Every year after Christmas, I get the blues. Some years are harder than others, but every January for almost twenty years I have felt that way. Some years the feeling goes away quickly and in other years it will take a couple of months. (This is one of the better years, by the way.)
In my desperate need to control the emotional low, my brain will run in circles searching for the “cause” (depression doesn’t always have a cause). Being single when I wanted to be married. Heavy when I wanted to be thin. Broke when I wanted financial security. Lonely when I wanted to have friends. If it’s within my power to fix, I do. But every year, the blues come back.
Many times I’m sad because another year has gone by and things didn’t happen the way I wanted them to, like getting married (that happened at age 38). I wish I could say that those are the years when it motivated me to do better, make different choices, and discipline myself into making lasting changes.
Then there are the years where life in all of its unexpected twists and turns got the better of me. Unplanned job changes, new opportunities, or family drama got in the way of truly getting done what I set out to do. Even though those things are outside of my control, I can get caught up in feeling like someone else would’ve handled it better than me.
When I was a kid, life added up. If you do well in Kindergarten, you will move up to 1st grade. If you do your chores, you get an allowance (or privileges). A + B = C. The sum always equaled the whole.
In my 40’s I can watch what I eat and still not lose a pound (gotta love Peri-menopause). I can work like crazy on a project a work and it will still get turned-down. I can sow love and patience into my daughter’s day and yet when I respond “no” to a request for The World’s Largest Candy Bar five minutes before bed, I am classified as Public Enemy #1.
Bottom line: even if I make the progress I want to, it is never enough to beat the blues.
I’m tired of starting each year already feeling defeated.
My search for answers to this year’s Horrible Case of the Nasty Mega-watt Blues is simple. Instead of lists and goals and starting big programs that evaporate like smoke in the wind, I’m reading The Bible. For some people, those two words are very special. For others, those two words are a turn-off. Here’s some thoughts on how this might also work for you.
- Look for words that are uplifting. If you are unsure, an online search of “promises in the Bible” will provide several good verses.
- Search for what you feel you lack. Look up words such as peace, love, joy, and healing. Even searching for the word “fear” will give you verses about how to not be afraid.
- If the Bible still feels like it’s too much, ask a friend or family member if they have a favorite verse.
I want to flourish this year. It may not look like my original plan, but I want to go into this year with the intent to live my best life the way God intends it. That may not look like anyone else’s, and I want to be okay with that. I’m working on being okay with that.
If you struggle with depression, please know that we are here to encourage, support, pray, and love you wholeheartedly.
(Opening photo credit: Laira Stewart Photography)