These are words that have been coming up over and over again in the last year. And when I say them tears come to my eyes. And when I first realized this about a year ago, I had no clue what they meant to me. I only knew then that it was related to my job. And I knew that it was not a physical tired but an emotional tired. I continued to try to sort out what this tiredness meant to me and my career on my own. I would have moments of vulnerability with friends where I would share what I was experiencing. But reality is that I could not figure it out. And as time keep going I become more emotionally tired and I cried much easier than before. I did not understand the emotions that was experiencing. I am a person likes to know why and so I do not do well when I am experiencing emotions that I don’t understand.
While this was all going on in me, I kept this persona of a strong and independent woman. Because I did everything (lived, worked and worshipped) in my community and the role I had in my community as an advocate/social worker; I had to be those things. Or I believed I had to be. I was the one that people came to when most were at their lowest point. My job was to empower them through these moments, show them hope in the hopeless situations and provide resources for them to move forward in life.
While I was doing helping others dream for themselves, inside over time I had quit dreaming. I had allowed life to stifle my creativity. I had allowed my own exhaustion to take over when I had down time. If I did not have plans after work or on the weekends, I would just go home and watch TV. I was too exhausted emotionally to do anything else. I would try to work on things and it would take me much longer than it needed to. I was not motivated to do things that I needed to do once I was home.
October of last year, I decided that I needed to go to counseling since I was not figuring things out on my own. In the beginning my counselor, asked me if I think I am depressed. And I would tell her “no because I don’t have what I consider the typical signs of depression.” It was not until this spring that I was willing to admit that my counselor was right. When I really looked at what happened and how I coped with things, reality is that I was going through a depression and I did not even know it. And when I was asked about it, I was not willing to admit it. There were several reasons as to why I wasn’t willing to admit it.
Part of it was pride – I was the one people come to when they needed help.
Part of it was stigma of society – There is a stigma that society carries about depression and everything that comes with it.
Part of it was that I had to admit that I was weak and that I do not have it all together. – For all my adult life, I had been this strong and independent woman because I had to be. And admitting that I was depressed was admitting that I am not as strong as I thought because I could not do it on my own.
In this last couple months, I was really honest with myself and where I truly was and am at emotionally. And I have come to realize that it is ok for me to admit this. Because when I admit this. I am admitting that I can not do life alone and that I need my Creator to lead me through this journey.
And that in my darkest moments, He is right there with me. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
He has the clarity and direction that I need. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
He has the provision that I need. “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
He has this unconditional love that I need. “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39
He has the peace that I need. ” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
He has the joy I need. “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
He has the strength I need. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; shall run and not be weary; shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
He has a plan for me and my life even in my broken and empty state. “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
***This is part of a series of blog posts of me sharing about burnout and things I have been learning through this. They are numbered in the order that they are written in and to indicate that they are part of this series.***