Search My Heart: A Broken Wife

 

How Depression affects family

Photo Credit

 

This post was written with tears, and it’s hard to share.  I promised myself (and the Lord) that I would follow His leading, and be real on my blog, even when it’s uncomfortable or embarrassing.

Have you ever seen a truly horrible picture of yourself?  Maybe it’s a yearbook picture, or that time when you had the awful perm or dye job.  Maybe it’s when you’re already overweight, and the camera adds 10 about 25 extra pounds.  It could be an awkward pose or a strange expression on your face.  But whatever the reason, you want to hide that picture away and make sure that no one ever sees it.

This weekend, I saw a really bad picture of myself, deeper than any camera could portray. 

You see, as I have struggled with depression, my family has suffered along with me because their wife and mommy wasn’t really here.  As I have fought this illness (because that’s what depression is—it’s not a sin or a choice, it’s an illness.), my husband and my precious boys have had to suffer as well.

It started out as an innocent conversation about dessert while we were headed home from an outing.  I told the boys I would make them a fruit and yogurt parfait.  Chad said he might have one too, with crushed graham crackers on top.  I told him I usually put some grape nuts on their yogurt (the grape nuts that Chad thought he remembered liking, but once we got them, he didn’t).  And, that conversation was over. 

Or so I thought.  Fast forward a few minutes as we get closer to our driveway, and the conversation goes something like this:

Chad, clearly distressed:  You’re going to be so mad at me.
Me:  What is it, honey?
Chad:  I don’t even want to tell you, because we’re having such a good day and I don’t want to ruin it.
Me:  Honey, I don’t think I’m going to be mad, just tell me.
Chad (sighing):  You are going to be mad.  But it’ll probably be better if I just tell you instead of you finding out in there.

Okay, at this point I was kind of freaking out…what in the world was my husband so scared to tell me?  Finally, I said, “Honey, just spit it out.  I won’t be mad and it won’t ruin our day.”

There was a moment of silence and then he took a deep breath, “I threw away the box of grape nuts.”  Once the words were out, he hurried into an explanation, “We weren’t eating it and it was expired anyway, so I threw it away.”

All I could do was stare at him, speechless.  That’s it.  He threw away the box of grape nuts.

What kind of wife am I that my husband was so afraid of my reaction over a box of expired grape nuts cereal?  (rhetorical question, please don’t answer!)

As God has lifted the fog that is depression, He has renewed my desire to serve Him in all things, including being a more godly wife to my husband.  To submit to him and respect him in the way that he deserves.  I know that I have a long way to go. 

 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
-Psalm 139:23-24

This has been my prayer lately.  I long to be intimate with God, closer to Him than I have been before.  Closer to the woman He is calling me to be.  But sometimes that requires Him showing me a “wicked way”, and it’s not pretty.  But even in the midst of the pain of facing the woman I had become, His hand is gently leading me. 

It is worth the pain of chastisement to be led by the Almighty God.  It is worth the disappointment in myself to rise above my shortcomings, through Him.  It is worth seeing the ugly truth in order to become the godly wife my husband deserves, and more importantly, the woman my Savior deserves for me to be. 

Jesus gave His all for me, and he deserves nothing less than all of me, given up to Him and His purpose.

Comments

  1. Belinda says

    Wow! I appreciate the realness and honesty of your post and feel your pain. Isn’t it amazing how God brings us to His altar with the “little” things…you are not a broken wife you are a wife whose brokenness is being healed by a loving God. I pray for your journey.

  2. says

    Thank you for sharing this. Being open like this I think can be therapeutic not only for you but for others. See, I tend toward depression also. I realize so many people have it much worse than I so by no means am I complaining. I am just very aware. However it affects a person, I agree, it does affect the whole family. I know my children suffer for my dejectedness, and lack of initiative to do anything because I feel so overwhelmed all the time and tired. I keep telling myself that I just don’t want them to remember me being like this when they are older. I want them to remember me being active and involved. I want them to have good, fond memories. Its hard. My husband and I try to talk through it often and prayer and Bible study of course help one get through the hard times. I think women deal with this more than men, or at least that has been my experience. Sorry for rambling. Thank you for sharing. You are not alone.

    • Crystal says

      Lindsey, that is one of my biggest struggles as well. It breaks my heart to think of how my struggle with depression affects my children as well, and I have had those same worries about what kind of memories they will have of me. No need to apologize. Thank you for sharing a part of your story. I will add you to my prayers, because I fully believe that depression is an attack of Satan and only through God’s power and grace can it be overcome. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. says

    I have struggled with depression for years. Some days are great, some days…not so good. I hear your pain and your heart. It’s so hard. I can hear what comes out of my mouth to my family and yet I seem powerless to stop it. I try so hard. I hate who I am and what I’ve done to my family.

    It’s been even worse lately as my father is dying from cancer. I tend to turn my hurt inward and lash out at the people I love the most. Sometimes I wonder why God made me their wife & mom. They deserve so much better than what I give them…..

    • Crystal says

      Mary, I am so sorry for your struggle! It is hard, I have been there where I truly hate myself and what I have become. I am so thankful that God is bringing me out of that dark place, and I pray that I never go back!

      Lord, I pray that you would bless Mary’s heart! Lift her up out of the darkness that is depression, and cover her with your love. I pray that you would reveal to her the blessing that she is to her family, in spite of her struggles, and more than anything I pray that you would bathe her in your love and let her feel your presence in her life. Thank you, Jesus, for blessing my new friend! Amen.

  4. says

    It takes amazing courage to share from our heart- and to confess the struggles we face daily. Thank you for sharing and I pray that you may bless and encourage others as you continue to share what God is doing in your life.

  5. Anonymous says

    thanks for sharing your struggles. There are days when all of us have little things (and the Bible says it is the little foxed that spoil the vine)that utterly push us to the end. Thank God for our love ones who surround us with enough patience and love that brings us back to where we need to be. What would we do without God and our families. Read psalm 91:1 I call this my 911.
    Always there when I need Him! Glory be to God.

  6. says

    isn’t it amazing what God does to get our attention? He meets us where we are and when we are receptive. The battle is ongoing, but the war is already won. I’ve gone through the valley of depression more than once. In the middle of the muddle I get stuck. Prayer and medication have pulled me out. Not a place I’d like to return to on any planet. Thanks for sharing we all need to know we aren’t alone! Blessings! N

  7. Brooke Beggs Rix says

    I'm sorry…but I just had to chuckle out loud! Not at the depression you fight (and conquer!)….but at that conversation! I can totally hear the two of you!:) Thanks for the chuckle…and your honesty! See you soon!

  8. elaine says

    i read your post earlier today and had to re-visit this evening to say thank you for your frank sharing of your personal sharing of your struggles. THAT is exactly how the older women mentor the younger women – such being such a lack in our world today.

    • Crystal says

      Elaine, thank you so much for your kind words! I, too, feel that being “real” with our struggles is something lacking today, and I really appreciate your encouragement.

  9. says

    It never stops amazing me that God so often chooses to acheive his plans through suffering! Out of your brokenness will come something God glorifying and beautiful! Praise the lord that you are in a place where you see a need for change and you are seeking strength from the only one who can provide it! Hang in there, and I appreciate your openness, thank you!

    • Crystal says

      Tyanne, I’ve known for a long time that something needed to change, but yes I knew the only way it could happen was through Him and I had to wait for His timing. Thank you for your encouraging words. That is exactly what I am speaking over my life and claiming through Christ Jesus–that out of my suffering will come something that will bring glory and honor to Him.

  10. says

    What an encouraging post. I suffered a period of depression in my life too and you are right everyone suffers. Thankfully our God is a Healer of all diseases! That is awesome how the Lord is working you through this. My desires are so similar to yours, I want to be the wife and mother that the Lord has called me to be. I pray for him to help me be the Proverbs 31 woman.

  11. says

    Thank you so SO much for sharing this.

    I battle depression off and on. Lately, luckily it has been a bit more off than on, but the last few years have been tough.

    One of the major depressive symptoms I have is irritability. I spend all day fighting that irritability so I can be a good mom to my kids, and then when my husband gets home… sometimes I can’t fight it anymore.

    And I always feel horrible. I hate being that person. But you are right. It is an illness. And just like we want to show more grace to others, we need to show it to ourselves.

    I am sure you are a wonderful wife. You have your struggles like we all do. Keep up the fight :-)

    Btw, I used to have this same blog theme!

  12. Clare says

    I have suffered from depression since I was 13. Now I didn’t know what was wrong back then but looking back I can feel the loneliness in my teen years. I have been taking medication for the last 11 years or so. Some days are good others not so good. I also suffer from Fibromyalgia as well and when my body is being tortured and I can’t do what I want it messes with my depression. I know without God’s help I wouldn’t be able to function. Bless you for sharing your illness and letly people know that it is okay to not be perfect.

  13. says

    It is so hard to catch these glimpses of ourselves. Thank you for being real about yours!

    On a side note, I recently heard something about Vitamin C therapy for depression. You can probably google it but it has worked in MANY women. It was an amount waaaay beyond the FDA approved amount but they generally do not approve very much of any herb/vitamin. Idk, could be worth a shot!

  14. says

    Wow. I saw myself in this. Sometime i too look back at things that have truly just set me into a frenzy and am embarrassed and ashamed. I am glad I am not the only one who may have gotten mad about the grape nuts cereal.

  15. says

    I appreciate your honesty. I have had moments too where I feel like I can actually see what kind of mom/wife I can be when not at my best and it’s not pretty.

  16. Anon says

    As a person who lives with somebody who battles depression I understand your husbands hesitancy in mentioning something that might mess up the day … as one trying to understand … can you shed any light as to why a person with depression reacts to seeminly minor situations.

  17. says

    Thank you so much for being so honest about your struggles. Realism in a blog is rare but like a fresh breath of air. God will honour your honesty and is already using it for His glory. Thank you!

    • Crystal says

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! It means so much. I agree that as Christians we need more authenticity. God bless you and your family.

  18. Amie says

    I am not a pharmaceutical rep., I swear! ;) I have had depression as long as I can remember. I started taking medication after a major depressive episode when I was 15. I had a few years where I was fine without medication. I was very active during those years, but then I went through some very difficult times and it came back. It went away when I was pregnant and when I was nursing… and then it came back. I am back on medication and it really helps. I’m not sure if you take medication or if you’re opposed it it, but I think it is worth looking into. I take trazodone – its an older medication and it works for me. It is very inexpensive. There are lots of options. I’ve done therapy too and I have good coping skills, but with medication, I don’t have to work at it. I am free to enjoy life. I wish you the best.

    • Crystal says

      Amie, thank you so much. I’m not necessarily opposed to medication, but I’ve always been a bit scared of it. I’ve watched my dad struggle with this med and that med for nearly 20 years. During that time, he’s still depressed. It’s manageable, but he’s still depressed and it saddens me. Along with that, I have no medical insurance so counseling/medications aren’t really an option for me with our Limited Budget. I am very glad though that you have found something that works for you and allows you to freely enjoy your life. If I could ask for one thing in life (in addition to the blessings I already have), it would be that.

  19. says

    oh wow i have so been there. I struggled with depression as well as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) for the first 2 years of our marriage and it took a long time for my hubby to be able to trust that I wouldn’t freak out about the littlest things like that anymore. It is definitely a process. I’m so glad you are healing <3

    thanks for sharing your heart in such a transparent way. It's not easy, (depression, or being honest about it) but I have found that when you are honest about it you take HUGE steps forward in the healing process. . . Being real with my hubby about my emotions and acknowledging to him (After the fact once I had calmed down) that I knew my response to 'X' was not normal or appropriate and I was working on it…helped us a lot too. (Sorry that was a run on, i'm sleepy!)

  20. says

    “Jesus gave His all for me, and he deserves nothing less than all of me”
    I’m going to take this with me, thank you.

    So grateful to have found your link via Theresa’s Thankful Thursday. I admire your bravery and the courage it took to press publish!

    It certainly is refreshing to be real, don’t you think? If we were all so honest, we would all realize how we all fall short. Only He can take this mess we offer of ourselves and turn it into something radiant. And I see Him doing that in you. beautiful…

    • Crystal says

      Nikki, thank you for the encouragement and your kind words, it means more than you know. I agree with your thoughts on being real :)

  21. says

    Your honesty and transparency is a breath of fresh air. I believe we all have these moments. But pretending we don’t leads to us missing an opportunity to potentially bond based on something real. I’m praying for you sis. :)

  22. says

    It helps so many people who also suffer from depression to read posts like this.

    So many times I feel guilty about how I am as a mom due to depression. I don’t feel like it’s really me, but it’s the me my kids know.

    I’m trusting that God is working in my life and my kids’ lives for His glory in spite of me!
    Thanks,
    Sue

  23. says

    This–> “It is worth the pain of chastisement to be led by the Almighty God.” I’ve experienced that, too, and it’s so worth it. Beautiful, honest post.

    • Crystal says

      Pippa, thank you so much for your encouragement! I have been so blessed to have such kind and supportive readers :)

  24. says

    The closer we draw to God, the closer He draws to us! Thank you for sharing your heart and being transparent. I too have a lot to work on when it comes to being a godly wife! Blessings to you :)

  25. Kristen says

    I stumbled upon this post by accident and although I don’t stuggle with depression the message is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thank you for your honesty and opening up to share something that may be painful and difficult to admit to. You have certainly helped to open my eyes a bit wider.

    • Crystal says

      Kristen, Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words! It’s such an encouragement to me if someone else can benefit, even in a small way, from my sharing something. It’s just a small way that God gives beauty from ashes, to know that He can do something good with what has been a painful time in my life. GOd bless you and your family!

  26. Lauren Holmes says

    Thanks for being real! I've been there too! :) Thanks for all your comments at Loving Life. Be blessed!

  27. Lori Lynn Case says

    All I can say is thank you. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am new to your blog and have battled depression the majority of my life. Like you, I have a family that has been battling it right along side of me. Reading this brief post has helped me fully realize that there are "real" women like me out there that want to do right for their family and right according to God, but have had difficulty because of an illness. God bless you! :)

    • Crystal says

      Lori, I am so glad that my post has been helpful to you! It’s hard to share something so personal and vulnerable, but I have been praying for God to use my story for His glory. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. It’s such an encouragement to know that I could help someone who is struggling.

  28. Merlin Ipe says

    I loved this blog. Thanks for being , open and real. It helps others. Many a times I have come to various situations like this. Some times depressed, or throwing out the anger for silly things. I shared this on my FB wall. Keep writing. God bless

  29. Stephanie Hanes says

    Oh Crystal…I so appreciate and admire your honesty and openness here. It's posts like this and women like you that remind me I'm not alone and give me the strength to keep sharing my own story. Thank you for sharing this…and for just being you.

    • Crystal says

      Thank you, Stephanie! It’s a tough topic, and I haven’t shared a lot, just because I’m really not sure how. I’ve been prayerfully considering the direction I can take to share more of my depression story and am waiting for God to show me how I can weave it into my blog.

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