For some time now, something has been weighing on my heart. I have alluded to mental problems here on my blog. I've told some people a little bit of my history. I don't hide the fact that I'm on medication for depression and anxiety.
However, God is bringing different stories to my attention. He's showing me what happens when people don't speak up when something is wrong. He's showing me that there is still a stigma and a shame attached to depression, anxiety, OCD, agoraphobia and other mental illnesses. I feel like He's asking me to stand up and tell my story a little more clearly.
I became a Christian when I was 10. Like most first-born children, I am a people pleaser and that translated over to my relationship with God. I tried to be perfect for Him. I tried my hardest not to sin, to do my best at school and to always make life easy for my parents. I failed miserably but I kept trying. When I was 20, I married my first husband. Now that I was out of the house and only responsible to my husband and myself, I began to get lax. I started gaining weight and started smoking off and on. I stopped going to church. I quit reading the Bible and eventually stopped talking to God unless it was an emergency.
2 years after getting married, I got pregnant and then lost the baby after 4 days. I spiraled down into a deep, dark pit of depression. I became obsessed with making my body work. I couldn't get pregnant again so we stopped trying. In a haze, I just went back and forth to work. I ate dinner and watched TV. I tried to sleep but almost always had to take pills to get myself to sleep. Once I was asleep, I could sleep for days. I never wanted to shower. I never wanted to go out. I never wanted to interact with anyone. I just stopped. My world became as large as my bedroom. My husband just left me alone so that I could deal with it. He didn't want to bother me.
1 year to the day after the miscarriage, I found out that my husband was in love with another woman. I never heard my husband say that he loved me again. He became secretive. He never mentioned wanting a divorce but he refused to tell me what was really going on with this woman. To this day, I have no idea if it was an emotional affair or if he was sleeping with her. We both went to counseling, individual and marriage. He didn't like our marriage counselor because the doctor was making it out to be all his fault.
In March 2005, I snapped. I drove to my mother's house and began ranting and raving. She recognized that I was gone and took me to the ER. I was admitted into an outpatient program the next day. I've read the journal posts from those first days in the institution and I'm amazed at how...sick I sound. The second journal post is all about my husband who was in a bad mood when I came home from my therapy. It turns out that he was hurt that no one had been paying attention to him during this "hard time".
After 3 days of outpatient therapy, I knew that if I went home then I would be dead the next day. I gave a note to one of the doctors and they would not let me leave. I stayed inpatient for a week until my medicine leveled out and I felt safe going home. The first thing my husband asked when I called him to tell him about staying was whether or not I was going to lose my job and had I called the insurance company. Again, I look at those journal posts and I'm flabbergasted that I lived like this for so long.
While in therapy, I hit rock bottom. I had a husband who was in love with another woman but wasn't willing to let me know what he thought of me. He would rather keep me dangling as some bizarre roommate. I was unable to get pregnant. I had no friends. I hated my job. I was terrified to step outside most days. I was lying on the floor of a co-ed mental institution on a mattress next to a nurse because I was on "Suicide Watch". I wasn't allowed to have shoelaces or caffeine. I wanted my dogs and my Mama.
God found me. I remembered one verse. "Be still and know that I am God."
I began to pray. Actually, I didn't even pray, I just talked to God like an old friend. Slowly, life flooded back into my heart and I realized how cold it had been for years. Every day I talked to God. Every day I felt myself thaw a little more. Every day I cried and those tears cleared my eyes. I needed God more than anything else.
I still took my medicine and I still take it now. I thank God for my medicine and no matter how good I feel I will not stop taking it. That medicine is a gift from Him to allow me to function in this world. I am grateful to have it.
I still think about my first husband. I hope that he has turned to God, too. I hope that he has joy in his life. I pray for him daily. He was more than a good friend. We spent 10 years together, dating and married. I truly hope he has peace and love in his life.
I know I do.