--Excerpted from here
I am leaving my job again. It is painful to say, embarrassing even, although weeks of prayer and conversation have gone into the decision. After a full summer of working and agonizing over a job that I wanted to love but that presented some serious challenges to my healing process, I finally gave my official notice. Really it was more raw than that professional-sounding word: it was tears streaming down my face and failed attempts to hold in sobs while my boss held my hand across the table, crying with me and reminding me good things await. What a bittersweet experience, to find myself needing to leave a place that understands and celebrates my decision to choose wellness above all else.
Whenever I tell someone the truth about how sad I am, it nearly overwhelms me. Part of me observes with wonder, because I didn't even know I was so terribly sad. When I am pretending I am fine, it's easy to keep myself bouncy and clever, to trick myself, almost, into thinking all is fine. But when I know that they know, when I've finally found a way to confess the sadness and anxiety and fear inside of me, I am crying. When I'm not pretending I have it all together, I can finally fall apart, and it seems this is what I desperately need more of, although I usually find it too vulnerable.
It is terribly sad, this anxiety and lurking depression. In spite of all the work I have done to be well, all the therapy and Psalms and time with my home team, it continues to crop up and surprise me. I must apply all that I have learned about making space for the pain, acknowledging the parts of me that are panicked or frightened without letting those feelings rule the roost and lead me to live a small, fearful life. Working through depression for me is all about making space and holding the different facets of my whole self together, learning to show kindness to the parts I once shamed, while keeping the bigger picture of a beautiful and free life in mind.
What is especially slippery about my experience with depression is that there are good days, and so it's easy for me to try and talk myself out of it: you're fine, you're remembering it as worse than it really was, stop being so dramatic. I use my happy, accomplished moments as evidence against myself and smash down the sad bits (using bizarre logic like, Are you really depressed if you can find the strength to exercise every day and clean the apartment?). Leaving my job is a step away from that sort of rationalizing. It shows myself and everyone else I am taking my own experiences seriously and choosing to care for myself.
I keep trying to create something new with my life, but it seems the work of deconstructing, of simplifying, of unlearning, is still my task. I want to be building a life, a career, a cuter apartment--but instead I am being asked to continue the practice of taking things apart and letting go. I continue to find myself being asked to admit that I am not okay, that I don't have things together, and most importantly, to believe that people can (and do) still love me when I have nothing to offer.