Yay!! Oh Crap!! Eggshells and Depression
YAY!! The car is paid off!! Paul and I had fun celebrating this accomplishment early in our marriage. It was the first car we bought together. Then there was the phone call a few weeks later…Paul was fine, but the car was totaled. OH, CRAP!! Begin again!
The combination of “yay” followed by “oh, crap” moments are part of life. Of course, you don’t wait around for the “oh, crap” after every “yay” celebration. That is called pessimism! And really, so many more good moments occur than bad.
However, this is an easy pattern to develop when parenting a teen or young adult with depression, anxiety, etc.…. The thought, “things are going so well…I wonder for how long?” can become the norm. I found myself walking on eggshells while waiting for the other shoe to drop.
This is a burdensome way to move through life! It kept me from being in and enjoying the now. In the back of my mind was always the question…I wonder when or how long until…? What “might” happen was not in my control, yet the thoughts had control of me! Useless fear consumed me.
People would ask me how Riely was doing and I would reply either “she is doing really well,” or “she is in a struggle right now.” Often after I would tell someone how great she was doing, she plummeted! Go figure! So much for knowing what goes on in Riely’s head! I thought I was good at reading the signs. The truth is, Riely can hide well what she wants to hide.
I finally learned to say, “Riely seemsto be doing well.”
I needed to realize that I really do not know what is going on inside Riely. If she chooses to tell me and is honest about it, then I know. But I don’t need to know everything. There are healthy boundaries to be honored!
Things are what they are. Smooth sailing or rough seas. This is the place I practice being in today. I can acknowledge the difficulties, lean heavily into God, and be compassionate with myself and others. There is a freedom, a gentleness that arises when I simply acknowledge the present moment. Freedom to celebrate without looking over my shoulder. Freedom to acknowledge when things are difficult, because it is the reality and it too will pass.
Can I learn to live day by day? Can I live in a non-anxious manner? Can I make plans and be okay when they get interrupted? Can I live without anticipating what might happen next?
Let go and let God is a nice saying and all and quite easy to say! I’ve also heard the analogy of prayer being like throwing a football. Once you throw it God catches it. Well, I throw a boomerang! That saying doesn’t do it for me. I need to know HOW to let go!
I have turned to what I call “practices.” They are practices, because I have to practice them…again and again and again. Luckily, my practice in self compassion and prayer have proven to be more fruitful than my practicing piano!
What do I practice? I practice paying attention feelings of unease when they arise. I try to be mindful when I seem to be obsessing on “what ifs.” I ask where it is coming from. Is it my anticipating needlessly, or my projecting what I think is going to happen? Am I trying to fix something that is not mine to fix? There are a whole host of reasons why worry and restlessness creep up within me.
I find a quiet place or moment. I breathe in God’s presence and exhale things that weigh me down. I imagine these things floating away into the care of the Spirit. I may cry and scream out because of things I can’t control yet have great hopes for. I may acknowledge how painful things are, how strained relationships may be. I sit with these things. I tell myself that this is all part of life…this is living and loving!
Then, slowly I recall the many, many things that I have to be grateful for. That I am not alone. I have friends and family I can talk with. I have Divine Love that dwells within and all around.
I often remind myself that I am not responsible for everyone. I have learned lessons the hard way, so will the ones I love. That is life. I love greatly and my compassion for my family is immense! But I can only live my life and they are here to live theirs!
Divine Love will win out. I don’t know what that will look like….and I don’t have to.