Ecclesiastes 3:1 states that "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven". That biblical verse resonates with me as I reflect upon all of the seasons in my life and the seasons that I have not yet entered. It helps to ground me and validate me during my uncomfortable and unwelcomed seasons.
In the spirit of transparency, I have been in a rather uncomfortable season of my life. I have been struggling with low mood, lack of motivation and ongoing grief. I have many moments where I have questioned the purpose of my life and many more moments where I just wanted to lay in bed and never come out from underneath my covers. At first I felt ashamed by this feeling. I felt embarrassed and I felt weak. I felt like a fraud and I felt like a hypocrite. After all, I am a therapist helping people navigate through their pain, how dare I have pain of my own.
I felt unworthy to help people on their path towards healing while struggling with my own season of pain. When I disclosed to those close to me that I was struggling with depression, I felt as if they would judge me and would not respect me because of the season that I was in. I am usually the one who seemingly keeps it together and in this season of my life, It felt as if I was coming apart.
I was in a constant state of judging myself for what I was feeling. I hid the fact from the majority that I was attending my own therapy even though I was an advocate for normalizing mental health and normalizing therapy, I secretly was hiding that I was seeking support.
I was ashamed of the season that I was in. I once had a person describe his battles with mental health as seasons. He stated that "he wanted to avoid the winters in his life". His winters were a metaphor for the rough battles with his mental health. In thinking about his metaphor, I realized that I wanted to avoid, ignore and hide the wintery season that I was in. I only wanted people to see my spring and summer season. I only wanted them to see the growth and that I was flourishing and thriving. I think that a lot of people only want people to see their winning season which is understandable because everyone wants to win. Winning feels great and you are celebrated and applauded when you win. It inspires others when you win. However, I think that we have become so accustomed to the trend of winning that we suffer in silence in our season of loss. We masquerade behind pretend smiles and strategic vacation posts on social media to create the illusion of happiness when we are really in a season of mourning, grief or sadness.
The scripture Ecclesiastes continues to list out the many different seasons that people may experience. As I reviewed that list, I began to be able to grant myself grace for the season that I was in. I began to be honest about the season that I was in. Ecclesiastes 3:4 states that there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance. That scripture granted me grace because it validated the season that I was in. It allowed me to understand that the season I was in was okay but it also granted me a hope to remember that seasons change. It made me remember that I have not always been sad, low or unmotivated. It made me remember that there have been moments when I was happy, inspired and ready to take on the world. Once I remembered that seasons change, I became more patient and accepting of the season that I was in.
Healing and recovery is a process. While you are healing and recovering, it is important to be accepting of your season. It is important to not pass judgment on your season. You can seek help, work towards recovery and takes steps towards changing your season but it is important to not become defeated by the season that you are in. We know that seasons change. The spring and summer seasons do no last forever and neither does autumn or winter. The seasons of our lives do not last forever either. The season of our lives serve a purpose even if that purpose is just to teach us how to love ourselves in all seasons.