The holidays are not jolly times for everyone. There are some who struggle just to make it through. For those who picked their heads up from their pillows, in spite of the despair that they felt, congratulations, I celebrate you! For those who stayed hidden and tucked behind closed doors, not answering the phone nor the door, preferring not to hear the cheerfulnes of others, you're up and reading this! I salute you!
Many people are either embarassed to tell others of their depressed state, or they simply feel as if noone understands their valid emotions. Well, depression---much like the time of a woman's menstrual or pregnancy--is a chemical imbalance that affects millions of people across the world. Without a label, you may just know that something is wrong, but not able to pin point it. Just as hormones change in our bodies during certain "natural" periods, as those listed above, so does the chemistry in our brain that releases serotonin, the "happy" chemical, that tells our body to get excited. When we experience a traumatic, or a series of stressful experiences in our lives, our bodies' chemistry may become imbalanced and blocks us from feeling joy. It is uncontrollable because life happens, so don't blame yourself.
You are not alone. You are normal. You are experiencing what so many others have and/or may be going through right now. I write this to encourage you or for you to encourage your loved ones who may not feel as elated about the "New Year" as you and I may. Someone is hurting. Someone needs our prayers. Is that someone you, or perhaps a loved one that smiles through their pain, pretending to be okay?
We all grieve differently. Some people's emotional build-up is stronger than others. In fact, let me rephrase. People who go through depression are STRONG, for it is in our trials that true character is built. If you made it through another day, rather than folding underneath the pressures of life, YOU ARE STRONG! The bible states, 'let the weak say that I am strong'. When you are at your weakest point and you feel as if you can't hold on any longer or take any more, but yet you stand anyway, and make another 24 hour day, yes...you've shown remarkable strength.
So, remember this, a garden needs not only sunlight, but rain to grow. You are a garden in the making, honey. May God lead and mold you as only the Sculptor/Creator can. Oh yes, allow me to add that you don't need man's permission, acceptance or approval to be what God is sculpting you to be. You are beautifully and wonderfully made sweetie.
Notes written by S. Denyce Gartrell
Sometimes the most beautiful and colorful area is on the inside.