a clarification

I’m a little concerned that I left the wrong impression of my life, my health, and my family in a previous post. My hope and my purpose for the post was to address the fact that I sometimes feel woefully insufficient – especially as a Mom. I spent a lot of time on play dates this summer, and I started to notice a common theme. The other Mom would mention something about being overwhelmed or frustrated, and I would smile and say, “I know how you feel.” The other Mom usually laughed and said something along the lines of, “You? You’re always posting on Facebook about how great your kids are and how happy you are to be a Mom. Your house is spotless, you never yell at your boys, and you’re always smiling. You never act like you’re overwhelmed or frustrated.

I don’t wear the fact that I struggle with depression on my sleeve, but I can tell you that I’ve benefitted greatly from women [especially Moms] who have shared their struggle in vulnerability and honesty. So in posting, I was hoping to peel back that layer of minister’s-wife-happy-life-is-perfect, and let other women know that their struggle doesn’t have to be one that isolates. It can actually be a struggle that God uses to connect. 

In hindsight, I can see that depression has plagued me for my whole life. I would consider myself to struggle with it on a moderate level. I’m not severely depressed, nor have I ever been. But I’ve faced those issues almost entirely alone [even from Shawn], and I can assure  you that isolation only made it worse. It was when I began talking about it, seeking help, asking doctor’s opinions, and even joking about it that things turned around. 

I posted about what a five minute window of the worst of my depression looked like. I had texted Shawn to ask him to pray for me, and I called my Mom. Just sharing how frustrating my day had been was an immense sigh of relief. I talked to my Mom for about ten minutes, decided to cancel an obligation I had that night, took the boys on a walk, and all was right with the world again.

So the clarify – my house isn’t a mess. In fact, it’s cleaner than it’s ever been since I don’t work full-time and have a cleaning schedule. The stains on the carpet to which I was referring were because Bug had a stomach bug the night before and had stained the carpet getting sick. I spent all day treating it, cleaning it, waiting for it to dry, then repeating the cycle until the stains came out.

My marriage is better than it’s ever been. I would have rough days and I would have good days regardless of how much or little Shawn worked, and my struggle with depression has absolutely nothing to do with what he does or how hard he works. In this issue, he’s proven Christ’s love to me over and over with his patience and gentle understanding.

My kids are loved. I hated the thought that I might have left readers with the impression that my kids might not be loved. I rarely yell at my boys, and when I do it’s intentional and controlled. The way I talk to and discipline my boys is actually one of my strengths in parenting. I never, ever lose control – no matter how bad I may be personally feeling. And “never” is not a hyperbole, I really do mean never.

I’ve been taking an anti-depressant for about a year and a half now, but my doctor and I are still experimenting with figuring out which medication and dosage will help the most without some of the yucky side effects. My tough days [which are few and far between] are generally rooted in a change in medication. That post was not a snapshot of my life, and certainly not a description of my every day. I just wanted to lift the veil and share that nobody has it all together.

Everyone struggles and everyone feel inadequate and insecure, no matter how put together they are perceived. Even me. 

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One thought on “a clarification

  1. Jfen, I am proud of your honesty and openness with your life. Aunt J and I can only imagine how much different Grandma’s life would have been if she had someone she could have opened up to and if the right meds had been available to her. Know that you are loved and when you have a hard day I am here to listen. Love, M

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