I will never forget the first day I met with her. I remember the small square shaped room that we sat in. The two patterned chairs that faced each other, the bookshelf full of self-help books and the box of tissues and mints on the little table in the corner. I had a feeling I would get used to this room fast and this woman would get to know me really well, more then I knew myself.
And indeed she did. If you’ve ever taken the step to go to counseling you may be familiar with the uncomfortable feeling that you get as you meet with your counselor for the first time. And if you’ve ever felt anxiety or any kind of depression it’s even more uncomfortable finding out that you struggle with it. This was me: April of 2014.
I still to this day can’t pinpoint what brought on my depression but I know one thing for sure: it was a fight. One of my closest mentors that I sought out during that time told me right before I started counseling, “It’s going to get worse, before it get better.” And man, she knew exactly what she was talking about. For three months, I spent week after week disecting my past, my childhood, my struggles, my hurt, figuring out why I am the way that I am, and realizing that It was normal to feel such heavy, dark feelings.
It was normal to feel like I was drowning in lies about myself, about by marriage, about the way I parent, and how I thought people perceived me. It was normal to feel alone, shameful, and broken. I remember one day we were trying to pinpoint why I felt so dependable on other people and why I had a huge desire to please and find approval. She was helping me realize that I wanted to find approval so badly through people because then I would feel loved, known, and valued. And there were times in my life where I felt the complete opposite. And that day she looked at me and said, “Chelsie, you never lost your value. It’s always been there. Your value lies at the cross. Jesus gives you value because of what he did for you. You never lost it. It’s just been covered up by things that have happened to you, lies that you believed about yourself, thoughts that you think, and your desire to be perfect and find approval.”
That day it hit me. “I never lost my value”, I thought to myself. I wondered why it took three months of counseling just to hear a simple statement that would start to change my thought pattern. My journey through depression still wasn’t over but I found clarity that day. The following weeks I continued to learn tools on how to battle my thought life which would ultimately affect how I felt, acted, and perceived things. April 2014 felt like one of the lowest points of my life because I realized how weak I was. I knew I needed counseling. And my husband knew I did too, because he couldn’t help me. I felt so weak. YET I realized that I was in fact STRONG because I understood that I was weak. I needed help and took the intitiave to find it. That is strength.
If this is you today dear friend, I want to encourage you that you are not alone. Depression, anxiety and postpartum is a very real thing and anything can bring it on. Sometimes life gets overwhelming, sometimes our bodies are out of whack and it affects us more than we’d like to admit. You may feel like you are drowning, I want you to know that it’s normal and it’s very real. I want to encourage you today to seek help whenever you’re ready. Seek help from a friend, a mentor, a counselor, a doctor, or anyone that you can count on and know that you can learn from. It’s never to late to find healing. Just because you feel weak doesn’t mean you aren’t strong. It’s realizing our WEAKNESSES that make us STRONG.