“Ashley, remember you come from a long line of women who have dealt with depression.”
The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled. The idea is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.
Yesterday was a Single Moms outreach. I signed up to volunteer, yet another thing on my calendar. I got to my assigned station ready to go, but they needed more hostesses. People to connect with the moms and show them around. For those of those who know me know I do not like small talk. But I didn’t think about what I was agreeing to I just agreed. After about two hours I was completely fried. I knew it, so I went to a different station in need of help. But as more moms arrived I was needed hostessing. After two or three more moms, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was so overwhelmed by the people, the noises. I went up to a friend and said “Do you think they still need me? I can’t do this anymore, I need to go home” I left. I sat in my car and just needed to breath.
In my life, I have never felt so overwhelmed. The thought of being around another human repulsed me. I thought about going for a drive (a way that I decompress), but my brain was so tired. I just needed to get home.
The conversation with my mom that I had the day prior began to sink in. As I retreated to old coping mechanisms to find pleasure, it all started to click. As much as I love serving, the reason I was serving was that I wanted to feel good. I wanted to be needed and praised for my servant’s heart. But deep down I just wanted to feel good.
My servant’s heart had taken over my life. Leaving very little time to provide for my own basic needs. When I say basic I mean basic. Cooking for myself, nearly never. My apartment always a mess. Becoming overwhelmed by the number of tasks more often than not led to inaction. This is not who I am. As an adult, I should be able to take care of myself with ease. I should be able to keep my apartment clean, especially because it isn’t like I own a lot of things. I should be able to make meals and spend time in the word regularly.
There I was in the car, retreating because I simply had nothing left to give. I was done, completely empty. Which is even harder to wrap my head around, because besides I “have it all”. I just accepted an offer for my dream job. I live in a beautiful town, with amazing friends. I have an amazing family. I should be happy! I should be thriving! But I am not. I am struggling to take care of my own basic needs.
This is hard to tell the world, but I think that it is important. It is a perfect illustration of “having it all” but not being satisfied. I am learning to take time for myself, setting boundaries, and how vital it is to spend time with Jesus.
“Ashley, remember you come from a long line of women who have dealt with depression”
Acknowledging is the first step to healing. I am not saying that I am clinically depressed. I am just saying that right now, I am struggling and that genetically I am predisposed to depression. I am grateful that I have parents who are willing to have hard conversations, and offer guidance. I am not sure what the next steps are, all I know is that Jesus needs to be the number one priority and I am the second. Something I am working on.