Tuesday, October 23, 2007

parenting, depression, and mercy

Today I yelled at the girls. I am not one of those parents who never yell. While in many ways I’ve grown more patient and tolerant over the years, I am still woefully inadequate when it comes to my girls. Usually, however, yelling at them doesn’t throw me into the throes of guilt. Typically, my yelling does have a cause. While I shouldn’t have yelled, it wasn’t without a reason. I usually repent of it try again. Sometimes I fail and some days I am actually patient. However, today I yelled at the girls out of nothing but my own frustration. (It is starting to sound as if I yell at them all the time, which isn’t the case). As a result, I was filled with guilt.

Guilt. I was guilty. However, even after prayer, I let it drag me down. This is not surprising. This weekend I realized and accepted (have you ever noticed how it is important it is that those two should go together) that I am in a nice little depression. My little blue happy pills aren’t doing it for me. I don’t care. Nothing seems to matter. I sleep a lot even when I am rested. I eat massive quantities of food. I don’t care.

It is good that I lived with this for several years after I quit work and stayed home with C. I’ve probably messed her up for life (they say depressed parents with infants cause tremendous psychological damage) but I at least know how to cope. I know the minimal amount I need to do in a day to survive. I make supper first thing and try to take care of essentials like laundry. Then if I get a burst of ambition I can spend it where I want before I sink back into guilt and lethargy.

I suppose I ought to go to the doctor and tell him. But I am suffering from the same thing that caused me to deny the need for those little blue happy pills for so many years...the stubborn unwillingness to admit that I can’t control my moods and that I need someone or something else to do it for me. It irks me that I get this way. I guess the thing to do is remember what joy feels like and realize that without a miracle from God or a little medical assistance I will stay in these dungeons – I know. I’ve wasted a lot of my life in them.

Anyhow back to guilt. I was writhing in the guilty tangle that accompanies depression and realized something. A little bad parenting may be bad for the girls but it is good for me. It reminds me that I can’t do this by myself. I will fail. I can only succeed as a parent by God’s mercy. His mercy covers me and the girls. It is only by his mercy that I am alive and a Christian today so why should I assume the responsibility of making sure the girls are alive and Christians when they turn thirty. I just have to take care of them today. Then when tomorrow comes and I find that God has trusted me with them for another day I take care of them for that day.

Maybe I should retitle this post – One Day at a Time.

Isn't it funny how focus changes how things look? In the first photo the focus shows mostly the coloring (or in black and white the shading) of my eye. In the second photo the focus shifts slightly and you can see not only reflection of my hand with detail of my thumb but also K climbing the step below me and her shadow on the cement. (You will probably have to click on the image to see it big enough to see the details I just mentioned).


  1. I'm depressed, too.

    Depressed with a cold and BAD pms.

    I too am medicated already.

    Yesterday I yelled at my grandson for continually putting his chubby little feet too close to his baby sister's chubby little cheeks.

    I still feel terrible today. So depressed and terrible that I hid in my basement so if my parents came it would seem I wasn't home.

    Good grief. I need me some help!

    How does the unbeliever cope?

  2. Winter is always the worst for me. I try to hide it but I don't think I do it very well. You are in my thoughts!!

  3. I will pray for you. I like your point about mistakes being a good reminder to us that we need God.

  4. Mine is mostly hormonal--I keep praying I don't get to that point though I have in the past. If I keep my arthritis under control then I don't get too bad.

    Praying for you, I too know what little I can do to get through the day--and on days like today where I sleep all afternoon the kids know how to cope and get their own meals. Rachel even took Issac and helped him finish his school work in another room so I could sleep. Very sweet.

  5. I am so sorry you are going through a period of depression...
    thank goodness I have finally passed through that phase of my life (called menopause) or PMS which ever age you fit in... the feeling is the same...
    I am praying for you to feel better about yourself...
    Be Encouraged...

  6. Must be something about the fall -- or something going around anyway. The clutch is on my shelf - I wanted to add a little extra something -- feeling guilty it is still there. (sigh)

    It is coming.


  7. Piping up with another 'me too'.

    I spend a lot of time feeling guilty about my short temper when it comes to the children. They are so patient with me while I am so impatient with them.

    Take care of yourself first. I ran away for an hour yesterday, to my favourite book store. It was just what I needed.

    You are in my prayers.

  8. beautiful honesty.
    There's nothing helpful to say, except maybe that its so good to read that others walk through this stuff, notice themself walk through it, and yet in ways know how utterly powerless one is in the face of it.

    I wish I did have something helpful to say.

  9. From one stubborn person to another -- go to the doctor. I know you've read my posts on accepting my depression, so you know how resistant I was. Please take care of yourself.

    The details of the eye photo are amazing.

  10. Hey there!!! Get back to your doctor! I mean it! If you got a broken arm, would you try to take care of it, at home? 'Tis the same with hurts, which are inside us. Get thee to thy doctor!!

    And as to the guilt.... Ahemmmm, betcha' you know how I feel about that!!! But I know, even when one is done with the whole concept of guilt, it still can creep back in. So, that just means becoming all the more determined to not let it!!! Just me, I know. Just me.

    But I am not kidding about the doctor visit thing!!! Grrrr... Do it. Do it. Do it. I can be a terrible nag you know. ,-)


  11. Hi - I'm glad you wrote this post. And I hope you will consider talking to your doctor. I'm glad your faith helps you through the guilt - I don't really think we gain much by beating ourselves up over very human behavior.

    About 10 years ago, I went through a very bad depression - several really tough things happened in my life all at once, and I really didn't cope. Happy pills helped me get through the worst of it, and then I started seeing a therapist who was simply wonderful. She helped me figure out so many things that were keeping me from being truly happy. Before her I had a therapist who was not helpful. If you ever decide to go this route, realize that you really need a connection with the therapist. For me, talking it out really helped. I still see her about once a year - kind of a refresher course!!

    Good luck to you - I'm sending good thoughts your way.

  12. Anonymous3:08 AM


  13. Hi Me,

    Hugs to you my friend. I find it such a shame that the world judges depression so much. Darkness is just as sacred as light, night as day. God gave them both to us for a good reason, and on the inside as well as out, thats how i feel anyway. May comfort and healing be yours....

    Peaceful Weekend : ) Wendy