I'm sure most folks have heard the expression, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on", right? Sure you have. It makes sense, after all - you don't want to lose your grip, so you tie a knot. But why wait until you reach the end of the rope?
Winters are always tough for me emotionally. Depression is an ongoing issue for me anyway, and with post-holiday letdown, gloomy days, less-than-happy anniversaries (my dad's death, etc.).....it all adds up to making January and February, in particular, very difficult. Living in the south has helped some with the gloomy days, at least - I get a lot more sunshine now - but I still struggle. This year has been particularly rough so far, and I've been thinking a lot about how I cope with these times.
I would love to say that when I have a depressed day, I've found a specific formula that works every time to lift me out of the blues. Unfortunately that would be lying. (BIG lie!) I pray, I read Scripture, I talk to hubby, I listen to upbeat music, and I keep going. All those things help, definitely, but I've come to realize that this isn't something that can be "fixed", like a flat tire or broken faucet. I don't like it - actually, I flat-out hate it - but there it is; I live with depression, and that's that. I will probably take antidepressants for the rest of my life just to stay balanced enough to function, and I thank God for having a medication that helps, but I don't like it.
Which takes me back to my opening paragraph. When you deal with depression, a lot of times it feels like your rope is shorter than it should be. Some days seem like more trouble than they're worth. You wonder why you bother trying, and if anyone would really notice if you stopped trying. What would happen if you just let go of the rope?
Well, I made up my mind a long time ago that letting go wasn't an option. Despite depression, I have a lot to be thankful for, and I'm not willing to hurt the people who love me. So what do I do? I do what helps, one day at a time. I tie knots in the rope. This knot was a hug from my son; this one, dinner with friends; that big one there? A loving message from my husband. Every day there's something good, even if it seems so small - a flower, a joke, a warm puppy on your lap, a text from a friend. God keeps giving me more rope, and I keep tying knots, and you know what? It's good. It's very good.