I’m Getting Up

 Posted by on February 13, 2012  Add comments  Tagged with: , , , ,
Feb 132012
 

It’s freezing cold and snowy here today, and I’m really tired, but it’s a good tired. It’s the pleasant kind of exhaustion that comes from hard work.

In the last week, I’ve sorted and organized every closet, drawer, and cabinet in this house. Every shelf or cubby, every nook and cranny. I have consignment store appointments every week, all month long, and my little craft area in the basement is full of bags and boxes. This has become the landing area for stuff on its way out of the house.

This morning I completed and filed our tax return. I also baked brownies for Bee’s Valentine’s Day party at school tomorrow, and made little Valentine packages for my children. On Saturday night, my husband and I had our own Valentine’s Day celebration at our favorite date restaurant. It was so nice to have some time alone together, a novelty that has become more and more scarce with the advent of each child. I recently found this photo of us in a scrapbook, taken more than 11 years ago, and I was overcome with nostalgia for the days when we spent all of our time together. We worked together, cooked dinner together, watched TV together, and slept (without interruption!) curled up in each other’s arms all night. And then we had kids.

Look at us! We were just kids.

It’s interesting though because parenting has brought us closer than ever before. We may not have time alone together, but we have a family, and that is a precious and hard-won gift. We don’t ever take it for granted, and there is not one thing about our life we would change (except sleep…I wouldn’t mind getting more of that. Also, it would be nice to be as skinny as I was in this photo).

This week I need to update our budget and savings plan for the year, and write a speech for MOPS next week. I spoke about organization at MOPS last year, and this year they invited me back to talk about meal planning. On the surface, everything seems fine. Life is busy and active, we’re all healthy, things are moving along as planned, but…I can feel myself teetering precariously on the edge of depression, which lurks around all the corners of my life in the wintertime. Every day, in spite of the big smile I plaster on my face for my husband and children, in the midst of my cheerful busyness, I can feel it creeping in. Every morning, it’s just a little bit harder to drag myself out of bed, and every day I feel a little more tired, a little less like myself. My daily work requires more effort, and is done with less and less enthusiasm. My depression says, “It’s OK to stay in bed and read a library book all afternoon. You don’t need to fold that laundry, and the kids will be fine with cereal for dinner! If you cook for them, they’ll just complain anyway!”

Depression is like that one destructive person most of us have had in our lives at some point or another. The person who, if you spend too much time together, starts to drag you down into the muck.

In church on Sunday, I had one of those “AHA!” moments, which are not unusual for me. Often, during difficult times, I feel like God is speaking directly to me through the sermon. Our pastor spoke about the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11-20), which is a tale of self-destruction, but also of grace and redemption. This is a story about a young man who demands his inheritance, then runs away from his father and squanders it. At this same time a famine sweeps over the land, and the man, penniless and starving, is forced to return to his father in shame.

There are many lessons to be learned from this story, but our pastor focused on the fact that before finally swallowing his pride and returning home, the man persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. Feeding pigs was a great humiliation for a Jew, because according to Moses’s law (Leviticus 11:2-8), pigs were unclean animals, and could not be eaten, or even touched. This man had reached rock bottom, but Pastor John pointed out that he, just like most of us, unnecessarily prolonged his time in the pigsty, instead of just taking responsibility for his life. However, the most important thing to recognize is that he didn’t stay there – “he got up and went to his father.” (Luke 15:20).

He got up.

This may not seem like any great revelation, but if you give it some thought, you’ll see that it IS. I think that all of us, when we’re down, tend to wallow a bit. Sometimes it feels good to wallow, but that really serves no purpose. It doesn’t help us to do nothing but focus on our misery – all that does is prolong it. The best thing we can do is get up out of whatever pigsty (literal or figural) we’ve found ourselves in, whether we ended up there unintentionally, or by choice, and try to help ourselves.

So…because I know that I fall into the proverbial pigpen every year around this time, I’m going to do just that. I’ll bring out my arsenal of defense weapons against depression – exercise, good nutrition, proper sleep habits, fresh air, plenty of light, a change of scenery, good books, good friends, and most importantly, prayer.

Because the most wonderful thing about God the Father is that no matter how much wallowing we’ve done, no matter how far away from Him we’ve wandered, when we’re ready to get up and return to Him, he’s always waiting with open arms.

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  21 Responses to “I’m Getting Up”

  1. Oh what a fantastic and timely post. I’ve been fighting the winter blues since moving from the South to Montana, and the snow and dreary gray days here seems like too much as I adjust to all the changes. Thank you for sharing this… getting up in the morning is sometimes the hardest part. I will think about this on the days I struggle to get out of bed. 🙂 

  2. Amen! I agree with you wholeheartedly making the decision to get up and stop wallowing in your problems is hard but once you do that it feels better. I have felt the same way recently and I have to take one day at a time. I love the photo’s you posted you two are a sweet couple.

  3. I want to tell you that you have no idea how much I can relate to this, but I think you understand *exactly* how much many of us relate to this.  I am having a very hard time getting up, only to get knocked back down again these days.  There’s no time to batten down the hatches or lay in supplies before the next storm rips through.  Trying days, indeed.
    As hokey or odd as it may sound, during our many days of cuddling & snuggling, I was watching a Star Wars Clone Wars cartoon episode with Evan and the episode began with a quote:  “The strong survive.  The noble overcome.”  Outside of the Jedi 😉 realm, I thought “the tenacious overcome.”  Indeed, there’s such a wide gap between surviving and thriving. Who, I ask myself, will I be?

  4. I recommend this quick revelatory read: The Dip by Seth Godin.  It is about quitting the things that are cluttering your life (excess clothing/stuff/projects/etc. – things that aren’t worth daily frustration) so you can focus/lean into the things that are really important.   

  5. Thank you so much for your honesty on this topic.  I too struggle with depression and hearing your description of it hovering on the edges is so true for me too.  I wish you all the best as you attack this head.  I’ll be following in your footsteps in trying to beat back the dark cloud with the stick of healthy living.

  6. What a great reminder for me! I have been carrying a burden and it feels so heavy some days. I cannot change the situation, but there are some things I can do to lighten the load and I must get up and get going and keep moving in the right direction. I don’t want to be stuck where I am a month or year from now. Thank you for being so transparent. I love the pictures, you are beautiful!

  7. Thank you. I am dealing with this issue right now too, this time of year is like a giant weight pressing down on me. It feels good to know that so many other women are experiencing the same thing and that it can be overcome. Women need to support and lift one another up & just reading your post this morning has done that for me, so again, thank you.

  8. I know I used to have some real blues this cold, dark time of year… I’ve found taking a good Omega-3 supplement and plenty of vitamin D to help quite a lot.

  9. I can so relate! This is a well-done post (as are all your posts – seriously, I don’t subscribe to blogs – except yours). I had to change my motto to “something is better than nothing” to motivate me to at least accomplish ONE THING when in the throws of depression. Often, after accomplishing one thing, it would encourage me and I could keep going. However, if I found I just couldn’t get beyond the one thing, at least I had accomplished my small goal and didn’t go deeper in my depression because I thought I was worthless. What a monster depression can be!

    Another thing to keep in mind is the grief your family is still walking through. That just adds a melancholy on top of everything. We’ve walked through the same thing and I still remember how it affected us for awhile.

    My husband and I heard an incredible quote the other day that might also add some mental “oomph” when needed – Are you going to choose the excuse or the opportunity? Coming from a long line of “excusers”, this was priceless. I could list all kinds of good reasons why I deserved to stay in bed, but that overlooked the opportunities for Christ’s strength to be made perfect in my weakness. I don’t think you are an excuse maker, but the quote might still encourage.

    Hugs and blessings to you!

  10. Keep exercising, Heather!  Get out those Leslie Sansone tapes and walk, walk, walk!  I am expecting my second child and have been struggling with “morning” sickness and a little depression.  I recently committed to getting back to the exercise and I’m feeling better.  Also, may I humbly suggest you consider having your Vitamin D level checked?  I did in my pregnancy screening and it was abysmally low.  The supplement is helping.  Of course, you and your doctor know your health needs best, but if it’s doable for you, I’d recommend it.  Hope you feel better soon!

    zksyr

  11. Amen!  For some reason, I seem okay as long as I get through January…but now I’m on Day 1 Without Caffeine, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings!

    My husband used the phrase “fake it til you make it” the other day; maybe that applies here a bit, too?  You’re doing a great job so far it sounds like 😀

  12. I hear ya about the winter blahs. I always get mildly depressed around February and long for the long days of summer. I have also been shortchanging myself on sleep lately. I keep vowing to be in bed by 10pm, but that never happens. 

    Oh, and you guys are so cute!

  13. Heather, you have no idea how much I needed to read something like this today. Thank you!

  14. Thank you for this post. I struggle with depression off and on throughout the year especially during the winter, and as a christian I know there is hope, but there r still days where it can be hard to have motivation to get things done. Thanks for the encouragement!

  15. DJ is usually right by me. We cart toys all over the house so he has stuff to play with. He usually interrupts me 100 times, and my work takes twice as long as it would if I were alone, but all of my children, as toddlers, wanted to play near me when I was working. Occasionally he does wander off and I have to go hunt him down, but I’ve learned to keep all the bedroom and bathroom doors shut, because he likes to get into his sisters’ markers, and throw stuff into the toilet. I also have to put the cat food up on top of the freezer, because he dumps it in the cat water. I try to keep him engaged so he doesn’t get bored, so I keep up a steady stream of conversation with him about what I’m doing.

  16. Thank you for this post, it was much needed!

  17. Thank you, Heather! As someone who struggles with the same issues, I needed to hear this right now. The past 2-3 weeks have been a real struggle for me, but just in the last couple of days, I’ve started getting back into a rhythm. And I’m feeling better. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this in such an uplifting way!

  18. Well said. “Get Out of That Pit” by Beth Moore is a good book on overcoming “the pits.”

  19. this is great…esp with the change of seasons. Wow youguys were young! Cute pictures of the two of you!
    I have a question about your hair. Was it hard to get over not being self conscious once you stopped dyeing it? How has the texture (feel) of your hair changed?

    • Yes, it certainly was a challenge at first, especially when the gray was still in the growing-in stage, and I was self conscious about the root line. I get it low-lighted now, which makes the gray look streaky, kind of like highlights, and I get a lot of compliments on it, so that certainly helps. Texture-wise, it’s not terribly different, though I do find that it gets frizzy more easily, so I have a finishing creme that I use to smooth it out.

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