This next progression of 9 regular posts – not including the Weekly Inspiration posts on Saturdays – document some of my struggles with depression. It is an immensely personal story, but I’ve decided to share it with the hope of reaching just one person out there who can relate to it, and perhaps see through to the other side of it. Mine was not a severe case; I was never suicidal or hospitalized. However, I’m sure there are millions more people who suffer from minor cases of depression and anxiety, than those that have severe cases. So, I would think that some of my experiences – while not as serious as others’ – would be relatable. Please respect the personal nature of my battle and those of others who may comment. And while Facebook is a great outlet, and I welcome comments in both spots, I highly encourage you to link into the blog post itself and leave your comments on the blog’s website, so that as my following grows, more and more people with similar struggles can read your encouraging words. Thank you so much in advance!
There was a time in the not-to-distant past that I was crying multiple times a day, each and every day. If I skipped a day, it was literally because I didn’t have the energy to shed one more tear. I had a hard time recognizing and certainly defining the Hope in my life. 2016 was an extremely tough year for me. I had just lost the business I had run for 9 years, and poured my heart and soul and life savings into. I was so passionate about being a business owner and an entrepreneur…a community man involved with so many different organizations because of my business affiliations. I was Past President of the Rotary Club, active in the Chamber of Commerce, especially with the Young Professionals Organization. I was a Corporator for a couple of local non profits and my wife called me “The Mayor,” because everywhere we went, I knew someone. It was a life I enjoyed and I took a huge amount of pride in playing the role of successful local businessman.
Losing My Company
Unfortunately, it was a losing battle. Though we had double-digit growth for the first 3 or 4 years in business, that, of course, was starting from zero, so you’d better hope there was some early growth! It clouded my judgement however, and I got greedy. Soon, I was opening offices quicker than I could pay for the existing ones. Expanding product lines like it was going out of style, all the while thinking that more was better, bigger was better, and that the short term investment would pay off in big dividends quicker than you could say, “check your financial statements.” Well, it didn’t. And the next big job we kept thinking would put us over the edge to easy money never came quick enough and the thing imploded. Way too much debt and not enough customers. So, there was this loss to contend with…personal bankruptcy…the whole nine yards. Not a fun year.
The Blessing that is Elliott Francis
Fortunately, for my family, Elliott was born on December 28, 2015, so although 2016 was a year wrought with stress, Sybil and I had something to be very thankful for, waiting for us at home every day. He was a Godsend. Not to mention, of course, that Noah was 3 and already keeping us plenty busy. My relationship with my wife has always been rock-solid and because of this – though as I said, I had a hard time acknowledging it consciously – I always had Hope in my life…Hope in the form of my family’s undying love and support. Now, I’m going to contend that if you are struggling with depression, you have Hope too. You just have to find it, and grab a hold of it with everything you have. It WILL get you to the other side. And it doesn’t have to be a big thing. The love of family was huge for me, but I know that not everyone has that. In fact, it’s probably one of the main reasons people fall into despair…feeling like they don’t have anyone.
Hope Around Every Corner…if You’re Looking
Consider this, though. Perhaps there’s a girl at the coffee shop, who you just can’t wait to lay eyes on every single day. Perhaps even that you’re homeless, but that the Tuesday night meal at the shelter is your favorite part of the week and you can latch onto that. Consider that maybe your little apartment, even though you’re out looking for a job everyday and there might be nobody waiting for you when you get home – that when you do get home to your space, your oasis…you feel good, you feel at home, you feel safe. These are all things that can bring a glimmer of Hope into your life. Hold onto the good things for dear life and let them be stepping stones to bigger and brighter things. And if all else fails, or really – long before all else fails – remember that there is an unending supply of Hope in Jesus. The Bible can bring you the comfort you seek and will carry you to the other side of darkness, no matter what that darkness feels like to you.
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the one who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me from every side. Psalm 3: 2-6
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1: 3-6
My prayer for you is that you find HOPE. It can be in the smallest corner of your life, but if you find it and hold onto it, you can reach peace and comfort again, especially in the Lord. This, of course, is not my whole story of depression. There were to be many more struggles and very difficult times. But I talk about Hope early and the fact that it’s had a huge impact on my healing, so that you’re not reading eight more posts of doom and gloom before you get to some brightness. Stick with me…there’s more pain…but there’s a boat load of happiness on the other side too.
In my next post, I will continue this discussion about finding Hope and how I used the gracious help of my therapist and my church and a few other resources to bring me to the happiness I experience today. Please stay tuned for post 2 in this series of 9.