This week at Velvet Ashes we’ve dared to tread into the dark places. We’ve been talking about valleys, because we know so many of us are there.
Back in November during our launch week, Danielle Krouch wrote a stirring post called, “Letting Go of Being Okay.” In response to her words, there was an outpouring of ladies who said, “Yeah, I’m NOT okay too.”
This week has been about continuing that conversation. And what better way than to ask our beloved Danielle Krouch to come back and share with us? Today Danielle is here being brave and open about her journey with depression. She’s brave because she’s showing up without a happy ending. She’s here saying, “I’m in the midst of the valley now.”
Danielle, can you tell us about when you first realized depression was something you struggle with?
After I had my first baby, I went through what I thought were post-partum “blues.” Looking back, I can say that it was depression and I didn’t have any support at all to get me through it, because I didn’t even know what I was experiencing wasn’t normal!
In your post “Letting Go of Being Okay,” you talked about going through the depths for several years., and then coming out of that. What helped you come out of those depths?
We went on our home assignment last year, and although we had to deal with the severe illness of our newborn, I walked away from our eight months at home refreshed. Stepping out of the many things that caused me daily stress significantly reduced my lows.
It had been five years since we had taken an extended break and we had been through transition after transition through those years. We moved to Cambodia, to China, and back to Cambodia. We had two babies and one was on the way. Our team had seen significant change and my role went from regular teacher to being the spouse of a country director. I was burnt out, and I was trying to thrive in a country that wasn’t my first love.
Back in the United States, I was able to attend church and not have to run after my babies in a hot room. I spent time with family; people who have known me the longest and whom I didn’t need to explain myself to. Most importantly, my husband and I were able to work on some things and had great discussions about our work, family, and marriage.
How has living overseas affected your struggle with depression?
Living overseas exaggerated any struggle I had before. Things I could handle pretty well in the States, although not perfectly, blew up once I got into life here. Loneliness, doubts, self-criticism, and fear started to get a bigger grip on me. Once married, I expected many of these to disappear, but things actually got worse. I thought my husband would be that ever-present voice of affirmation, and although he’s a great guy, that just didn’t happen. Being the leader’s wife can also be isolating. I felt out of place everywhere.
Where would you describe yourself at right now?
After our home assignment, I felt like my tank was full. I could handle things really well. Our house was robbed and a week later our house flooded during a torrential downpour. Through this, I felt calm. I thought, “Wow, maybe those depths are gone? Maybe I’ve learned to actually live here?”
As the months passed, the lows started to creep back in. In January, I finally had to admit to my husband that I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to get support and counsel and it wasn’t going to happen here.
It was the hardest decision I have had to make. The ramifications are seemingly endless. We know, though, that for my health, for our marriage and for our family, that we need to take a step back, regroup and get the right kind of help–no more just getting by. For the last five years I haven’t been able to determine if my lows are because of shifting hormones from having babies, or living in Cambodia, or thyroid issues…I am on the quest for help now. I believe we are meant to thrive, and it’s been a long time since I have felt that way.
What do you wish people understood about depression?
I always viewed depression as not being able to function or get out of bed in the morning. There are days when I do wish that I could stay in bed and not face the demands, but with three kids and our work here, I have to be functional. That takes a lot of energy, which doesn’t leave me with much left over. I have days where I cry all the time, and others where I find myself laughing with great joy. It’s the oddest thing.
I would like to tell people that it’s not something you can just try harder to get over. It’s deeper than that. As I’ve tried to explain it to my husband, I have said that I don’t want to be this way. I know something is wrong; I just don’t know how to fix it.
How can the Velvet Ashes community pray for you?
Please pray that I’d be able to find the right help. We have a lot of changes in the coming months, and it’s quite overwhelming to think about. Pray that Christ would be my sustainer and that I would not be swept under with worry.
Danielle, thank you. Thank you for the way you’ve shared your story today. You didn’t show up with answers, you came in vulnerability, letting us into your valley. And now everyone struggling in their own dark times will be comforted knowing, “I am not alone.”
You have our prayers, friend.
What a gift Danielle’s story is. May we receive and hold it tenderly.
It’s your turn now. Time to respond to her story and to offer up your own story, your thoughts, your art on the prompt “Valley.” Your valley may be labeled “depression” or maybe not. Regardless, we’re here to gather, to share and to love.
There is a time and place for advice, for suggestions and resources, but that time and place isn’t here today. We humbly ask that you share those with us in the comments of yesterday’s post. Today is simply about being with each other.
(For those with a happy ending story of a valley now in your past, we do want to hear those!)
Here’s how to share with us:
- You can share with us in the comments, if you don’t have a blog of your own. We have the amazing ability to post images in our comments! So post images of your art and/or share your words there.
- If you write a comment, please avoid copying and pasting from Word as this will publish a lot of junk computer code. It’s best to type it directly into the comment box.
- If you have a blog, write or make art based on the prompt and join the link-up!
- Be sure to add the Velvet Ashes link (https://velvetashes.com/the-grove-valley/) to your blog post.
- Please select the permalink from your post (so not your blog’s url,www.daniellenotyetthere.blogspot.com but your post url:http://www.daniellenotyetthere.blogspot.com/2013/11/todays-day.html)
- Click on the blue “Add your link” button below to add your blog post to this page.
- It will walk you through selecting which image you want to show up in the linky.
- Then your picture and link will show up below!
- Then be sure to go visit other’s sites and share some comment love! It’s the rule. We applaud brave hearts!