Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Measure of a Man

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I haven't been in much of a blogging or a blog hopping mood this past week so I thought it was time that I share why.

As I have mentioned briefly a few times in past posts my hubby has been battling various health issues. The biggie battles are with severe depression and anxiety. My strong, energetic, happy, hard working hubby has a chemical imbalance that requires that he always take something to keep balanced. The problem he ran into was that after 7 years, the medication was giving him severe headaches/migraines that were too much for him to handle. He also developed TMJ due to the side effect of clinching his teeth during his sleep from the medications. The TMJ is also severe and causes intense jaw pain on a daily basis. There is also an issue with his hearing/sound (TMJ related) and ulcers from the overwhelming stress. ALL of these things are intertwined and effect each other for the worse. My hubby tried to work these things out with the help of his doctors and counselors but, things were not improving so currently my hubby, the awesome man that he is, is seeking further support for the depression and anxiety with a treatment program. This is a VERY slow recovery and a VERY hard recovery for him and quite frankly for me. My hubby is am amazing guy and anyone who has met him knows that he is FULL of life and passion and that nothing slows him down. This has been going on for about a year and a half but, has been the hardest over the past 8 months or so.

I have never before felt called to a cause but, now more than ever I feel an overpowering desire to speak out about mental health. There are so many misconceptions about mental health but, there is also such a great need for better treatment and care for people battling their minds. I personally know so many people who live depressed on a daily basis and either don't recognize it or are afraid to admit it and get the help they need and deserve to live their life to the fullest. If any of you know someone or are personally battling depression/anxiety, etc. please know that you are not alone! Get counseling and if needed, find a temporary or permanent mediation that will bring you more balance with the help of a specialist.

I struggled with horrible depression the first 4 months of my pregnancy. I have experienced first hand how hormones can impair a person's ability to find joy. I have never had issues with depression before and I tried EVERYTHING to encourage myself to not feel the way I did and nothing helped. I remember the battle inside myself was so intense. I kept telling myself that I was stronger than the cloud hanging over me and that I could beat it but, I just couldn't. I didn't even want to share with anyone that we were pregnant because I wasn't excited about it at all... and for the record this was a VERYY wanted pregnancy so there was NO reason for me to not want to share other than I felt AWFUL. I remember to the day exactly when the cloud lifted. I woke up one morning and just felt VERY different. I immediately recognized that I felt lighter, and even happy. I hesitated to get too excited about the new feeling because I thought it might be temporary. I remember showering and expecting the cloud to come over me again at any second but, it never came back!! All this to say that I get it. I get that it is a chemical thing and that people can't just "choose to be happy," or use the "mind over matter," techniques in that state. It's more than just a bad day, week or even years.

My husband is an incredible man of God. Not a day goes by that he doesn't tell me how much he loves me or appreciates me during this challenging season. He is doing everything in his power to get himself well again and to me that is THE MEASURE OF A MAN. A man who has the strength even in weakness to do what is best for himself and his family. A man who is humble enough to admit that he needs help and yet strong enough to not let it dent his honor. A man man who leans on the Lord when he is weak and leans on those he loves instead of pushing them away in his pain. A man who doesn't try to fix it or do it all on his own when he knows he can't. A man who doesn't cast blame on others and instead excepts responsibility for his own actions. A man who is willing to share his struggles even in the face of them, with others in hope that he can help and encourage through his experiences. This truly is the measure of a man. I don't know when this "cloud"along with the other health issues are going to be a thing of the past but, I know if anyone can get through it, my husband can. We welcome your prayers and support!

We have had an outpouring of support from family, friends, our church and our neighbors. I am humbled by the love we have been shown during this season. Thank you a million times over to everyone who has reached out to us in some way or another and to everyone who is taking the extra time to stick with Joey (and me) during this long road to recovery.

I asked my hubby if he minded if I shared this and being the awesome guy that he is he gave me the green light to share because he trusts me. I'm a lucky gal to be able to blog about something so personal! One thing I know all to well is that secrets consume a person, a family and a marriage. We want to let it all hang out so to speak so that God can be given all the glory when Joey is well again. We want to be as real as we can with everyone so that we don't have to wear a mask. It is so tiring to wear a mask and if any of you are carrying one I hope you can learn to take it off and let out whatever you are holding on to. Though some will pull things out of context, we hope that this message will be well received and understood in Jesus name. If you have questions feel free to send me an e-mail. I am happy to answer any and all....don't speculate, just ask. Thanks so much friends!

We are about to celebrate 7 years of marriage on May 1st and we have been together for over 11 years now. Thanks to the Lord's constant efforts to refine us, we have a pretty solid foundation built on the rock. This season is very hard but, it is only making us stronger all praise to Jesus for that! These pictures were taken last year on our 6 year anniversary and I shared some last year but, wanted to share a few again today. I did just have a baby and it was 95 degrees out with sweltering humidity so forgive us for looking uh, moist! lol.

I love my guy to pieces! He is so handsome, funny, helpful, hard working, an awesome Daddy and my very best friend. Get well hubby so we can get back to exploring the wonders of the world together!! All my love.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7


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22 comments:

  1. thanks for being so real! your husband & family will be in my prayers! i personally have not battled with depression but i have experienced panic attacks and fear (of the mental sort) that i've had to work thru with God's help (once realizing what exactly it was that was going on). through experiencing just that i am much more sensitive to others going thru any mental/emotional battle but thankfully do know with the Lord's help ALL things are possible and His strength is always better and greater than our own. and thru walking out difficulties we are later better equipped (much to our dismay at times,lol) to help and encourage others from a 'been there, done that' way.
    again- keep doing what your doing by showing him great love support and encouragement and sending up many prayers - after all Prayer is a Powerful Weapon!!!

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  2. I know all too well about mental health...my brother is a recovering addict. He goes through really good periods as well as terrible heart wrenching periods and very few people understand - most will even say, "why can't he get his act together." It's a combination of addiction and chemical imbalance. I personally have struggled with depression too. I went on medication several years ago and felt muted. Rather than feeling the highs and lows of the day, I felt numb so I told the doctor to pull me off it. I was given a choice - either stay on the meds or significantly change your life. This was just prior to meeting my hubby - probably 6-8 months out. But I remember that work was no longer important...staying healthy and stress free was much more important. I tell you all this because you/he are not alone. Far from it and I will be praying that God stays with him through it all. I commend you for speaking out about something that most people want to sweep under the rug. :::HUGS:::

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  3. It's wonderful that you are able to share this - that says so much about your wonderful hubby. I have a little experience myself with this (thankfully not for a while) & have a best friend who battles it all the time (along with several of her family members) and it's tough b/c it's so hard to understand. The most important thing is that y'all are diligent & continue to work on it & keep God with you throughout. It sounds like you have a wonderful support group, as well, in your family & friends & it's great that you reach out to them instead of trying to do this all on your own.

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  4. I am glad you shared this with us. I have been praying for you all. Now I am able to pray specifically. He is a great hubby and dad. I am so glad you all have a great support system ((hugs))

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  5. Casey, know that you and Joey are both in my thoughts and prayers. I will be praying for you both daily and if there is ANYTHING else I could possibly do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.

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  6. Casey, I think its amazing that you can speak out and share your experiences with others. Depression is so hard to manage. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

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  7. Thanks for sharing Casey! I'm praying for you both!
    Made me think of a worship song we used to sing at my old church...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXi5iq1zAl4

    Part of my favorite lyrics are "struck down but not destroyed." We are attacked in so many ways, but with God's strength, we are not destroyed!
    Joey WILL get better and since you both are so open, when he's healed it will be to God's joy and glory!!!
    Peace and blessings :)

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  8. oh friend!
    i will be praying for you both. my sweet husband also suffers from severe anxiety and depression as well. {and i have been dealing with my fair share of depression these last 6 months or so..} i love that you were honest and real in your post. i have so enjoyed getting to know you and your family through this crazy blogging adventure. the LORD will walk you {all 3 of you} through this trial and he will be glorified in the end! let me know any specific things i can pray for you and your sweet family.
    xo,
    a

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  9. Thanks for sharing this. Your words couldnt have been anymore perfect! I will keep you guys in my prayers!

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  10. Thank you for sharing this very personal story! I think that a lot have gone through some form of depression, or will go through it in our lives. It's very real, and it takes a lot of strength to get through it. Your Husband sounds like an amazing man, and with you by his side - I am sure he'll get though this. You're family is in my prayers!
    xoxo

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  11. Thank you for sharing your heart, Casey! I love reading your blog and getting updates on your family- I will definitely be praying for you all!!!!

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  12. You are so right about all that you posted--especially how your husband trusts you to post something so personal. (Those photos are amazing, btw.)

    I'm sure that others will be able to relate (like they already have!) That alone will be a blessing for many women. :)

    Keep praying for your hubby too, God is the great physician and He hears ALL our prayers!

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  13. Your family has such strength. I have never suffered through depression, but I have many friends who have and the Lord blessed them with amazing outcomes and he'll do so with your husband. Stay strong, and know this will just be a stepping stone for future road blocks. Your family can do it! Thoughts and prayers for you guys!

    PS. Philippians 4:13 is my all time favorite. My MIL made an awesome fridge magnet that I see every morning. :)

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  14. Oh Casey, this brought tears to my eyes. What a deep, stirring testimony of God's love for you both - and of your love for Joey. Thank you for sharing without a mask and encouraging others to do the same. Mental health is not talked about very often but it's a real intense battle. I'm familiar with it with family members and sometimes it can drain so much energy. Thankfully we have our Lord to run to all the time. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Joey, may God be glorified as He heals body, mind, emotions, everything.

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  15. Oh Casey...I'm adding your husband (and your family to my prayer list right now). I haven't struggled with depression in general...but a few years ago I was on some medication long term (for nausea, dizziness), and I was SO depressed! I wasn't sad depressed, I was BLAH depressed. I needed the medicine to make the nausea go away, but I would literally sit there and just stare at the wall. I had 2 kids at the time, and just couldn't function that way. I'm so sorry he is going through this, and he sounds like an amazing husband in spite of how he is feeling. I will pray for you guys and that God may work to heal him. XOXO

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  16. Casey, I'd say these girls before me said it so well. You two obviously make an incredible team and this will open so many doors of ministry for you two, the Lord takes us thru some hard stuff but He always brings us thru the fire refined. I do and will pray for you and husband. Precious you are, and I ask the Lord to bless you beyond measure (this is how He works as you know) I love that you share it ministers to me, it does. Thank you!

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  17. Thank you for sharing your family's struggle. The past year of my life has been spent in a deep depression that I just couldn't shake. I desperately wanted to feel normal again, to be happy again, to have energy again. I just couldn't. My apathy towards everything and mental "checking out" put so much strain on my relationships with my husband and son, but they both stood by me, as you're doing for your husband, and combined with my walk with Christ through this trial, was a primary reason that I am now mentally healthy again. My heart had begun to harden during my depression...I resented how my life has changed since becoming a mother and I felt like I'd lost my identity. I often went to the bible for God's promises. Two scriptures that I personally found to be encouraging were Ezekiel 36:26 and Psalm 139: 23-24.
    I'll be praying for you and your family. Stay strong, and thank you again for sharing. No one ever talks about these things. I thought I was alone for so long. It wasn't until I spoke with my pastor and his wife and they shared their struggles that I realized this isn't a rare thing.

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  18. My heart goes out to you and your family; I, too, have struggled with depression, as have several members of my immediate family. Thank you for sharing your story so openly and honestly; I'm always available via email if you ever want to talk. Sending you lots of virtual hugs!

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  19. My best friend has mental health issues and I absolutely hate to hear people say things like "they just need to choose to be happy" or anything of that nature. She would LOVE to be happy and well, but it's a struggle. Thank you for sharing this and being so honest. I'm praying for y'all and I know that the Lord will lead y'all through this...stronger than ever y'all will be!

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  20. I'll keep Joey in my prayers. Joey is a great guy and I know that from what I remember of him and what you share. I pray this trial will come to pass quickly. You guys are such a beautiful family and I love to see the support you give to each other. It can't be easy for either of you but it seems that you are both leaning on each other and God and doing all the right things. It does say A LOT that he is willing to be open about it and willing to get help. It's not his fault, and it's good that he knows that. Love your family lots!

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  21. Dropping by to say hi and thinking of you. I hope and pray you continue to feel uplifted by friends and family Casey & Joey.

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  22. Thank you so much for writing about your husband's struggle. And thank you to him for letting you! I've struggled with and still struggle with depression almost daily. Some days are ok and others are just downright miserable. Depression is such a difficult illness to live with and manage. Thank goodness for medications and counselors and doctors and great family and friends. I too, was terribly depressed the first trimester of my pregnancy (and had bad post-partum depression as well.) I felt awful to feel so sad at a time when I should have felt so happy.
    God is with you and your family, carrying you through this. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
    (And, happy almost 7th anniversary! May 1st is our anniversary as well. Seven years too! :0)
    Hugs!!

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