By Annie Gebel
Everyone has a story. Some tales are heartbreaking, others inspiring. There are great action-adventures, romances, or comedies out there. Many of us simply get by day-to-day, but it all adds up. It’s your life – your story and it’s worth sharing. Please send in nominations for those (yourself or someone you know) whose stories you would like us to share with our HaveHeart readers. Your story may let someone know they’re not alone, give someone a reason to make some changes, or provide a good belly-laugh. Regardless, every story is one we should hear. Email your story to: YourStory@haveheartmagazine.com
We’ve all been there. Down. Low. Brought to our knees, maybe literally or figuratively, with feelings of, “How did I get here and how am I ever going to feel like me again?”
At times these blues are fleeting and we can find a way to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. Other times people never find their way out of that dark place. And sometimes we realize we’re depressed and need something to help us out of this rut. That’s where Karen found herself. She was depressed and needed something more. She found it.
At the age of 57, Karen found herself first demoted and then let go from her job for the first time ever. Her employers cited that she was “too nice” for her management position. She tried to hold it all together for her son and husband, but broke down as soon as she got home. In the months following this gut punch, Karen’s car was repossessed. Her husband’s alcoholism took a toll on her as well. “I felt disrespected in my own home,” with the partying and drinking her husband took part in. She withdrew from her friends, not answering phone calls or leaving the house much. Most days she didn’t get dressed. “I felt like everything was closing in on me.” With all this going on, Karen didn’t seek medical help, though. She knew she was depressed because she’d been though something similar almost a decade earlier.
Nine years prior to this bout of depression, Karen had lost another job. She was working at a store that sadly had to close its doors, leaving its employees without jobs. At that point, Karen did talk to her doctor and was prescribed some medication that helped. This time, though, her depression felt different, deeper and she needed something bigger to see a way out.
She reached out to one friend. To Karen, this one great friend, her best friend, seemed like a safe harbor to seek understanding of her situation. She began asking questions about God. “I was looking for ways to feel better about myself.” She dusted off the bible her mother had gifted her almost 50 years ago and began reading. It didn’t happen overnight, but Karen started feeling better and making changes in her life.
At this point, Karen and her husband shared one vehicle, so she depended on her friends to take her to and from church and she joined a social group there. Her husband’s drinking was still a problem for her so she made plans and acted on them, moving out for eight months. Her faith blossomed and her determination to embrace life returned. Months after first asking her dear friend some curious questions about God, she went home to the little church where her grandparents had worshiped and her mother was baptized. In this meaningful place, Karen was baptized too.
The dark and frightening place of depression that Karen found herself in after struggling financially and facing personal setbacks were a part of her past, but she found a future in her faith. Karen returned home and her husband recognized the positive changes in her. He now joins her at church when his work schedule allows. Karen leans on her faith family and uses her bible to navigate the stresses she faces in life now.
We’ve all been there. Down. Low. Brought to our knees. Karen found a light to help her find the way out of her tunnel of depression. If you’re there, maybe looking up can help you find a light of your own.
Email your story to: YourStory@haveheartmagazine.com