I’m a Mess and it Probably Doesn’t Matter

I was out the other day, when my toddly boy got ‘chatting’ with a little girl of ten months. It was rather cute.

Her mum and I got chatting too. Within ten minutes we were sharing some pretty deep stuff. She has post-natal depression (PND). She had planned to be having another baby quite close in age to her daughter, but those plans are on hold for now; a decision that is causing her obvious pain and anxiety.

As I was packing up our things to go, she said, “Well, you’ve had three kids, so there is some hope for me”. “There is always hope”, I said.

The day before this happened, I was talking to another woman I don’t know very well. Her husband has depression, though it is undiagnosed, virtually unacknowledged, and definitely untreated. It is a very hard situation for the whole family.

I very often find myself having such conversations with people. I know why, too: it’s part of the plan. Part of the ‘good bit’ of having depression.

Until I had depression, nothing truly difficult had ever happened to me. You could argue that I needed to experience this sort of suffering. God has never left me alone in all this. He has taught me more in the last seven years than in all the years before them. And now He often brings people across my path who need encouragement. I hope I sometimes manage to give it, just as others have helped me.

The point is: I am a mess. I don’t look like it. I often don’t seem depressed. But under the surface – on occasion bursting through – I am a little bit broken. And that can be a very good thing. If it means I recognise my own flaws, it’s a good thing. If it means others can see that they are not alone in their struggles, it’s a good thing. If it means I can be a help to someone, because I’m not ‘Mrs Got-it-all-together’ and can therefore understand where they are coming from, it’s a good thing.

I’m spilt milk. Don’t cry.



7 thoughts on “I’m a Mess and it Probably Doesn’t Matter

  1. Hi Sally,
    for all its worth, I think very few people have it all together and most of us are a little bit broken. Some are just better at hiding it. And some are better at embracing their flaws. And then you discover empathy, the ability to see someone else’s pain and suffering. And the grace to offer a word of encouragement and hope. I have found a lot of relief in the simple act of surrender. To be grateful for what I have and am. I applaud you for your frankness and that you are able to offer hope and support to those you encounter.

  2. brilliant article Sal, and I empathise! But it took me a lot longer to learn this lesson!
    I love and agree with ‘zigozagocraft’ – great comment!
    Julian of Norwich also wondered about why sin (and brokenness and every other from of human frailty) was necessary. And she came to the conclusion:
    “sin is necessary, but all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well”. I find this encouraging as we (in our frailty, brokenness and empathy with fellow humans) can contribute to this wellness.
    love you!

  3. Saw a sign today at a very small country church :
    “Jesus puts live back together – but He needs all the pieces”

    We are all broken – yet fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Keep encouraging Sally – you never know where the ripples you make end up.

    • What a great sign!

      Perhaps we need to ‘go to pieces’ before we can give them all back. As we fall apart, we realise our frailty and our need for Jesus. That’s been my experience anyway. I previously paid lip service to the idea of needing a saviour, while at the same time merrily charging onward in my independence and pride. Hopefully now that the independence has been breached, the pride is being knocked down too.

      Thanks for your encouragement David.

  4. Pingback: Depression: a Mini Survival Guide « The Threaded Edge

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