The Road Home to You Podcast
Ep. 9 Depression: When Dreams are Broken
Originally aired June 26, 2018
Matt and Brandy Goebel
Brandy: Hi. Welcome to The Road Home to You. I'm Brandy Goebel joined by my husband, Matt. We'd like to invite you to join us as we talk about practical ways to live out our Christian faith. We're not trained professionals or theologians. We're just real people having real conversations about marriage, parenting and this journey called Life. So, grab a drink and a cozy seat and let's get started.
Good morning, Matt.
Matt: Good morning, Brandy.
Brandy: How are you today?
Matt: Doing alright. A little bit scattered in my thoughts, but not too bad.
Brandy: Well, hopefully it will all come together for us.
Matt: We'll hope so.
Brandy: It's been kind of a crazy…
Matt: Yeah, there's been a lot going on.
Brandy: I feel like we say that every single week. Every week is a crazy week in our lives apparently.
Matt: I guess. It sort of is. Every year I start thinking, 'Okay, we're coming up on summer. Summer will get easier.' What it means, really is that there are all of these impromptu family gatherings or friends that aren't on the calendar. So you'll look at the calendar and think, 'Hey, we have some free time available.' No, we don't. 'Cause it will get filled with something.
Brandy: Yes. Last night, our daughter was like, "Oh, by the way..."
Matt: Nothing good follows that phrase.
Brandy: She threw out so many things that she's got going on, which are good things and they're things I want her to do. I have our calendar color-coded so we each have our own color and all of a sudden, my calendar is chock-full of light blue, which is her color. It's crazy! I'm doing no less running around now that dance is done. Good grief.
Matt: What it comes down to is our daughter needs to work on being a driver.
Brandy: Do you hear that, Daughter? Are you listening? That's true. She does and she will. She's going to work on that this summer. It's a good thing. It's just going to add a different stress for all of us.
Anyway, speaking of the road and driving, do you know what that makes me think about?
Matt: Road trips, maybe?
Brandy: Indeed! Fancy that!
We still don't have a name for our segment, but for today we're going to call it Road Trip Corner, which is not a good name.
Matt: If any listeners have suggestions for what it ought to be called, let us know.
Brandy: We are so open to suggestions. In the meantime... So now, the next question. We've got our snacks. We've figured that out. We've got very good snacks, I might add. So now the question is, What music do you want to listen to on a road trip?
Matt: First thing that comes to mind, every single time for road trip music, it's got to be…
Unison: Tom Petty!
Matt: If you look through his songs, every other one is about being on the road. Plus, it's just easy going, easy to listen to music.
Brandy: I think it's also very nostalgic for us because we've got so many memories tied up with Tom Petty of driving between Oregon and Utah in the college years.
Matt: Yeah, and so many other times in between.
Brandy: Yeah, beach trips, whatever. My goodness sakes, that man has been a part of our lives and now he's gone and it is so sad. Anyway, let's not end on that bombshell! Okay...Tom Petty, all the way, 100%. What else?
Matt: I don't even know where to go after that. I do like Shawn Mullins or Head in the Heart. Something kind of along those lines.
Brandy: Mumford and Sons is always good. Do you know what else I really like on the road? Can you guess? I bet you know…
Matt: I'm going to guess The Beatles.
Brandy: Oh, no. That's not what I was going to say. I love The Beatles, but no. Though they are very good for sing-along-ability, which is always a nice thing. Cause you have to be able to sing along on a road trip. Come on, you know me.
Matt: Yeah, I'm drawing a blank unfortunately.
Brandy: I cannot believe this. I'm so disappointed.
Matt: I know. I'm a little disappointed, too.
Brandy: Broadway musicals!
Matt: Oh, of course!
Brandy: My goodness sakes. Matt!
Matt: Yeah, that makes sense.
Brandy: We might need to go into counseling because I'm really beginning to feel like you don't know me at all. This requires therapy. Maybe for years! Who knows?
Matt: Well, Broadway musicals tend to be more of a This Is A Brandy Road Trip. More than a Us road trip.
Brandy: Well, that is true.
Matt: Cause usually, when you and I are on a road trip, we're talking and music is a little more background.
Brandy: Yeah, it is. That is true. Okay, I will grant you that. Crisis averted.
Matt: Phew! That was a close one!
Brandy: Way to step that one back a little bit. Yes, and my favorite musicals to listen to on the road...of course, Hamilton. Because...Hamilton! But I also really like listening to the musical Chess. Chorus Line, but I don't have that on CD now which breaks my heart.
Matt: Les Mis.
Brandy: Les Mis is wonderful. Phantom is kind of...it depends. You've got to be in the right mood for Phantom. But right now, my jam is Hamilton, mostly. But, Molly and I've been listening to a lot of Disney musical stuff, too.
Matt: Imagine that. Our daughter listening to Disney? Who knew?
Brandy: I know, it's crazy. So, we've been listening to a lot of Aladdin. We serenade each other, which is kind of fun. That's what we do on our way to dance. We sing Disney songs to each other.
Matt: I could see that working out reasonable well.
Brandy: It really does!
For our listeners, then, tell us what your favorite road trip music is.
Matt: Your road trip soundtrack.
Brandy: Oooh, road trip track. Tongue twister. Alright. So that's Road Trip Corner. We really need a name. Please help us with a name. Please. We're begging you.
Alright, so today we're going to do something a little different. Not maybe different, but it's a heavier topic.
Matt: And timely. It's come up in the news a lot.
Brandy: Yeah. We'd already decided to talk about this before it became noteworthy in the news, but it is of course, timely.
As a trigger warning/ content warning for our listeners, if you don't want to hear people talking about depression and the struggle therein, now is probably a good time to say goodbye for this episode and come back to it at another time.
We're not going to get into any suicide talk other than to acknowledge that this is right on the heels of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. But we're not going to talk about that in terms of either of us.
Mostly what we want to do are share some of the struggles that we've each encountered with depression through the years and what those struggles have stemmed from.
In the following episode we'll talk about what helps get us through. Hopefully this episode, too, will end on a little bit of a hopeful note because we don't want to leave people feeling down, cause that's no good.
So Matt, let's go ahead and start with you. Can you share your background with us a little bit?
Matt: Yeah. Before I get too terribly far into that, I also wanted to talk about how everybody's struggle is going to look different. The things that you and I struggle with, to somebody else, they're going to look insignificant. Somebody else is going to look at those and think, 'That's nothing. I'd deal with that so easy.' Just like we, occasionally, will hear about somebody's troubles and go, 'Well, that's not so bad.'
But God knows each of us. He knows where we're weak and where we're strong. He's always going to be trying to push his people beyond themselves so that we have to rely on Him. The things that push one person to rely on God are not going to be so effective for somebody else. Thank goodness, the Lord knows us and knows exactly what we can and can't handle
Brandy: There's a difference too between situational depression and anxiety or generalized, this is an everyday kind of thing. What we're going to be talking about is a combination of those, I guess.
Matt: On my part, I definitely feel like it's more of the situational variety. The times where I've really been down have centered around things that are going on in life. While I do have something of a melancholy personality that constant presence of depression isn't really there too much in my life. Thank goodness.
Brandy: For sure. Okay, go ahead and share your story.
Matt: I suppose to give a little bit of background it starts really, pretty early on, when I was a kid. You start getting those questions, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I would think about it and I just wouldn't know. I couldn't place myself in society and find a niche for me.
It really wasn't until high school that I started to clue in on a few things. And it didn't get refined that much until college. College is where I narrowed things down and found that tech theater really was a good fit.
Because you have to be able to improvise things. You have to be creative and you have to understand some scientific principles. So you have to be a little bit of an artist, a little bit of a scientist or engineer, you have to be a good communicator and you also have to be a good improviser and construction person.
All of those things were in my background and in my personality. It's kind of an odd mix. So I can understand why earlier on I would know where to place myself. But that was where I ended up finding home, where I ended up thinking, 'This really fits who I am and the things that I enjoy.'
So in college, that's what I pursued. I was a theater major and a history minor. If you think the history thing doesn't fit so well, when you think about being a set designer and having to understand what a time period looked like to be able to reproduce it on stage, the history piece makes a bit more sense. Plus, it was a subject that I always enjoyed in school, so it was an easy fit.
At any rate, I ended up getting a Bachelor's in theater and then, ever since then have sort of struggled to make that work because we got married in college. Trying to make that tech theater career work with family obligations alongside it, was really, really difficult. It has occasionally worked out in our lives but not often.
Brandy: I think the thing that made it particularly difficult for us was the fact that, like we mentioned in a previous episode, I didn't really realize until we got out to Utah, just how much I still wanted to be close to family. That felt like it was so far removed from my foundation.
Then with my dad's death also, that turned things even more on it's side. I was very much pressing for us to get closer to family, which really limited your scope for where you could look for theater work in Oregon.
Matt: Right. And theater is not really big in Oregon and the theater that is here is inundated with people trying to work there so trying to break into the market here is also difficult.
So, I'd finally found this thing that I thought, this is kind of me. You know, you want to believe that God wants you to use your talents and gifts so I thought, 'Alright, God's going to open doors for me.' And He did, here and there. There were some open doors. I wouldn't have gotten my degree without God's help. I wouldn't have been able to have the job at Western [Oregon University] if He hadn't opened doors. That was clearly God's hand at work.
But then there've been plenty of times, especially more recently, where it's felt like doors were closed and I wasn't able to use that part of myself.
The worst bout of depression or feeling down, has been this recent time, within the last five years or so. So many other times in our marriage, I would be pursuing this dream of doing something that I enjoy and still being able to support a family. Maybe I wasn't there yet, but I was still pushing for that; I was still hoping that was right around the corner. So I could hang on to that.
Five years ago was the first time I let go of all that.
Brandy: Because that was when you had to let your teaching license lapse, right?
Matt: Yes. In my pursuit of making a tech theater or a theater career work with family, teaching was an avenue that I explored. And I really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed connecting with the kids. I enjoyed doing something that I felt was important and sharing something that I loved. Seeing that moment of inspiration or realization come into a kid's life. To see a kid that was, maybe a little bit like me, that hadn't found their place in the world until they started doing theater, and all of a sudden they've got a home and they realize something about themselves and who they are. To see that happen in young people's lives was just really fun.
Brandy: And you made some really good connections with students in that time even though your student teaching and the time you had in both high school and collegiate settings was relatively short, you made some really good connections with students.
You were able to not only be a teacher and a mentor in the theater realm, but also be a mentor and father figure to some kids who otherwise didn't really have a father in their life.
Matt: Yeah. That was another thing. I felt like being a theater teacher could really fulfill God's purpose in my life. I thought that should be something that God would get behind.
So when that teaching license expired - and there's a whole slew of red-tape stories that go around that because we live in Oregon and there's a lot of red tape to deal with. For a lot of reasons, I had to let the teaching license go and I just got a regular 9 to 5 job and let go of my hopes and my dreams.
At first, when I first took that job, I thought this is a temporary thing, I'm going to do this to get us by for now. But then when it started to look more permanent and it kept dragging on, I kept expecting God to open some doors. I would continue to put our resumes here and there and heard crickets. That was really, really hard.
It felt like my hopes and my dreams died and 20 years of work and sacrifice and struggle had been for nothing because now I'm doing a job that requires a high school diploma.
Brandy: And you're holding a Master's Degree.
Matt: And I'm holding a Master's Degree. I'd always sort of held on to the illusion that those degrees, even if they weren't in a field that was highly lucrative.... You hear time and time again, "Just get your degree and it'll pay off. You can get a job at some company and work your way up and having that degree will open doors for you in that company."
That just isn't true. And I would be the poster boy example of that.
So now I'm sitting on a Master's Degree that is, apparently, worthless, my hopes and dreams are dead and in all of this, I'm not feeling like God is opening doors and I'm just getting a lot of doors slammed in my face. And things aren't always easy at this job, of course, as any job would be, so it amplifies all of those struggles. And it really undercuts the identity that I'd put together for myself. It felt like a pretty good chunk of me just died.
So that's sort of the core of my struggle over the last five years or so.
Brandy: So in that, how has your depression manifested itself?
Matt: I've had a hard time enjoying anything, really. I've been sad and grumpy and angry. I've been, on a few occasions, downright in a rage over something. Somebody will cut you off in traffic and before I'd be able to brush it off, no big deal. But when I'm already feeling down, that sets me off in the worst sort of way. So it wouldn't take a lot to trigger those really negative responses. I'm kind of always on the edge of some sort of either sadness or anger or…
Brandy: Just kind of feeling like you’re always holding it back, damming it up a little bit.
Brandy: And I know that talking with me about it - and you and I have talked about it, for sure - but I don't know that you've been able to really feel like you could be 100% open with me because I know there's also an element of you that wants to protect me and shield me from your emotional struggles because I was going through my own emotional struggles.
Matt: Yeah, that's definitely a part of it. And the last thing I want to do is make my family feel guilty because I have to give things up to provide for the family. That's not my intent. I love my family and I'll do whatever it takes to provide for them and be the husband and father I need to be. But yeah, I was struggling in doing that and I certainly didn't want to put any guilt or anything like that on the people that I love.
Brandy: Did you have anybody then that you could open up and share that with or was it a fairly internalized thing?
Matt: It was just me. I didn't really have.... The other piece of it is, I'm working a schedule that tends to put me outside the normal social times for the vast majority of people. I'm working a swing shift, so I'm working afternoons and evenings and that's everybody's family time. So I'm working over the time that would be more available for people and then the times I have off, they're at work. There weren't a whole lot of great options for me.
Brandy: Which makes it really hard when you don't have somebody to unburden yourself on. Because even if that person can't offer you some kind of reprieve or an answer, just being able to say, "This is how bad my guts hurt right now; this is how miserable I feel," and to really be able to break down and cry and scream and pitch a fit and not have that be judged against you, or not have anybody's feelings be wrapped up in that.... Being able to have that time to get it all out is really cathartic.
Matt: Yeah. There were a few isolated moments where I was able to share with somebody, at least a piece of what was going on and that would help get me through. But, it wasn't often. Mostly it was just me and when I wasn't feeling too down to reach out to God, I would be able to talk to God about it.
Brandy: Now, how did that look? Because for the past 5 years I've seen you, pretty much every day, spend time reading your Bible. Yet I know, based on my own experience, that when I'm down it is really hard to either pick up my Bible or take time to pray. So, did you force yourself to push through that or..?
Matt: I think the turn around on that, because when I first hit this rough patch I wasn't reading my Bible and I wasn't praying very much. I had sort of felt a little bit abandoned by God, I suppose, so at first at least, I didn't do those things.
The turn around happened, I think it might have been one of those road rage incidents on the way to work, that I thought maybe I need to do something a little bit different on this drive in. So I started listening to Christian radio, which I've done at other times in my life and it's been really helpful.
There's a preacher that is on at the time that I'm going in to work that I've really grown to enjoy listening to, and has had some fantastic things to say, some good practical advice.
Brandy: Who is that?
Matt: That's Ron Mehl. He's heard on KPDQ here in Oregon. I don't know that he's heard anywhere else because he was an Oregon pastor, he was a local pastor. I want to say that he was pastor of Beaverton Foursquare.
Brandy: Yeah, I think you're right.
Matt: Anyway, great guy to listen to. There was one day in particular that he said something that really resonated with me. I don't even remember the exact phrasing of it, but the essence was if you give your struggles and your life to the Lord, the it's his responsibility. The outcome is His responsibility. But if you stay in control and you're always fighting God for control, the outcome is on you because then you're making the choices.
That really hit hard. At that point, I really started to try to turn things over to God. Said, "Alright God, this is a mess. But now it's Your mess. Show me what you want to do."
It wasn't immediate. It wasn't a quick, easy turn around. I still have my hard days, but little by little God has been bringing things about in my life. There again, it's not just coincidence. I can see the timing of things is no accident. It would not be easy for all of these things to line up the way that they have.
I've been able to see God's hand at work in bringing about these things that slowly bring me back to Him and bring me back in line with who He wants me to be. I feel like I was torn down to nothing and in rebuilding my identity, I've had to build it around God and who I am in God's eyes and who God wants me to be, not who I want to be. That has been a fundamental shift. Not an easy one because I did have to be torn down to nothing.
I have yet to see the fruition of where He's taking me but I feel like I'm ever-so-slowly climbing out of that hole. That's been a good thing.
Brandy: I know, even in the past 4 or 5 months or so, it's been.... I know prior to that, it's been a lot of internal work going on and I've seen a lightness come back a little bit. But the past 4 or 5 months it's felt like there's a load that's been lifted off your shoulders and that you're carrying yourself a little bit different and feeling a little bit different inside. And that's been good to see.
We'll talk about my struggle, too, here in a little bit, but I think you've had to watch me struggle with depression for years and you've always been the rock. You've always been that solid, dependable, emotionally well-balanced stable person in my life from, pretty much, day one with some slight exceptions. But this is the first time that there's been a prolonged struggle that's led to a prolonged depression for you.
To be an observer of that, and to recognize that there's nothing I can do really. At the core, all I can do is continue to love you and try to encourage you and pray for you. But, I can't give you a quick fix. I can't give you some medicine to make it all better. I can't cook you a dinner and say, "Tada! You're better!"
And there are things like medicines and there are therapies and there are things to help people with depression for sure, and those are good, wonderful things. I'm not medically licensed to prescribe anything, though, so I can't do that.
It's hard to be the witness to somebody else's struggle when you care about that person so much, when you're in it with that person so much.
And that was something that, as the person with depression typically, I'd never experienced before, being on the other side of that and witnessing that. It's given me a new....
Matt: Perspective on that struggle?
Brandy: Yeah. And a new appreciation for what you've had to deal with for years. On that note…
Matt: Yeah. Tell us about your struggles, then. Because I do feel like mine was a little bit isolated. Not to say that I hadn't had struggles before but it was centered more around this time period. But yours had come and gone and it's been a presence for a lot longer, so I think yours looks a little bit different.
Brandy: Yeah, I started recognizing that I had depression when I was in middle School. You know, middle school, high school, those are some tough years.
Matt: Yeah, they really, really are.
Brandy: You're really trying to search for identity, you're trying to figure out your place within your peer group, within your family structure, people are asking you what you want to be when you grow up and you're 14 and and have no idea what that could even possibly look like and it feels like there's so much pressure already to get good grades, to go to college, to be a wife, to be a mom.... You're just bombarded and you're sitting there going, "Can I just go out and play? I just want to go play ball with my friends."
Matt: In the meantime, you're being asked to set your future identity in stone.
Brandy: Right. And, of course, adults are very well-intentioned when they're asking those kinds of questions but it feels…
Matt: Like a lot of pressure when you're a young person.
Brandy: Yeah. And I think it's easy as adults, to kind of forget how daunting that was.
Matt: And you have all of these messages coming at you, telling you who you should want to be. You get all of these mixed messages and it's very confusing. It's hard to sort out. All of a sudden you've got all of these really intense feelings and you don't know what to do with them. You don't know which direction to point them. You've got a hundred things coming at you from a hundred directions and you just don't know what to do with any of it.
Brandy: So that's where it kind of started, was with that early teenage onset depression. It improved; it got better as I got out of those early teenage years.
And then I figured out that what I wanted to be - I still didn't know what I wanted to be as a career and I had always planned on having a career - but what I knew more than anything, is that I wanted to be a wife and a mom.
So then you and I got married. And check one off of that list. That's awesome. I've married my best friend, my soulmate. I'm halfway to perfection. Right?
Matt: 'Cause of course. That was going to be perfection.
Brandy: Right! So the next thing that needed to happen was for me to have a baby.
And instead, my dad died. And that began a greater downslide for me.
At that point, I started to deal with anxiety as well, and started having anxiety attacks. Which, those are fun in public. I didn't know how to cope with those. At the time, I was in a grief recovery group because of having lost my dad, so the counselor there was helping me process how to deal with anxiety attacks, how to recognize them as they're coming on and how to de-escalate that. That was really helpful, but I was not a master of it, by any means, for quite some time.
And then I had people telling me, "It's all in your head." Well, it is all in your head. Because it's a mental health issue, which is all in your head.
Matt: But it shapes who you are.
Brandy: Well, and it's utterly terrifying. When an anxiety attack begins, it is gripping. All of a sudden, there's a tightness in your chest and your heart is pounding a thousand miles an hour.
I know that anxiety attacks are a little bit different for everybody, so this is just me. For me, it was such a panicked...'I can't breath.' I'd want to just rip my clothes off; I felt constrained and like...You're Hulk-ing out, is what you're doing.
There would be this sudden onset of rage and wanting to tear down, figuratively, literally tear down anybody who was in my path. It felt so uncontrollable. I really think this is what the Hulk has. I think he has anxiety attacks. I'm starting to piece this together now. That's what it feels like. It's absolutely terrifying.
So, anyway, as I processed through Dad and all of that.... Yes? Do you have a question?
Matt: No, I was just going to comment on you've commented on how I'm somewhat of a steadying presence in your life, but at least early on, I was the 'new' steady presence in your life. Because growing up, really that had been your dad.
Brandy: That had been my dad. That is true.
Matt: Your dad was your safe place. So to have that suddenly taken away, your safety net was gone. Because if things hadn't worked out between you and I, well there's always Dad, you know? He'll always be there; he'll always be that help that I need. So to have that safety net gone...that's rough.
Brandy: Yeah, I...um...I'm tearing up. Um...yeah. It's been over 21 years, and it doesn't hurt any less today. It just hurts different.
Matt: For a little bit of background, yesterday was Father's Day so that doesn't help; this is a difficult discussion for you right now.
Brandy: Yeah, it is. But that's okay. So as I was trying to process losing Dad and being states away from my mom at the time, because we were still in Utah when he died cause we were only 2 1/2 years into our marriage when that happened, and then shortly thereafter, I got pregnant. I was so excited because I thought, 'Okay, even though I've lost my dad it's like I've been given this new little life.
And then. I miscarried.
So, it was two losses really back-to-back.
Matt: Yeah, that shook you hard.
Brandy: Yeah. And clearly still does.
Matt: It's no wonder that you would seek out comfort, seek out familiar things and want to get back to family. That's really when we had to bail out of Utah and get you back home where you would have other people that loved you around. Because we had some college friends, but none of them were really close enough that you could unburden yourself with them and really share some of those struggles.
Brandy: And they weren't married, much less having kids. They hadn't lost their dad or their mom. There was nobody in our circle that I could relate to at all in some big life ways. And that was really challenging.
So we got through the whole miscarriage thing and had Evan. Between Evan and Molly, there was another miscarriage. So, loss has definitely played into my depression. I've lost a lot of people that I love, from early college years on. I've just lost a lot of people that I love, that have been very dear to me, so that's definitely played into it.
But again that's sort of a situational depression.
Matt: And I think really what it is, you've got a tendency toward depression that's always there. You've got this low-level, it's always there, but most of the time you're able to move beyond it and it's not such an overwhelming presence. But when something comes along and kicks you down, then it's really there.
Brandy: For sure. It is a low-key generalized depression that's happening all the time. Same with the general anxiety that's happening all the time. For the most part, I can keep it in check. But when something comes up....
I'm great in a crisis! I'm the person you want in a crisis. But when that crisis is over, I will crash hard.
Matt: Yeah, you kind of run hot and cold. And I'm sort of the opposite of that. I'm kind of the steady, grind it out, everyday kind of person.
Brandy: Yeah. The other thing that has fed the general depression goes back with what I was saying about middle school, in that search for identity. So once I had decided I wanted to be a wife and mom, and I got married and had our two kids, I was well on my path to being everything I wanted to be, minus a career, but that's okay, I'm a wife and a mom.
But then a funny thing happened that wasn't so funny. I had postpartum depression pretty badly with both of our kids. Again, we weren't living super close to family, they were a few hours away. It wasn't like my mom was next door.
Postpartum depression on top of general depression is really depressing. Go figure. And what ended up happening, and I think this is pretty true for a lot of women who are suffering with postpartum depression is there's this sense of, 'I love this child with my whole heart but I don't know what to do with this child. When is the real mom going to show up and take care of things?
Because again, it was that little bit out of control feeling. Not quite as bad as an anxiety attack, but just this sense of, 'I have no control over life at all and here I've got this baby with all of these needs that I need to step in and fill.
It's such a great responsibility and recognizing that this is a responsibility that began the day this child was born and is going to continue until, at the very least, until they move out of my home. That could be 18 years, that could be 35 years, for all I know because maybe I'll fail so miserably my kids will need me to still do their laundry when they're 35. I don't know!
It felt...there were times when...I just wanted to run away. And it wasn't....I was so guilt-ridden because of that. Because I loved you; I loved our children. I loved everything our family could be, I just felt like I couldn't be that. And I felt like you and the kids would be better off without me.
I wasn't suicidal; I didn't want to die. I just wanted to vanish.
But I couldn't leave and abandon you guys because I didn't want to do that to you and our children because that's horrible and I didn't want to leave that scar for them to have to deal with. And I didn't want to carry that burden knowing I'd done that and I loved you guys. I didn't actually want to be apart from you guys, I just didn't know how to be with you guys.
Matt: Yeah, to give a little more background, both of our kids at times were absolutely inconsolable. Part of that might have been exacerbated by your own anxiety and your own depression because babies pick up on that.
Brandy: Yeah, they feed on that.
Matt: If they're upset, that triggers your anxiety and then it just feeds on itself. And it's hard to get out of that cycle.
Brandy: Yeah, it does become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We had nicknamed Molly Screamin' Mimi because she screamed for 2 1/2 years. Remember, she didn't cry in the hospital.
Matt: I know, she was very quiet. We were like, "Wow, we got our easy baby!"
Brandy: Yeah, the nurses were like, "This kid's going to be a breeze! You guys are so lucky!" We literally, stepped over the threshold of the door of our home and she found her voice and didn't turn it off for 2 1/2 years. She just decided to scream and not stop. And there was nothing you could do.
Matt: Yeah, she was just going to be in a rage until she got whatever it is that she wanted, but you didn't necessarily know what she wanted.
Brandy: And it didn't always matter if she got what she wanted. She had colic, she obviously had things going on and I didn't know how to fix them. And nobody seemed to know how to fix them, which made me feel like a bad mom because I've got this child who is so unhappy.
Again, my identity as a mom was so...I had this idea of what kind of a mom I was going to be and I never could get there. Part of that is probably my own fault to some extent because I'd put such high expectations on myself.
Matt: And society puts such high expectations on you.
Brandy: For sure. So that was really a challenge. And I've kind of dealt with the struggle of identity, pretty much my whole life. I've never decided what I want to be when I grow up. I'm forty....?
Matt: Yes. Forty-four.
Brandy: 'Kay. I'm glad you know. I'm forty-four and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. That's a weird pill to swallow. I'm still waiting for Evan and Molly's real parents to show up.
Matt: They are so late!
Brandy: They're SO late! They've missed everything! Because I feel like...I don't know. I just keep looking for the adult, going, "Where's the adult in this house? Somebody has got to come manage things because things are going to fall apart!" And then I remember that's my job! Oh yeah! Oops!
Matt: This job is really hard.
Brandy: It's really hard and it's so full time. But it's also really, really rewarding.
One of the things that made the young years with the kids so worth it, and something that, when I get sad and am feeling down about 'whatever', this is a memory that I hold on to. It's a lot of little memories in one picture. And that's the peanut butter and jelly kisses. Just having grubby little hands and grubby little faces come up and grab my face and give me a big old sloppy peanut butter and jelly kiss that's sticky and horrible and beautiful.
Matt: That just sounds terrible to me.
Brandy: I know. It does sound terrible, but it was so...'This is IT. This is what being a mom is. It's having peanut butter and jelly all over because a kid just wanted to say "I love you."' That is beautiful and that's what I hold on to a lot. Especially now that our kids are getting ready to leave the nest. I still think of them in their toddler years with their sticky little mitts. Cute little babies.
Matt: They were awfully cute.
Brandy: They were adorable.
So, most recently, the end part of my story, I guess about four years ago, I had to quit a job that was very intense because your schedule had changed. We couldn't both be working swing shift when we had two middle schoolers. That just wasn't going to fly.
So, I quit my job and didn't really realize just how stressed out I had been. I continued to not realize it for a few years. Meanwhile, I had friends telling me, "You need to go see my doctor. You've got problems going on; go see my doctor." I was very stubborn and didn't do that for a couple of years.
Finally, after months of really not being able to do much more than just be on the couch and watch tv and sleep all day, every day, I finally admitted this is not the way people live. This isn't a temporary thing that's going to get better with time, like I kept telling myself, maybe I need to go see a doctor. So, I went to this naturopath and got a ton of blood work done and saliva tests and all that good fun and was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.
That was the beginning of a recovery period. Once that diagnosis came in and doctor started to give me some supplements to help rejuvenate my adrenal gland, I began to see a marked difference in my overall health and well-being.
Matt: Yeah, you're whole outlook really started to shift. All of a sudden, you started to talk about goals and plans and things you wanted to accomplish and you were taking steps to do that. That was something I hadn't seen in quite some time.
The terrible thing is, that crash for you happened in the middle of my own struggles.
Brandy: Yes, and that, I think was the hardest part. Because I couldn't get off the couch and do anything.
Matt: And I was constantly at work so I couldn't be there to support you.
Brandy: Meanwhile, our kids were middle school/high school age and we both were doing the absolute best that we could. Unfortunately, the absolute best that we had for them was probably about 30%. And that's all we could give.
So how they survived is kind of amazing. That's by God's grace, I'm quite sure.
Matt: Not that they were in danger of not surviving, necessarily, but how they survived and grew into the solid, capable good people they are.
Brandy: Yeah, when we had so little to give to them, they took what little we had and made the best of it. And that's a good thing.
Yeah, it's been a journey. I'm still trying to work on the whole identity thing. And like you, it really does come down to, my identity is found in Christ. I need to always keep that at the forefront.
Any label that society puts on me, any label that anybody puts on me in pale in comparison the the label that Christ has put on me, which is a child of God, and heir of salvation. I belong to Him. I am a daughter of the King.
And that always has to be in my consciousness. Unfortunately, it easily gets pushed to the back and I let things overwhelm and overtake me.
It's funny because you were talking about recognizing this is a problem by your road rage, it's the same thing. And when I say road rage, you're not waving guns at people or flipping people off or whatever…
Matt: If I'd have had a gun, in this one particular incident…
Brandy: Oh, no!
Matt: I don't know. Maybe I would have been waving it. I had lost it.
Brandy: I don't know you want to announce that.
Matt: Okay, so maybe that's a little bit of an overstatement, but not by much.
Brandy: All of our listeners just went, "Nevermind." Click.
Matt: I was so furious. I was one trigger moment away from stepping out of my car and walking up to this other car at an intersection.
Brandy: You were going to have a Falling Down moment.
Matt: Yes, I was.
Brandy: That's a great movie.
Matt: It is.
Brandy: Well, okay. I've never had a moment like that in the car. But, I recognize for myself, too, when I'm not in a good emotional place, it comes out first in my driving.
Okay, I'll be upset if there's slow people in the slow lane and slow people in the fast lane. That's going to piss me off no matter how good my day is. 'Cause that's stupid and if you're a slow driver, get in the slow lane.
Brandy: Because it's not safe.
Matt: There's our PSA for the day.
Brandy: It is. It's just not safe to drive slow in the fast lane. It kills me. So, that's always going to bug me no matter what.
But I will be patient and gracious and let people in and use my blinker and all those nice, common courtesy things when I'm in a good, healthy place.
When I'm not in a good, healthy place, I get so angry when other people will let another car in. I'm like, "What, my time doesn't matter?" It's all about me and that's when I can recognize, 'Okay, you need to take a step back, Brandy and maybe reevaluate your life a little bit. Take it to Jesus!'
Matt: That's what it was for me, too because I played out that scenario in my head a little bit different, where maybe I did get out of my car and the next thing as I play out that scenario, I'm going to jail.
And I realized it's not really what I want my life to look like. It's not quite where I want to go. I hadn't quite envisioned that as part of my life. So maybe, like you said, I need to take a step back and re-evaluate some things.
Brandy: I'm so glad that you did. 'Cause that's not a phone call I ever want to have from you. That would be awful.
I remember one time, speaking of jail phone calls, I got a phone call. It was a collect call from some jail from a man named Chris. And the lady said, "Will you accept?" And my brother's name is Chris and I was like, 'Oh, my word. What has happened?'
Matt: All those speeding tickets finally caught up to him.
Brandy: I had no clue. I was completely befuddled as to why in the world my brother would be arrested and in jail and calling me. I was terrified.
So I'm like, "Yes! Oh my gosh, yes!"
And this guy gets on the phone and he starts talking to me and I realize, this is not my brother. Which, I'm relieved that it's not my brother because, thank God. On the other hand, I'm like, "Oh, dude. You have the wrong number and there's nothing I can do."
And he goes, "Wait a second? Are you kidding me?"
And I go, "No, you got the wrong number."
And he goes, "This is my ONE phone call."
And I'm like, "I don't know what to tell you." I said, "Just beg and plead. I don't know what to tell you. There's nothing I can do."
Because he clearly didn't have the right phone number to give to me, otherwise I would have called them. Oh, my goodness sakes. I felt so bad for that guy. I have no idea what he had been arrested for.
Matt: How horrible would that be? Wrong number on your one phone call.
Brandy: Meanwhile I was like, thank God my brother's okay, at least. That was funny.
Anyway, we should probably wrap this up, right?
Matt: Yeah, it's probably about time.
Brandy: And you had a scripture you wanted to share with us, correct?
Matt: Yeah, I think to close things out, there's a section of Hebrews where it gives us a definition of faith and then it goes on to list out a good number of the heroes of the faith, people that are looked up to and admired throughout scripture.
And a lot of times, that's where a sermon will end. But, if you keep reading, it goes a little bit further and I think, in an odd sort of way, it's encouraging. So, I'll see if I can pick out some of it. There's more to it than this, but…
We're in Hebrews chapter 11, towards the end, right around verse 37. "They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us, would they be made perfect."
So, it's just gotten done talking about these heroes of the faith and all these amazing things that God did in their life, and yet none of them received the complete fulfillment of the promises that had been made to them.”
That's encouraging to me.
Here, I feel like God has abandoned me because I didn't get to live out the dreams that I had for my own life. And you got some of the things you wanted, but they didn't turn out the way you wanted.
So in the midst of those discouragements and things like that, I need to remember, even these heroes of the faith - people that were called the friend of God - they weren't granted the complete fulfillment of everything that God told them would happen. And He sometimes made direct promises to them.
Brandy: Yeah, I think of Moses a lot. Every time I read the story of Moses leading the Israelites out and to the Promised Land, he's working so hard and he's working with people that...
Matt: Aren't the easiest.
Brandy: No, they're kinda awful at times. And God says, "You're going to lead these people to the Promised Land." And that's, literally, as far as Moses gets. He gets to the edge of the Promised Land, he looks over and sees, yep...there it is and then he dies. He doesn't get to set foot into the Promised Land.
It's such a bittersweet thing. I remember when were young and talking. You've always had this heavenly perspective of, I can't wait to get to my final home where I belong with God. And I'm always like, "Yeah, but I want to have kids and I want to have grandkids. I want to see the fruits of my labor." And you're like, "I just want to get home."
And here's Moses, so close to really seeing the fruits of his labor and instead he goes home. Which, ultimately is the goal.
Matt: We all want to be there.
Brandy: Right. But in the here and now life, he didn't get to see it all come to fruition. And that's hard. Because that might very well be us. It was my dad.
Matt: But at the same time, it's encouraging because if even these heroes of the faith, these people that were called the friend of God, if even they don't see the complete fulfillment of these promises, then why would I expect to see them? 'Cause I'm no Moses. I'm no Abraham.
Brandy: You are getting the beard of Abraham, though.
Matt: I'm working on it.
In an odd sort of way, that's encouraging.
Brandy: It is. You're absolutely right. I think it reminds us that this time is a drop in the bucket.
Matt: Yeah, we shouldn't be looking for fulfillment of our lives in the here and now. The fulfillment of our lives is yet to come. It's in the forever, not in the here and now.
Brandy: For sure.
Have we said everything we feel like we need to say?
Matt: Yeah. We don't have tons of encouragement in this episode but keep listening. Listen to the next one because that's where we try to cover how do you climb out of that hole? Or at least for us, how it worked to climb out.
Brandy: Yeah, we don't want to leave you guys hopeless and I think that final scripture is a little bit hopeful. We can still be friends of God and still not have our every wish granted. God's got bigger purposes for all of us and He sees the beginning from the end. He knows our story and He's got our days numbered and we're in His hands. And when we continue to surrender our lives to Him, like Ron Mehl said, the results are up to Him. All we're expected to do, is to surrender our lives to God and do the next right thing.
Guys, we're going to say goodbye but before we do, I am going to stress - I have to stress this because it's really, really important - we really need you guys to go to iTunes, to rate, review and subscribe. I love hearing from you guys personally and seeing reviews on Facebook. All of that is really cool.
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I think that's it.
Matt: I think we pretty well covered it.
Brandy: Well, you guys have a good week.
If you're struggling with depression or an overwhelming situation right now, would you reach out to somebody and share that burden? If you're not struggling and life is going pretty hunky-dory for you, would you please open your eyes and look around to those around you and key into somebody else who might be struggling. And just go love on them. Pray for them, ask how you can lift their burdens.
That's what we're called to do you guys. We're called to help each other out. We're in this relationship together, so let's take that seriously and let's walk this road together.
Alright, you guys have an awesome week. We'll talk to you later. Bye.