One thing I have learned in the past three months is that depression begets depression.
- Sleepless nights
- Lack of focus
- Not eating
- Letting things go
Someone asked me the other day how I deal with the obvious feelings of despair and dread that come with losing a child. The truth is some days I don’t deal very well. Some days I let the beast swallow me. Some days I don’t.
1. Throw Out Self-pity
“It’s not fair.” “I didn’t deserve this.” “Other people still have their babies.” “No one understands what I am going through.”
I actively barricade those thoughts from my mind. From the beginning of my journey into grief I made a conscious decision to let go of self-pity. God put me in this place. I have a choice. I have a choice to fight him or surrender. I have choice to resent him or trust him. I have a choice to wither away and die or bloom where I am planted.
Did my child die? Yes. Do I miss him in my arms? Every day. Do I still cry? Every day. Do I believe that God’s plans for me are for good and not disaster? With all my heart.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11
2. Wake With Purpose
The days that are the hardest are the days I do nothing. Breathing doesn’t qualify as purposeful living. But the days that I have set a goal, even the night before, are much better, even joyful.
I have to admit, my goals are not always lofty. Yesterday my kids didn’t have school. I was struggling to find a reason to get out of bed. I decided to use the box of hair color that had been sitting on my bathroom sink for 4 days. It wasn’t earth-shaking, but it got me out of bed and my gray hair is covered up.
Some days I do set the bar a little higher, preparing a family meal, a bible lesson with my children, serving my husband, teaching a bible class or ministering to other hurting families. Some days I have to just let God be my purpose.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. Ps. 57:2
3. Be Real
Sometimes it is hard to go places where people don’t know me or the battle I am fighting.It’s painful to wear a mask that portrays something I am not. But I do I find great relief in just being me. I have resolved to be transparent with where I am. I answer the question “How are you doing today?” honestly. I hate the feeling of masking what’s going on inside because I feel like people can’t handle it. I may not give all the gory details, but when I’m struggling I let whoever is around me know.
I have embraced the fact that If I cry through the whole church service, that’s ok. If I don’t feel up keeping the house immaculate that’s ok. If we go out to dinner three nights out of the week, I’m good with that too.
If King David called himself a worm and the Apostle Paul called himself the worst of all sinners, I’m pretty sure I can be a sad mom and it’s ok.
4. Find An Outlet
Keeping in all the sadness, grief and emotion is a recipe for explosion. I have to get it out. I talk. I pray. I write. I blog. I cry.
5. Glorify God
Death will never be good, but there is away to glorify God even in the valley of death. Simple trust glorifies God. Singing praise glorifies God. Ministering to other mom’s who have lost children glorifies God. Even if the face of death, grief and depression, God is still on his throne. I will still glorify his name.
No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates
and blessed your children within your walls. Ps. 147