Dear Depressed Me,
I love you. But I haven’t always loved you like this. I used to struggle with accepting who you were. I used to love you partially—with some reservations and hesitancies. I used to dislike you. Resent you at times, even. But my love for you is different now. It’s deeper and fuller.
It’s been a journey, of course. I’ve had a lot of help along the way. God, in his grace and mercy, has brought a lot of healing to me in this process. Much of it has been through other people: my husband, our family, my counsellor and a handful of friends.
Because of you, I am more grounded in where my identity and value lie. Things you feel ashamed of, such as your inability to get out of bed some days, or your lack of productivity, have forced me to examine whether my worth comes from how much I can do. You have pointed me to the truth that Christ says I am valuable. And that’s that. You’ve taught me how to live in that truth.
Your limited capacity has been the cause of some angst for me. Your neediness has pushed me to ask for help. It’s been a struggle to put aside my pride and experience the beauty of accepting help from others. To truly live in community. To be seen and to be known. You’ve shown me that it’s okay if I can’t do it all myself. That there is grace, even for me. And that we all have our turn to be carried.
In the process of figuring out who you were, I had to seriously consider who I was made to be. I was reminded afresh that I must feed my creative spirit with regular times to paint and write—even if it means scheduling it into my calendar as if it were a work project. I also rediscovered the calming effect that putting jigsaw puzzles together has on me. And the energizing effect Zumba dancing has.
Not only have you reminded me who I am, you have given me the permission to be myself. This is perhaps one of the biggest gifts you have given me. You gave me the time and space to explore what it means to practice self-care. You taught me how to give myself permission to say “no” to things that don’t give me life and to say “yes” to the things that do. What an incredible gift you have given me, and my children—to see their mother being attentive to her own needs and honouring them. I pray that they would grow up to extend this same permission to themselves.
You brought me to places so emotionally dark and difficult. In doing so, you gave me a glimpse into the grief of the world. I see people through a different lens now because I know what it’s like to be fighting an invisible battle every day. I hope I have become more compassionate and empathetic because of you.
I used to watch my mother make wedding cakes. She would cut pieces of wooden dowels and insert them into the bottom tier of the cake so the weight of the top two tiers wouldn’t crush it. In a way, all these gifts you have given me are my hidden pillars of support. Even when other storms come and I find myself in dark places again, I will be stronger because you have given me these gifts.
You have been instrumental to me becoming who I am today.
So, thank you. Thank you for being the catalyst for a more grace-filled, gentler, whole-hearted way of living. Thank you for highlighting to me who my support network is. I am more confident knowing I have these people to do life with. Thank you for showing me that I am stronger than I think and braver than I’d imagined.
Thank you for being you. Thank you for being weak and weary and despairing and needy. Thank you for showing me that these things are not to be feared. That there is no shame in being human. Thank you for teaching me a fuller, more complete understanding of love.
You. Are. So. Loved.
Olive aspires to be a conduit of grace, rest and beauty in this hurried and chaotic world. In an ideal day, she would paint, eat chocolate croissants and take lots of naps. In reality, she’s primarily occupied with her two lovely little ladies, Alena and Kayla and making sure her husband, Tim, does not have to eat McDonald’s too often. She has co-written two books with Tim and takes breaks from the little people by working on websites with their small company, Coracle Marketing.