Fess Up, Get Up.

So it’s time I fess up.

I’ve not been {completely} honest with you all.

You read my blogs. You compliment my latest engagement or wedding session on my photography page. You see my pictures on Instagram and follow my life on Facebook nearly every day from the other side of the computer screen. You shake my hand at church every Sunday morning and sing along as I play the piano for the congregation. You laugh at all my stupid jokes when we go out for dinner and drinks on a girls night out. You hear me reply “I’m good” when I check out at your register at Wal-Mart and you ask me about my day. You see me smile back at you in the McDonald’s drive thru when I stop for my morning coffee. You heard my valedictorian speech when I graduated high school and watched me walk stage when I earned that four-year degree. You pass me the salt and pepper at family dinners from across the table and ask about my future plans – and you think I have it all figured out. You see the smiles, sunshine, accomplishments, and happiness that I choose to show the world. That’s how you see me because that’s all I’ve ever let you know about me.

But what you don’t know is there’s more…so much more.

What you don’t know is that this morning I was late to work because it was such a chore to get out of bed and face another hard day.

What you don’t know is on my days off I am really spending about 13-15 hours a day in bed in my dark room alone while my husband is out making a living for us and being The Responsible One…until finally I scramble to get a load of laundry folded, wash the dishes from last night’s dinner, and grab a quick shower before he comes home so he doesn’t have to see me this way yet again.

What you don’t know is that while to you I often look like a chicken running around with my head cut off doing anything for everyone and trying to keep up with my busy schedule, I like it that way because it distracts me from feeling worthless.

What you don’t know is I love teaching because it gives me purpose.

What you don’t know is I love photography for the sole reason that it lets me capture the very small things in life that are rare and beautiful and often unnoticed and forces me to reflect on these tidbits of joy when I am at my weakest.

What you don’t know is the reason I have to constantly have music blaring no matter what I’m doing is because it helps drown out the silence and loneliness I often feel. And I don’t really care that it annoys you when you’re around me, because sometimes it’s all I have to get me through.

What you don’t know is that every time you stop and ask me how long I’ve been married and inform me that it’s about time to start cranking out kids because my biological clock is ticking I cringe and want to cry…because this darkness I am struggling through is completely diminishing the beautiful and exciting and fun image I once had of motherhood.

What you don’t know is that before I sat down to write these words you’re reading right now I called my doctor to schedule another appointment and renew another prescription. I’m not sure if it’s going to work, but I did it anyways.

What you don’t know is several weeks ago I had to gather any ounce of hope and strength I had left to really talk myself into choosing to live when I was at the end of my rope and suddenly didn’t want to anymore. 

And I did this alone, because you didn’t know. Because I didn’t tell you.

I never told you that I struggle with this battle.

Every. Single. Day.

I’m guessing if you’ve made it this far it’s safe to say this is definitely not what you were expecting to read from the girl who always seems to have something positive to say or a story to laugh about. You came here for inspiration or a good chuckle, not a re-enactment of a Cymbalta commercial, right?

But…as uncomfortable as it may be to read these words…it’s the truth – my truth. And the truth isn’t always pretty or easy to confess, which is why you’ve never heard any of this until now. I just wasn’t ready. And quite honestly I didn’t think you cared, because afterall my problems probably don’t hold a candle to what some of you face daily.

But they say the first step to a better tomorrow is recognizing you have a problem and asking for help today.

So, here I am.

Besides. I figure it’s much better for you all to read this than my obituary, right?

I will say that I do have strong moments, which I try to share with you all any chance I get. There are good days where I manage to find joy in the little things and genuinely feel happy…for example, yesterday, when my parents came over with my sisters and I was babysitting my niece. Dad cooked dinner for us on the grill and we spent the entire evening riding around the farm on four-wheelers, watching the cows graze and swim in the pond, chasing lightning bugs beneath the June sunset, and just, well, being together.

Yesterday was such a good day…then today was hard again for no reason at all. It ebbs and flows, I guess. And I swear if one more person tells me that “happiness is a choice” and that I should “count my blessings”, I am going to smack them in the face with my journal and chuck my pills at them.

Because if they knew anything at all about depression they would understand that nothing about it is a choice. I don’t recall pulling a twenty out of my wallet and saying “Sure! I’ll take it!” when the Devil came knocking on my door soliciting this emptiness and darkness that has been overtaking me for several years now. 

I don’t get it. I can’t really tell you when it all began and how it got to this point so fast. I mean, sure I’ve had my fair share of heartbreaks. I’ve lost ones I loved so soon and so tragically. I’ve experienced family drama and have lived through the destruction of divorce. Twice. I’ve dealt with the aftermath of my biological father abandoning me at four years old. Some of my closest friends have come and gone forever. I’ve been rejected and told no from some amazing opportunities I thought I had in the bag. I’ve came in second place against some people who wrongfully took first. I’ve had to say goodbye to my comfort zone and jump head first into major life changes I wasn’t prepared for. I’ve watched horrible people get away with horrible, unspeakable things and have let all the wrong people push me around in all the wrong ways. Nothing I’ve went through is too traumatic compared to what others have to go through every day, but it still all adds up, ya know?

But on the other hand I have a lot of great people in my life. I am smart, talented, and successful. I have salvation…though I’ve not been the most stellar Christian lately and can’t tell you the last time I knelt in serious prayer. I have a job, even if it isn’t the one I necessarily had in mind. I love my husband and my husband loves me. We have fun together and have a beautiful life. I just can’t seem to fully enjoy it like I want to because the good times seem to only be temporary. I don’t understand this pain and can’t give you a textbook answer for why I have it. All I can tell you is that it’s just here – living in the inner depths of my soul and heart and mind – and I want it to pack its bags and get the heck out so I can enjoy my life again like I used to.

Yeah, I struggle.

But despite how crummy I felt this morning as my familiar friends Stress, Anxiety, Guilt, and Shame came barging in at 7 a.m. to ruin my day, the important lesson I’m taking from today is that eventually I did get up.

I took a shower. Got dressed.  Ate some breakfast – which I never do. I went to work. Texted a good friend to invite her over to see our new house and eat dinner – after she cuts these split-ends off that I’ve been neglecting for a good year and a half now. I made that appointment….and this time I promise I will go and won’t make another excuse or tell myself to suck it up or spend another day like this. I wrote this journal entry and shared it with you just in case you needed to know that you’re not alone and this girl you look at as Little Miss Sunshine has her fair share of cloudy days, too, just like anyone else.

It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone, like I sometimes feel. And if you’ve been where I am or are there now, I hope you realize that, too.

And I know it’s hard. It’s SO. HARD. Getting out of bed and going to work when you’re already physically, emotionally, and mentally drained is hard. Going to therapy is hard. Taking meds is hard. Telling someone you love that you’re struggling is hard. Admitting it to yourself that you have a problem when you know there are so many beautiful blessings surrounding you is hard. And trust me when I say that writing about it and exposing it to the rest of the world full of your friends, family, and complete strangers is even harder – especially when some of them just don’t get it because it’s not a war they’ve ever had to fight.

But, it’s also absolutely necessary if we want to be one of the Lucky Ones. You know, the Survivors. The reality of this horrible illness is not easy to take in. For every person who gets their life back after depression, there are many others on the sidelines who do not. This has to change…starting with me and you.

We’ll get there.

I know I’m nowhere close to where I want to be…but I am making baby steps in the right direction. 

Day by day, right? 

That’s what matters. Not where I came from or even necessarily where I’m at right now, but where I’m going. Just the fact that I am still here today writing this and for once finding beauty in the rain coming down outside is proof that there is still hope out there for me.

The happiness is temporary, but that also means that so is the pain. And today, I’m going to focus my attention on that…and maybe even dance in the rain because right now I feel strong enough to do so…and there’s a damn good John Mellencamp song playing on my iPod.

So if you’re reading this and can relate at all – whether miles apart, down the street,  or in the very next room – please know that although you and I have our separate battles and I don’t have much energy left to get myself through most days, we’re not alone in this. My heart holds your hands through your toughest days and darkest hours.

And I can’t thank you nearly enough for holding mine at such a fragile and vulnerable time in my life as I am striving to get back up from the heavy waves that have held me down long enough.


18 thoughts on “Fess Up, Get Up.

  1. This is so beautifully written. I feel like you have captu6me in this post. Life is tough, and it’s even tougher when we struggle alone. Keep your chin up! Live for those glimpses of happiness! Don’t let that little voice inside win the battles. It is hard, I know! Just days ago I was heartbroken over frustration with myself but knowing that there are others is strangely comforting. Thank you for opening up and I will keep you in my thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for taking time to read my words. It was not easy to write, but when I wrote them down I knew they weren’t just for me. It’s for all of us that struggle. We will get through it together. Good luck to you!


  2. Wow. You’ve looked into my soul. If it weren’t for my family I don’t know if I’d still be here. We make it look easy, life is great, nothing’s wrong. I will pray for you and me, it’s not supposed to be like this. We need our joy back xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your not alone , my kids is what gets me through the day . Although I love them so much , I have felt that I do not take the time I need with them or give the time they need from me . We all have our battles that we struggle through and somehow we get through them . Thank you for sharing . Love and prayers

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Regardless of what anyone believes or doesn’t believe, the struggle IS real! I too, have days just as you described and there are days that I get out of bed just to save face and days that even that doesn’t prompt me. I try everyday to tell myself that I don’t have to be better then anyone else, My life and circumstances are different then others, I can only do what I can do and some times that’s little to nothing but in the end… if I didnt try, then I have failed myself! My daily goal is to be better today then I was yesterday. Keep pushing forward I know some days it’s 1 step at a time and others it’s 1 breath at a time…but just keep pushing forward! Sometimes it doesnt seem like it but YOU are loved by so many and YOU are worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As I am coming up on a 5 yr. divorce that I didn’t want or see coming I too struggle. My struggle is that I failed as being a wife to whom was to be my soul mate. I admit I miss him and our life but for him he’s happy and has the life he wanted as I still strugggle as a failure. I wonder if my kids see me as a failed partner for their Dad…
    I don’t like how we have to share Grandkids and no more family vacations with them or our own kids together it’s just all so split and divided up. This is my hidden pain.
    I also want to be a much better Christian but why is it such a struggle to go on sundays….it shouldn’t be for when I am there I feel a peace but the devil has such a hold on me that I cave in so I need prayers for strength.
    Caitlin you are not alone in life’s struggles we all have them it’s just trying to figure out how to get through them and be a better person. I get so angry at times with my life … this is not the life I had pictured or planned for me or my kids or to share future memories … I want my life and family back but it’s not all going to happen so I’m having to still learn how to cope on my own and survive and make a new plan but I need to make sure I put God in this plan or it’s never going to work!!!
    We as women have to speak out to each other and hold each other up and carry on with Gods support! I love you Caitlin Jean Green Bean

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love you Momma Brown. Thanks for reading. And keep pushing forward. We don’t see you as a failure. Stuff happens unfortunately and we can’t control it. But we can band together and fight it.


  6. Caitlin, you don’t really know me but I read your blog and I want you to know there is hope. I was where you are about 30 years ago. Then, you were too ashamed of how you felt to tell anyone. The loneliness and darkness is indescribable. I believe being a Christian is the only thing that got me thru. I had wonderful friends and family but unless you’ve personally known the pain it is impossible to fully understand. You hold your head up and know that you will get the right medicine and the happy days will come more often. You aren’t alone in this struggle, most just don’t “fess up”. I will keep you in my prayers. ♡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story!! I am so sorry you had to fight this battle too but I am so inspired that you were able to get the help you needed to get through it and move on with your life. I admire your strength and value your prayers more than you know, even if we are strangers! 💗


  7. I had no idea and sorry I didn’t realize ♡ I am thankful for the chance to get to know you on a personal level through the Set Apart and was blessed to have been a part of an amazing group of young ladies. Thank you so much for sharing your heart now. As the parent of a daughter who struggles daily, it’s hard for us mommas cause we want to fix it and make everything better. Praying that Satan gets the heck away from ya!! You are a strong young woman and you have lots of us mommas here to help you kick his butt!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mrs. Childress! It’s a horrible battle but I feel hopeful for the first time in forever and feel so much stronger today! 💗 praying for you and your girls as you all learn to cope with this horrible illness.


  8. Wow, Caitlin. I’ve never faced anything this hard but my mother struggled with depression through the years and I hated it for her. Maybe you’ve opened a window here and the light can help you chase this demon out. Beautiful post. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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