Depression. The continuing story.
This may be the last post of this kind. The last of my more introspective personal type views into my life. Who knows? I might start another blog, with all my abundance of time, where I have these moments of refection....but for now I'm going in a bit of a different direction.
But before I change. Before I give you fashion tips that will rock your socks off. Before I start guiding you on a path of a living a more earth friendly lifestyle. Before we explore cities and vacation spots that make us swoon. I wanted to leave you with this.
Last April I shared with you my struggle with depression...my tattoo...and a ring. Your response was amazing. I still receive emails and messages that warm my heart, as well as make my cry with you. I love that by opening up the recesses of my soul to you, you felt a kinship, a sense of belonging, a sense of not being all alone.Praise and Coffee magazine asked if I would share the "rest of the story". Well, at least what I could say in 1000 words. There are still so many untold facets. Pieces and parts that may never make sense. Dark places left unvisited. But if by sharing my story one of you feels SOMETHING, then it was worth exposing my underbelly to you.
I have included the article below.
Depression is real. It is awful. It is life changing. It sucks. If you feel like it's drawing you in, get help! But never, ever feel like you are alone. Or that it makes you less of a human. It cannot define you. Don't let it. It does not define me...nor will it ever.
I am Creative. Lighthearted. Witty. Compassionate. Loyal. Fiercely protective. And often Goofy. You can define me by my boots, or my tattoos, or my purple hair. But my depression? Never.
Depression. It is a strange and ugly beast. Well disguised, it chooses its victims carefully. Even victims too young to understand. The thoughtful child. The creative child. One always considered too sensitive. One who bears the weight of the world more heavily than another.
It can begin with the girl sitting at her desk…9 years old… wondering why her thighs seem so large. Even though they are not. Or why her face is not perfect like her friends. Even though it is.
It makes thoughts wander and go places into deep recesses of the mind even most adults dare not travel. It seeks to gain a foothold. To find a place to fester, with a plan to create havoc later in life.
No one is immune from its attack. Not even the girl from the stable home. Well loved. Lover of Jesus. Even she is no match for the attack of THIS beast. An invisible assailant seeking to destroy from within.
That girl is me.
From a very young age, I found myself very content to be alone. My creative mind would wander to mysterious places, dreaming fantastic dreams, and inventing countless gadgets. But that same creative mind full of color of beauty would often wander to places dark with fear. Places that made me hate myself and feel so very alone.
Distracted by sports and the 80’s my small bouts with depression went unnoticed, undiagnosed…written off as moodiness or teenage discontent. And even though it felt like so much more to me, I agreed with those older and wiser.
Sometimes the weight I felt was almost unbearable. My mind would race. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I wanted to scream. I’d cry out to God and hear nothing. That’s when the first thoughts of suicide crossed my mind. Not so much as thoughts as, little scenes that would quickly, visibly, play out in my mind. Then they would disappear. I didn’t dwell there. The beast wasn’t ready. Not yet.
College. A fresh start. A new beginning. Maybe this is where I would find myself. Find others like me. Maybe here I would not feel so alone. But again. Feelings of inadequacy haunted my dreams. Shattered ideals of perfection fell all around me. I would never be as talented, never be as beautiful. Never be wanted. The beast stirred.
By now I had dismissed the God who loves me. Dismissed…not rejected. How could He love a girl like me. It seemed as if even He had rejected me. He would not hear my silent cries. He would not answer my countless prayers. Where was He?
I married. Against all better judgment. Against everything I knew in my heart. But I just did not want to be alone. This man loved me, or so I thought. I believed this might be the answer. Maybe now I would feel complete. I was wrong. And the beast began to laugh, knowing he was gaining momentum.
But he was wrong for now. Alone again. I searched for answers. I searched for help. I searched for meaning. And Jesus was there. He was waiting for me. Waiting for me to see he had been there all along. Waiting for me to really give all of myself to him. To let him tell me how much I am worth. And I fell into his arms. It was beautiful.
I married again. My soul mate, my best friend. HE loved me for me, imperfections and all. My new husband left the corporate world to pursue full time music ministry. I became a pastor’s wife and a new mom, so much change. Soon after we were blessed with a second child and then a third! After our Isabel was born, I just couldn’t seem to “get on top of life again”. Strangely enough my doctor recommended anti-depressants, “maybe you have a touch of post-partum”, he said. Frightened and confused I agreed to try them. They helped.
We moved. Child number four was on the way. Working full time from home, raising our children, and trying to be the “perfect” wife. Too busy to see the signs that the beast was scheming, planning. Too overwhelmed to recognize them. Too scared to let anyone know that it even existed within me. I plugged on. What else could I do? I was strong. I was capable. I had no choice.
Another move. Back home to Michigan to plant a church. Here we faced a life altering, mind boggling disaster and the beast had his foothold. When you have given your life to full time ministry and receive such rejection from the very church you serve, the hurt runs very deep. After years of consuming anti depressants to numb the pain, they simply stopped working.
The desperate feeling was swallowing me. My marriage was failing. I was failing as a mother. The walls began to crumble. I knew I needed to get help.
But the beast fought back. Every forward step I took, he would use his onslaught of weaponry collected over the years against me. I was tormented in my dreams. I was tormented in my awake time. I was fighting for my life. And devil himself was fighting for my soul. The evil darkness was so real, so thick. I felt helpless and terrified.
This was several years ago now. The journey was VERY long, and difficult and emotional. Not just for me, but for everyone around me. When I painfully look back I can hardly believe that WAS me. I felt absent from my body. I felt so very alone. I WAS determined to beat this very real thing that threatened to take over my life. Or worse...to take my life.
Daily thoughts of suicide consumed me. I planned everything. Then I would scream out to God to save me from myself...but I thought He wasn't listening. He was. He would give me glimmers of hope. Something to grasp onto and snap me back to reality.
Slowly I began to realize He was holding me in the palm of His hand. I was not alone. He was fighting for me. I belonged to Him and He would not let me go. I needed a reminder. I wanted to be reassured. I did not want to do something foolish out of desperation; I would not let this beast rule me. So I gave myself a reminder. A permanent one.
A tattoo, in Hebrew, on my wrist…. CHILD OF GOD. Because I AM a daughter of the King. He created me. He cares for me. Even if NO ONE else does. And EVERY time I see my tattoo I feel that reassurance.
My story does not end there; in fact it is just the beginning. I am so much stronger now. The beast is still there. And every so often it will raise its ugly head. I can feel it. Taunting me. Dragging me down in my thoughts. Telling me I’m not enough.
But it’s a lie.
I am a metal smith. I make jewelry. I now design pieces for others to help them fight the beast. Visible reminders that they are a “child of God” and that they are, in fact, Enough.
That is my passion, that is my ministry. Maybe you need a reminder that you belong to someone greater than the world. The only one who will be there when the rest of the world turns its back. Your life is precious. Sacred. Do you know whose you are?
| Posted on January 06 2012