No Shame In Depression or In Losing "Mom of the Year!"
Updated: Aug 2, 2018
Those "Mom of the Year" awards are overrated! What mom doesn't send their child to school with a broken foot? If Riely wasn’t such a drama queen, I might have believed how badly it hurt! And it didn’t help on Sunday when the preacher said in his sermon, “Jesus never said to ‘suck it up.’” Both girls swung their heads toward me. Really? Unfortunately for them, I’m not Jesus!
I did get this right though.
When Riely told us she was experiencing depression, I knew at that moment I did NOT want her to feel shame. There is NO SHAME in this disease! I wanted Riely to hear this statement and believe it. I knew it would be important to hold on to this claim as she moved forward (and backwards)!
Later, as a parent I would need to remind myself of this “NO SHAME” claim. Difficult phone calls, dealing with school counselors, and seeing friend’s post their “perfect” lives on Facebook has potential to erode a parent’s confidence. I had to remind myself that Alan and I are good parents. Questions like “how did we not see this coming” or “what could we have done differently” had to be put to the side.
Being reminded of my limitation as a parent was more than a bit humbling! Of course I knew I wasn’t supermom. But being reminded at this time was painful. There was no more “kiss and make it better.” My spit lost its curing power! Nor could we talk it through and solve depression. I was thrust into a situation I knew nothing about with little time to learn!
The first step was looking for resources. This meant asking people we trust for references. Which meant telling people what was happening in our life. I called a pastor who recommended a counselor. Abby’s focus was with teenage girls. I felt hopeful. Riely started seeing Abby.
The first step was looking for resources. This meant asking people we trust for references. Which meant telling people what was happening in our life. I called a pastor who recommended a counselor. Abby’s focus was with teenage girls. I felt hopeful. Riley started seeing Abby.
I wanted it to work so badly (and quickly) that I didn’t listen to Riley. Truth be told, I didn’t trust her judgment. I was blinded by my own wanting of a quick fix. MISTAKE…BIG MISTAKE. I found out later that Abby told Riley she would go to hell if she attempted suicide. NOT HELPFUL! Talk about inducing shame!!
The first few times seemed to go well. But Riley grew more hesitant and began complaining about the sessions. Missing school and the 30 minute drive seemed to get old for her. Eventually, the push back got to be too much. Abby just wasn’t a fit.
God’s love is too great for that. A person hurting so deeply and in such great despair would not be rejected by Love. (To his credit, our pastor was shocked by Abby’s statements and unaware of her viewpoint on this topic)
Oh, remember the NO SHAME claim? Yeah, I didn’t. It took me a while to reclaim it!
She also needed a therapist whose religious convictions would not condemn her. We found help at The Ecumenical Center. The therapists are broad in their spiritual understandings and the center provides a variety of services. It was a place Alan and I could find support as well.
Amid the murky mud of those first few weeks and months I found great beauty! I became so thankful to her friends that were supportive and I learned to lean on my friends. To let people in during the ugly, hard times, is to allow people to love you and your loved ones.
To accept the grace a friend offers, is to open up to God’s wondrous Spirit and have it enter into your soul in a new way. Others can carry hope when you feel hopeless or are just too tired to think past the next 2 minutes.
But wait! Therapy is only part of the equation. There is also the need to find a psychiatrist! I’ll share that fun learning experience in my next blog!