I do not consider myself to be a fake person. You know, someone who hates their life but openly proclaims via social media sites otherwise? That is not me. However, I am a firm believer in keeping the negative off the internet. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing someone spill their drama all over Facebook. My life is far from perfect, but I choose to only share happy moments. With that being said, I wanted to get serious about a very scary time in my life not too long ago. I struggled with whether or not I should openly share this story, because it was such a private matter in my life. I guess I just feel like if I can encourage even one person, then this will all be worth it.
When I was 18 I got out of a church cult. I openly call it a cult because that church told it's members who they could and could not talk to, where they could and could not vacation, how much money they had to put in the offering plate and tons more 'rules' that I can't even fit in this post. I wish I was exaggerating, but sadly I am not. I was planning to leave the church and when the pastor found out he told everyone in the congregation they were not to speak to me anymore. I was being shunned, even from some of my own family. I wanted to run away. My friend who lived in Florida called me shortly after and told me that I could come stay with her and her family if I wanted, so I packed up my whole life in the back of my Suzuki and made the 1,100 mile trip to my fresh start.
At first it was amazing, living in the Sunshine State. Beaches, Disney and beautiful weather, what else could you ask for? I went back to college but had to quit after my first semester because I did not have my Florida residency. I barely had two pennies to rub together some-days and could not find a job, either. On top of that, I was sharing a room with a 5 year old and I felt like my personal space was being sucked away from me. As time passed I began to feel very out of place at my friend's house. I love them dearly, but they weren't family and I was constantly being reminded of that. At this time I felt like I was drowning. I just wanted to go home.
But then I met Justin. We met at a church function and I remember thinking that he was the funniest person I had ever known. We exchanged phone numbers and became great friends right away. No matter what was happening in my life at the time, whenever I was around Justin I felt like I could keep my head above water. He was the most vibrant, positive, amazing guy I had ever been around and he always made me feel better. Our friendship turned into a relationship and all of my free time was constantly spent with him. I still wanted to move back to Indiana, but now that I was starting to care so deeply for Justin my heart was torn. So here starts the beginning of my very real battle with depression. At this point, I didn't even know I was struggling with it.
To shorten this story up a little, Justin and I got married a couple of years later and life was great. Except one thing- I was miserable. Don't get me wrong, I love Justin and I love being married but hated where we lived. I felt like the Florida sun was sucking the life right out of me. I still hadn't gotten my Florida residency, didn't have many friends, didn't like my church, 90 degree days almost year round and so many other things that had been bogging me down since I got to Florida as an 18 year old. I was so jealous of Justin because he got to go to any family event he wanted to (his family lived within a 15 minute radius of us) while I missed out on almost every holiday with mine. I know that sounds so childish of me, but it made me bitter. Somewhere during all of this I started closing the blinds, sleeping until 2pm everyday and praying to God for a way out of this state I had come to hate so much. The only time I was ever okay was when Justin pulled in the driveway after work. By this time in my life, I felt like I was only getting out of bed for him and that is a very scary place to be.
I ended up at the doctor for a muscle problem and they put me on a muscle relaxer which also doubled as an antidepressant. When I found this out I had a full fledged freak out session. I was in complete denial because I did not think depression was real and even if it was real, it only affected people who had been through serious trauma in their life. I cried and screamed because how DARE my doctor try to put me on an antidepressant. Who did he think he was? Depression was embarrassing and I was NOT depressed! Justin explained that those pills were prescribed for my muscle problem, not depression and told me I should see how they helped my other issue before quitting. About a month into taking the pills I started to feel very numb. I was living my life, but felt like I was being programmed by someone else to do so. I don't remember getting up in the morning and I don't know how I crawled back into bed at night. It was a very out of body experience. I started having nightmares and one day found myself in the kitchen staring at the knife set on the counter. Tears were streaming down my face and I realized just how bad this had gotten. I ran to the medicine cabinet, grabbed the pills and poured them all in the toilet. I curled up in a little ball and waited for Justin to get home.
When he walked through the door, I flung myself at him and told him everything I had been battling with for the last year- including the split second I thought about hurting myself. He rocked me in his arms and apologized over and over again for not being able to see what I was struggling with. Afterall, whenever he was home life was great! But as soon as he left for work I was stuck in this very dark and scary place. Together we made a plan. A list of things to help me get through this. I got a job and stayed out of the house during the day. I took my dog with me everywhere I went. I ignored every negative thought that entered my mind and I fought very hard to be a happier person. In the back of my mind I was always sad because I felt like I was stuck in Florida, but continued to tell myself that someday our situation would change and things would be better.
Last December, Justin was offered a position for work in Boston. I literally cried tears of joy because I felt like God heard my prayer. I was not going to voice my selfish opinion until Justin found out whether this was a good opportunity for growth or not. When we came to visit Massachusetts they made him an offer, and it was too good to refuse. I know a lot of people in Florida probably blame me for taking their Justin away, but I'm okay with that. I did push him to take this job. I pushed him to say goodbye to everything he knew and start a new life here in Massachusetts. I pushed him to do the most out of the box, crazy thing he had ever done. And you know what? It was the most healing thing he could have ever done for our marriage. So if that makes me selfish, I gladly accept the title because I don't know how much longer I could continue to drown in that pool of depression I was living in.
( Don't get me wrong, I did not just push him for my own selfish reasons. There were so many greater opportunites here than in Florida, Justin needed an extra shove to see that. Shortly after we moved here Justin said that it was one of the best decisions he could have made for our family and his career)
I don't know why that weight was so heavy on me while we lived in Florida. Maybe it was an environmental depression, I'm really not sure. I get so afraid of thinking about moving back there. If we ever have to I can only hope that A. my situation has changed or B. I can find enough medication to keep me sane. Anyway, since we moved here I have fallen in love with my life again. The seasons change so we always have something to look forward to. The landscape just makes you smile because it is so beautiful. Our families get to visit whenever and our time with them has been so much sweeter. And we can visit them whenever we want, too. The blinds are always open and I'm always up before 2pm. Life is good and I am so thankful.
Depression is very real and it will hit you like a ton of bricks without you ever even realizing it. Don't be afraid to reach out because you will never make it through this alone. I'm so glad I found the light at the end of my tunnel and I just want to encourage you to hang in there, because you will too.