Friday, December 02, 2011


A dear friend has blogged about depression a fair amount lately. And it has gotten me to thinking about my own struggles with depression.

Sometimes I'm just depressed because of a situation I haven't been able to reconcile.

Most of the time it is a general feeling of not belonging...anywhere. I go to work and feel I'm incompetent (it doesn't help that my new "boss" agrees with that assessment and reminds me regularly). It doesn't seem to matter how many mountains I scale and good deeds I accomplish there. I still feel like I'm pretending to be a grown-up. I'm really about 6.

I go to a gathering of friends or to someone's party and am convinced I don't belong there. They only invited me to be nice but they don't really care if I'm there or even want me to be there. I'm an embarrassment to everyone there because I just can't do or say the right things.

It isn't just once in a while. It's pretty much all the time.

One thing I do to combat this overwhelming sense of inadequacy is to knit. I knit pretty well. I'm not confident enough to make a whole sweater. Too much money for yarn to just waste it on my knitting. It probably would be too big, or too small, or disproportionate, or fall apart. But I knit smaller things because I can do them pretty well. Hats (they usually fit), mittens and socks fit me and my girlfriend. Not so much for bigger feet. I made one pair too big and I don't know about the others. I ran out of yarn so they ended up being anklets...for a guy.

I also practice a LOT of tai chi chuan. If I can't physically do it, I do it in my head. I visualize myself standing in the school room starting with the preparation and opening posture. I know a dozen or more forms made up of many postures. It's relaxing and I believe it really do know what I'm doing. It keeps me from thinking of any other things. I have students to act like they like me and I choose to believe them. My teacher seems to like me as well. That's a blessing.

Knitting and tai chi chuan help me achieve being "centered" which is a phrase I read about repeatedly in a 12-step group for "adult children" and I never understood what it meant. I think I know now.

I pray a lot, too. God, I believe, kept me from killing myself several years ago. There's no other explanation for why I didn't carry through with it. But I struggle to believe I really have any value to God. But I continue to struggle and pray and listen to the life lessons given at Eagle Brook Church.

The rest of the time, I just grit my teeth and endure.


Anonymous said...

You're not alone in your feelings - in fact, I'm sure there are many who feel just like you. The fact is you have amazing value, ability, gifts and potential simply by the fact that you are one of God's children. He's given you amazing gifts to be used to further His kingdom, gifts that are needed by the church body without which the body would be incomplete. I'd encourage you to get involved at your church. Start volunteering. Start focusing on the Kingdom and how you can use God's gifts to further the Kingdom. We have an amazing opportunity to be used by God!

Also, I'd encourage you to listen to a message by Steven Furtick of Elevation church titled, "The most encouraging message you've never heard" - you can find it on the elevation church podcast. It's a great reminder that we're here to serve and glorify God . . . and God notices! He's proud of us - He's proud of you. He knows everything about you and is proud that you are His child.

I'll be sure to keep you in my prayers. In the meantime, volunteer, listen to that message above by Furtick, and remember - life's not about you and me, it's about Jesus and how He can use us and the gifts He's given us to bring glory to His kingdom!

a2z said...

Please don't post anonymously. You have a name. I'd like to know who you are.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry - I don't have a google account so I wasn't sure how to post it otherwise. It wasn't my attention to withhold my name. My name is David Merritt. I came across your blog because you mentioned Eagle Brook Church and it showed up in a google search. Again, my apologies, I didn't mean to intrude, I just felt moved to pass on some encouragement - we all need it from time to time.

God bless you.


a2z said...

Thank you, David. On further thought, I realize the way I responded to your comment came across as a rebuff. After all, I thought, how could someone who doesn't even know me think I have value, especially when I question (in my depression) that those who do know me think I do? I sincerely thank you for your kind words. When I get home to my computer later today, I will look up the references you suggested.

By the way, I've been a member of Eagle Brook for years, going back to the mid-1970s when my son was small. He has turned away from God as an "imaginary" being. Both he and his wife. Perhaps you could pray for them.

Again, thank you for your kind words.