Tag Archives: divorce

Thoughts for Thursday

Depression is difficult. This is my story.

It’s insidious. It breaks things and hurts people and lives can be pulled apart by it. When I heard the news about Robin Williams on Monday night I was filled with a great sadness. Sadness, and a longing to have been there, to have helped. To cradle this beloved person in my arms and cry and listen and be there. That’s a bizarre feeling to have for someone I knew through a screen, with whom I never had any personal interaction with.

But that’s who I am at my core. I want to help, I want to be there, I want to serve. And one of the hardest lessons I had to learn is that as much as I want to fix things and make everything alright–it’s not just up to me and sometimes there’s nothing I can do besides pray.

I got married young and at the time my husband was not depressed. He had told me that he had clinical depression but hadn’t had an episode in a while. I didn’t really know what that meant–my experience of depression were those times I had “the blues”.. the kind of thing that going for a run or sitting on a rock by a stream or talking to God could help. In a day or two I’d be back to myself.

But this thing just crept in. It took hold in him and I didn’t know what to do. So, naturally, I read articles and books and watched movies and youtube clips and did anything I could to educate myself. We’ll fix this!  I thought, oh-so-naively. Therapy sessions booked, medications prescribed, and it’s all okay right?

Nope.

Fights began. Irrational, ugly, mean fights in which unloving things were said that hurt us both. They usually ended in both of us in tears, apologizing–but these fights will wear you down. I didn’t understand, although I tried so hard. I wanted to. It took me a long time to figure out that this is not just an episode–this is life. And when you’re that young and you have all kinds of bright eyed hopes for what your life is going to be, and then realize that in this current situation that life is impossible, it will break you. It broke me.

Things Fall Apart.

I tried. I tried for a long, long time. Therapy sessions fizzled. Medications were not refilled. Other, more harmful methods of self medication were taken. I numbed myself to the ups and downs to the point where it just didn’t effect me anymore.

I prayeda lot.

My husband was not a religious man and this ended up being a really difficult thing to overcome, especially in how we dealt with this depression. I turned to God and trusted that it would be okay. I frequently admitted that I cannot do this on my own and relied on my faith and my community to lift me up. He did not. If I could have gone to therapy and taken his medications for him, I would have. If I could have finished up those last semesters of college for him, I would have. I felt helpless and powerless and I can’t even begin to imagine all the things he was feeling and going through.

I’m not saying I did everything right. I’m not saying that you can’t help someone who is depressed–you can love and encourage and listen and be there. It’s hard. It will change your relationship to that person. He stopped wanting to change and get better and in order for me to live the life that I believe I am called to live, we had to separate.

It sucked. But it was also a good thing for both of us.

I don’t have much contact with him. I know he is re-married and they have a baby girl. I wish them health and happiness and I sincerely hope he has found it. I pray for him and hope he has peace in his life.

That’s all I can do, now.

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Thoughts for Thursday

Psalm 32
32:1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

32:2 Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

32:3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

32:4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

32:6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

32:7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

32:8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

32:9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

32:10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

32:11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

—–

Every Sunday during Lent my church says The Great Litany. At first it seemed kind of tedious, another thing taking up time on my Sunday morning. I didn’t really get it for a while. Why so somber? Do we really have to say this every Sunday?

Then I experienced what it’s like to be truly unburdened, to have it all laid out there. It is humbling. It is scary. It is strangely peaceful.

It happened when I finally admitted to myself that I was not okay. That I was hurting, that I had hurt other people, and that I deeply regretted my actions. The events and decisions that led up to the dissolution of my marriage were, as I’ve said before, crazy, and things happened I’m not exactly proud of. But it wasn’t until I confessed, I admitted, that the true healing could begin.

The Psalmist today gets it. There is joy in confession, in publicly (or not publicly) acknowledging that I am not perfect, I’ve done things that were wrong, I’ve let myself be led astray from the life I’m called to live. But I want to do better. And doing better starts with confessing. Holding back, holding in all that sin and guilt and shame is heavy. It will weigh you down and make you feel like you are sinking, grasping at anything that will help you bear that weight. You get so bogged down in it that you don’t realize you can let it go, because that weight is all you know and what else is there in life besides this weight?

When I finally let go of the weight of my sin, when I admitted to God what I had done (which seems silly, he already knew, but I think the power is in my acknowledgement and not in his awareness of my sins…), and that I was unhappy and that I needed help, I felt such a peace as I have not felt before or since.

So when we kneel together on Sunday and confess our sins together I imagine everyone around me letting go of a heavy weight. God is reaching down to wipe away our sins, our hurts, the pain we have caused ourselves and others. And maybe things won’t totally be resolved; we still have to deal with the consequences of our sins, but we do so a little lighter, a little humbler, and with a lot more love and compassion.