Sometimes I get on I-85 at 5:00 on purpose. I leave work a little late, and I stop and get a large Diet Coke, and I merge into that bumper-to-bumper snail’s pace traffic even though my GPS is like “What are you doing? This is a completely unredeemable situation.” But I do not agree. It gives me like an hour of uninterrupted time to just think and dream and process.
And so the other day I was thinking and dreaming, as I do, specifically about some frustrations that I have with life at the moment. They’re pretty rampant frustrations, and really they’re the same things that I’ve always been frustrated with at my core. Pretty much everything in my life has changed somehow over the last few years, but this one thing has stayed exactly the same.
And I said something out loud in the car.
“Enough is enough.”
And I mean that in two really big ways.
1: It’s time to blow the roof off this stigma and shame thing. It really is time. More on that late. I mean, I’m working on the book proposal and the TED talk and the “Oprah of mental health advocacy” empire. Insert “100” emoji here.
2: I am enough because Jesus is enough. Stigma can’t tell me anything different. Which is what I’m really stuck on right now. I’m enough. That’s the end of the story.
I have enough, I do enough, I am enough. I know I’ve seen that on Pinterest a bajillion times.
I have enough. I gave up shopping for Lent. I’ve had my parents’ credit card memorized for years and probably my biggest vice of all time is that I’m really reckless with that. But no more. If I need help financially, I ask for it. And I mean need. Not “hey I want that sweater.” One of the side effects of my illness is impulsive spending and I’m trying to catch myself on it. My family has been very gracious about this over the years, and I joke about my credit card debt, but you know, it’s really not a joke. It’s something I need to take more seriously.
So I really did it. I gave up shopping for Lent. No frivolous purchases. No Anthropologie, no Nordstrom, no RueLaLa – no Amazon. That’s right, I said no Amazon. If you know me, this is a gamechanger. I’m allowed to buy the necessities, like dog food and groceries, the basic needs, but nothing for fun, and I’m allowed to do certain calculated things like pay for my small group retreat to Carolina Point. When we lived in Boone, Maggie and I used to have a rule that if anything at the J. Crew outlet was less than $50, it was free and we had to get it. We tore the roof off that place. So after she died, I shopped a lot. I used shopping for years as a coping mechanism. If I didn’t feel good, or good about myself, well, that was nothing my credit card and a new pair of Kate Spade earrings couldn’t fix. Until it didn’t.
And now I have a house full of stuff that made me feel better in the moment but didn’t actually fix any of my problems. I’m hoping this will show me something. What I’m trying to focus on is that I have everything that I need already. Buying more clothes and home goods or whatever else isn’t going to bring me contentment. I think it used to, or maybe I just thought it did, but I’m finding that I’m living a lot more life now that I’m spending time in coffee shops with people instead of in the boutiques downtown. That’s another thing. Am allowed to buy coffee for people.
I do enough. I do a lot. I’ve been on what we’ll call a “dating rampage” this year and so I’m very adept at telling people all of the things I do. I’m a counselor and I work really hard at my job, and I’m into fitness, and I smile at strangers and I do my taxes early. The thing is though, life isn’t about performance. I don’t want to get the feedback on if I’m doing alright or not just from looking at my life like it’s a resume. So what I’ve started doing instead is telling the people on the other side of the table what I fill my life up with. I love getting to talk to kids about their problems at work all day, and then I love coming home to my two fur babies, and I love going to see my personal trainer and joke with her about how I’m training for a half marathon when we both know I’m never actually going to do that again. I’m about to start volunteering in the community through Junior League, hopefully with teen moms or kids in foster care or something like that. I’m in a really great small group and most of the time I remember to talk to my long-distance friends and I’m always down for an impromptu coffee date or trip to Yard House to talk about or celebrate something.
And then there’s the part where Christ is just enough. I really believe that. Don’t get me wrong, I forget that all the time. I need Jesus and I also need a lot of other things, like closure or to say something or to send the text or beat the dead horse. Lots of needs over here. But because Christ is enough, that means I’m enough. But that thing about Jesus is that He makes all these promises about sustaining us and being the bread of life and equipping us (and all these other great things I’m sure, I mean, I like the Bible, but I don’t have the thing memorized.) I am beginning to understand this more and more the older I get and the more I pay attention to the world around me. Am a very good attention-payer. But the more I pay attention, the more frustrated I get also.
So back to the car ride on 85, and the frustrations. I am tired of having to explain to the world that I am a normal human being who is enough; that I can do things that non-depressed people can do. I’m tired of it, but I’m going to keep doing it. Non-depressed people can do things that I can’t, but being depressed or non-depressed has absolutely nothing to do with that. We’re all going to have different strengths and weaknesses and capabilities and vulnerabilities, but you do not get to assume what mine are, or that they are deficient, because I have a certain illness. I don’t think explaining that to people is how I should have to spend my time or life, but it is and I am and I will, because it is. I’m enough, just like I am. Christ is enough, He will give me everything I need, and I don’t need to buy anything else or prove anything else to anyone. It is a done deal.
Like I said, time to blow the roof off this stigma thing.
(People waste a lot of life not saying things that they should just say, and so I have decided to say all of my things.)