Rock Bottom (#write31days-Day 24)

I’ve been waiting to write this post since I began this series. This topic was one that helped me focus in on the idea of hope. But, I’ve also been postponing writing it, because I knew it would take energy and a look back at a darker time, a moment described as rock bottom.

As I’ve said in previous posts (this post provides necessary context), depression and anxiety are real and not nearly talked about enough. It brings shame to those who battle it. It paralyzes. And, it isolates individuals (and their partners) from the support systems they so desperately need.

I’ve said it to a few people; I wish I had kept a journal all these months, to write down the thoughts and conversations from day to day life with someone with this illness. Small victories on some days, intense conversations on other days.  I am thankful that my spouse understands that his battle is also my battle. What I have experienced is different than him, still he supports me sharing it as my story, too.  A partnership built on this type of trust gives me the hope that we can move forward.

Only a handful of people have even heard what I am about to share with you. Although I don’t remember the word for word conversation, I hope my sharing gives you another piece of the puzzle and lets you in on an experience of hope.

It was the middle of May on this particular day and I arrived home from work. My husband was sitting near the door, hanging out, clearly with something weighing on his heart and mind. 

He had been struggling for a few months. He had been seeing a counselor, but nothing had really changed. 

I sat down next to him and asked him how his day was. 

He began sharing about his difficulties. I breathed in slowly and out again. He told me he had stopped eating a few days ago.

Why didn’t I notice? Yes, I’ve been working and trying to take care of everything, but this seems like a BIG  deal. How did I miss it?

He told me he had been sitting around not doing much of anything. He had stopped trying. And he was debating whether to tell me about it. He felt guilty. He felt as if he was a burden. 

My heart sunk in my chest. I began to panic. 

In that moment, something powerful happened. It felt like I left my body, but my eyes remained firmly on my spouse. I know that the Holy Spirit gave me the words to speak.  I was calm and put together, not like the mess I had been so many times before. 

I looked him in the eyes and told him that this wasn’t his fault. He didn’t do anything wrong. What was going on was coming from his mind and that it wasn’t in a good place. 

Light broke through the darkness. He came to a realization that had never occurred to him: this wasn’t his fault. 

All credit and glory goes to God in that moment as a glimmer of hope was restored. 

It did not magically get better, but a will to live began to return.

The road to recovery had begun. 

Things got better after that, although we’ve still had many difficult days since that one.

No one tells you how much time and patience you must give to figuring out medication.
No one tells you that it’s a journey.
No one tells you that you must find a new normal.
No one tells you about the exhaustion.
No one tells you about the energy it takes to reach out for help.
No one tells you how hard it will be to try and explain it to anyone who doesn’t live with you (including extended family & friends).
No one tells you that the small victories mean everything.

Sharing our stories helps connect with others who may be feeling hopeless and may release the tension of their own struggle. I’ve learned in joyful and challenging experience that sharing our stories has great power and helps us to break free.

Today I write about hope because when things were so low, God lifted us up. Hope comes in Christ’s victory already won for us. As we battle real demons everyday, in our hearts and minds, Jesus is with us.

17 Comments

  1. Jane Strong

    Sharing your experiences will help both of you. Just take five minutes at a time and rejoice in each little positive move forward. I have found that friends, faith, and family are all good medicine! Blessings to you both.

  2. Janet Gallo

    Emily, I myself and others in my family have Depression and anxiety. It does take time to find the right meds but when it happens it is wonderful. I also believe in Christian therapy. It has helped me many times. Our faith in Christ And daily Talking with him Have brought me Through many dark days . Prayers for you and Jack.

  3. Kim

    Thank you Emily. I appreciate your openness, your sharing the difficult yet hopeful. I have had a few family members struggle w depression. I myself have battled anxiety. I still do at a low level.

  4. Pauline

    Emily, each day is new and as you trust in Jesus He is with you always, He loves you and Jack more than anyone us does. Hang on to HIM, share with each other your love, it needs to be said daily. God bless you both, Love Pauline, SMILE GOD LOVES YOU, Thank you for sharing.

  5. Amen! I’m glad I commented after you on Crystal’s 31 Dayers FB page :). I’m sorry for all you’ve gone through. It hurts. It’s frustrating. It’s exhausting. Have you read Dr. Bengtson’s book, Hope Prevails (or the Bible Study guide that just came out)? It’s a great companion to traditional medication. The journey our daughter and our family took through mental health issues was my 2015 #write31days topic. You are not alone.

  6. what encouragement. it’s good to be able to look back and see times when the trajectory changed and hope entered the picture:) how encouraging that you can see GOD working even tho’ things aren’t perfect…and may never be this side of heaven. but each day GOD gives the grace needed to live that day for His glory in broken bodies and in a broken world.

  7. Cheryl

    Thanks for sharing. Wow! My thoughts and prayers are with you both as you traverse this very difficult, rocky road. Your husband is very blessed to have you in his life, and you are both blessed to be in the hands of Jesus.

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