This post is not a “how-to” or an advisory post. This is the raw story of what my mental health and depression are like right now. I usually don’t share these seasons until they have passed so that I can tell you how I overcame them, but the truth is that I don’t know when that will be.
Being vulnerable isn’t getting easier, but it feels necessary in order to accomplish what’s important. Truth, love, grace. We cannot really love one another without knowing each other’s truth; it’s what helps us to see inside of ourselves, it creates compassion, understanding, and grace. The world needs this.
The last couple of months have been the hardest and scariest I’ve been through in a really long time. When I think about what started it all, I can’t quite put my finger on it. But I do remember the first bit of bad news and sadness happening in October of 2020, then another in November, two deaths in December. More bad news in January and then again in February.
All this was happening as I was preparing to launch this blog. Ironically, I was to talk about my struggle with depression and how I manage it, how I get through the lows, and how I live my day to day as a Wife & Mama. Because I was so busy with the launch, I was able to avoid and distract myself from how I was feeling. And then the blog launched… and things didn’t get any better.
I was so excited and looking forward to a new chapter where I could continue to teach, but in a new way. I wanted to tell my story in hopes of helping other women struggling. I wanted to give tips, advice, and inspire. For the first couple of weeks, I kept my momentum. I was following through with the schedule I had created and I had ideas and pages full of content to create. But I was also not aware of how stressed my mental health actually was, or how my health was plummeting.
Until I woke up one day feeling mentally paralyzed. My body had shut down. I felt Heavier than ever before. Just like that, overnight. Dragging myself from one end of the house to the other trying to get just any small task done. Getting up to brush my teeth, taking a shower, even making my kids breakfast felt draining. I felt like I was a bag of sand.
At first, I would tell myself, “okay, maybe I’m ovulating or my cycle is off. I’ll just rest today.” But resting one day became two, three… a week… and then weeks. It was as if the bag of sand was hardening into mud.
I couldn’t think straight. What I once identified as fog became a thicker and darker cloud daily. All I wanted to do was sleep. It’s all I felt physically capable of doing. And I started to feel completely worthless.
As a wife and a Mama, who stays home for the sole purpose of taking care of my family, being unable to do those things meant I was a complete and total failure.
Gabi was making her own breakfast in the morning before school because I was no longer waking up on time to do it. Hendrix was no longer eating, but snacking all day. Why? Because it was easier and less draining to give him a packaged anything than cooking. What kind of mother can’t get up to feed her children?
I stopped making dinner, I wasn’t cleaning or doing laundry. I wasn’t playing with Hendrix. I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t journaling or reading my bible. I wasn’t talking to or interacting with Elias. And what’s worse… I DIDNT CARE!
It started with my body shutting down; overwhelming exhaustion. Then, the mental incapacity. And finally, emotional shutdown.
I had gone completely numb. I couldn’t feel anything. Good or bad. I had officially become a zombie. Just going through the motions of each day, Slowly and without purpose. Nothing mattered.
I had accepted that I had no worth. I was a terrible wife and mother; unable to take care of her family. I had no purpose and maybe it would be better for everyone if I wasn’t even here. I was just taking up space, bringing everyone down. Burdening my husband and creating more work for him. I felt like I was neglecting my children and that was enough.
Although I was numb and couldn’t feel emotion, I was able to recognize that I should be feeling afraid of those thoughts. I was spiraling. And even though I wasn’t planning to kill myself, I had starting walking on the road that would lead me there if I didn’t do something. The thoughts had sneaked into my head and were lingering. I could feel that I was losing myself. It felt like I was inside a tunnel of sorts and the openings were closing up. There was less light, less oxygen.
Thankfully, my suicidal thoughts triggered something inside of my brain to get help. This is when I contacted my therapist. I waited way too long to do it and I realized that. I didn’t tell anyone at first. Not even Elias. Which was a big mistake because I could have done something terrible. But I will tell you that the reason I didn’t and probably the reason most people don’t, is fear of being labeled as a psycho, or fear that it may be used against them at some point.
My therapist and I tried different exercises to help me release the emotions I had somehow stuffed down. But nothing was working this time. Truthfully, I was so deep into my numbness that I didn’t have the willpower to put forth the effort needed to make anything work. Feeling like you’re worthless and of no value will easily take that from you.
I was sleeping 10-12 hours every night. Waking up just to feel as if I hadn’t slept all night when I was only three hours into the day. I looked forward to Hendrix’s nap time so that when he slept, I could sleep. All I thought about was sleeping. All I wanted to do was sleep. All my brain and body would allow me, was to sleep.
I was so frustrated with myself. Feeling like I was being lazy. Why can’t I just “choose” to have a good day. “Choose” to get up and do it anyway. I don’t feel like it? Too bad! Just get up and do it anyway.
But I physically couldn’t. It was like being paralyzed. Something wasn’t working correctly. My brain and my body weren’t functioning together. I wanted to feel something. Anything. I wanted to be me again. I wanted to cry and release some of the weight I was carrying, but I was still too numb. So I did something really stupid…
Have you ever been so desperate to accomplish something that you are willing to do anything? Because this is where I was.
If I couldn’t cry, then I wanted to at least feel some sort of relief. And since Marijuana is now legal in Arizona, and there is a dispensary not far from our house, I decided to get relief mentally by numbing my brain even more. Except that wasn’t at all what happened.
The mental and emotional release that I was hoping to get from that night actually triggered what I can only describe as a complete emotional and mental breakdown. I don’t remember how I got there or what started it, but…
I felt EVERY. SINGLE. PAINFUL EMOTION. Sadness. Grief. Loneliness. Fear. Insecurity. Guilt. Shame. Contempt. Just to name a few because I was feeling things I didn’t know existed. It was evil. It was painful. I was completely at the mercy of it and all I could do was feel it all. I was in complete agony. On my knees, whaling, sobbing, shaking, and so afraid. I was convinced that the pain I was feeling was going to kill me.
Elias held me that night as I confessed all the things I didn’t even know I was feeling. I was holding on to his shirt so tightly that I thought I might rip it off. I didn’t want to be alone.
I won’t share every detail from this night because I don’t remember it all, but also, some things do need to stay private, and others are triggering for me to talk (or write) about.
But I can say that there was so much fear. Fear of being a terrible wife and mother. Fear that I would never be normal. Fear that I would die never having had the chance to be the me I want to be.
What felt like an eternity to me, lasted a couple of hours before I began to calm down. I put my body and mind through a lot that night. But I also did experience a release of sorts and slept almost all of the following day.
I will also add how absolutely dangerous that was. Had I been alone, I don’t know what would have happened. My therapist stressed with me the importance of guarding myself more than ever in the state I’m in and the urgency of the danger I had put myself in. I do not advise anyone to try this, and I most definitely will not do that again.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that night. My therapist and I have tried picking it apart. Discussing things I remember and having Elias fill in the blanks.
But I can say this… fear is not of God. And that night, fear was the king. I was at its mercy. Which tells me that I cannot continue to live consumed in fear, even though I had no idea I was living in it. Something has to change. But how?
I had never felt God calling me, scolding me to listen. To let go and let him get me through this phase. I can hear him telling me to stop just going through the motions. Stop working so hard and allow him to do the work.
And if there is anything good that came of that night for me, it was that. Realizing God was going to have to lead the way for me because I obviously am not able to get myself out of this hole. I’m making it worse.
I’m working really hard at listening right now. God is talking to me and because I am not well YET, I must be still and let him guide me.
I know I’m going to be okay. Well, now I do. April and May were a different story. But I’m taking very small and slow steps. I’m being careful and I’m doing only what I know I can for now.
Seeing my therapist regularly is a priority. I’m also undergoing treatment for several health issues that I am finally addressing, which are contributing to my depression and behaviors. (I’ll talk about that at another time.) I’m serving at Church on the worship team and that has been a HUGE factor in my progress. I’m doing and paying attention to the small things that God is putting in front of me and saying, “trust me. I’ve got you.” I’m being obedient.
Things aren’t great right now. I’m still tired. I’m still struggling. But I’m also trying to undo months and months of stress on my mind, body, and soul; now is the time to give them what they need. It’s going to take some time, but there’s a little bit of light shining through and it’s enough to give me the hope I didn’t have not long ago. It’s enough to help me remember that God is working and I just need to trust in him. So instead of worrying about getting back to myself, for now, I’m just doing each day as best as I can.
God loves me. He sees me. He knows my heart.
Fear is not of God. Shame and guilt is not of God. God says “fear not”. Fear is evil and it hinders us. And I need reminding of this, all the time, but especially lately. If I’m in need of reminding, then chances are, you are too. So that’s why I’m choosing to tell you my thoughts, my behaviors, and my struggles, while I am still in them.
I am not lazy. I am not choosing to be sick. I’m not crazy. I am not less of a Christian for seeking help from doctors and therapists. I am not less faithful because I am struggling. And I most certainly do not love Jesus less because I make mistakes.
I’m human, and I am imperfect. I’m a Wife & Mama trying to be the best version of myself, even if I don’t always know the right way. I’m a child of God trying to serve him the best I can. And I am loved. And so are you.
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