You ever feel empty or is it just me?......
A few weeks ago, I felt completely empty. I couldn't think, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep....I started to get where I couldn't even smile....my head started to hang down low, and I knew I was getting close to a dangerous place. A place I had been before and vowed I would NEVER go back.
I was acting a lot like this jar....I looked all pretty and fun on the outside, but on the inside, there was absolutely nothing....just empty...
I honestly didn't want to write about this because I feel embarrassed....I should be over this by now right? Depression shouldn't be able to do this to me anymore. I have already overcome this and now I am supposed to be helping others overcome. How can I help them if I am back in this mess? How can I go travel and speak on this topic when I can't seem to shake it every day in my own life?
Then God gently reminded me that this is exactly how to help. Keep sharing the story. Let them know that the struggle is still real some days and knocks me down with one fierce punch in the gut too.
It is very easy for me to sit in silence and hide away when these days or moments come, but I know I can no longer do that.
I can't sit in silence and hide away anymore.
I can't be like this jar and make the outside pretty when the inside is feeling empty and gross and full of shame.
So, if one person reads this today that is feeling alone and having a bad day or a bad moment, then sharing this part of the story is worth it if it helps you.
How do we move past the days or the moments of feeling empty? How do we not fall back into the pit of depression that wants to pull us back in and steal our life from us and rob our joy?
These are some of the things that I learned in this recent battle with depression and emptiness:
1. Don't go back to old habits and behaviors-The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. It's not going to happen. When emptiness and depression come back to knock you down, and they will come back, change your response to it. If you normally go silent, speak up. If you have a place you go, don't go there. If you avoid people, reach out to them...this leads me to the second thing.
2. Talk to someone you trust-Depression, this feeling of emptiness, tells you to talk to NO ONE. It tells you that if you do talk to them, they will think you are crazy and judge you. What it is wanting to do is isolate you. Fight that feeling. This was big for me in coming out of this empty spot this time.
A friend asked me how I was doing, and I gave the popular answer of, "I'm fine." Then she said, "No Caris...how are you really doing?" I had to choose to fight the feeling of silence. I trusted her, so I told her what was really going on and you know what? She did not judge me or turn her back on me...instead, she handed me a rope and started to pull me out of where emptiness wanted to take me. There are people all around you carrying ropes to help pull you out. You just need to reach up and grab one.
3. I had a talk with God-I don't know about you, but when I have gotten into these empty places, I even feel too ashamed to talk to God...my Heavenly Daddy who loves me with no restrictions and no hesitation. Emptiness, depression, shame, whatever you want to call it, tries to convince you that His love is conditional. This is all a big fat lie....HUGE LIE!
Listen to what God's Word says in Psalm 86:15-But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, ABOUNDING in LOVE and faithfulness!
Talk to Him...He already knows what you are going through, what you are feeling, and what you are thinking...be honest with Him because I promise you, He can handle it. Tell Him where you are at so He can help you get out because He doesn't want you to stay there. Remember, He loves you. He knows the enemy is coming to try to steal and destroy your life and that is not what He wants for you. He wants you to have LIFE...an abundant LIFE.
4. Help Somebody Else-Now I know this may sound crazy...How can I help someone else when I feel like I have nothing inside of me? That is one way you start to get filled back up. I am not talking about going LIVE on your social media and sharing your story with the world....maybe just reach out to a friend and ask how you can pray for them. If your church or community has a ministry to help others, reach out and volunteer. If your child's teacher needs some papers cut out or someone to read to a struggling student, then you can go and do those things too. Doing something for someone else will do amazing things in attacking emptiness.
5. Accountability-This is so important. Who do you have surrounding you to encourage you when you are in these empty spots? Who do you have surrounding you to be excited with you when something wonderful happens in your life? Who do you have surrounding you to share God's Truth with you maybe when you don't want to hear it but you need to hear it? Do you have anyone surrounding you doing these things? Honestly, I didn't...but you know what? This is something I am working on now.
God's Word is clear on this-Carry one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.
We were made to carry the load together. Now yes, that goes against everything you are feeling inside because emptiness and depression tell you that you need to go it alone, but again, they are big fat liars so don't listen to them!
This life is messy and hard. God knew it would be and I believe this is why He gave us His Word and these instructions to help us during the hard and messy times.
So, if you are in this empty place or in a place where depression is trying to pull you down and take you out....try one of these today to fight back. It took me a few days to fight back and get to where I was standing again, but I am standing today. I want you to stand again too.
Don't let "Empty" steal from you anymore.
It's time fill your jar back up with joy, hope, faith, love, and laughter.
It's time to start sleeping again at night, eating your favorite foods, and holding your head up to smile.
Emptiness...it is time for you to leave! We refuse to let you isolate us any longer! We are battling you this time together!