Most of you know that I was married to a wonderful man. He was super talented, really good looking, and funny to the core. He was much smarter than I was. And he had so many gifts.
I really struggled because I was madly in love with him and tried everything I could to help get him sober. Of course, none of it worked which is the sad truth about loving somebody with addiction.
But during our marriage, I found myself very depressed. Before our wedding day, I was a very bubbly, very confident person. But addiction steals your joy, and it beats you down.
It takes all your vulnerabilities, all your shame, everything that you feel insecure about, and it shines a spotlight on them. It harps on them, and it uses them against you because addiction is just awful like that.
The whole thing about being married to somebody who constantly places drugs, pornography, gambling, or alcohol above you is that it can make you feel very depressed and unworthy.
The unpredictability of loving somebody when you don’t know if they're going to be high or drunk or go off the wagon can also make you feel anxious.
You're constantly waiting for that other shoe to drop. That is a place of tension we live in most hours of the day because addiction becomes our obsession. It becomes one of the only things we think about. All thoughts lead back to the road of addiction.
Is the person I love going to get sober?
What does my future look like?
What about the future of my children?
Is my relationship ever going to get better?
Depression and anxiety typically go hand in hand with loving somebody with this disease.
Now, here’s what I want to tell you. First and foremost, there's no shame in this. Welcome to the club. We understand. We get it fully and completely.
And I really want you to understand that you're not a victim here. You don’t have to remain stuck in depression and anxiety. Just because you're feeling that way today doesn’t mean that you're going to be feeling that way three weeks from now. There are lots of actionable steps you can take.
The obvious things you can do are prayer, yoga, and meditation. I've even heard some people talk about essential oils. There is also therapy. Or you can join the Love Over Addiction program and get into our secret Facebook group.
All of those options are very tangible. Get out there and serve or join a small group.
We have thousands of women from all over the world, and we tend to attract the type of women who say, “Michelle, just give me the steps. I’m ready to do it. Say the word, and I’m there.”
If you're that type of woman who has done all of those things and you're still left feeling anxious and depressed, there is no harm and no shame in talking to your doctor about medication.
I think a lot of us feel there is a stigma around mental health, and we feel like we can’t ask for help because it means we’re weak, we’re not praying enough, or we’re not capable enough. There is no shame in taking medication if it helps you for a season (or many seasons) of your life.
I did this. I took medication for depression and anxiety for two years. And it helped me tremendously. As soon as I was on medication, I remember thinking, “Why haven’t I started this earlier?”
For me, it wasn't about feeling joyful every day. When you start taking medication, it's not like you wake up feeling happy, blissful, and high all day long. It brings you back to center. It brings you back to baseline. That's what the medication did for me.
I was having panic attacks. And I remember sitting on my couch when the very first attack that happened to me. I was watching an episode of Friends, and I remember thinking, “Why is my heart beating so quickly? Ok, slow it down, slow it down.”
It was weird. I could breathe, but I felt like I couldn’t catch my next breath. My hands started sweating. I just could not get it together. And I remember calling my mom (because my husband was out on a binge and the kids were asleep and saying, “I don’t know what’s going on here.”
That’s the thing about panic attacks. Sometimes you can actually think clearly. Sometimes you can talk to people, but you just you cant catch that breath. And sometimes panic attacks can be much worse. That evening was when I started to notice something was off and I needed help.
So I wanted to let you know there is no shame. We need to stop that way of thinking and get help. You are in a stressful situation. You are in an abnormal relationship with somebody.
Right now you need to armor up with all the tools that you possibly can. And if medication is one of those tools that you need, there is absolutely no judgment here.
If you're feeling depressed and anxious, and you’ve tried everything on that list, go talk to your doctor. Make an appointment. Make your mental health a priority.
And if you haven’t joined us yet, our programs are part of the toolbox you need to get out of this rut and surround yourself with women who get it.
We understand, and we have specific and real tips that will get you feeling better if they get sober or not. So take the courageous step today and join us.