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When Holidays Are Painful

when-holidays-are-painful-3It was a dreary, overcast day when I pulled into the parking lot at the counseling center in New Hampshire. I had made the 40-minute trip so many times before, almost on autopilot, but this time it had been about eight weeks since my last visit. I knew we were approaching November, the month that shook me down—several times in my life, actually. Around this time last year, I thought I’d be spending the rest of my life in fetal position crying out to God from under the covers; the devastation of loss and grieving without a funeral where family could gather to comfort one another almost did me in.

So I walked into the nurse’s office, sat down, and must have looked very tired. She asked me how I was and kept staring intently as if she didn’t believe me when I said I was doing well.

“It’s closing in on the first anniversary of your father’s death, you know. How are you preparing for that?”

Um, yeah, so I’m not, really. I’ve done everything I can to push it out of my head. As Thanksgiving approaches and I remember how shut out I felt this time last year from holding his hand one last time as he lost consciousness, I just want to skip past all holidays and land on January 1, 2017. (I wouldn’t mind skipping Election Day either. Let’s just try again this time next year, shall we? Restart?)

You see, November and I go way back.

We got off to a good start when I started dating my husband (now of 23 years) on November 18, 1990.

Almost two decades later, circumstances derailed me. In the midst of significant depression Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Mental Wellness: Paper Airplanes in Full Flight

When You Are Loving Someone Through a Mental Health StruggleWhen you have a loved one struggle through a mental health issue, you almost stop breathing. You hold your breath each day and ask yourself: “Is he back? Is that him? Will he be staying for a while this time?”

The answer to “How is ____ doing?” has never been: “Aweome, totally back to normal!” or “Oh, all better, thanks!”

Because you don’t trust; you don’t let yourself hope too far into the future; you don’t assume brighter days. You wake up and weep in your Wheaties for the quickest flash of a smile, no matter how fleeting.

I will be dedicating some of my upcoming blogs to laying down the masks and shame associated with mental wellness (and lack of wellness) issues because we’ve personally dipped enough times into this pool to want to come alongside others and say:

“You’re not alone.”

I don’t pretend to understand or relate to every facet of mental health struggles. I am definitely not an expert on the subject. But I am ready to tell our story—which was first my story—and now has touched another one of us. And I won’t stop telling it, in careful honoring of those who struggle, until I feel the hope that carried us through has reached its proper audience.

This story isn’t just ours. It belongs to so many folks. As I finish up these first two books, I would appreciate prayer for this endeavor, for its reach, and for its purpose. I want to shine light in dark places and bring hope to the brokenhearted because that’s what Jesus did for us.

Below is a little glimpse of our better days lately because good moments are to be pinned up on a board and highlighted in bright neon, sang about, and danced to. We find joy and hope in each victory, and we thank God for sustaining us through both still-on-the-runway, engine-maintenance days as well as paper-airplanes-in-full-flight days because there is so much to be learned from both.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2014 in Anxiety/OCD/Depression

 

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