The Secret

Monday, March 19, 2018

I have a deep, dark secret that only three people know about. It doesn’t define me as a person, so I don’t go around broadcasting it. There’s a stigma attached to it and it’s not positive. Even my closest friends, except for the one who now watches my kids while I go to counseling, have no idea.

You see, to most people, I’m your typical stay at home mom: I keep a clean house, make three healthy meals for my family, drive kids to their activities or to playdates, throw birthday parties, go to church and volunteer in the nursery…the list goes on, but you get the picture.

If watched my life from afar, you’d see me up early reading the Word and praying before the sun comes up, making breakfast for my three girls, doing morning devotions, prayer and gratitude journal with them, cleaning house, reading stories aloud, taking them for walks, going to Target for odds and ends, folding laundry while listening to my favorite podcast, trying to get out for a walk or hike alone when my husband gets home. You’d see me laugh with friends at church, dancing with the music way to loud at home, chit chatting with the cashier at the grocery store, and walking hand in hand with my husband.

And even if you knew me well, you wouldn’t know I was dying on the inside, deep in the thoroughs of depression.  I’ve known it for a while now, but I was so ashamed that I instinctively kept it tucked so deep down that I couldn’t even admit it to myself, much less to my husband or to someone that could help me. Only in the last two months have I begun toying with saying the word aloud…trying it out on my husband to see what his reaction would be: Would he judge me? Would he take it seriously, or blow me off as moody? Recently it got so bad, I finally mustered up the courage to research some counselors, pick up the phone, and make myself an appointment. I told my husband I was going to get outside help, to which he looked at me oddly and asked, “Can’t you just talk to someone at church?” Clearly, he didn’t actually get it, despite being a health teacher and teaching depression. He’s not ignorant to the facts about depression, but when it came to his wife? No! Surely not! This lead us to a tear filled (me), painfully honest conversation, in which I think he finally came to a greater understanding of how I feel. Between simply making an appointment and having it on the calendar and being incredibly vulnerable with my husband and feeling heard and semi-understood by him, I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders immediately! It was amazing how keeping such a thing to myself for so long only perpetuated the problem.

I had my first counseling session last week. I have homework I’m trying to be vigilant about. I declined the anti-depressant that he strongly recommended, at least for now, but I’m trying a potent supplement that has less side effects than anti-depressants and is safe to take during pregnancy. And life is still mostly the same. I’m still sad inside. Lethargic. Irritable. Tired. Sometimes even despairing! Results will not be immediate…rarely in life are results immediate. That’s okay. God is at work in my life, and more that anything else, that is what comforts me on my darkest days. That he is working all of this for something good, something beautiful. I need only to trust him, to daily cast my burdens upon him and let him help me carry this heavy load. Sometimes I can’t feel him during the day, and that’s frustrating. Yet, he comforts me every night as the day ends and I fall into bed, discouraged with myself and my brain that seems to have been transplanted from a sad person to me without my consent. I fall asleep feeling loved and held by my Father, and I wake up knowing that once again, even if I feel alone, He will carry me through yet another day. “For his mercies are new every morning; great is his faithfulness.”