How blessed and grateful I am. I truly have had a remarkable life.
This is not a perspective I had during the darkest and most difficult moments. But as I reflect on my life and my struggles, I can say confidently that because of God’s grace, the life I have is remarkable.
Chronic headaches began when I was a teenager, and depression wasn’t too far behind, although it is only in hindsight that I know I was living with depression. It’s clear to me now too, that how I felt was not normal. I remember thinking, “This is how everyone must feel about life. They’re just stronger than me.”
I didn’t have an official diagnosis until many years later, and when it happened, depression would grab onto me like quicksand in the desert, and seemed to pull me down no matter how much I fought and resisted. It always gave me same the feeling of despair and doom: There is no way out.
It didn’t help that I have always had high expectations for myself, and tend to be a perfectionist. Not accomplishing what I set out to do would cause me to say the F-word a lot: Failure. I got caught up in my own world of self-destructive thinking and behavior, believing that how I saw myself must be what everyone else saw too. I’ve never been in actual quicksand, but that’s what my negative self-talk, thinking, and depression felt like. Quicksand.
The only way out was to ask someone to help me. But that was like using the F-word again. How could I be such a failure? I couldn’t get out of this on my own? What’s wrong with me?
How ironic then, it seemed, to be in television news for 20 years, and an anchor for most of those years. I had a job to do, in front of a camera. To deliver the news—many times depressing news. And I had to put on a fresh face and be professional, regardless of how down or gloomy I was feeling. Despite my inward struggles, I was able, with God’s grace and through strength in Him, to put on a smile and greet viewers during those most difficult times.
But even being in TV news was all quite by accident. Or was it? It’s hindsight again that I see how this journey has unfolded just as God planned for me. I was pursuing a career in radio, not TV. I had the self-image you so often hear people jokingly refer to: “a face for radio.” I still marvel at how I ended up being in this profession—without intention, but still, with immense gratitude. God gave me the gifts for speaking and creative writing. He put people in my life who encourage and uplift me, and has nurtured my spirit and mind through the people and stories I have witnessed daily in my career.
My life really is remarkable. I don’t wish anyone to experience depression, but I believe I am stronger, wiser, kinder and more confident because of my adversities. When I find myself in the quicksand of depression now—I still feel that fear and despair. But here is what I have learned: Quicksand doesn’t actually suck you in. You sink into it, and the more you struggle, the quicker you sink. The good news—it is rarely more than a few feet deep. Getting out of it, though, requires help. You just have to ask, or be willing to accept it when someone offers. And God is always willing and strong. I have learned to listen for his voice in my friends and family.
I have also learned what the “quicksand” in my life looks like—and how to avoid it. And I have stopped saying the F-word. Instead, I choose to believe I am worthy, capable and created for a purpose. I continue to learn and grow from my experiences, good and bad, and I choose to live with a smile on my face and love in my heart for others because I am a child of God and the life he’s given me is remarkable.