old to receive the new.  It feels bad because you are being prepared to receive the new as the old no longer satisfies.  Grief is often involved in depression.  Grieving the old and familiar is how we let go to receive the new.  It is forever part of the adult stage of life whether it’s singleness to married life, school to a full-time job, old friends to new friends, an old house to a new house, married with no kids to married with kids, becoming an empty nester etc….


2.       Cocoon yourself 

Stay where you are safe, emotionally, physically, spiritual, relationally.  When you’re depressed, you’re in a vulnerable state.  Your internal senses are preoccupied with the pain, confusion, and often fear and shame.  In that vulnerable place your brain wants to go into a “reactive” state and to go back to what it knows…even if what it “knows” isn’t safe.   Be proactive in choosing a place where your value will be actively protected when you are in a spiritual, emotional, relational state of vulnerability.


3.       Tune in-Pay attention

Because depression is uncomfortable and painful, the temptation is to distract yourself from the pain or medicate the pain.  Practice living in the uncomfortableness because it does two things…it builds internal strength and fortitude that you’ll need during the course of your whole adult life when things happen out of your control- and for all of life’s ups and downs and transitions.  Second, it will help you know where to focus your preparation.  When you tune into what your spirit is saying and what God is telling you, it will PREPARE you for the next stage.  You will know what you are letting go of, what you are being prepared to receive, what your next steps are. 


4.       Wait it out

God is doing a work IN you and you don’t have control over what that is.  Settling in to let God do His work is how we live in faith and exercise surrender.  The more we are able to relax, trust God, have faith, and surrender, the more we are ABLE to receive what God has for us.  Don’t make major decisions during this time.  This is not decision-making time; this is your waiting time.  Don’t “jump” on the down swing…wait till the “up” swing…otherwise you’ll ground out instead of fly.  Stay focused on what you know and invest your time and energy in what you already have and know while God prepares you for more. 

 

Lastly, this is separate from the “Depression” tutorial…but I felt it needed to be said.  The most important thing you own is your spirit or soul.  That is the eternal part of you.  That is the part that will last forever. 


When you make ANY decision, make a decision that will protect your spirit.  For example, maybe in the allergy season at the house (with the cotton wood and shedding dogs) it is uncomfortable for you physically and you want to go somewhere else to get a break.  That is TOTALLY fine and understandable…AS LONG AS you are going to places that are protecting, fueling, and feeding your soul. 


Do not ever surrender your soul, your value, your calling, your purpose, your commitments, or your spiritual inheritance to be “comfortable”.  All of us are called to be people who will endure any physical uncomfortableness, hardship, pain, even torture or death to protect our eternal soul. 


I Love you, Mom


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