Friday, August 9, 2013

"Mrs. Depression"

Before we dive, I want to make it clear that Brad has read and approved of every word in this post. His side of the story is painted in different colors with different techniques but it shares the same canvas. This is my side of the story and written for the women who recognize my journey. Take a deep breath, friend, and embrace my vulnerability as a gift.

We fell in love over cheap meals, ridiculous hopes, and a break-up. His larger than life personality and popularity made it easy to be his girlfriend and his genuinely humble heart made it easy to say "I do."  He loved me well, the way a thunderstorm takes to parched land and replenishes. He settled the dust and brought calm like thick humidity.

I didn't know he was slipping away from me until he had been gone for years.  Then one evening he said he needed help. "I have to do something, I can't live like this anymore," so I shrugged in agreement. He was medicated just a couple weeks later and even quicker, found his way back to happy. Engaged. Smiling. More grace and patience. More whole. More himself. Our house brightened with noticeable beams from a man satisfied with life. 

While he was finding his happy heart, I began trembling at the changes. I hadn't known the unbearable weight until it started lifting and settling at my feet. Gradually I began to see my filters for pleasing him, hiding my kids from his darker days, and inwardly condemning myself for every failed attempt at making him happy.  

Clean, clean, clean. 
Just a cleaner house would make him happy to be home. 

Spank, spank, spank. 
Well-behaved children would make him happy to be a dad. 

Sex, sex, sex. 
Just initiate often and he'll be a happy lover.  

All those things, at one time or another, would be in great working order but he still lived half-like. Turns out I was exhausted and cowering in the corner of inadequate and less-than.

Surely, since he had become like this after marriage, it was because I wasn't good enough, capable enough, trophy-wife enough. Surely, since it escalated after children and was made worse by children, it must be a reflection of my awful mothering skills.  It's crazy how we don't even recognize our surely thoughts as wicked distortion.  I was so sure about my not-so-sure self but didn't know any of this until I started breathing easy again. Little did I know I had been holding my breath for years, slipping in and out of consciousness. I was not surviving.  

I cried more in those medicated months than in most years of our marriage.  Seven years of covenant commitment but not an ounce of preparation for what felt like a restart.  It's simply amazing how hope infiltrates and bleeds through our lives like a drop of blue in an ocean of clear.  While I felt the burning of charcoal rip from my heart and soul, I stood on the shore of hope and healing.  I watched as years of wrong-thinking and the motions of desperate wife-ing were quietly and quickly exchanged. God wrapped his arms of mercy around my marriage and embraced my bleeding heart.  

He brings and gives beautiful freedom because He is Himself freedom defined.

This story goes on with more words than anyone needs in a blog. So I want to open the door for you to a place where not many are willing to travel. Can you relate? Do you have a husband or a wife who walks on a blurred path with lead shoes? You aren't alone. We are an anonymous tribe of certainly brave men and women who suffer with the suffering. There is hope for us and for them and there is reaping for the required sowing of the smallest seeds. Sow goodness and patience. Tend to joy and hope. Your harvest will be magnificent. Pray for the impossible when you feel timid and tired and when hope seems lost.  Sunlight is coming for you, at a fierce speed and with jealous determination. Can you feel it?

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, 
She laughs at the days to come."
Proverbs 31:25

P.S.  I'd love to hear from you.  Comment below or shoot me an email.  

1 comment:

Sharleen said...

I appreciate this blog so much. I never understood depresssion and spent many years trying to be my husband's cheerleader and could not understand why he didn't just "choose life." I learned to ignore his sadness and hopelessness but grew weary of trying to find/do the "right" thing that would cheer him up. He too struggled as to why he could not seem to be "happier." Meds made all the difference and we are on a quest to educate people about depression and provide comfort for all parties affected by this. Thanks for sharing your painfully honest journey. Sharleen Thornberry