Healing from or negotiating a personal struggle with depression is a long arduous task. If I went back in time to tell my former depressed self some advice I would not hesitate to say, “Self, be patient and merciful with yourself.”
There are Spanish study resources on my desk behind me as I type this essay. I’ve been studying Spanish for business purposes since about last October. I have beat myself up continually since then when I have “failed” at studying or not done as well on a particular assignment as I thought I should have done. Clinical depression exacerbates those thoughts as many of you know. I think about that old Paula Abdul song about two steps forward and two steps back, and I smile because when we treat ourselves that way many times there are no steps forward, and I’ll be honest I’ve almost quit trying to learn Spanish since last October at least once.
It’s grueling, and when you add a pandemic to the mix, well, you know the drill.
So here’s what I did because I’m sick of it. I sat down to study as I waited on my espresso, and I wrote down 3:17pm under Study Log in a spiral notebook. Our dog Wrigley had to go outside, so I took her, and I estimated that took about 5 minutes. I came back and completed two questions in my textbook, and I wrote 3:25pm even though it was actually 3:30pm as quitting time. That’s a seven minute study session. I’m choosing to see that as a victory because I was happy with the way I answered the two questions in the book.
Coach Meyer always said to journal what you learned, and I agree with that, but sometimes in this chronic battle with depression I have to diagram minutes to see what works and doesn’t. It’s a long journey dear one. Don’t pray for patience because the Father will give you opportunities for it. Pray for the vision to conquer the darkness that tempts you to say you are a failure. You aren’t. You never have been, and you never will be because that’s not how our Abba Father sees any of us.
Tell your younger depressed self to take deep breathes. If your activity is staring into space for long periods of time do not condemn yourself for doing so. Keep a journal. Audit five minutes. Listen to Randy Travis and Casting Crowns. Go for a walk when you muster the courage to leave your residence. Quote Scripture over and over even if you think it’s not working. It is. The Holy Spirit does not turn a deaf hear to any of God’s children, so we are in good company.
Lastly, again be patient with yourself. If something “falls” through the cracks forgive yourself. If you want me to pray for you by name private message me on Twitter. My handle is @danielbeyondsad.