I’m Just Fine

Smiling woman enjoying the outdoors

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.—PROVERBS 12:25 (NIV

“How’s Herb?” people would ask me when we’d meet on the street.

I was evasive. “Oh, I can’t really say. It changes from day to day.” My husband’s mental illness was not something I wanted to talk about.

“How are you doing?” my friend, Bertha, asked. “Fine,” I told her. “And you?” She looked me in the eye and said, “No. Really. I want to know how YOU are.” She didn’t accept the standard “fine.” I burst into tears. The floodgate was opened! Keeping my emotions pushed deep down inside was doing me real emotional and physical harm. As a caregiver for Herb for years, I was worn down from the pressure and stress of dealing with his illness.

Friends and family urged me to join a counseling group at a local hospital. After some resistance, I decided to give it a try, and immediately found I was met with kindness, understanding, support and love in the group. I saw that I was not the only brokenhearted person.

Over eight weeks of learning how to accept my situation, I became more confident. I opened up to people about Herb when they asked about him. I even elaborated on our situation without fear of being judged. I was finally free to talk about mental illness and the effect it had on our family, and it felt like such a blessed relief.

Today's Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the support and encouragement of others who understand what I’m going through on my caregiving journey. Thank you for setting me free to talk about mental illness.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts