I believe people are placed in our path to bless our lives and the lives of others. Earlier this month I meet two incredible women that invited me to eat lunch with them at a seminar. It was a delight to share of their spirits as we shared out stories. Alison, graciously offered to share her story here. I am grateful for her message and hope that it will bless many more lives.
I want to thank Alison and her husband for their courage in sharing their story!
Original pAlison Sunday, July 8, 2018 The New American Crisis
Tonight I’d like to tell a story and I tell this story not only by permission, but also encouragement from those in the story.
“Last night I’m sitting on the couch when my husband gets up and says he needs to go. At first I just thought he needed to head to the bathroom…then he starts changing his clothes and I realize that he is heading outside, then he starts packing a bag and saying he’s not sure when he’ll be back, he’s just so miserable that he can’t stay here any longer. He says the noise is just too much and the chaos outside our house (Cache Valley Cruise in festivities) is making the chaos inside him too much, he just can’t do it anymore, he is too miserable to want to stay in this life and just doesn’t want to live anymore. I realize that he has been alone too long this week and the voices that are sometimes just whispering in his head are at a full roar. I look into the bedroom to see the gun case on the bed and my heart drops. I ask him what is in his backpack. He says he just needs the bag and tries to leave. I grab on in a hug asking him not to go and to leave the gun. He tells me I assume too much and I shouldn’t assume like that, I go to the bed and see everything is still in the case so I put it away. He then tells me he needs to get away, he doesn’t know how long he’ll be gone and he walks out the door. I’m left alone in my sweltering house wondering what I do now. I don’t feel the panic I’ve felt in times past when he’s left saying life is just too heavy. Somehow I feel he will come home to me, at the same time I wonder what happens if he doesn’t come home. So I message a friend for help, asking her assistance in praying for light, angels and some space for him from the voices. She reminds me that it is up to my husband whether he accepts that help or not and I realize I can ask for all that I want, it is up to him whether he accepts them or not, I am powerless.
So I pray, I pray for angels to watch over and protect him, and I pray that for tonight he will be okay. Yet I feel empty inside, how did it get this bad, just last week things felt okay, not great, but okay, now it’s like we’ve fallen to the bottom of the deepest darkest crevasse on earth. I feel bad for having left him alone so much this week having not realized just how much was at stake. Then feeling I really need a walk, but not wanting the house to be empty when he gets home I walk in a loop around my house, up the block, back down the block, loop around the house and repeat, always craning my neck for a sight of his car, wondering if I really will see him pull in, wondering just how long he will be gone, what he is doing, hoping he will come back home. Finally as I finish my loops he pulls in and I realize crisis has been averted for another night, but also realizing that doesn’t mean everything is okay. A broken young man comes struggling back in the house, so weighted down by life, feeling buried alive, feeling that his spirit is slowly dying and wisping away. Knowing that “‘depression doesn’t discriminate, it comes after the rich, the poor, those who are happy, those who are sad, it slowly eats away at you, dimming your vision so you can’t see the light and it never goes away, maybe sometimes the voices and dread get a little smaller, but they are always there, eating away at you until you just can’t stand it anymore you know you have to leave, you sleep all the time because it is the closest you can get to death, and God never answers your prayers to just be able to fall asleep and never wake up.” Why won’t He just answer that prayer? And I realize I have no answers to these questions. You realize there is nothing to say to misery that deep.
So eventually sleep comes to both of us and I wake up the next day not knowing what will come. Will he be morose, will he be despairing or will he be just fine? So I sit through church alone, hoping he is okay and hoping he knows I love him and it is enough to keep him here another day. Facing the three hour block alone, facing people who want to push into your life, but don’t take time to realize that you are numb, that you realize you should be freaking out because of what happened last night, realizing you should be thanking Heavenly Father that your husband is still here, but really just feeling empty and alone and doomed to face this cycle over and over again. People ask you how you are and you say fine because you have no idea how to tell them that your husband doesn’t want to live anymore. And you come home…and everything seems fine, he’s on the couch watching tv and you wonder what happened in the last five hours. As the day goes on you think that miraculously everything is okay, you’ve dodged a bullet (maybe even literally) and things are looking up. Then in a side comment you realize things aren’t okay, they just got tamped down beneath the surface again and you realize the voices are still shouting, the chaos is still swirling and you still don’t have any better answers than you had the night before. And as you get ready for bed with those questions still ringing in your mind you feel empty and you ache for them and you realize you haven’t even cried because you yourself don’t even know what to think.”
I share this tonight because the young man in the thick of it asked me to, he said if it could help one person it would be worth it. This young man has fought this battle for decades and his eyes are starting to dim, yet still he wants those around him to know that if they are facing this same struggle they are not alone. And he wants those in supporting roles to know they aren’t alone. His exact words were “tell them what it is to have someone who suffers from depression and severe anxiety”.
So often I still hear, just tell him to buck up and get over it or why won’t he come, doesn’t he like us?
I’m not writing this post to get on a soap box, I think I’m writing to try to make it feel real, to come to grips with the fact that sometimes this is just a part of my life. Hearing your spouse doesn’t want to stay in this life is a heartwrenching thing to hear, but after hearing it so many times you wonder what that really means, yet you don’t dare not take it seriously because what if this time it really is that bad, what if this time he doesn’t come home. You can’t live in fear and eventually the fear wears off, yet it can never be normal either. Who knows maybe we will both live to see our children and great grandchildren or maybe we won’t, but that doesn’t make life any less precious. So perhaps tonight is to remind me that life is precious, not that my life is any more difficult than anyone else’s, it’s just it’s own kind of painful.
As cliche’d as it is, please remember we all have battles that others can’t see, so please be kind. I keep wanting to end with my testimony, I mean just yesterday I was talking with a friend and realized how many tender mercies and brief moments of inspiration I’ve had in my life in even the last week, yet even knowing Heavenly Father is active in my life I’m still feeling a bit alone tonight, not abandoned by any means, just a bit chip on the shoulder and I’m still working on how to get past it. It doesn’t matter how many times someone says to you that Jesus Christ wants to take your burden if Satan is whispering to you at the same time that Jesus is the one that allowed the burden in the first place. Yes I know the logic is twisted, but that doesn’t stop it from being there. So for now I’m going to keep doing what I can to follow the light, read my scriptures, uplifting music, and keep getting up every morning and hopefully one day, one day soon I will not only seek the light, but feel it as well…