Thank You, Friend

forest-938635_640Things have been pretty dark around here lately. I want to tell you about it because if makes me be accountable to myself. Because it might be a story you need to hear. Because when I don’t return your text message or choose not to hang out you won’t take it personal. It’s not you, it’s me. Cliche as it sounds, it’s true.

I found myself with a week off of school with my kids, grand plans for all the fun we would have, and instead found myself sleeping 12-15 hours a day, letting them run wild and eat whatever they wanted as long as they promised to just let me be. I was well aware that something was up. It wasn’t a complete surprise, but it cropped up quick and hit me hard. Depression isn’t my usual baggage, but I’ve been there enough times to know the signs and to know it isn’t good. I was feeling pretty numb and hallow and very distanced from not only my family, but from my Abba. I know in my head that these are the times I am supposed to try to pull closer to Him, to reach out and pray, to yell for His help, but it’s a hard thing to do when you don’t even have the energy to shower. It’s so much easier to believe you’ve been abandoned, forgotten, or that you were never really worth His time to begin with. It’s easy to doubt His plan for you. It’s easy to believe he is simply ignoring you. It’s easy to mope and wallow in it like an angry teen.

Had I not already reached out to Danielle I probably wouldn’t have met with her. Danielle is one of those amazing people you only meet with a couple times before you realize you feel you’ve known her all along. We all have those people we feel a kinship with and Danielle is one of those women for me. I warned her I was feeling gloomy and was not going to be much fun to hang around with and like a good friend she came over anyway. We talked and I told her all of what was on my plate, in my head and in my heart. She listened quietly taking it all in. I can’t even tell you what she said exactly; well, I could but I don’t know that I want to share it. It isn’t even that it was that terribly glamorous or anything that different than things I have heard before, but the fact of the matter was that I know she heard me. Heard me in a way that only someone who knows your suffering can. Heard me in the way that someone who has been there and in the very depths of their soul can commiserate with you can. It’s that validation that rang home. It was knowing that despite how desperate and pathetic I felt that she still saw me somewhere inside and loved me enough to work to save me and at the same time knew it was & wasn’t who I am. I know, it really doesn’t make much sense.

railway-652020_640It’s a hard thing to talk about, depression that is, with a spouse, family, or friends. There is the frustration of knowing that no matter how many ways you word it that they just don’t get it, don’t get you, that seems to make it worse and completely isolating. Not to mention their frustration that no matter how much they love you or how many kind things they say they can’t make it better. But when Danielle looked at me I knew she knew. 

I’m not sure what that means for you, if you are there right now. Maybe I tell you this to give you hope. To let you know that you are not alone. Not for a second! Maybe I tell you because if this is the story of your wife/daughter/sister/brother/husband/etc that you shouldn’t give up on them or stop encouraging them or get upset when you don’t have the right thing to say or when you’re not the right person to say it. Help them find him/her.

I’ve been working hard to pray (because many of you know that prayer can be hard work!), to down copious amounts of vitamin D, get only enough sleep no matter how tired I am, and remember Danielle. Remember that I am not alone and that when I feel like crawling under the covers or hiding in the bathtub I do have someone I can call.

So thank you, Danielle, and all the others out there just like you! Thank you for understanding. Thank you for letting your guard down and letting me in. Thank you for walking beside me.