“I haven’t felt this out of it in awhile! Like today I didn’t want to move… I wanted to stay in bed all day and not do anything, but then I hated the fact that we didn’t do anything which is silly”
I remember all too well writing these words in a message to Danny. My world seemed to be closing in on me and the proximity of the shadows in my head took the oxygen from my lungs.
But let me rewind. This last summer, Danny and I had planned to join my family for a dreamy week at the beach in North Carolina. He and I drove down from Michigan and I can still see myself trying so hard to smile, to make sure my outward appearance didn’t mirror the hopelessness that was overtaking my brain. Because none of it made sense. I had a wonderful job, a pinch-me-perfect man, a loving family and the cutest living situation you’ve ever seen. I didn’t feel I had the right to feel pain. After all, I wasn’t going through a crisis… from the outside my life looked picture perfect.
My mom invited me to walk with her on the beach and as we picked our way through the waves swirling around our feet I began to panic. There has never been a time in my life that I haven’t had a million words to say to my mom considering she’s my best friend. Yet, as we approached the pier all I could think of was how badly I wished I was in bed and away from everyone. We walked back in silence and it was in those moments as the sun set over the ocean that I came to grips with the fact that I had a problem.
That night I walked into the living room and said through tears streaming down my face, “Mom and dad, I’m so so sorry, but I’m depressed and I just don’t know what to do anymore – I’ve ruined everything… please please forgive me”. With a sob I rushed out the door and onto the balcony where I curled up in my pajama’s and just cried. Cried because I felt so stupid for being depressed… I had tried so hard the entire summer to face my feelings head on and “think positively”, make a list of everything I’m thankful for, go on more adventures with friends, take more days off, and pray harder. Ultimately, I felt I had still failed.
I had given myself 5 months to pull myself out of this funk and I didn’t have the strength to do it anymore. I was on the verge of loosing the man I loved because I could barely even talk to him anymore and I remember looking up at the stars and just wondering if I would ever feel normal again. If there would ever be a moment in my future that I would laugh so hard my stomach ached.
In that moment I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. My Danny scooped me up in his arms and held me as I cried into his shoulder and my mom knelt beside us and put her hands on me. I’ll never ever forget the prayer she prayed. I hadn’t spoken to my mom about my state of mind or hopelessness, yet in her prayer she spoke to every fear my heart had carried for most of the year. I felt like I could finally breathe again as she spoke words of love over me and Danny stroked my hair.
I decided to face the fact that just maybe I had a chemical imbalance in my brain that I couldn’t fix and I went to the doctor. My mom explained it to me like this. As a type I diabetic she would be considered insane if she just up and decided not to give herself insulin. It’s not her fault that her body is unable to make the insulin she needs to survive. So why on earth would I feel guilty that my brain wasn’t able to balance itself like it’s supposed too? I went to the counselor and sought help and while embarrassing at times… I was willing to do anything to feel like “Christena” again.
I have debated for months on whether to share my story or not. Part of me felt like I had no right to share my struggle with depression when so many others face excruciatingly hard circumstances. The other part of me was scared people would think less of me for whatever reason, but I wanted to write this on the off chance that maybe someone is silently struggling with similar desperate thoughts and hopeless hearts.
Although your brain tries to trick you and make you believe you’re alone.. oh how untrue that is. It doesn’t matter what route you take to get back to “normal”… take A route… ANY route! Don’t let yourself stay in the shadows. Know how loved you are. Know you’re precious and worth it and that while people’s love can fail you and be inconsistent at times, God’s passionate love will never fail you and will remain true till the end of time.
With every ounce of love in my heart sent to you my sweet reader,