This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone. -Elisabeth
August 18, 1988 was my wedding day, and it is still very much in my memory. On that day, dreams of a life together, having and raising children with memories of birthdays, milestones and holidays, and growing old as a couple were all parts of the dream. We dedicated all four of our children, and the church committed to stand with us in raising them for God. We were trying to do everything the right way. We had two boys and two girls which seemed like the “perfect” family, and for a while the dream continued.
Then with the birth of one of my children postpartum depression occurred bringing feelings of great sadness rather than great joy. Extremely overwhelmed, much of the time I felt numb inside, and when I wasn’t numb, the tears flowed. There were also bouts of great irritability and anger over things that made no sense followed by horrible guilt and more tears. I withdrew. I lived this way for 10 months with no support except from a husband who didn't understand and was often overwhelmed. When my doctor realized I wasn’t improving, he put me on an anti-depressant which alleviated some of the symptoms for a while, but this cycle of depression continued over several more years while raising 4 children, one with significant symptoms of mental illness. With our families far away and our church “family” not seeing the crisis we were in, there was little support.
Finally a crisis sent me to the ER where I was diagnosed with clinical depression with mood swings. My mom came from NY to care for the children, and for 5 weeks I had daily outpatient treatment at the Behavioral Health Services at Central DuPage Hospital. Medication and Christian counseling were the turning point, and I started functioning in a much healthier way.
Unfortunately years of dealing with the tears, mood swings, anger and turmoil proved to be too much on our marriage. Mental illness affects more than the person suffering from it, and in this case the whole family suffered. The marriage suffered, and after a very long separation followed by divorce came the death of the dream that began 29 years ago. The dream continues to die with every birthday, holiday, and milestone. I'm not celebrating today on my wedding anniversary, but continue to grieve the loss of all that began with the words, “I do”.
I know that God is and has been in control. I know that my young adult children will be OK, though scarred. I'm sharing this because I know there are others who suffer from depression. Clinical depression never goes away. I will be on medication for the rest of my life. For those who suffer from depression or know someone suffering from depression, please seek medical help. It will make such a difference in your life and in the lives of those you love.
If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:
If you would like to join one my private Facebook groups (difficult marriage, separated/divorced, single moms, remarried), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If in a difficult marriage: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
If separated/divorced: Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom: Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available in paperback/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
If you need a nudge in your healing, I would love to work with you! Join me for one of my mentoring courses.
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