I have to ask forgiveness right this second. I started this post at the beginning of November. It is a soul-bearing post that I wasn’t quite ready to share, so I stuffed it in my Drafts folder. Today, I decided, what the heck? It’s time to put it out there. I mean, I don’t know who reads this blog of mine and so far it hasn’t hindered my social standing, so those who are reading it aren’t embarrassed to be seen with me… I also started this post with the intent of sharing with you the musings and pictures I came back with from my church’s women’s retreat. Before I did that, I wanted to share some back story with you. This post turned into mostly back story. You’ll just have to wait to get the rest of the story – the photos and musings part. Oh, and this post is really long…
So here we go… I went on a women’s retreat with my church in October (my, how time flies) and had a lovely time. It was a bit of a benchmark for me. I went to the same retreat last year, but had only been attending the church for a few weeks at that time. I knew a few of the ladies, but spent a lot of time alone…by choice.
Looking back, I realize that those were the early days of my impending depression. It had not taken its full grip yet; ever so slowly creeping its way in, unnoticed.
There were three traumas in my life that began about four years ago. I did not have the tools to deal with them, so I didn’t. I couldn’t explain them or make sense of them, so I didn’t. I carefully ignored them, tucking away the corners of them when they began to come loose in my mind. I never allowed myself to think about them beyond a jarring thought in passing that would create a base emotion (fear, anger, sorrow) that I quickly shut the door on – mostly because good Christian girls don’t have fear or get angry or weep uncontrollably…or so I had let myself believe.
So there I was, outside of my normal way of functioning by being at a retreat where I knew only a few and had no responsibilities (responsibilities are a great way to avoid thinking and / or developing a relationship with someone else – see Luke 10:38-42). The weather was perfect, as it often is on October days in Texas. I wandered around the property. I prayed. I felt restless but didn’t know why.
I’m not sure when it started, but somewhere around February, the crying started. I’m not usually a cry-er. I mean I’ll cry at a sad movie or when I get too tired and something frustrates me, but I’ve never really been a big cry-er. Around this time, I cried a lot. I couldn’t contain myself. I couldn’t pull it together. I couldn’t go anywhere because just about anything would set me off…”Hi Suzi, how are you?” Crying.
I finally started staying home from work (it’s not quite as bad as it sounds…I work for my husband’s business and can do 85% of my job on a computer from home, but I needed to stay home, none-the-less). Co-workers did worry about me and I was too embarrassed to tell the truth, so I told my husband he couldn’t tell them I was crying all the time.
I felt crazy.
Finally, through tears, I looked at my husband and said, “I think I might be depressed.”
I’ve always had a melancholy personality. I’ve always preferred to be alone. I’ve always been sort of even-tempered and not too terribly easy to excite…just sort of…normal. But this was different.
I cried more.
Now, some days were better than others and along with the crying came the belief that I really was fine and it was just a phase. In the midst of the crying, I would talk about needing to get help, but when I wasn’t crying, it wasn’t such a big deal and “I’ll be fine.” Finally I made one of those deals with my husband…you know, the compulsive gambler gives his credit card to a trusted friend when they go to Vegas and says, “No matter what I say to you, do NOT give me back this credit card. No matter how I beg or plead or try to convince you…do NOT give it to me until we’ve returned home.” I said to him, “I need help. No matter what I say to you tomorrow, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live like this. I know there is something better for me and tomorrow I will think I can accomplish it on my own, but I can’t. You have to help me. You have to find me a counselor and you have to make me an appointment. I also want to get acupuncture. You have to make me do it. No matter what.”
I married a very good man. He kept his promise. (He does that a lot.)
The first thing my counselor said to me:
“Anger turned inward is depression.”
…to be continued…