Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Dirty Little Secret

Depression.  With the death of Robin Williams, everyone is talking about it and it's making me sad.  I just can't read it.  I've quit looking at Facebook because of it.  The death of Robin Williams is so sad.  He brought such laughter into all of our hearts and he will be greatly missed.

But I have to tell you, that the depression comments are too much for me to handle.  You see, I've got a dirty little secret.  At least it used to feel that way.  I suffered from depression myself.  If I try to be honest, which I really don't want to do, I probably suffered from it for 7 or 8 years before I ever asked for help.

I mean, how could I be depressed?  What did I have to be depressed about?  I have a family that loves me deeply and a home and everything to go in it to be comfortable.  So, how could I be depressed?

I was good at hiding it too, even from myself!  I've always been a smiler.  I love to smile and so that
is what most people saw, me smiling.  It's what people heard too, partly because that's what they were used to hearing and partly because I'm a fabulous actress.  Few ever looked behind the smile.

Honestly, there were a thousand contributing factors and yet, few noticed and I smiled through it.  I was afraid if I let people see they would think I was weak, a baby, too sensitive and so on.  I was afraid of ruining my husband's military career.  I was afraid people would say the things above to me, that I had everything!  That I didn't have a reason to be depressed and ... I was embarrassed.

The wars started and so did my husband’s deployments.  I was often alone in a strange place with no family nearby and few friends.  I felt all alone.  Because of the deployments, I often had people asking me to help others going through it too but unfortunately, few noticed that I also needed help.  It always felt good to help others but when I was in need, I would wonder where my help was.

I had many people who loved me in my life but I also had those who didn’t and for some reason, those are the loudest even though they were the fewest.  They are the ones I heard. 

Then one day, when I was in the car alone, I heard a J.J. Heller song, "What Love Really Means."

As I sang along with her, tears streamed down my cheeks. Every time I heard it I bawled like a baby.  I still do sometimes.  It spoke to me.  It was me speaking, me screaming out, me begging for someone to love me. 

I can't explain it but I felt completely unloved in the midst of a family that loves me more than anything!  I did.   I have a daughter and son who tell me they love me and hug me several hundred times a day and they truly mean it.  I know they do!  My daughter tells me I'm "awesome" all day long, every day and yet, somehow, I felt unloved.  It's crazy! It's true.

Finally, I had a friend who had suffered from depression and she recognized it in me and she encouraged me to ask my doctor for help.  She encouraged me for close to a year!  Finally, my doctor offered me an antidepressant to help with another issue I was having.  I of course turned her down and tried something else but when I went back for the follow-up appointment, I asked about it again.  Then she asked me if I was sad, and I couldn't even speak.  The rest of the appointment was just me nodding and/or shaking my head in response to her questions because I was fighting tears.  I was so embarrassed.  I am so glad that I finally asked for help.  I am so glad that I had a friend who cared enough about me to encourage me to seek help.

I was on the medication for about 9 months.  I'm doing good now.  I still have days... don't we all but I recognize them now and can take action to ease them.  I go for a walk.  I talk with my family.  I look at my diet to see if I’m eating too much sugar.  (Sounds crazy but when I am, I always seem to have terrible mood swings that lead to depression.) I pray.  It helps.

Back to the beginning of this post, where I said that I can't read all the Facebook posts about depression because they make me sad.  

Well, they make me sad to think that there are people out there who are just as scared as I was to let anyone know how they are feeling.  

That there might be other military wives out there afraid to get help for fear of hurting their husband's career.  That there are spouses out there feeling all alone during a deployment, far from family.  

That there might be another parent out there feeling unloved knowing that they shouldn't but they do and they can't understand it.  

That there might be someone too scared and afraid of what others might say or think to get the help they need.  

It just makes me sad.  I can't let myself get too into it or I know I'll spiral down myself.

Even as I am typing this I can feel myself turning inwards but I write all this so that you will know you are NOT alone.  So many people suffer from depression.  Help IS available and most people DO understand and want to help you feel better, they want to help you be happy again.  Talk to someone.  Talk to your doctor.  Talk to a friend.  Talk to me.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Yesterday morning, I had an early doctor's appointment.  I always call my mother on the way to morning appointments and I did yesterday too, but as I pulled into my parking space, I lost her.  My call dropped.  I went in and checked-in and sat down, looked at my phone and of course had no service.  I opened my purse to pull out my book and found I had forgotten it, so I sat and waited.  I was there for an about an hour and half or so.  I called my husband on the way the way home and we made some plans for later and then I called my mother back to give her an update on my appointment.  (My finger is still injured.)  As I came into the house, I set my phone down on the couch next to my purse, not in it or on it but next to it.

When it came time to leave for some family time I grabbed my purse and headed out to the car.  As we pulled out the drive way, I noticed that my phone was not connected to my bluetooth... yep I left it on the couch.  My darling husband volunteered to pull back into the drive way for me to run in and get but I passed and said, "No one really ever calls and you have your phone and DD does too so if it's a real emergency they will will call you guys."

This was a wonderful decision!!  I was free!  I was free from social media, email, texts.  I was free from "checking in" everywhere we went and well, I was just free to pay attention to my family!  To just be and it was a great way to be.

We were gone for 8 hours and we had a wonderful time.  I came home and checked messages, returned a few and then didn't feel the need to be on my phone or Ipad or computer.  I felt great!

In fact, I woke up this morning with a smile on my face!  I couldn't help it!  I feel great!  I feel happy.  Because I didn't have my phone, because I was unplugged, my mind was occupied with the live business going on around me.  I didn't think about those things that, if you follow me on Facebook, (you know) have been irritating and frustrating me. It was amazing and awesome.

If it's been a while since you have unplugged, I highly recommend it!  Even if only for just a few hours.  It's worth it.  It's invigorating.  It's freeing. It's good for the soul.  

Monday, August 4, 2014


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines faith this way:


 noun \ˈfāth\

: strong belief or trust in someone or something
: belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs
: a system of religious beliefs

I've been thinking a lot about faith lately.  I've been thinking about how I see it all around me, the way I see it, or the way it appears to me...  I think of faith as trusting God.  Trusting him to help, to guide, to provide.

I've been at several different churches lately as I've been filling in while ministers go on vacation or as they transition to a new church and I've really enjoyed it.  I always try to take time and look around the  church and see what they have going on and how they are ministering to each other.  I  try to visit some with the members or the people there and it's been really a wonderful experience.

But something I have noticed is the amount of faith they show, the amount of faith they exude.  Sometimes they show much faith!  It's invigorating!

One church in particular, in a small town nearby, had their capital campaign information on the wall.  It was all beautifully mounted and filled with information and photos for the plans. At the bottom of the one with the money information on it, it said something like this, "The excess money we take in above this will go to renovate the property we currently have." The excess! Above!  They were planning on exceeding their goal!

I can't tell you how this struck me.  There seemed to be NO DOUBT that they would raise more money than they needed for the current project!  This just screamed of their faith to me.  How marvelous.  I love that! (BTW, they had $20,000 more pledged above their goal!)  See what faith can do!

In another congregation, I saw a lot of worry and fear. This church was worrying about liability issues.  Now, I know that it is something that needs to be taken care of, but at the same time to always be in fear of or to be worrying about someone getting injured if they allow outside groups to use their facilities or if they have a community event, well, it kind of shuts the doors of the church doesn't it?  What message is being sent to the community?  What image is being protrayed?

I will admit that I don't know much about insurance and such but I guess I always thought that the best insurance was Jesus.  HA!  For that matter I think he is probably the best fundraiser too!  That's probably naive of me, I know, but I do believe that there is a lot of truth to it.  I feel like this (worry and fear) is a great place for faith to come into play.  I'm not saying to be reckless, but to be sensible, be faithful.  Can those two words go together in the same sentence?  I think so.

All of this and more has been weighing heavily on mind lately.  Knowing when to trust God. Knowing when to just have faith and knowing  when to protect ourselves and when to ... I started to say worry but well, when we worry, that's when we need to have faith the most!  That's when we need to let God do his thing!  It's hard to find that balance.  It really is, whether it's in our individual lives or in the church setting but honestly, I think those churches who find it or at least attempt to have that balance are the ones that are thriving.