The thing that has amazed me the most since first posting about my struggle with depression is how many wonderful women have stepped forth to share their struggle with it as well. Women I have looked up to and admired....women I thought could never go through something as ugly as I have. I've been blown away at the number of women who have given me sweet encouragement and who have been willing to give me a glimpse into their own struggle. I know how hard that is and how completely raw and bare you have to be to share something so personal and so I am beyond thankful.
One of my sweetest friends emailed me the other day and gave me permission to share her words here. I hope that they will bring you or someone you know as much comfort as they are giving me. I read them over and over because for one, I am there (and slowly coming out) of the dark places she describes. So many of them have been or are me. I read the words because her story didn't end with darkness! Hallelujah!!!!! They end with HOPE! And JOY! And PEACE! And I am believing that there will be a day very soon (or whenever God is ready for it to be) that I can stand on the other side of this canyon and look back at the deep dark places with a heart that is healed. Thank you dear friend for these words and for sharing them here for others to read and find hope in as well. I love you so much.
My dear, dear friend: I send this with tears, because these are things that very, very few people know about. I knew that someday, God would use this experience for good, and I believe it may be now.
Me, in 2009/2010:
fighting with my husband
horribly messy house
I didn't care
staring at the pantry at all the food, and crying because I don't want to think about cooking dinner
going into the garage and throwing stuff because I wanted the craziness in my head to stop
laying in the floor crying and praying and begging God to fix me
snapping at the checkout lady, the customer service rep, and anyone else who came in my path
reading so much stuff that told me if I just give it to God, it will all be okay
I did, and it wasn't
begging Satan to leave me alone
Feeling like he wasn't
throwing a knife at the laundry room wall when no one was looking - no clue why
canceling appointments of every kind because it was so much work to get myself and the kids together to go anywhere
dreading getting dressed in the morning while trying to squeeze into clothes that were getting tighter by the day
feeling fat, so I would make a batch of cookies and eat them. all of them.
feeling worse due to the sugar high/low
finding every single thing possibly "wrong" with my husband. and making sure he knew about it all.
hating my body
hating my mind
hating the other moms who seemed to have it all together
not really wanting to harm myself, but kind of thinking that maybe if it was just enough so that I could go somewhere and they would give me a big shot of demoral or something and I could sleep for 3 days. That would be great. But no...then they'll think I'm crazy or something. Bad idea.
trying to keep up
THEN...THE voice. THE one that says...I will help you, and it's MY way. Not YOUR way. I will NOT fix you in one minute today. It will be work. It will be hard. It will seem long. BUT...listen to ME. I will work through my followers in your life who I have blessed with various talents. Doctors. Friends. Family. Your husband, the leader of your home. I will work through them and you will be healed. I will put people and resources in your path to do my good works. Watch for them. Do not ignore them. (That is EXACTLY what I heard - I'm serious. And I don't hear stuff a whole lot, you know?!)
SO...called my doctor. Hated it. Went in looking like crap because I couldn't even get it together to put myself together. I told her "I think I'm okay, and I really don't want medicine". I left with medicine. I hated it. But I remembered what I was told. So I took it. I took it, and took it, and took it some more. And a few weeks later...the darkness wasn't so dark.
But that wasn't the end. There was more. More lessons to be learned. I had to learn how to take care of myself. He taught me that I was not using my body as a temple. Had to break bad habits and learn good ones. And it was hard. And it was long. But he kept giving me the resources. And they were very rarely the resources that I expected. They were NOT the moms who had it all together. I seriously thought I would be learning from them. NOPE. In fact, God slowly, slowly, slowly pulled me from them. They're wonderful people. They are godly women. But they're not part of God's plan for me. I was shocked. I had my doctor, I had my mother, I had my husband, and I made completely new friends. The ones who I would never have imagined hanging with. Some of them aren't even on PTA - gasp! They helped teach me that I can spend sooooo much time "ministering" and "doing" and "teaching" and making sure that I'm super, duper busy doing what I know God wants, that I'm not even doing what God wants. For me, He wanted me to stop. Stop it all. My days were spent healing. Learning. Focusing only on getting better. Loving my children and husband, providing care for them, and letting go of the guilt. Calming the chaos and simply re-learning how to have a peaceful home. Peace.
That is why if you ask me parenting advice now (or any other kind for that matter), it is FAR, FAR different then what I would have ever suggested a few years ago. I've learned the hard way. It was a journey. It did seem long. But I am healed. To God be the Glory, I am healed. It was NO doing of my own. Looking back, I'm glad he didn't fix me that day. Because then I couldn't be writing this. I would be just another friend telling you to give it to God, and it will all be fine. Easy peasy.
So...you cry, scream, hate, yell, or whatever. Then pick yourself up, because you're about to start a whole new journey, sister. And I'm right here for you always. Any time of day or night. Because I know. I know. And I love you.