Thursday, April 3, 2014
My Journey: Plunged into Darkness...
I debated over whether or not that is the appropriate title for this post. Is it too dramatic? It's hard to fully remember tonight as I rocked my 3 year old in the rocking chair to sleep...surrounded by joy, stability, and peace. It feels like a lifetime ago.
I do believe that this is the appropriate title though to describe the next leg of our journey.
This is not a time I want to re-live. I still am a bit shocked to remember details because it is so foreign to where we are now. These experiences have shaped me and my family. Despite the bitterness we passed through, we speak almost daily of our gratitude for the events of this time. I share with permission from my husband.
Mark began his new position and continued to put in applications for better opportunities (See the link at the bottom of this post for the previous post). He was discouraged. He hated his job. He hadn't been at the "bottom of the totem pole" for years. He could see holes or bottle necks, but was powerless to evoke changes. Additionally, the decrease in salary, as spoken of in the previous post, weighed heavily on him as the provider.
I began to see increasingly alarming health concerns. I was feeding him well and he had made no changes to diet or exercise, yet dropped 15-20 pounds and could not get it back. He would fall asleep mid-word. I remember him rocking our baby on several occasions. I glanced over at the right moment to see our baby beginning to slip as he began to doze off. The weight of the baby dropping on his arms would jolt him awake.
I began dragging him to doctors searching for the answers to the physical symptoms he was having. We didn't get any results or leads.
Unable to find a physical answer, I began thinking about other possibilities. Over time it really began to hurt. We had 3 children in 3 years whom I was happily caring for at home. When I tucked all of the little ones in bed I really wanted to talk with my husband and find out about his day and share mine. I began to wonder if I was boring and began to take his inability to stay awake personally. "It was my fault."
That summer we needed to renew our temple recommends. As Mark met with a member of the bishopric, he mentioned during the interview that he felt we were drifting apart. With wide-eyes, the counselor immediately halted the interview and brought in the bishop in his place. Mark later recounted to me what had happened. The bishop didn't appear at all surprised by Mark's comments. He told Mark that we needed marriage counseling and gave details of the qualifications we would need in a counselor.
When Mark came home and told me I was shocked.
We don't need marriage counseling! Remember, I have it all together. I did not understand, nor did Mark; however, we heeded our bishop's recommendations and began marriage counseling. I am so grateful for our willingness to follow an inspired bishop's counsel even when we didn't agree or see it.
It was amazing how quickly things began to unravel. As we tried out several counselors without finding a good fit, Mark's physical symptoms worsened. He also began exhibiting mental health symptoms as well. As I continued to drag him to doctors, he was given the diagnosis's of bipolar II and later anxiety/depression.
His moods would fluctuate from extreme highs to extreme lows. This usually happened in about a weeks' time; however, it could literally happen in minutes too. He refused medication. Willing to support his decision, I spent hours researching other options such as diet, oils, healing modalities...most of which he refused or did not make a big enough difference quickly enough. He was unwilling to do anything to remedy it.
I was watching our perfect life unravel. I was watching from the side lines as my husband and our life fell apart. I felt so helpless and powerless. It was like I was running behind Mark trying to pick up all the pieces and stuff them back together but I couldn't keep up with it all.
Only the bishop, the counselors, and doctors we were working with knew the severity of our situation. My husband had no will to continue living. I had 3 small children to care for and I was scared.
How did we get to this place of darkness?
I was doing everything I was "suppose" to be doing. I had checked everything off my list. I had done everything right. I was an active member of the church, had been sealed in the temple, had a beautiful family. How could I have fallen into this place without any light?
Although I continued to pray and read my scriptures, I literally felt abandoned by God and completely alone and isolated. I did not understand how if He truly loved me He would allow this in my life. I was stumbling around in a thick haze and was disoriented as to which way to go.
I knew my husband wasn't okay, but I felt powerless. I tried to fix him. I thought that if only I were ____ or I did ____ it would fix it. It didn't. I didn't know what else to do or where to turn.
I was completely swallowed up and suffocating in the darkness.
My journey. Previous post HERE
My journey. Next post HERE