This month was another Customer Love Month. I fully intended to take part, show you how much I loved you, and I had the big plans of releasing my first product on this site: What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up and Sit Down. But it didn’t happen.

What happened was depression. I’ve mentioned before that I have clinical depression. And it was one big, fire-breathing dragon. For two weeks I was doing good just to function, much less anything else. It got to the point where putting a load of laundry in the washing maching was an overwhelming thought.

Loving my customers? Literally scared me stiff on the couch (where I watched TV and mindlessly surfed the internet). How could I love my customers when I couldn’t love me? And I couldn’t love me. Although for once I did take care of myself. I also talked to people about it: My Hubby was great. The man made me laugh even when I didn’t want to. It helped. Jen Louden and the wonderful women at the Savor and Serve Cafe were a wonderful support group and gave me lots of sympathy and encouragement. (This group is worth every penny.)

I’d have a couple of good days then crash for several days. It was obvious no amount of self-care, chocolate, and TV watching (even the hunky CSI:NY TV watching) was going to help. It was time to call my psychaitrist. I saw him a week ago today. We talked and decided that my body had adjusted to the anti-depressant I was taking. We decided to wean me off the Paxil and start me on Cymbalta. And it worked. My doctor said it would take two weeks before I started to notice a difference, but it only took a few days. I felt much better by Friday.

I received a much needed reminder last week that I can be strong and resiliant when I need to be. Tuesday we had an emergency. Yes I still felt lousy and depressed, but a loved one needed me, and I was there. Even in the midst of that crappy, hopeless, apathetic state, I had resources I could call on and deliver the support and love that was called on. I also made sure my loved one was not forgotten. You don’t want to mess with me on this: I turn into a mother bear on the kill when I feel someone I love is short-changed and ignored.

While I was sitting and waiting (and I did a lot of that Tuesday night), it hit me this is the way I need to feel about my customers. What I want to do—free women from the religious crap that tells them they were created soley to serve men and be subordinate to men all their lives—need what I have to offer. I need to be their mother bear and advocate for them. I need to have that same protective fierceness for them I have for people I love. And I can do that. I have those resources, that strength. And they are there when I need them, regardless of what I feel like.

This means I need to give myself a break. Although I tried to take care of myself while the depression ruled my world, I wasn’t very nice to myself. The internal self-talk was very negative and not loving at all. Which brings us back to the title of this post: in order to love your customers you have to love yourself. A little over a week ago I wrote a post on how the Christians and Muslims in Egypt obeyed the commandment to love their neighbors as their selves. A lot of time we forget those last three words. We can only love our neighbors, our customers, anyone as much we love ourselves.

The last couple of days I’ve been working on loving myself, so that I can love you the way you deserve to be loved.

P.S. What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up and Sit Down will be availabe in March.