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Character Confession: What I Wish the World Knew About Depression

I was stunned to open my Facebook feed and find it full of tributes to Robin Williams. I knew he wasn’t even 65, so I wondered if it was his heart. I was devastated to read and now know it was a suicide.

His family shared that he had been struggling with deep depression. His own confessions regarded his addictions. I love to read biographies and such and most of the great comedians had ravaging inner pain. Many medicate with alcohol or drugs. All in that category used humor, and we found it entertaining.

Robin Williams photo: London DSCN1435.jpg

I suspect his death is especially hard because his talents knew no bounds. Hysterical stand-up. Oscar winning drama. Laugh out loud interviews he hijacked. Touching tributes to causes and people like St. Jude’s. TV. Movies. I can’t think of another person like him, not before, not up-and-coming.

Now my Facebook feed is full of posts, articles, updates and comments regarding depression, suicide, God’s word, eternity. I don’t think any of these help his family. I pray something does. I can’t imagine the torment of anyone left behind after a suicide.

My hope is that through my small experience with depression someone might get a glimpse of what it is like. It took decades for me to realize I had hormonal imbalance. I suffered with severe PCOS, so I’m not sure if the two were related. But when I was in a certain time of the month I could feel a change and it was as ominous as a dark cloud and still night in the midwest. Nothing would be wrong otherwise and a thick veil of darkness consumed me. I was rocked with shame, for what, I don’t know. But it perpetuated knowing people needed me. The physical drain, almost like a vaccuum suck somehow took all energy and joy out of me left it impossible to manage the easiest of tasks. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. I simply could not. Like I said, it was absolutely consuming.

This would hit hard for twenty minutes straight. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’ll be real here. It was such an intense darkness that I can think of many times I got a suitcase out and started to pack. I thought if I ran somewhere, anywhere, my family would be free of what my torment delayed them in having.

Three times I can recall walking to the medicine cabinet. I picked up pills and stared. I knew what I was contemplating but I was that void of hope and that full of desperation. And yes, this was as a Christian, and a strong one at that.

I longed for someone to bust in the door when I’d hide and tell me I was worth it. Who would hold me and let me cry or ooze the darkness out in whatever way. No one did. For those closest to me, they admitted they didn’t know what to do. They thought I wanted to be alone. I felt like I had no choice.

My story has a happy ending, and it is only by the grace of God. I finally broke down and confessed everything to my doctor. I now take a prescription medication that balances my moods and curbs menopause effects. Even with a hysterectomy, I still struggle. I’m upfront when I’m having a hard time. It’s not as dark or isolating but I get frustrated. My memory isn’t what it used to be. I have trouble sleeping. I tire easily than I used to. But it’s no where near where it was.

What do I wish the world knew?

1. It’s the darkest, most isolating and oppressive experience in the world. If you haven’t experienced it, you shouldn’t give answers as an expert.

2. It’s a vicious cycle, always looming. Just when you start to crawl out of the pit, there is a tug on your ankle threatening to pull you down and keep you there. It is frightening.

3. Isolation is the game plan of oppression. Love the person, no matter how much they protest, that they are going out with you for coffee. Show up with bagels. They will say they are busy and fine. Show up anyway.

4. If you’re not sure what to say, admit that. Transparency is an oasis. Patronizing, packaged answers are a wasteland. I didn’t feel better when I heard “I don’t know what your problem is.” Or, “You just need to snap out of it.” If I could have, I promise you, I would have led the way.

5. Jesus Christ CAN set you free. I admitted above that even as a Christian I struggled, so I get that you might argue why bother? Because without Him, I promise you, I’d be a dead statistic. Knowing HIm gave me enough hope to speak out, to call and seek help. I could picture Him next to me, weeping with me. That helped me so much. He is real, He is for you. Don’t go another step without Him.

To learn more, please visit the following: peacewithGod.net

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First appeared at Christians Read

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Saturday Confession: Waiting on Medicine

Posted by Julie on October 19, 2013 in encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

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Ah, Saturday confession.

The day where I share something I’m learning about myself, or recently mastered, and feel it’s time to share.

So if that’s your issue, you don’t feel so alone.

What’s new is that you’re welcome to link up.

If you have a confession, share it.

Let’s kick isolation to the curb once and for all.

While I have you, I have some slots left for next month’s thankful submissions. 

I hand my blog over to you and you share why you are thankful. As always, the posts are amazing.

Inspiring. Challenging.

Send your thoughts. As little as a few sentences and as much as 750 words to juliearduini@juliearduini.com

with a bio and optional picture, signing off as you want to be known (first name, full, anonymous.)

First come, first serve, and I reserve the right to edit, but rarely do.

Thanks!

***

When I feel healthy, I’m a dynamo. I can maintain many schedules and logistics. Pay bills. Laundry.

Make meals, shuttle children. Write. Minister. Encourage. Laugh. Chat. Rest. Start over.

It took decades to realize and have doctors diagnose that until I’m healed or otherwise with the Lord, I need medicine to feel that way.

It’s hormonal imbalance with menopause. For years it was also PCOS, but a hysterectomy took care of that.

My insurance now has us ordering from mail express, and I refilled late.

The medicine hasn’t arrived.

I did what I years ago didn’t dare to do.

I warned everyone.

I’ve pictured myself clinging to Jesus, just wrapped around His neck, sitting on His lap, wanting nothing but His safety and comfort.

Because for me, I have radical temperature changes. Forget surges.

Constant hunger.

Sleeplessness.

Anxiety with irrational thoughts.

Forgetfulness.

And then the tears.

The tears started Wednesday, and I used to have such shame, because there wasn’t a real reason for them.

This time I tried to look at my schedule one event at a time, dig deep, and move forward.

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When the tears came, I wiped them with my sleeve and kept going.

I’ve longed for it not to be busy, but it is what it is. The kids are off until Monday.

It’s a full schedule.

The youngest had so many medical appointments. The last including needing 4 vials of blood and a sample taken. She was done. Me too. Usually I can have my strong face on for her. But as soon as we were done, I was blinking tears away.

Hours later I couldn’t remember the name of the heat box in the family room. Yeah, the thermostat.

Then I started to get teary when my husband let me know what he thinks of Pepperjack Cheez It’s. I bought the wrong cheese. I wanted to lash out and justify my attempt. But I knew insecurity would have been talking, and that’s best left until better days.

But I’m getting through.

Thriving? No. But compared to other times, it’s not horrible.

I’ve talked about this kind of thing before, but I promised to be real, surrendered or surrendering,

and I felt like someone out there is going to feel less alone with me sharing.

If hormonal imbalance is your issue, chuck the shame. You’re too amazing to wear such a dud.

Be open, within reason, and stay in touch with your doctor. It might take tweaking. It has for me.

Don’t let a religious person bring you down. I am a straight up Jesus girl with faith in Him big enough to believe for a resurrection if God asked me to pray for one.

It’s okay to take medicine if that is where God directs you.

And it’s okay to keep believing for a supernatural healing while you wait.

But doing nothing, or letting the emotions control you, don’t.

Just don’t.

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My January Blah’s Don’t Realize It’s February

Posted by Julie on February 8, 2013 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve never sought an official diagnosis, but since I can remember, November and January were always hard months for me. The winter blah’s. They tend to be months, especially where I currently live, where the sun might not show up. At all.

Add a lot of events, a death, travel, and general chaos, and the blahs not only came in, they unpacked their bags and started making themselves at home.

Although I need to look into B12, I also struggle with hormonal issues and needed some tweaking. I’m resting as much as I can without making sleep my escape. This week I plan to bring exercise back to my routine. That often helps.

Do you struggle with winter blues?

What do you do to combat the blahs?

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My own nature picture, December 2012, Corning, NY

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Marriage Monday: Have Some Children Pray

Posted by Julie on October 17, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Twice in a row! It must be a record. I’m excited to be able to participate in e-Mom’s Marriage Monday. Before I share her topic and my personal story, I think congratulations are in order.

e-Mom is a grandma! I love her story and I’m with e-Mom, the timing of this precious birth isn’t a coincidence. Such a beautiful post, I hope you read it and leave your congratulations.

But sometimes those baby stories aren’t all happy ones. Part of my “broken places” that I share with others is my experience with infertility and PCOS journey. Although I drive my family nuts by being so open, I do it about what personally affected me in hopes it encourages someone else.

And today, I think there is someone out there who needs to know my story.

I learned at age twenty-five I had PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. The symptoms for me were irregular periods, acne, and hormonal imbalance. The doctor sat me down, knowing I was in a serious relationship that looked like it was heading for marriage. He spent 45 minutes with me sharing his story, even though we both heard the crying babies and other patients outside the other door.

He was candid and let me know that I would most likely have difficulty conceiving, if I could do so, at all. His encouragement was that as a man of faith, to take his words as just that, words. He was a mere doctor. He suggested if I wanted to have children some day, to ask children to pray. I left with hope, although devastated at the facts before me.

Fast forward and I was a newlywed and conceiving was on my mind, a lot. It’s funny, when you’re told you can’t have something isn’t that when you realize that’s the one thing you want? I never grew up wanting to be a mom or anything full of maternal bliss. As soon as I realized it might not be an option, I wanted to be a mom.

The PCOS for me was unique and challenging. Now that I’m 16 years after that diagnosis I realize how severe the hormonal imbalance was and I wish I’d fought harder for my peace of mind. The depression, just daily depression for no real reason beyond the imbalance assaulted me to no end. Add to it the sadness I felt regarding the situation and I was at times emotionally paralyzed. I’m not afraid to share this all was so consuming there were times I saw myself heading to the medicine cabinet for permanent relief. I write this not to be dramatic but to say to the woman reading this who feels the same—tell your doctor these things. Mine had no idea it was that bad. It wasn’t until years later when I started early menopause did that doctor understand how severe my moods were. I am now on a low dose medication to combat that and the menopause symptoms I had as well. I feel new and alive. Please don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You are worth it.

But…there was the physical pain as well. I was in such discomfort I could go to work and then I’d go to bed. It was constant pelvic pain that felt like I was in a vise. One night I was in such misery I remember crying out to God. I let Him know I was His and I knew there was more to my life than this. I understood I had something of purpose to do with my life and being in bed wasn’t it. I surrendered my ability to have children. I told him if I needed a surgery to end all chances to conceive, so be it. I just wanted my life to move forward.

From that surrender, things moved fast and the peace of God was overwhelming. My surgeon told me there was a procedure he could do that would not end my chances to conceive, but enhance them. He was fearful I would get my hopes up. I was adamant that this was no longer about conceiving, but just being able to live. I authorized the surgery. We moved into our first home. Nothing and no one could stop me, despite the pain.

Although the surgery isn’t done so much today, it was a wedge resection. He took half of each ovary out and in recovery he let me know he had never seen such large ovaries. It explained my constant pelvic pain. Turns out mine were FIVE TIMES the size of normal ovaries. I instantly felt better, even as I recovered.

The whole time I worked with a girls’ ministry at my local church. I asked them to pray for me and to ask God that one day I could be a mom. These girls believed God and pressed in. To this day when adults come to me for prayer I remind them to seek out kids. They are the ultimate prayer warriors.

I say all that to say…seven months after the surgery I was pregnant.

That baby is 13.

Another story for another day is in 2001 I miscarried, but I knew God had one more child for us.

In 2003 we had a daughter.

If you are struggling as an infertility patient I pray you don’t let the diagnosis own and define you. Believe God. Go to Him. Seek Him hard for His plan for your life. Don’t let doctor’s words trump God’s promises.

And have some children pray.

Did you know during the month of November this blog features YOUR thankful posts? Slots are filling up but I’m still looking for your thankful thoughts. Learn more here.

Also, Tuesday at 9pm EST I’m having an hour chat just to hang out with and encourage moms of all ages and stages. Although the overall topic is what do you do with your kids on October 31, all mom topics welcome. Just because we do things different doesn’t mean we should do them alone. Log in as a guest, I do rest. Please help me spread the word.  Free room link: https://connectpro19068335.adobeconnect.com/julie-arduini-the-surrendered-scribe/

Lastly, I’m teaching highlights from the John and Stasi Eldredge book, Captivating. Thursday nights at 9pm EST share my own experiences, film clips and a video link in hopes of all women seeing how Captivating they truly are—always were, and always will be. If you don’t have the book or missed the last couple weeks, no worries. Join us! Same room link as above. I need all the help I can get letting ladies know about this life-changing book—just one hour a week!

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Character Confession: Frustrated

Posted by Julie on February 5, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, surrender |

Saturday I enjoy sharing my Character Confession courtesy of Noelle Mena at Pliable in His Hands. Read on to read my confession. This is a new server/site resdesign so if you like what you see here please follow and/or subscribe. I appreciate it. Oh, and Monday is my DVD and book review for Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave. You’re invited!

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