“It’s all part of the human condition.” Those are the words my brother lovingly shared with me over the phone as we talked about my daughter who had just been admitted to a mental health hospital for severe depression. He had been there. He knew what it was like to suffer with horrible depression for years. That was last Wednesday. We’re hoping she’s well enough to go home tomorrow but there are no guarantees. And worst of all, there’s nothing I can do to fix it.
For those of you who have been following my blog regularly you’re probably wondering what happened to my 30 day challenge? Life happened 🙂 At first I thought I should muscle through and keep posting, but I was so overwhelmed. I was trying so hard to be strong and just didn’t have it in me to do anything else. Every night when I went to bed I would pray and just ask God to please watch over her, please keep her safe, and please help her heal — because I could do none of those things. I literally had to turn it all over to Him. There was no other way.
I remember that first day after dropping her off at the hospital. We were in the car on the way home. My loving wife was just sobbing and I felt something inside of me switch. I was the dad. I was the husband. I was the man. I had to be tough. But I also was a little worried about what that might do to me. Locking my emotions away was an old pattern, one with nasty side effects. Several times over the last few days I tried to open that door and let my emotions flood out. I could feel it at the surface a few times, but I could not get the door open.
Then today at church as the prayer on the sacrament was being said, I closed my eyes and asked God to please help me to let it go, I just couldn’t hold on any longer. And I wept. My heart broke open and I cried with my hands over my eyes. One of my other daughters hugged me. It felt so good to just let it out. It still feels raw, I’m still concerned about her care and about our future, but I know that we have a loving God who watches over us with tender care and that He loves us and He will help us. That meant the world to me in that moment.
After the service was over, I went up to our bishop to let him know we would be leaving early to go see our daughter. I cried again. He cried with me. He shared a story of his oldest daughter suffering from depression and attempting to take her life when she was younger. Then he said that with treatment, learning, and practice on her part that her life is much better. She has learned how to manage it while raising a family at the same time. It gave me hope — such incredible, beautiful hope! I’m so grateful he shared that story with me.
I know his story is true, because it is my story as well. It’s been 2 and a half years since I started working on recovery and one year (next week) of solid sobriety. And things are so much better now. Not once during this entire trial have I felt triggered. Not once have I felt weak regarding my addiction. I have felt the depths of all kinds of other emotions: sadness, despair, and hopelessness. But not once did it trigger anything due to my old addictive behaviors. What a beautiful thing! What an incredible gift from God. I am healing. I am getting better.
And you can too! Keep pressing forward. Keep working on your 12 steps. Find a sponsor. Don’t delay! Work with others, give your life to God, and be healed.
My name is Mike