"You DO Know How to Handle It"

Yesterday, my sweet husband said something that turned my very difficult, emotional, seemingly unmanageable day into something both manageable and completely filled with love and support.  But before telling what he said that changed how I look at everything I am dealing with and at myself, I need to give some background context.

Saturday I knew my switch was coming soon.  I can't really explain how I knew, but I could just feel it in every part of me that my mania was slowly changing into depression.  Generally this process of change drags on for quite a while until something, usually something small and insignificant, makes me snap, and the switch completes suddenly.  Saturday evening, it was a particularly dumb thing that switched me over all the way.  My husband and I were playing "Ticket to Ride" with some friends, and my husband took one of the integral sections I needed to finish my track.  Dumb, I know, but suddenly I was devastated.  I'm not a bad sport, and I'm not so overly competitive that I can't handle losing.  But my brain literally couldn't handle the disappointment in that moment, and I was overcome with the feelings of depression.

It felt so dumb to me.  Like really, why would that be the thing that switched me over?  (Don't worry if you ever play a game with me.  I don't mind losing.  Really.)  I went home on the verge of tears, but I didn't want to tell my husband that something so little and so dumb had made such a big difference in how I felt.  I tried not to let it continue bothering me, and the game didn't actually bother me anymore, but the depressed feelings stayed.  I spent the rest of that evening fighting off tears and went to bed hoping to wake up feeling better.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel any better the next morning and actually felt worse.  It was Sunday again, church day.  I knew it was going to be a hard day from the moment I woke up.  I just didn't know how hard yet.

I got to church and held in the tears and sorrow that were filling me to the very top.  I wanted to run away from everyone, while secretly hoping that someone would know to ask me how I was really doing, and then I could let out every tear that had been bottled up for way too long.  I am not saying that this is anyone else's fault.  People asked me how I was doing, and I didn't know what to say.  Did they want to know how I was actually doing, or did they want to hear a simple "I'm fine"?  I didn't know who to find or how to tell them that I was not okay.  Everyone seemed so busy, and I could never find just one person to corner by themselves and open up, so I kept holding in, hoping that something wouldn't make me explode in sadness.

I was surrounded by people, yet I felt lonelier than ever.  No one knew the storm that was raging inside of me.  No one knew that I needed something, but I didn't even know what that something was.  No one knew that I was so broken, but I didn't know how to show it, so I continued my meager attempt to smile through the pain.

I kept planning my escape from every meeting, but I had responsibilities each hour of church, so I could never find a good time to leave and run to the bathroom to cry.  When church got done, I felt my whole body sink.  I was struggling so much, but I felt completely unable to tell anyone.  Why couldn't I just tell someone???  I went to the car and waited for my husband and then went home, took a bath, and finally let it out.

The emotional pain I felt was so overwhelming.  I wanted to open up to someone, but I still didn't want to tell my husband about the game, so I felt like I had to tell someone else everything I was feeling.  I ended up driving around, parking at a cemetery (finally somewhere to be alone and cry without looking strange), and calling a good friend to give me comfort.  She did just that.  After a long time of talking to her and listening to her wonderful advice, I went home and talked to my husband.

I explained to him how awful church was, how it has been 9 months of this and surely everyone is sick of hearing about how I am still struggling so much at times.  I told him how inadequate I felt to carry this burden as I still don't know how to handle it, even months later.  It still hurts me so much, and I still need help, because I'm still not okay.

And then he said something that I will never forget, something that suddenly changed my whole perspective and suddenly brought peace to my heart.

He said, "What do you mean you don't know how to handle it?  You do know how to handle it... You know that you need to ask for help."

Suddenly, I felt so much comfort and reassurance pour into my heart with the truth that even 9 months later, I am not alone in this fight.  I don't have to do it alone, and it's okay to continue asking for help, when I simply can't carry this heavy burden on my own.  My husband reminded me for the 7 millionth time that he is glad to help carry this burden, because he loves me.  He is invested in my well-being, and he is my companion through every trial I am ever called to face.

Yesterday evening, I went to a stake choir practice.  I needed something uplifting to pull my heart up out of the darkness before facing this week.  While at the practice, the director explained the meaning behind the song we were singing, "Nearer, My God to Thee."

She explained that verses one and two talk about bearing our crosses and burdens and being wanderers surrounded by darkness, but after all of that heaviness, verse three says that the way appears for steps into heaven with angels to beckon us.  The Spirit filled my heart as she explained that we will find rest from our trials and troubles as we draw nearer to God through our deep struggles.

I know that I'm not alone.  I was very sweetly and tenderly reminded of that yesterday as my husband and a few other friends reached out to make sure that I was alright.  I know that it's still okay to ask for help, and I am determined to work on finding a way to communicate to someone my needs when I need help.  I know without a doubt that we will someday find rest from all of our burdens, and that we can draw nearer to God even while surrounded by darkness.

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