In Recognition of Mental Health Month…
Today I have the privilege of sharing this space with my dear friend, Heather Bennett. We met one morning before boot camp. It was casual conversations and play dates that eventually lead to the deep love and appreciation we have for one another. Heather is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She is the most generous, kind, and thoughtful person I have ever met. The message she has to share today was written from the light side of a dark place. I am so grateful for the work God has done in her life, she is a gift to me and I am thrilled to share her with all of you.
Why do people suffer in silence?
Is it because we are afraid of letting people into our world? The world where not many people can reach.
A parent relationship is close, a best friend even closer, and a spouse, well sometimes not even those relationships reach the parts of us hidden from everything and everyone.
We usually only let our guard down when we are with our families, in comfy clothes on a Sunday afternoon.
But what if you just keep it all in?
You don’t let those who love you, all of you unconditionally into your mind’s inner dialogue.
Where maybe your childhood memories still haunt you, or a bad relationship leaves you paralyzed or you are battling depression and you can’t stop the negative thoughts.
“Shake it Out” by Florence + the Machine talks about how past regrets get dragged behind you everywhere you go and how “its hard to dance with a devil on your back, so just shake him off.”
But what if you can’t?
I spent my 20’s and early 30’s, over 11 years, utterly consumed with chronic depression and hormone issues.
I was living on an emotional roller coaster that wouldn’t let me get off.
My negative suicidal thoughts couldn’t be shaken.
I was slowly dieing from the inside out.
Sure, I tried many different things to get rid of the relief.
My husband tried the hardest to make me happy with love and support, gifts and vacations. But it was killing him too.
My children, who were still young at the time, suffered greatly. Who wants a mother who yells, is exhausted all the time and is totally overwhelmed with caring for them.
Even as sick as I was, a mother knows when her children are hurting.
I gave everything I had to my family.
Every last ounce of myself- I forgot who I was.
I forgot to take care of myself, to understand myself , to nurture me, and have meaningful relationships with other women.
How can you reach someone who is living in a pitch black pit and can’t see the help or know where they are half the time?
Its been 4 years since God did a miracle in my life.
After an intervention from my husband, a doctor who finally listened, a medical diagnosis behind my issues and a family who I finally was able to let into my world, my thoughts, and my struggles- I became a new person!
I finally had a clear mind to choose to not suffer in silence any longer!
Because yes, it is a choice. You have to choose everyday a positive outlook, train your mind to think on things that are holy and lovely, and always be growing!
The main thread throughout my journey to healing is God’s grace.
What kept me from letting go and giving in? God’s grace!
How did my children survive this mess and turn out normal? God’s grace!
What gave my husband strength, endurance and love? God’s grace!
Even though I felt so alone in that dark pit, I know now He never left my side.
He was waiting for me to see the light of grace!
Grace means gift from God.
I received that gift the day the chains and bondage of depression fell off me hopefully to never return.
On my left shoulder is a tattoo of a beautiful blue lotus flower and the verse Psalm 40:2,
You brought me out of the pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock and established my steps.
Lotus flowers are rooted at the bottom of dark murky pond water, they emerge to the surface a delicate exquisite flower that symbolizes both beauty and purity.
To me, a perfect reminder that God’s unconditional love, acceptance and strength will always be with me.
I have only to live it!