Finding Hope In Dark Times

“The ones who bring great joy often know great pain.” -Jamie Tworkowski, Founder of the non-profit To Write Love On Her Arms

If the tragic loss of Robin Williams hits close to home, you are not alone. One in three Americans struggles with mental illness and depression.  I lost a high school friend, a close colleague lost his Dad, a friend at church lost her son and just last year Pastor Rick Warren shared his heartbreak after losing his son Matthew to suicide.  

I can relate to that kind of pain. I too suffer from mild depression. It only strikes a couple times a year but when it does, it’s awful.  I’ve had it for years and when I’m in it, I can understand what it may be like to live with this every day.  It is such a lonely dark place that many either don’t want to talk about it or don’t know how. Talking publicly about mental illness today is what talking about breast cancer was 30 years ago.  It’s still a taboo subject but maybe it doesn’t have to be.  Maybe this can be the beginning of a conversation for thousands who struggle and those who care for them.

God has helped me through some tough times, but when I can’t hear from Him directly, I find that I can hear His love and support through my friends and family. I feel as though I need an army of people who care and love me to lift me up when I can’t lift myself.  I find HOPE with my church ladies who pray for me, I find HOPE from a counselor who has known me and my family for years, I find HOPE from my husband who will take the kids off my hands when I’m feeling blue, I find HOPE in a friend who will just listen and hug me though it and I find HOPE with my Mom who loves me unconditionally.

I don’t know what kind of support team Robin Williams had but I do know he was a beautiful light that was loved and will be missed tremendously.

“Let us honor Robin by celebrating the joy he brought to our lives and promise to take more time to reflect on ours and our neighbors’ struggles.  Let us pray that we may never again lose such a wonderful life in such a heart wrenching way.”   ~ Dr. Ted Baehr

Love,

Ana

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness there is HOPE.  Don’t go through it alone. Reach out and talk to a friend, a parent, co-worker or if nothing else, someone is standing by to take your call at National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and talk about whatever is on your heart.

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  1. Kito posted on 08/13/2014 12:21 PM
    I suffer from Bi-polar, manic depression, it hard to keep things running. I depend on Jesus to help me make it through the day. I am depressed most days. I am lonely every day.
    1. Leslie posted on 08/13/2014 12:30 PM
      @Kito Do you feel lonely even when you are with family and friends? Are there certain situations that make the loneliness worse? My daughter seems to feel the same way most days.
      Thanks for sharing!
    2. JaniceB_4 posted on 08/21/2014 07:19 AM
      @Kito Thank you for sharing your feelings about Bi-polor disorder. It is so encouraging to know that God is always there beside us to help us through those tough times! I have lived with loved ones who have been diagnosed with that as well, for the last 24yrs. It is also nice to know that there are healthcare professionals who can also help to stabilize the chemical imbalance, which allows them to live life without the dramatic ups/downs as well as improve coping mechanisms. I am sorry you feel lonely...please know you are not alone. God is always there, and HE can put people in your life to help fill the void. Continue to get in His word, listen to uplifting music like on 105.3, and get connected with a good church family who also may also have support groups. I don't know where you live, but Champion Centre has locations in Tacoma and Bellvue. God Bless You!. :)
  2. Jen posted on 08/13/2014 12:38 PM
    Thank you for sharing this, Ana...Mr. Williams was indeed a very bright light - he brought so many others a tremendous amount of joy. SO MANY people suffer from depression. I can't stand it when people judge others by what they look like and say "they have all the money in the world" or "they have such a perfect life, so what are they complaining about having depression? Suck it up!" That is horrible! Depression is not a choice to simply "get over it" - it is usually a chemical imbalance that even when treated with medications to help the imbalance does not always work, and never right away. With time though, the right medications and dosage can be found and work! As a RN, I am blessed to work with many different people with many different mental illnesses. Until our government and other medical insurance companies recognize mental illness treatment should be covered with medication AND counseling support, including depression, bipolar, and other diagnoses, there will continue to be a stigma associated with it - this is part of the problem that many people do not ask for help and so they suffer in silence until it is too late. The more that well-known people in society come forward publicly, the more the "average" citizen will share and ask for help, too. Please share your struggle with someone else - who knows, they might be going through the same thing. Blessings for you all.
    1. Ana K posted on 09/11/2014 08:30 AM
      @Jen Amen Jen!! I could not have said it better or agree more. :))

      ~Ana
  3. MargieK_2 posted on 08/13/2014 01:54 PM
    Thank you Ana for being so open.
    I too suffer from depression, as well as anxiety. I know too well the feeling of that dark and fearful place depression puts you in. If it was not for two wonderful friends from church willing to listen to me and help me find medical help, I do not know if I would still be here. My church and family have been a huge help, as I continue to struggle through this complex maze of medical and spiritual help. Though I do not feel the Lord with me as much as I would like as I go through this difficult season, I am learning by faith (not by feelings or sight) he is there with me. I pray he is allowing me to go through this storm/fire, so that I may be transformed into someone the Lord will use to help others in this situation.
    1. Ana K posted on 09/11/2014 08:36 AM
      @MargieK_2 Thank you for sharing your struggle Margie.....someone will read this and know hey are not alone. That is the first step to fighting this.....being seen, then having a friend that listens and helps you when you are In a dark place is so important. God is with you always and he is already transforming you to help others. Just saying what you did here is doing more good than you know. Keep fighting my sister in Christ!

      God bless you Margie...I'm rooting for you!! :)))

      Hugs,
      Ana
  4. HopeFound posted on 08/13/2014 02:23 PM
    One of the medical providers I work for had this comment for his patients suffering from depression that wanted to end their lives:

    "Please remember," he would say, "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." "This problem, however short or long in your life, will be just a small blip on your life's radar screen when you look back on it. If you do this, you can NEVER take it back, and your loved ones will be left to always wonder 'why'".

    I add that we all need to remember that even when the times are the toughest and the bleakest and we don't know HOW we will get through it, "He will NEVER, EVER give us ANYthing we cannot handle." Wow...sometimes hard to believe that in the middle of turmoil, but He gave it to ME because he knew I CAN handle it. Thanks, Lord, for that promise! I MUST keep that in the forefront of my mind.
    1. Ana K posted on 09/11/2014 08:38 AM
      @HopeFound Thank you HopeFound! You are spreading love and hope to others through your words. BEAUTIFUL!

      ~Ana
  5. Ceci posted on 08/13/2014 03:06 PM
    Thank you, Ana. I know people who are reeling from Robin Williams' death. I've heard the feeling that "if he can't make it, who can?" When I read the outpouring of love and admiration for this man, I think of my brother. He shot himself 11/05/98. He felt like he didn't have any true friends. He didn't feel loved. I wish he could have seen his funeral and read the comments in the guest book -- before he did it. Maybe he still wouldn't have been able to feel how much he was loved -- adored, in my case -- but maybe some of it would have slipped passed the walls of unworthiness and depression. I wonder if Robin couldn't believe how much he was loved.

    I will remember this in my dark times, the times I can understand something of how my brother felt. (I'll never understand completely since childhood abuse and a tour of duty in Vietnam were contributors.) And I'll remember Robin. And I'll try to hold on to the fact that I am loved by A LOT of people even though I don't feel it. Yes, I know God loves me more than any human could, but I need someone with skin on when I'm in the darkness.
    1. Ana K posted on 09/11/2014 08:42 AM
      @Ceci So true Cici we need earthly arms of comfort and words of love from our family and friends. In times were it is dark.... it's essential true friends and family push to hug those struggling with this illness and be aggressive about loving on them. We who struggle with depression can't see what we truly need.

      Thank you for your words of love and affirmation Ceci.

      God bless you friend!

      ~Ana
  6. KarB posted on 08/13/2014 04:28 PM
    Thank you all for sharing on Robin Wiliams. I pray he knew the Lord but bipolar (mental illness) is crippling. I have a niece who is bipolar and she is on meds that have to be monitored regularly as it's a constant battle changing the amount to take. She has highs and lows that are extreme at times. Ptl she has family to help her thru this, and God's family supporting her. She will be 44 this year, has 3 sons but not w/ her, but is in contact w/. Ptl! It's been more difficult this past year as 2 are in military, 1 in Afganistan now. He's the youngest, 20.
    God bless you all and we are the family of God and can pray for one another, the Lord knows all about us but want us to go to Him daily, all day, any time, He's there to listen. Ptl!
    1. Ana K posted on 09/11/2014 08:44 AM
      @KarB Amen. Thank you for those words of love KarB. We are praying for your niece.

      xoxox

      ~Ana
  7. Neidi posted on 08/14/2014 07:20 AM
    I have Complex PTSD, DID from an extremely abusive childhood, my husband was diagnosed about three years ago as Hypomanic. He has been having problems with his boss at work ever since he was hired into that area 1 1/2 years ago. It has now escalated to the point that they have given him written notice that unless he completes a list of jobs to his bosses satisfaction it will be cause for a "discussion to terminate" him from the company he has worked for for the last 25 years. The stress he is under is effecting his disability and he's getting sick again. His doctor says there is a difference between having a disability and being disabled so he doesn't seen my husband as meeting the requirements for disability at this point. We had $23,000 in medical bills last year, so we have no savings and a lot of debt and now we could be without income in two weeks. Don't know where to turn or who might help us. Just praying my brains out and wishing I was dead. God forgive me.
    1. KellyK_9425 posted on 08/14/2014 12:46 PM
      @Neidi Please remember that God will NEVER give you anything you can't handle. You may not see His plan yet, but you soon will! For some reason, God knows that you both can handle this, and you MUST remember that as He takes care of the sparrow, how much more He will take care of you! "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you!" Phil 4:6 - "Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything; tell God your needs..." Remember to look back on your life, see where you've been and those struggles you thought were so hard to handle at the time. He brought you out of the darkness! He will continue to do so as long as you lean on Him and not on your own understanding. "Yeah, though I WALK THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death"---He didn't say "Yeah though I STAND AND STOP in the valley", he said "WALK THROUGH"! Keep walking! And as my mom always says, "Keep your chin up!" Prayers for you...
    2. Ana K posted on 09/11/2014 09:02 AM
      @Neidi Oh Neidi...God forgives you and loves you. I know it's hard to see in the dark but He is there holding you up. I think God does give us more than we can handle sometimes but it's why we need Him. We cannot go through it on our own strength. We NEED HIM and He wants us to depend on HIM for all things. "I can do all things through God who strengthens me." Continue to reach and to Him. WE love you, see you and your husband. And we are praying for healing and light to beam into your heart and life.

      God bless you and your family Neidi....we are in this with you!

      Ana
  8. linda posted on 08/16/2014 07:37 AM
    My father-in-law 45 yrs. ago committed suicide. We have family with b-polar. We have families with p.s.t.

    God is our strength, hope, and His loving Arms are surrounding our family each moment of the day.
    1. Ana K posted on 09/11/2014 09:05 AM
      @linda Thank you Linda for sharing what must be painful for you and you family to endure. God is faithful and good. He loves us and will not leave our side.

      We are praying for you and your family Linda. You are an amazing strong women of faith.

      Hugs and blessings friend,

      ~Ana
  9. TinaK_3 posted on 08/20/2014 02:11 PM
    I cant even begin what it would feel like to be this depressed to take your own life. I agree that be kind to everyone, you never know what someone is dealing with. I suffer from depression and havent reached out to God per say. Somtimes with all the things I have done dont think I am worthy to be forgiven. But I do know I love people and try to remember everyone has some type of struggles. Robin Williams will be missed. He a a legend in comedy and my heart goes out to his family. I pray for peace, love and tenderness to everyone who is needing help in one way or another. God is good. I need to remember that myself.
    1. Ana K posted on 09/11/2014 09:13 AM
      @TinaK_3 Tina you are forgiven for all of it through Christ. No matter the sin. That is what Jesus' death was for...for us and all our brokenness. Depression is an affliction... you have done nothing wrong. It is a chemical imbalance that comes from this fallen world. God is our strength and shield. He wants us to depend on Him for everything. He will bring you comfort in your darkest times. Continue to trust. Also, don't; go this alone. My hope is that you have friends or family there to help you through the times you can't feel God's arms around you. Love and peace to you Tina. ~Ana

      "No Christian is left to face sickness and sorrow alone. God said to His children in Israel, As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." Isaiah 66:13
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