Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Before I had support

Many years ago, before I had the kind of supportive friends I have now, I spent months at a time in my bedroom. Only coming out for meals and to try to do small things like emptying a dishwasher or tidying a bit. Most of the time, though, was spent in the bedroom in deep depression. I don't remember at those times having anyone I could reach out to. My husband pretty well left me alone, immersed in his projects. Those projects are probably what helped him cope with my condition.

And I wonder, is it the support of close friendships - truly loving relationships with godly friends - that have kept me in more recent years from such very long isolated depressions? Is that how reaching out has benefited me? I don't know. I just don't know. All I know is that I have some very special friends now to whom I can talk about my feelings and thoughts.

Thing is, I feel I've been over-burdening two or three with phone calls and emails - to the point of clinging, something I'm very ashamed of. That isn't nice for anyone, even those who understand what I'm going through. I wish I could change, and yet I feel powerless to do that. Do any of you have such problems?

Not nice to think of yourself as someone who is a bother to others. It isn't like me to be that. I want to support others, not be a burden. And I do support many. I have supported many. Yet that doesn't count for anything when the tables are turned and I am the one who's having a hard time.

A couple of years ago I attended a meeting of suicide survivors - family of people who had committed suicide. The stories they told was that most of the people who had taken their lives did so because they hated so much being a burden to their loved ones. I hate that too. I hate being the kind of person who clings for dear life to her friends - searching for a way to have her needs met. So needing to hear that she is loved. How I despise that about myself! How I despise my self-centeredness at times like this!

I know this is all part of the depression I'm living with. These are symptoms many of us suffer when we're that way. I know I'm not alone. And yet I wish I could be stronger.

I've been focusing on scripture this afternoon. It helps me feel better, but the better feelings don't last. I just pray I can escape this soon, though these feelings have been such a big part of what I've lived with lately. I wonder if I will ever overcome them and become the strong me again. The supporter me.


Eva Geranton said...

I am also in a slump...I always remind myself that these moods always come like the labour of a baby....steep pitches with slight repreaves..then at the end when you think you can bear it no longer you come up over the hill to a new mood...I always remind myself it can't last forever, it never does. Although when I'm in the middle I can't ever see the end..

MyThought said...

I know this feelings so well. I often feel like a burden when I reach out, or when I have anxiety issues. I try to remind myself that nobody can help me as good as I can and that whatever I'm searching for is in me.
Most of the times I'm not 'satisfied' with the support I get from others and that leads to the feeling of being a burden, because I make others feel powerless as well.

marja said...

Eva: That's the tough thing about depression, isn't it? You can't see the end. And everything looks so bleak and you come to despise yourself for being so needy.

marja said...

My Thought: Thank you for visiting. That's the thing. The dissatisfactory support from others. They don't know what to do and get frustrated with you. "Why don't you just snap out of it?" is what they think, though they may not say it in so many words. You start feeling that you're not cared about. And that magnifies your problem. And then you start wondering if it's even worth living anymore.

Isn't that the way it works?

How very important are those friends who don't give up on us and continue letting us know they care about us!

You say that nobody can help you as well as you yourself can. However, I also believe in a God who loves me and will give me the strength to continue. Thing is, it often takes Christian friends to help me remember that.

Hellen said...

Thank you for your writing, Marja. I first heard about you when I worked for a short time at a Mental Health facility in the Fraser Valley where I was assigned the reading of one of your books as a condition of employment. I've since referred others to your blog and writings.

Thanks for sharing yourself on these pages and thereby giving others permission to do so a well.

marja said...

Thank you so much, Hellen, for letting me know of how you came to read my book. I had no idea it was being recommended in that way and it makes me feel good to know that.

And about my sharing: I was worried I was being too honest here. Worried I wasn't being hopeful enough. Yet I do believe in a God who loves me, though my mental health seems to be fading.

But maybe it's only for awhile. I need to keep trying. I need to keep trying to recover, though so much seems beyond my control. I need to keep trusting.

Spin said...

Hi Marja! It has been too long...

I totally understand what you mean about feeling like you are a burden to your friends, especially during depression. I have a best friend who loves me no matter what, yet I still sometimes feel like I can only talk about my saddness so long, even though there is more. However, unless we talk it all through, it just continues to nag at us. I was always one to bury things, until this last little while. Talking it out with someone who loves you is certainly the way to go.

You have uplifted and encouraged me a lot, Marja. Thank you.

With love.

marja said...

Spin: It HAS been long. So good to hear from you. And I haven't been around very much visiting others either. Sorry about that.

More Than Conquerors said...

Dear Marja,

I can certainly identify with your feelings too. But I am slowly learning too that there are a few people whom God has wonderfully put into my life to let me know that He loves me deeply and will always be there for me in my difficult time. God will give them the grace to encourage me and help me in my time of need. I am indebted to these few friends who showed God's love and kindness to me in many sacrificial ways. I know they are instruments God is using to extend His own love and kindness to me, and I sought to be a blessing to them too.

I tried not to take up too much of their time but I also try not to feel that I am burdening them because as a family of God we are to share one another's burden and to pray and encourage one another. And these are the blessings and privileges of belonging to the family of God. We are here for one another, by His grace and enablement.

Through these unconditional love shown by these friends, I am learning to do so for others too. And I found it very fulfilling and a privilege by God's grace and enablement. I know this is your experience too. You wrote in one of your articles that walking with suffering people through some of the most difficult time in their lives is very rewarding and a privilege. This something God seems to be teaching my friends and I, and I am thankful that my friends are willing to be God's instruments of blessings to me and others in needs.

God knows our limitations and our needs, and I believe He reaches out to us through the people around us and He will also use us to reach out to His other suffering people. So may you take heart! I am thankful to God that you are one of the friends that God has used to pray for me and encourage me in my time of needs. I am keeping you in my prayers too. May God continue to bless you as you seek to be a blessing with others! Take care!

With love and prayers,

marja said...

Dear Nancie,

I do hope it's as you say with my friends too. I'm tired of being so needy. Am hating this disease right now.

I long to return to a firm place.

Thank you for your prayers, Nancie.