This past week I have thought alot about how certain individuals have helped me out of my valleys, and deep dark pits. Years ago I did not have the support I have now. Basically, I had God. Oh, I had a couple gals who suggested or advised what they did or medications they took that helped them, which didn’t work on me. It wasn’t all their or the doctor’s fault. I wasn’t open to discussing where I was truly at. I was always a very hard worker, independent and quite private with personal issues. I had the wall up. Oh, I could have a good time, put on a smile and pretend all was fine. Reality was I was exhausted with being hurt and betrayed. I didn’t trust. Girlfriends I should have been able to trust, or who I reached for weren’t there for me. I guess they had their own issues. It was a very lonely time in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am eternally grateful God was with me, closer than a brother or sister. Without exaggeration, I would not have made it through if He hadn’t been.

I didn’t understand why I was depressed and having these thoughts and feelings. I was embarrassed and it took years before I realized why I had such a low self-esteem and fell into depression. It wasn’t until I started taking ahold of a few truths that I crawled out of that hole. Truths that while I didn’t believe suicide was right, I also couldn’t runaway and leave my little ones behind to deal with what I didn’t think I could. Truths that God loved me and I was worth a high price in His eyes, that life could be better, and I could do it with God’s help, with His strength.

It was truly only by the grace of God that I managed to get out of that deep, dark tomb.  I managed without medications too. Now before anyone starts blasting me, I also believe there is a time and place for antidepressants. Truthfully, I probably would have recovered quicker had I let the doctors help me find one that suited my system. Our lives would have been better if I had talked with my doctor, counselor and pastor about what was really going on in our lives. I don’t think it would have changed the ultimate outcome, but it may have progressed in a smoother fashion. I wrote about a year and a half ago from thoughts of that era of my life. You can read it here: https://stephaniecolemanfish.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/black-as-black-can-be/

Slippery Slope

Over the past twenty-five years I have experienced slippery times. Days where I could have easily ended up at the bottom again. Days when I wasn’t sure if I would hit bottom, hard. Over time I realized when I looked to God, He was always faithful to help me come back up for air or tread water. It wasn’t without effort on my part. However, 100% was obtained when I would supply as much effort as I could and God would supply the rest. God knew if I could only give 60% that day. And He knew if I could only give 10%. He was my strength when mine is inadequate. It came from prayer, His Word, a phone call, a meal or time out to get my mind off my circumstances and fears. He sent people besides His Word to help me. I believe God meets us where we are, and He uses whomever and whatever He wants.

After our son’s death I could feel myself at times sliding into this distant, familiar, and scary pit. It was all I could do with God’s strength to get out of bed in the mornings. Most people, including the doctors, thought I was doing well and were very encouraging considering what was going on in my life. However, I didn’t want to just get by considering the events. I wanted off this slippery slope! I wanted back away from the edge. I did start taking a mild antidepressant at one point. It wasn’t because of lack of faith. It was because my body wasn’t supplying the chemicals it needed because of restless nights and stressful, haunting days. It was because of a very few self-centered individuals who made life harder than it needed to be, as if it wasn’t already almost unbearably hard. It was to endure the worst time of my life, while being able to hold onto God’s hand, sit at Jesus’ feet and still function with some of my responsibilities.

I have come to recognize the importance of having close friends. Friends to share life with. I believe God wants us to have friendships. I believe He gives us friends to be Christ in the flesh. To share heartaches, tears, hugs and those uncomfortable times. People given for us to encourage, and receive encouragement from. People to help give us strength, to help us to our feet when we are down. People, who push us, yet are silent when necessary.

When I think of my involvement in suicide prevention and helping other families survive, and all the exciting new undertakings I am exploring, I know I wouldn’t be enjoying these adventures of my life without certain friends. I know I wouldn’t be as equipped to handle it all. I am speechless with gratitude for the friends God has put in my path. The friends who have loved me out of my own tomb.

2011 071When I look at all God has provided,
I see He is still raising the dead out of tombs.

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