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.