March 15, 2018
The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.
Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.
“You’re not capable.”
“A spiritually stronger woman would be able to handle this.”
This can be the ongoing narrative in my head. I’m a woman, wife and mother who battles mental illness.
Everything from driving the kids by myself to simply putting together a meal for our table can leave me shaking in the bedroom with a racing mind. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t.
I was entrusted with the burden of mental illness in the forms of anxiety and depression almost four years ago. In reality, I feel as though it’s been there all along, I barely remember a time when I didn’t deal with emotions that felt too big for me to carry.
I’m so tired.
I’ve learned since entering adulthood, that we’ve all been given burdens. We get to decide how we handle them. Will we let them crush us? Or will we lean into them, allowing their weight to fortify muscles we would have never used otherwise?
In the last four years I have done both. In the last four years, I have felt both empowered by all I've overcome and silenced by the sheer volume of the invisible pain I carry.
Within my limited range of experience with mental illnesses, I’ve learned one thing about them: they’re bullies. They hulk on the perimeter of my mind, ringing out accusations like incessant hammer-tones. They shout everything I don’t need to hear; trying to convince me I don’t have a voice.
The turning point for me comes when I quietly, bravely whisper, “I need help.”
And Jesus always responds, “I’m here.”
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." John 10: 27-28
I know now that I can speak. And furthermore, that Jesus is constantly listening, hovering there and holding me the whole time. Even when I don’t feel it. Especially then.
Whether it's through the truth of His Word, the support of my husband or the help of a licensed therapist, Jesus has carried me throughout the course of this unwanted journey.
The day I began piecing together this essay, the sun and the snow both fell on the earth. After days of light beaming into our home and teasing of Spring, we woke up to snow. Two opposing elements blended together outside our windows; a sunshine snowstorm. It was altogether comical, disheartening, weird and beautiful.
It precisely mirrored my experience with mothering through mental illness.
The good and the hard. The warmth and the biting cold. The joy and the anxiety.
Thankfully, the voice of Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit whispers that, “This is a beautiful thing; to feel it all."
It's never too much for Him.
To speak aloud these pains and be heard may not lift the burden, but it does fortify me to shoulder them.
And so, I use my voice. I will tell these stories. For my children, for the woman out there that thinks she's alone. For myself.
I will proclaim God's truth and with the Apostle Paul, "...boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
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