Recognizing the Descent

About a month after we left North Carolina I knew something was wrong with me. I didn’t feel “normal”. I would become really angry at nothing one minute and the next I would want to cry but I couldn’t tell you why. I felt alone when I was surrounded by people. I lost interest in things I was normally interested in…exercising, writing, reading my Bible. Then I began eating any and everything.

It wasn’t that I wanted to be angry or sad all the time. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read my Bible or exercise or eat everything in sight. I knew that exercising was a good thing. I knew that spending time with Jesus would bring me peace. And I don’t think this is something you can understand if you have not lived it but I just could.not.make.myself.do.anything. It was this crazy juxtaposition within me, knowing that I should do or not do something but not having the will to do it. I was imprisoned in my own mind and body.

I was telling a friend of mine about all this one day and she suggested that I might be depressed. I was already thinking it but when someone who has dealt with depression tells you you are depressed you take it a little more seriously. So I reached out to someone for help, and to be honest, no help came. I felt like I was drowning and had called to someone on shore for help. He went to get a life preserver to throw to me and never came back with it. And I began to sink.

But then I thought of a close friend who is a counselor in Mississippi. I reached out again and when we finally settled in Mississippi I began meeting with a colleague of his every week. It was the hardest part of my week but also the part that I looked forward to the most.

I still didn’t tell anybody what was going on though. At first I just told them I had meetings every week. But then one day my sister asked if I was ok. Here it was…the blatant question that until this point nobody I was living with had asked me. Should I lie or be honest with her? I chose to be honest. I confided in her the deep dark secret I’d been carrying….And she understood. She was compassionate. She didn’t say cliche things, only asked how she could help. What meant the most was that she recognized something was wrong and she asked me about it. She didn’t ignore signs that I wasn’t myself.

So while it was crucial to my healing that I recognized I needed help, it meant a great deal to me that someone else recognized I wasn’t my normal self and asked me about it lovingly without reproach or consternation or judgement. I implore you to ask people you love questions when you sense something is wrong. Be nosy. If they don’t want to talk about it they won’t. But maybe, just maybe, they want someone to ask.

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