After birthing my third baby, I mentioned to a friend of mine that I felt ‘blah’. I lost my motivation and enthusiasm, and I just wasn’t taking things in stride like I normally would. There were days that I felt proud of myself for accomplishing just one major task, which might be as inconsequential as a trip to the grocery store.
My friend suggested I go in and talk with my doctor, so I did. The office visit went well, even though I broke down and cried when I had to admit that I had felt so despondent lately.
Because of my mental fog at the time, I don’t remember his exact words, but I came away with this little gem, “it’s a disservice to yourself and humanity to pretend there are no chinks in your armor.”
He went on to explain that women are especially cruel in this manner because we proudly project a façade of perfection, while we ache on the inside at all the ways we can’t possibly measure up to the competition.
This wise obstetrician brought me invaluable insight that day, “Imperfection is perfect.”
After my appointment, in which I felt markedly better, my friend asked how it went. Our conversation went like this:
“It was wonderful! Thanks for suggesting that to me. We had a nice visit. He gave me permission to not be perfect. Oh, and he also gave me Wellbutrin.”
“I knew it. You’re depressed.”
“What? No! Depression is when you sit in your room and you cry all the time and you don’t want to live any more. I’m not depressed. I’m just in a funk.”
“Ummm, ok. But, just so you know Wellbutrin is an anti-depressant.”
At this point, I was stunned.
It had never occurred to me before that this blah feeling was DEPRESSION.
“If THIS is depression”, I thought to myself, “then maybe I have more understanding for others now… but, what if, just what if, I didn’t need the medication as much as I needed someone to give me permission to embrace my imperfection?”
I couldn’t bring myself to take the medication at the time, partially because I couldn’t get an answer to my question about how to know when I don’t need to take it anymore, but mostly because of this paradigm shift.
I looked at my life from a new perspective. On the outside, everything looked… perfect… exactly the way I had carefully crafted it. I was set up to please everyone around me. Yet, I was ‘blah’, depressed, even.
Which brought up some bigger questions for me:
- If this funk is brought on by my lack of motivation in keeping up the charade / façade, what will the medication do for me?
- Will it numb those nagging feelings so that I can get back to playing the role everyone expects me to play?
- Would this ‘depression’ go away without medication if I were willing to take a serious look at the underlying emotions that I was trying to pretend didn’t exist?
- Why did it seem so important to present a perfect life? If all anyone can see is my polished and shiny pretend armor, am I accidentally rejecting the support, encouragement, and friendship that I truly crave?
- Have I been so focused on approval that I forgot how important it is to be love and accepted for just being me?
- And if people like and approve of my perfect armor façade, are they really my friends? How could they possibly be if they don’t know the real me?
- Wait… where IS the real me? Who is she? And why is she hiding behind a bulky suit of armor in the first place?
With this post, I don’t necessarily want to delve into the complex dynamics of depression, its symptoms and treatments. In my experience, the funk didn’t necessarily require medication – it required a change of heart and perspective.
- How much effort do you put forth pretending to have no chinks in your armor?
- Do you have a support system in place that allows you to openly acknowledge your imperfections, loving you unconditionally as you travel your personal journey?
- What does this phrase mean to you, “Imperfection is perfect”?
- What does that suit of armor represent to you? Does it protect you? Are you hiding in there?
Challenge: Ponder your suit of armor and your willingness to allow others to see you in both your glory and your weakness. Consider why you need the protection of the armor. Contemplate how you might let others support you, and how you might be more accepting of others’ flaws, as well.
- Answer each of the questions – you may want to start a journal or a blog to reflect on your journey.
- Share your thoughts with us! (Leave a comment, make a post in the Facebook Group, or even shout out on Twitter!)
- Deeply contemplate who you are and whether or not the people in your life know the person hiding inside the suit.
I look forward to laughing with you about the chinks in your armor!