Thursday, December 17, 2020

I Am Not Special

 This week I attended the funeral of a newly 17 year old young man. 

His family shared that he had been struggling with depression and it was not clear whether or not he was taking his meds. 

I've been there. 

I spent 2 1/2 years in a dark depression where my mind was consumed with trying to plan a way to commit suicide that wouldn't look like I actually committed suicide. 

Depression is no joke. 

A friend of mine watched my kids so I could be fully present at the funeral. Upon returning to her house, we sat down with a couple cups of coffee and a tub of puppy chow (we're midwest girls at heart) and talked and laughed and shared moments of grace and understanding. 

These types of conversations seem to be few and far between, thanks to COVID. 

At one point, she shared with me an exchange that she witnessed between my two daughters. My youngest looked at her older sister and said to her, "Fine. If you won't play that way, I'll never play with you ever again."

Of course, my friend stepped in to coach my youngest through how to appropriately talk to her sister, but her reaction was, "Oh, thank God, it's not just my daughters who talk to each other like that!"

Sweet friend, you are not special. And, I say that with all the love in the world. 

You are not the only one whose sweet, precious daughters can turn into selfish little meanies. 

I think our lack of interactions with people in real time and the in tendency to withdraw to social media to decompress has left many of us feeling that despair that comes with truly believing that we are the only ones in the world dealing with our circumstances. 

Thankfully, you're not. 

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that no one else could possibly understand what it is like to have a child with uncontrolled epilepsy. But, I'm not the only one. And, it took until the LAST soccer game of the season this year for us to connect with one of our son's teammate's dads who has a son with a similar (and even harder) epilepsy diagnosis. This usually quiet father was surprisingly chatty once he found out that we understood what he's gone through and can empathize with him. 

I still struggle with depression and anxiety. 

Meds have been a God-send for me. 

Currently, I'm not walking through one of my dark times. But, one of the most important and life-changing things I learned after my darkest days stopped being so frequent was that I'm not the only one who has been there. 

I found others that could empathize.

I found others that made it through their dark times. 

Maybe I could, too. 

I am not special.

The truth is, neither are you.

Take comfort in that, friend. 

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