Depression seems so common these days. I am not sure why that is; maybe it is because of our fast paced life and culture. What I do know is that it has affected me and several of my traditional friends. (I am NOT saying traditionalism has caused depression, just stating some similarities that I have noticed)
During my search for information and help about depression, a wonderful book was recommended to me. I was hesitant at first to read it (because it is Christian in content but not specifically Catholic), but then I decided to give it a try after reading reviews. It is called Getting Over the Blues: A Woman's Guide to Fighting Depression . I am now reading it a second time and am finding new little gems I missed or forgot on my first read. I wanted to share a few quotes and thoughts about them and how I see them played out in my life and a few friends who have struggled with depression as well.
"When we measure our value and worth against our ability to maintain either our own or someone else's ideal standards, we will always fall short and suffer. No one ever stands next to "perfect" and feels good about being imperfect." p.103
This is so me. I tried so hard to maintain the "trad standards" and always thought poorly of myself because I didn't measure up. As soon as I began a new standard, I would feel like I still didn't qualify as a good, holy mom. This led me to several things that weren't "me" like not participating in sports, wearing jewelry and make-up, and dress changes. Every time a new standard was added, I began looking for another because there were so many radical ideas out there that I felt like I wasn't a good enough Catholic if I wasn't doing these things.
"The battle you face right now is which voice you will listen to and trust to be your truest truth. Will it be God's word or the negative voices in your own head and heart." p.107
For a long time, I had a hard time letting go of those voices that told me I was sinning by going to the Novus Ordo, wearing pants, or using NFP. This is true of my friends who have suffered depression and considered themselves traditionalists. I constantly chided myself because I had heard so many times that I needed to do or not do certain things to be a good traditional Catholic. The voice inside my head has been difficult to extinguish.
"When we fail to live up to our own idealized version of ourselves, we not only feel disappointed in ourselves, but we often also hate ourselves and become depressed....First, we knock ourselves out trying to live up to some impossible ideal image we've constructed just to feel normal. Second, we become disappointed and beat ourselves up when we fail to measure up to this ideal image." pp. 120-121
Same as above.
"Many women put unrealistic expectations on themselves to to it all, be it all, and have it all....The internal stress, the things we put on ourselves, can push us over the brink as well." p.123
This has happened to me and several of my friends. I had to have as many kids as I could (to help bring back the traditional Catholics), homeschool them all, use cloth diapers, natural foods and medicines, constantly monitor everything my kids heard, saw, and did, etc. I think the stress of it all is what me pushed me over the edge and helped with my healing.
"...we must also learn to accept that we are not all the same. We have different gifts, temperaments, and preferences....Too many women don't accept who they are. Instead, they continuously compare themselves with others, always coming up short. They think they should like what other women like, do what other women do, and feel what other women feel. When you are always trying to be like someone else or what you think other people want you to be instead of being who God made you to be, you will feel drained and stressed-out, perhaps taking on things that God did not intend for you to do." pp.128-129
Isn't this just like pre-teens and teen-agers? We want to be like someone else. For me, it was this idealized perfect trad mom who had well-behaved children (and a lot of them and never feel like I was ready to be done) and homeschool them without any problems. Oh, and this was going to ensure they stay true to the faith. (because this is almost sold as gospel truth among homeschoolers)
I could go on and on. They are so many wonderful gems in this book. For those suffering depression or have someone close who is, I highly recommend it.
About Rest for the Weary
I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.