The Soul Of My Matter

I was once visited a dark and lonely place, and I stayed there a while. I’d start to leave and I just couldn’t break completely away. I didn’t choose to go there. No one chooses depression; it chooses you. It was a place I didn’t understand, so I couldn’t expect those around me to understand it.

It started with the hold up. The fears, some real, some absolutely over the top spun out of control. Anxiety set in and then the panic attacks started. I probably actually had post traumatic stress syndrome but as my symptoms escalated it closely resembled depression. While I was getting help for this, I decided to try to work through some other issues from my past. And to top it, my best friend from high school was dying of cancer. So, I actually had a multitude of emotional issues going on along with working full time, raising children, and trying to run a household.

I went through several series of anti-anxiety meds and anti depressants. When they weren’t working, I sunk deeper into myself. I liked calling it introspection. Truth be told, I liked that I was untouchable. I didn’t have to face these demons head on and work through them. I liked calling myself a victim and blaming everyone for everything that wasn’t exactly the way I wanted it in my life. I was a control freak who had lost total power over her life. I threw a very long pity party for myself and remained a prisoner of my own mind for way too long. When I go back now and read poetry I wrote at that time, I shake at how morbid it is. I once ripped it to shreds and tossed it into the trash, only to find about a year later that I’d typed a lot of it and had another copy. Now, I can read it and be happy for how far I’ve come.

In retrospect, I feel badly for how diligent my therapist had to be session after session to repeat the process to win my trust in her which usually took until almost the end of each session. She was ever gentle and patient in pulling details from me. But she didn’t give up on me even when I’d surrendered to misery.

This was really hard on my family. My husband is a gracious man. How he could continue to love a woman who didn’t love herself at the time is beyond me. He gave me time. He gave me space. He showered me with love and understanding. He took care of our kids during the moments that I was unable. Physically, I was there for everything, but I remained at a distance emotionally. He let me cry even when I could not explain myself. He tried to understand when he couldn’t get it. I didn’t understand either, and I blamed myself. I felt guilty for being terrible at being a wife and mother. I felt guilty for holding resentment for things that were not meant to harm me. I was in pain, and I wanted it to go away. I wanted to go away.

Finally, the rights meds were found, and life got better. I was happy again, most of the time. Then, I felt like the meds were a crutch. I wanted to ditch them. My doctor did not advise it. I tried a few times unsuccessfully. I had a void in my life that I couldn’t fill. I was active in my community and in my church. I appeared to have it all together. But I was incomplete and lacked peace.

Then, someone came into my life that was full of love and grace. She became in the form of a pastor’s wife, and she became my friend. She listened to me, prayed for and with me, and supported me. She asked me to try to surrender myself to God instead of misery. One day, the turmoil in my head and heart was so bad, that I threw myself to the floor and asked God for mercy and guidance. It was draining. When I finished I was both emotionally and physically exhausted. But that was my turning point. I started depending on Him to help me. Now, I’d be lying if I said that when I laid it at the foot of the cross I left it because I didn’t. I picked my baggage back up every now and then, and I’d have to remind myself to give it back. I needed my therapist less and less. I weaned off my meds without her knowledge. I would not advise anyone to do this. When I admitted that I’d been off of them for a few months, she was astounded. She wanted to know what the turning point in our therapy had been because she couldn’t pinpoint it, and she was amazed at how I’d suddenly changed my attitude and my life. I told her that though she had been helpful, that welcoming God into every part of my life was what gave me the ability to continue, to change my perspective, and to live.

My friend died a few years ago. I still hadn’t completely worked through all of my issues and perspectives. I hadn’t let go of resentments or learned the art of forgiveness. But I credit her with the push that got me started on a journey that I am enjoying. She taught me that it was ok to be angry with God and to tell Him. And in telling Him, I found the peace that has come within. I was able to find the bigger picture in my experiences. I am able to see the growth in my life. I am not a highly competitive or successful person, but I am content. My life is not perfect and there is the occasional chaos and worry but deep down I have a peace that all is well with my life. I no longer attend church on a regular basis. However, my personal relationship with God is ongoing and strong. I feel I can reach out to Him and He will hear me. Anytime. Anywhere. I’ve learned to let go and let God.

I’ve looked for the good in the worst of circumstances and found these experiences have shaped me into who I have become and who I am still becoming. These situations in my life have become quite small in the big scheme of this thing called my life. It has been in changing my perspective that I’ve allowed peace to envelope me.

I’ve learned that making mistakes doesn’t make me less worthy as long as I learn from them. I’ve learned to take risks in trusting and loving. I’ve learned to accept myself and others for who we are and who we are becoming. I like the place I am at right now. It changes daily as there is so much to decipher and absorb. I’m learning to take each ordinary day and find the extraordinary in it. My heart and soul are currently balanced, secure, and comfortable. I have found home within myself. It’s funny that I’d never found security in my mind, but I trusted my heart. I am having a difficult time finding the distinction between my heart and soul. I now wonder if this balance that I feel between my head and heart is really what comprises my soul.

I don’t claim to have the answers. I am only speaking of what has happened to me. I realize that I could probably make five separate posts from different parts of this single post. I really don’t feel it necessary to go into that much detail. It is still quite painful to revisit. This is probably the most difficult post I’ve written and the most personal information I’ve shared. I do hope that I’ve gotten my point across without the extra information. I know now that depression is a chemical imbalance and there is no shame in asking for help. I hope that if I ever feel myself slipping back into that dreary place that I will reach out for help or that someone close will see it and guide me to the shore.

57 thoughts on “The Soul Of My Matter

  1. Thanks for sharing this SuziCate. It’s really inspiring. The important thing is you never gave up trying to come out the other side. And you regained your faith, apparently an even deeper one.

  2. I’m learning to take each ordinary day and find the extraordinary in it. <——- This truly is a most wonderful gift to carry in your heart and soul. It is evident you are exactly who you are supposed to be. Your healing reaches out to others in those dark places and offers hope and a hand.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It is so very touching and I am moved by it.

  3. I am so proud of you for reaching out and stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing that. I am sorry I wasn’t there when you needed someone. I hope you know now that I am always here for you if you ever need me. I love you to the core of your very soul and always will.

  4. thanks for sharing this moving and inspiring journey. I am always amazed at the power of faith and the strength you have found through your faith is astonishing and beautiful.

    • It is such a taboo subject. Those who battle depression feel like less than other “normal” people, and we’re afraid to let it out when we need support the most.

  5. Brave post. And while you’d have to wrestle me to the ground and avoid my fists of fury to get my antidepressants away from me, I’m glad you found a way to rely on your faith instead. And I admire that you’re non-judgemental enough not to insist that everyone else do the same.

    • There is no shame in antidepressants…they saved me. I was on them for a long time. I just needed to take my life back because I was not living as I wanted to be, and If I ever need them again I will not hesitate to go on them.

    • Erin, thank you for saying that…I was really unsure about actually posting this. But I’ve found that when I struggle in writing something it’s usually a story that could possibly help someone else.

  6. What an extraordinary story Suzicate. I touched on that deep hole briefly in my post today, but didn’t go into detail. I’m glad you found strength and a ladder in your faith. My way out was deeply rooted in my spirituality too. And the support of my husband.

    You are a lot more understanding of people who still battle depression though. I always think…if I can do it, you can too. And it seems to me that the shift in my thinking, the choosing to find the good instead of the bad was more responsible for my recovery than any pill ever could be.

    I’m so glad you shared.
    ♥Spot

  7. Thanks for sharing. I’ve found in my own depression, that the only way to really make it through is relying fully on God. He really does love us, and wants us to depend on Him. Thank u for ur courage.

  8. First, let me thank you for sharing so openly and honestly on this post, SC!

    I know that by sharing this you will touch and support others, so BRAVA!

    There is so much I would like to share in my comment, but it would take several comments to do so. So, what I would like to highlight is this….

    I too have gone through something similar. It’s what I call “a surrendering.” Surrending to a higher power; realizing that I am only as powerful as I am willing to surrender my human power to REAL power.

    God.

    And when I say God, I mean my own personal relationship with God.

    And I learned the same as you…

    I now look for the good in the worst of circumstances and found these experiences have shaped me into who I have become and who I am still becoming.

    Thank you again, dear lady!

    X

  9. Such powerful stuff! You are such an inspiration to people out there, suffering as you did, every day. Thank you for sharing such personal, raw and sensitive material. (Hugs!)

  10. Suzicate,

    Beautiful, wonderful, fabulous post.

    When I had my “nervous breakdown” at eighteen, I was so confused and had many of the same feelings that you described. The worst, though, was when I felt nothing at all.

    Depression runs in my family.

    I know that the only reason I have been able to overcome and continue forward is because of my faith in God and His ability to help me. Unlike you, though, I still am on medication. I’ve tried several times to go off of it, one time for nearly two years. I don’t think this makes me less faithful or trusting in God. I know that in many ways the medication is a blessing.

    I also have journals from this time in my life. I’ve read a few pages here and there, but mostly I keep them shut away.

    You are a brave woman.

    M.

  11. I applaud your honesty! While I am not that religious, I am glad that you found your turning point on living a better life.

    Depression is hard – looking back I know my Dad was depressed – he lost his broth to complications of the flu when his brother was only 49. My dad was 5 years younger and thought that he was going to die before 50 as well.

    He sat around in his pajamas for ages 48 and 49 while life went on around him. It wasn’t until he reached 51 that he felt that he could go on with his life. He ended up dying at 59 though.

    My mom was an amazing woman through that time, and it isn’t until right now as I sit here typing this that I am not sure I ever told her! Thanks!

    • Thanks. As far as my religion, I think I carry it more inside. It’s personal, and I think it reflect somewhat in my being; but I try not to be preachy or judgemental.

  12. You did it. You took a topic that is too often filled with pity and details and self-righteous self help tips and whatnot and you made a beautiful testament and tribute to yourself and your journey. I was on that depression ride from the age of 10 till about 42, and though I have written about it some, I’m not sure I have been as clear and direct about the topic as you, maybe weaving it amongst others. You are right, it could be many posts, many stories, because it is. I eventually decided my depression had become a habit I wanted to kick, so I spent the next few years working on me, and I did. I also do NOT recommend stopping antidepressants like that … there are some very scary side effects, thoughts of suicide and out of body feelings while there, among them. Not a good thing. Just wanted to throw that in for anyone thinking they should test that out. Thanks Suzecate, for being a fantastic writer and an even better friend.

    • No, I did not go off my meds correctly and wouldn’t advise it without supervision and support. I loved when you drowned that depression bitch in the tub! And thank you for bein a great friend, writer, and inspiration.

  13. I am so sorry this happened to you. I was raped many years ago and it took something of my soul. Still, don’t let them take your power, Honey. The guy I was attacked by was caught and sent to prison. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And you are a very strong woman.

    Don’t ever be afraid to take help. Meds can get you through the roughest passages, but then your strength takes over. I’m so glad you came out of the darkness.

  14. Thanks fro sharing…I have read a few blogs with posts about this recently and I think it can only do good to hear other peoples stories…it just may help one person out there not feel so alone.

  15. Thank you for writing this. I haven’t found a way to address my own depression so directly over at my place, but maybe someday. I am glad you were able to have the support you needed from your husband and friends. That can make such an enormous difference.

    • Support makes a tremendous difference. This was by far the most difficult post to write, so I kept details to a minimum. When I struggle with writing, I know that I must get it out. Keep trying if you feel like you need to write it…the words will come.

  16. How brave, honest and touching this post is…all put out there for everyone to see. So many of us experience something nearly identical. Isn’t it always God who carries us through, stronger than we were before the point of personal crisis appeared? I appreciate this beautiful inspiration from you and congratulate you on the hard road you came to the end of. Thank you, Suzi.

  17. Wow! I don’t know you and yet I am so proud of you! This thing you did is amazing. You were able to overcome something that so many struggle with and wish they could figure out the answers everyday. Thanks for sharing this. While I have not had the same struggles, I have gotten closer to God and am realizing that having faith and asking for help from Him allows us to relieve a lot of that extra stress we put on ourselves everyday.

  18. Thank you for sharing this powerful story, SuziCate. I really admire how you describe your battle with depression as a combination of asking for help and helping yourself.

    I think it is very generous of you to share your experience – I suspect it could be very helpful to someone in crisis herself.

  19. each time someone shares their battle with depression it makes it just that much easier for others to deal with it as well. I suffer form anxiety and depression and the meds and a great therapist changed my life. I have a 30 year pity party and the guests (me) refused to leave. Thankfully, it’s now over. and thank you for your honesty.

  20. I admire you for having the courage to share something so personal and private. I’m sure your words will help others. I know, at the very least, I have a tendency towards melancholy and so I try constantly to find the ‘cup is half full’ scenario, focusing, wherever possible, on the good in life. Brian Miller’s comment (above) is so, so true. I’ll remember what you’ve written the next time I find myself sinking.

  21. Suzicate, I hope in sharing this it has helped with the healing process.

    I know many people (myself included) who have struggled with depression. I found that the Lord has helped me through my pain as well.

  22. Your write beautiful poetry and I have added you to my blog roll and will call back again to read more. Please stop by and read some of mine, if you have the time. I scribble away, but always with inspiration.

    Best wishes.

    Poet Traveler

  23. That was my life too SC!!! I can so relate your journey. I love God with reckless abandon now. I still see my doctors, but they too are amazed at how I cope with so much going on in my life.

    Bring it on sister! I’m proud to “know” ya!

  24. This was a beautiful post – thank you for sharing. I know how hard it can be to write it, reliving where you were and what it took to climb back up out of that space. I’ve been there. I’ve almost lost friends to it and I’ve been on the edge of drastic choices because of it.

    Finding that calm – that center – that place of love can be so difficult. Medication has helped, but more than anything reconnecting with myself and the natural world (my own form of spirituality) has helped. Ok – the meds did too! And the little “sun in a box” that I had to use on the early am shift.

    I think the more we share our stories about finding our way out of the darkness, the more we bring light to it and (hopefully) help others know that they aren’t alone…

    • I am finding thatat the times I’ve thought I was most alone and have been most reluctant to share have been the post that people relate the most to. We’re so afraid of sharing for fear of jusdgement, and we are actually more alike than we realize. Maybe , it just means we are all kindred spirits.

  25. Suzicate, thank you for sharing this tragic and beautiful story. Your courage in sharing this makes a big difference as we collectively try to battle the stigma and misunderstanding about depression.

    My experience with depression has been both similar to and different from yours. Faith in God hasn’t necessarily been my turning point, but perhaps faith in myself and faith in the universe has. A belief that everything is okay – and will be okay.

    I think the common thread for all of us who battle depression is the balance between mind, heart, and soul. You pinpoint this so beautifully. The more we can learn about ourselves and listen to our soul, the more we can cope with our personal challenges.

    Thank you,
    xoxo Eva

    • Thanks Eva, I think the more we listen, we learn and grow. I think faith, regardless of who what, is what pulls most of us through. What is the saying ? Hope rings eternal. And support is vital.

  26. Such an inspiring story. So many people suffer from depression and are too afraid or ashamed to seek help. Telling your story gives people hope and courage. Thanks for sharing.

    -Jen

  27. I’ve been in your funk for different reasons and it’s not fun or easy. I’m glad you found someone to help you through it but sorry she’s not with you anymore. Your husband sounds like a great guy too, glad he was there for you.

  28. I’m really glad that you visited my blog and mentioned this post. I’ve read it twice and plan on doing so again because of the little jewels of perspective that I keep finding. I admire the healthy place in which you find yourself and the fact that you seem to have found a true sense of peace following your struggles.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Bob

  29. Pingback: Can I have my brain back now? Please? « Still breathing

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