Break. Down. Part 1.

Friday, July 17th, 2015

It was one year ago this weekend that my life took a turn for the worse.  Although I was aware that I wasn’t in a great place mentally, I had no idea how fragile I was.

I’ve alluded to my breakdown a couple of times here on this blog.  I think I still feel some trepidation to put it out there.  Probably shame.  Embarrassment.  What will people think of me?  Will I look weak?  Will I lose my credibility?

In the end, I know that keeping things hidden in the dark feeds the shame.  So it’s something I’ve tried to be transparent about slowly but surely over the last year.shame


But here, here on this blog – well, I’ve wondered where is the perfect balance?  I desire to share deep with you.  Primarily because I want you to know that you aren’t alone.  And I also know that there are some details that not everyone needs to be privy to.  Do you know what I mean?

I’ll start with a little back story – I think I’ve always been susceptible to depression.  It’s a family thing.  I’ve known what I needed to do to ward it off.  Primarily exercise.

Enter babe numero tres.

It wasn’t the easiest of pregnancies.  I think I was sick up until I pushed the little guy out of my body 2 days before his due date.  And that’s when things got really hard.  Baby Norman didn’t breathe well.  He had transient tachypnea.  People, I was in labor for maybe an hour.  It was so quick and so painful.  And the little guy just didn’t get those sweet baby lungs flushed out before he was delivered.

Before I knew it, Norman was next door in the hospital (I had delivered him across the street at the birthing center) and my Doula drove me over hours after my labor to be with him.  I was in shock.  And guess what else it was – Traumatic with a capital T.  We were expecting a sweet {and cheap} delivery at the birthing center.  We would be home within four hours so that our family could be together and live happily ever after.  But four hours later, we were in the NICU.  It was prison.  I hated it.  I wanted to go home with my baby.  And I needed to be with my other babies.

And that we did a couple of days later.  Yet it messed me up.  I became hyper-vigilant and worried excessively about baby Norman.  It didn’t help that he, as our pediatrician said, was born at the wrong time of year and had scary (for me) illnesses during his first year of life including RSV and type II influenza.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I had more and more difficulty keeping up.  I became more anxious.  I started experiencing anger like I’d never experienced it before.  I started getting migraines after exercise.  I started having difficulty sleeping.  It’s as if I couldn’t slow down.  The sleep deprivation finally got the best of me.  And I was a total wreck.  Jason left for Every Man’s Battle and I called my parents in a total panic.

The next couple of weeks were really difficult.  I was ridden with anxiety.  I was waiting for the medication the doctor gave me to kick in.  I was one big fear-ball.

And I asked God – “Why?  Why have you allowed this to happen?  Isn’t dealing with anorexia and an adulteress husband quite enough for one soul?  Why this?”

It reminded me of my “Whys” some twelve years ago.  In fact, that might be where you are at today.  Asking why.

I’ll be back in a couple of days with Part 2.  In the meantime, what comes to mind that you’ve kept hidden in the dark?  Because, let’s be honest, we all do this.  It’s our default setting.  Living in freedom and in the light – that’s not near as natural.

10 thoughts on “Break. Down. Part 1.

  1. Kelly

    July 18, 2015  |  06:13 pm

    I believe there is healing when you share your dark moments with others. This journey has been hell but through it all when I can take a step back and look, I see God’s hand in it all. Although I feel so alone at times I know I am not. Thank you for sharing Shelley.

    • rlforwomen

      July 21, 2015  |  02:52 am

      Thank you Kelly! I feel SO encouraged by you guys on this blog. I am so appreciative of you taking the time to write. xo-Shelley

  2. caroline

    July 19, 2015  |  01:23 am

    Thank God that’s out there.

    Shelly, there is tremendous pressure in christian circles to behave as though we — USED to have problems…but now that we’re all fixed up we can safely share our story (our OLD story that is) in order to be a good example for others to follow.

    Only problem is it’s not reality, and its not biblical.

    The pressure is there for everybody, but it’s especially true for leaders, and when you stand up and reach out, that’s what your seen as, even if you are not an ordained “minister” in the proper sense. You start to feel that, yes, you will somehow lose your credibility if you’re still having rough spots. I’ve seen this even in our small home group of less than 12 people!

    Its funny, but back when I first read you were pregnant with baby #3 I began to pray for you and Jason, but not knowing specifically why. I just had this circling concern that you might believe a lie that it wasn’t okay for YOU to struggle…with anything. Where would you go to be weak when your life situation has set you up to be the strong ones that “made it through” ?

    I have a tiny number of women looking to me, and still it is a tremendous temptation to smooth over my difficulties and frame them in vague and decidedly past tense language. I can just imagine the attacks you must get from the devil.

    Hear this my brave lady: We are strongest when at our weakest, because only weak people can see their desperate need of HIS perfect strength.

    I love you, and I love your story, even with all its ugly parts…even the chapters that haven’t been written yet. YOUR honesty and broken-ness has been used by God to create an incredible ministry to men, women, and by association, children. I have read Worthy o.H.T and with all due respect to both author and co author, without you there’s no story at all.

    Please use this blog for support! We all love you so much, and some of us might even have a few loaves and couple of fish that could be multiplied miraculously.

    • rlforwomen

      July 21, 2015  |  02:51 am

      Caroline, your words here did something deep inside my heart. Thank you for speaking truth to me and for allowing me to feel safe in sharing some of my more dark and tender moments. Thank you for your prayers and your words of encouragement. As I’ve said before, some day – I hope to meet you. Much love, Shelley

  3. Lollie

    July 19, 2015  |  04:31 am

    Ugh… I have been plagued with the “whys” the past couple of days. I told my counselor I feel like I’ve wasted all my twenties on my husband! But the truth is that I was very unhealthy myself. What I need to bring out is that I was physically abusive to my husband for the first half of our marriage. I was extremely critical and I was always ready for a fight. I would create things to fight about because I needed the constant chaos. Through the pain of finding out about my husband’s adultery, I am finally understanding what it means to completely surrender to God. We’ve had a couple of hard days and I want to revert back and explode again. But God is changing me and replacing my fear with love. Love for myself! Thanks for sharing!

    • rlforwomen

      July 21, 2015  |  02:48 am

      Wow Lollie! It sounds like God is really refining you during this process. It’s a joy for me to hear that you are taking something so bad and allowing it to be something that in the end, will make you a better you. Keep going! xo-Shelley

  4. Heiti

    July 19, 2015  |  08:15 pm

    Thanks for being vulnerable with us! Your sharing is powerful.

    • rlforwomen

      July 21, 2015  |  02:47 am

      Thank you dear friend! I feel clothed and comforted.

  5. Heidi

    July 22, 2015  |  04:54 am

    Shelley,Your personal struggles and your willingness to share vulnerably are a bold example for others of God’s work, in you and through you. I love your openness and find it so refreshing. It helps me recognize the importance of light–bringing light into dark and secretive issues brings healing. I’m learning that from your bold example. I’m very sorry for your struggles and I am extremely grateful for your sharing. Think of it as a gift to the rest of us looking in on your situation. And maybe somehow we can reciprocate by empathizing with you and supporting you as you are encouraging and supporting us.
    In gratefulness, Heidi

    • rlforwomen

      July 22, 2015  |  09:20 pm

      Thank you Heidi! I feel so loved and encouraged by the responses here. I feel like I can push through and post the next installment of my break down. It feels SO good when I realize that I am not alone. We are not alone. Life is messy, we are fragile, support and encouragement is so important. Thank you for helping me feel comforted and loved! xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.