Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Friends... A Good Thing

After spending the entire weekend in bed (didn’t even go to church), yesterday I was determined to pursue my quest for finding a writing income through selling an article, writing a column, pouring all my energy and time into my monetizing one of my 3 blogs… I know a lot of my anxiety and depression stems from finances and I am determined to get back on my feet. I am still a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, as well as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, so technically, I have the credentials to reopen my private practice…. but I know I could not handle the responsibility (yet). Maybe one day I will be able to return to what I love, counseling all day. But now, there is no way I can handle knowing I have to be somewhere every single day. I wish people in my life knew the Shelly I was before I crashed into the deep depression… I was such a self-sufficient success…

It is so hard to explain to people who have never experienced a life-altering hidden illness. Hard to justify what appears to be laziness and stubbornness. There’s a feeling of guilt for not doing my part in the world, and taking things I don’t necessarily deserve, having the verse “If man does not work, he shall not eat’ going through my mind.

And the thoughts continually ruminate in my mind, what people think of me, how ‘lazy’ I must be, why can’t I use the God-given strength within me… where is my faith? The depression and anxiety becomes exponential. It can drive me crazy!

Meeting a friend for a ‘writing/working date’ was just what I needed – good company while working… it doesn’t get much healthier than that! Well, my laptop wouldn’t cooperate – it deletes every 2 or 3 letters I type! I know my laptop is going to die any day now and this is my only computer so THAT is even MORE motivation for me to find a writing gig. Just the thought of  being computer-less freaks me out to the point where I am determined to do nothing but write and query publishers until I get some enough cash for a new computer!

Okay, come back, Shelly. My Attention Deficit took over for a while there.

My computer problem meant I could talk freely with my friend, who shares in having a hidden illness that dramatically altered her life. She is a teacher – wonderful with kids – yet had to stop working due to constant pain (and I suspect resulting depression). She is also a strong Christian and shares in my frustration with wanting to glorify God yet feeling limited because of her illness. Sometimes, we text each other when there is an event we need to attend, and texts are like ‘did you get off the couch yet?’ and they last for hours! She understands how arduous taking a shower is when I am in a depression. And the fact that I could tell her how hard it is for me to socialize yet I am lonely and have been thinking it’d be nice to have a boyfriend… and she understood! Having someone understand what you are experiencing, what the world cannot see, what you KNOW to be true… comforts and encourages the heart. It’s why I share. It’s why I am determined to be an advocate and lobbyist for mental illness.

Maybe that’s a good thing about having depression – you appreciate friends who understand. I am immensely grateful for mine.

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