The snow is beginning to slowly melt off of the ground. It is cold, drizzly and wet. No real out doors time today. But I did spend some time helping a friend with some chore work. And that was good, through I should use gloves more often as my hands are a dried out wreck.

Well, I know many are struggling at this time of year, and for a variety of reasons. For me, it is part physical, part chemical and part circumstantial. In my family of origin, depression and anxiety are part of each person’s character make-up. When I was little, I remember entering a room, and being told to “sit down, you’re making me nervous” and also ” no, you can’t be in the kitchen while I am in here, you’re making me nervous.” And the days (weeks, months) that my mother would not leave her room except to use the bathroom, requesting I deliver food to her in bed. The copious number of prescription bottles that both she and my grandmother kept in the bathroom “for nervousness” per the bottle. In my mother’s case, these were often washed down with alcohol, likely contributing to her depression.

Upon reaching adulthood, it became apparent that I suffered from some of the same chemistry problems as my female relatives. I have used a variety of different methods to address the situation, such as prescription antidepressants (too flattening), light therapy (not very effective), chocolate (not the best idea) and so on. When it hits hard, like it has lately, I really struggle to find even one good thing to say, except that nothing lasts forever, including this trench I am slogging through.

But I’m grateful. Grateful that I am choosing to feel and walk through my feelings and not just grab a handful of sedating pills, alcohol or other substances that might block them or prolong the suffering in order to feel nothing. Mind you, this comes from a person who spent a lifetime watching adults misuse prescription medication. But, there are times and instances where meds are necessary to treat serious mental health conditions.  And I am grateful that there is medical science out there if necessary to thoughtfully apply the use of medications if needed.

What the trench teaches me, though, is grace. How to give grace to myself, and how to be graceful to others. My prayer life comes alive. I am suddenly aware of resentments and hurts that need to be laid down and submitted. So there is a purpose for the valley, the trench. It just doesn’t feel super great being down here. But God is here with me; He has said He will never leave me, nor forsake me and I can trust in that.

Much love to you, whether you are on the mountain, or, like me in the trench. One foot in front of the other. We will do this. Together. Big hugs!