Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

Today’s Up Close guest post is by Sunny Smart. She is a stay at home mom with four wonderful, hilarious kiddos and one hard-working, good-natured husband. She has battled depression at various times in her life and to varying degrees. She wanted to share her story so that others who suffer silently and alone might feel a little more normal, a little more understood, and a lot less ashamed. The stigma associated with depression can be as debilitating as the disease itself, often leading toward isolation and away from needed help. Sunny’s hope in sharing her story is twofold: One, that a few more bricks might crumble from the walls that keep so many suffering in loneliness and, two, that those who might not be able to feel God’s love in the darkness might be able to recognize some of the ways He is ever feeling after them.

The blackness had been steadily closing in. I hadn’t been up to help the children get ready for school all year. I could barely muster the courage to emerge from the bedroom when my husband left for work and the little ones had to be tended to. I walked around in a daze, wishing the day would pass so I could return to the blankness of sleep. I was volatile. A spilled bowl of cereal might send me into a rage that terrified me as much as the children. Or I might drop to the floor and weep, feeling that this moment encompassed my entire life, that things would never get better. The walls were closing in. I couldn’t breathe. I wished I had never breathed.

And yet, to the outside world, even to my closest friends, I was the vision of happiness. I could always be counted on for a joke, a laugh, a good time. I was the life of the party. No one knew how carefully I had to plan and meter my energy so as not to break down in the middle of an outing or social event. My resources were limited. I had to be careful not to tax the fragile, paper-thin facade I worked so carefully to construct.

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