Finding Light in Dark Places


About two weeks ago it happened, again: I found myself crumpled on the floor sobbing with everything in me. A bottle of Z-Quil sat on my desk, standing tall and mocking me in every way. I knew in my heart of hearts that it wouldn’t do any good, knew that it wasn’t what I really wanted.

But sometimes the most desperate times make you consider desperate measures.

There was no point, I told myself over and over again. No point, no point, no point, my mind screamed. Besides, Dillon was on his way, that sweet man who has seen me through so much and has chosen to stay with me through it all: the ugly crying, the feminist rants, the meltdowns and breakdowns and the I can’t-do-this-any-more tantrums.

Tonight was one of those nights. I couldn’t do this anymore, couldn’t handle fighting the same battles day after day. You see, a large part of my life involves empowering women in contexts that are doing just the opposite. I spend my days blogging about feminism, promoting women’s inclusion in churches, or teaching people about these topics among others, and although I love it at my core, to be honest it also drains me, exhausts me, and some days even leaves me sobbing on the floor an ugly, weepy mess.

Additionally, I am weekly working through past experiences with my therapist, and then there’s also those hereditary chemical imbalances I was born with. To sum it all up: depression is a relentless son of a bitch.

Some days are better than others, and I do think my mental illness is getting better over time. Seeing a counselor has helped immensely, and more than that I’ve found relief through a tiny, pink pill—one a day, every day. It’s still a battle, though, and some days it’s the most difficult one to fight. I’ve learned over time that it takes so much: setting healthy boundaries, asking for help, and most of all leaning on other people (of which I am simply the worst). I’ve always been an independent soul, a believer of pulling yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps kind of girl. This is the heart of feminism, right? I’m a strong woman through and through, and I don’t need anyone to save me.

Lean in close, loves, for I’ve got a little secret to share with you: I might not need anyone to save me, but there certainly is beauty to be found in confiding in and leaning on other people.

Some of my greatest healing has come from a sweet friend sitting across the table from me. Once, my friend took my hands in her, looked me right in the eyes, and told it to me straight: I’ve been exactly where you are right now. I was extremely depressed in high school, and sometimes my thoughts were beyond disturbing.

Oftentimes I’ve found the best sort of healing comes from someone simply relating to us from a pure and honest place.

Some of my greatest hope has come from the words of my precious, loving boyfriend. The nights are endless now that have seen us curled on the couch, sitting on my kitchen floor, or sobbing in some other unpredictable space and his simple, validating words falling fresh and hopeful upon my ears: ​I’m going to get through this with you. I’m here. I’m always here.

Learning the art of leaning on other people has grown me in various ways. It has reminded me how to believe in myself again, and it’s brought me hope and healing and all sorts of restoration. It’s humbled me an incredible amount, forcing me to admit that I don’t always have it all together, and it’s taught me that, no matter how hopeless I feel some days, hope will always be found in friends such as these.

Friends who are there for you.

Friends who will grasp your hands across the table from you.

Friends, or in my case an out-of-this-world boyfriend, who will sit with you on the floor in the midst of your pain and darkness.

Depression is a relentless son of a bitch.
But healing can come, dear heart. Hope is shining bright in the midst of it all. It takes courage to lean on other people, to admit that you can’t do it alone and that you’re drowning, drowning, drowning. It is terrifying to open yourself up to another trustworthy soul, to show them your ugly crying nights and your dark, depressed days. It’s difficult, but I promise: it is worth it.

Lauren Ward
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8 thoughts on “Finding Light in Dark Places

  1. It’s a scary thing when people complain about being old and then say, “well, it’s better than the alternative” and you’re not sure you agree.

    • So true, Carol! It helps to know that other people feel that way too, though.

  2. Lauren,

    I agree, “the best sort of healing comes through someone relating to us from a pure and honest place.” That is why I believe the Christian market needs more raw, open-wounded memoirs, because it’s the comfort through those who have been afflicted that aids in the healing process.

    I, too, have been through severe anxiety and depression and wrote a post about it on my blog titled “tie me to you.” I write the hardest things I have been through because people need to know they have sisters. Real, flesh and blood, desperate, broken sisters that will stand with them, fall with them, cry broken with them and crawl to the cross with them.

    Much love,

  3. There’s so much wisdom here – especially in healing coming from an honest place. And yes – depression is a relentless son of a bitch. Amen to that, sister.

  4. Yes, depression is a relentless sob. However, I have learned something new from a Teacher. She says that when we know that feeling is coming on, when we just know, as sure as we’re alive, that the creepy fingers of dp are coming on the porch of our mind, our natural tendency is to tense up, to be and act scared. What if we lean into the feeling for a short time, just a little, explore it, reach around in the velvet bag and feel what’s in there, breathe in and out, and remove our hand from the the bag… and realize that we are still breathing (AMAZING!). Getting to know the dp (not taking a mud-bath in it, to explore it a little, may just leave us free of the anxiety, and I don’t know about you, but I can deal with one emotion a lot more easily than with two or more. (See: The Places that Scare You, Pema Chodron) A blessing! Mary Ellen

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