They say depression is anger turned inward, which likely explains the funk I’ve been in. I thought I was coming out of it a few weeks ago, but in retrospect I see it is more circumstantial – as in, if things go the way I want them to I’m happy, and if they don’t, I’m depressed. I have not been very successful in just going with the flow, but rather I’ve had very strong expectations of how I want my day to go and my children to behave, and things aren’t really working out the way I had hoped.
Because, as you know, shit happens that I can’t do anything about.
My heart feels tightly clenched, rebellious, closed. I haven’t been able to write. Little things anger me, and nice people irritate me. Suggestions and helpfulness infuriate me. And in all things that don’t go my way, I am the victim.
Whew. It feels good to get that out – to name it.
I saw my therapist yesterday for the first time in months. I love him. He is soft and compassionate, but still tells me things that are difficult to hear. He counsels with the perfect balance of Biblical truth and therapeutic mumbo jumbo. He doesn’t just tell me to sin less and love Jesus more, but digs in to the very complicated labyrinth of lies I have believed about myself and about God. He understands the context of habitual sin.
I described all the ways in which I felt frustrated as a parent of Ruthie. I recounted scenarios in which I had done all the right things, but was still screamed at. I cried, wondering why God had given a woman like me a daughter like Ruthie. As each story progressed my therapist whistled and shook his head, chuckled, and said things like, “Wow, you’ve got a strong one.” But when I cried about Why, he gently reminded me that God was using my relationship with Ruthie to transform my heart of anger.
More crying. More release. More submission.
I bawled all the way home yesterday. I probably should have pulled over. Never do I nor my therapist imply that Ruthie’s behavior justifies my sinful actions, but the floodgates of my emotions were opened at the reminder that she is… exceptional. It actually reminds me that this is the way she is, and I need to stop wishing she was different. Working with her would be a lot easier than working against her.
I have also resolved that I have done just about all the behavioral modification that one person can do, and at this point it is all about my submitting to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit – which means dying to myself.
I hate this concept of dying to myself because I think my own needs and wants are really really really important. I just want everyone around me to know exactly what their script says so I don’t have to actually direct. It seems so ridiculous that I live like this, but it’s true: nobody in my house is more important than me.
And it’s starting to feel really icky.
[Here is where I usually insert a snappy wrap-up about lessons learned and moving forward and all that. But since I am feeling unresolved, perhaps my writing should reflect that, too.]