This is just Part 1 because there is just really so much, and I am still processing all of this.
Several months ago I posted about my struggle with depression http://michelecotterill.vox.com/library/post/depression.html . I have also been reading some great posts by Mary Southerland about her struggle with depression, and it has led me to examine what led to my depression. http://www.facebook.com/pages/MarySoutherland/192953792049?ref=ts#!/pages/MarySoutherland/192953792049
This has been a great process for me to examine what led to my depression. Prior to my depression I was doing everything. I was a single mom (and all that that entailed), leading a ministry that led me to have to prepare weekly and meet and pray with people many times throughout the week, and also worked 40+ hours per week at a very challenging job. After I got married, I now had much more responsibility on top of what I already had. I now had five more people in my life to care for, love on, take care of, dinners to cook every night, cleaning house, getting used to being a wife again. It was a lot to take on into my already busy life. I was also trying to be someone to everyone, to be a good friend, to help comfort and counsel others going through the recovery process, etc. It was really a rewarding life, but also a very draining life.
My life began to break down, my body began to break down, and I was no longer able to do what I had always been able to do. I have always been a strong person, but will push myself really hard until I am no longer able to handle it anymore. I ended up sick a lot after I got married from the stress of all these things in my life. Slowly, little by little these things were taken out of my life. What is left is that I have my family – no more job, no more ministry, less friends.
I also had some very challenging things in my relationships over the last several years that emotionally were very difficult. I had to learn that not everyone is going to like me, and that I can kill myself trying to make people like me. They either do or they don't. Everyone is going to have an opinion about me and my life, and that's fine. Everyone won't agree with everything I do, and that is fine. But it was a process to get to this point.
Then there was the depression that followed after no longer having a ministry to care for, and people there to care for — that needed me. I emphasize the needed me part, because even though I wouldn't admit it then, I can admit it now, it felt good to be needed. Then when that went away, depression began to set in. Then when my job and identity with my job went away, more depression set in. I had been in the professional legal field for 20+ years, and while I had thought that I had my identity in Christ, I really realized that when my job was gone that I had put my identity in my job. When people would ask what I did, I would tell them, you could literally see the interest light up in their eyes and the questions would come about my job. Now this is hard to admit out loud, but it is the truth. I felt good about the job I did. I enjoyed the job I did. Now it is gone. And how it happened that it ended up being gone was hurtful, and I had to process that as well. I also knew it was the Lord removing it from my life.
I really feel like I'm to a point that I really AM okay with it being gone.
But I do realize that right now my sole and complete focus needs to be my identity in Christ, and who He made me to be. During these last several years I had also had some very challenging issues in my relationships with others. Some things that were incredibly hurtful, and I am still trying to process those. There really just were so many people that it caused me to question me, and who I am with others and what is so wrong with me? That part I am still working on, but I do believe God is bringing me through that as well. But all of these issues took a toll on me, and drained me mentally.
I also experienced a lot of betrayal in my life over the last several years. That too, has drained me a lot emotionally, and also has made me question me. To be continued …