I’m going to warn you – this blog post is going to be pretty personal, but my hopes in sharing this is that it might help someone else. We can be standing next to someone and not have a clue what’s going through their mind or what hell they’re dealing with. Sometimes those people are utterly alone, as I was.
When I started the CWC blog a little over a year ago, it started out as a way to reach out and inspire other riders that were struggling with confidence. The blog wound up being a journey for me personally as well, and it’s a journey that’s taken quite an unexpected turn the last couple of months.
While this blog was a way to urge other riders to get out there and do what they love, it was also an opportunity for me to do some self reflection as well. That self reflection this last year, has led to me making some drastic and life changing decisions.
I won’t go into any major details at this time, but two years ago my family endured a tragedy that changed all of our lives forever. While that tragedy didn’t necessarily cause the subsequent events, it certainly brought issues to light that needed to be dealt with.
This last year after the event was particularly rough, and quite frankly I sank to the absolute lowest Ievel of depression I’ve ever experienced. While I functioned normally in that I kept the horses up, did well at my job, and presented a picture that everything was ok to the rest of the world, the truth is that it wasn’t.
There were weekends where I went back to bed and cried all day after morning chores because I felt so alone and hopeless. There were many, many days I felt like life just wasn’t worth it any more, that if I ceased to exist it wouldn’t be a big deal to anyone. What really was the point of living?
I imagined ways to die. My favorite was waiting until a subzero night, making it look like I hit my head, and freezing to death. Guns and hanging were too painful, pills you wouldn’t really know you were going to die. Call it silly, but I didn’t like the idea of falling asleep out of your mind and somehow realizing in the dream that you’re dead. Plus, life insurance wouldn’t pay if you committed suicide and I didn’t want my horses being suddenly homeless. Freezing to death would look like an accident, and on some level you’d know you were dying as you fell asleep.
I am a Christian, and it was during those darkest hours of depression that I begged God to feel His presence and to change me and my thinking. All I got was silence. I felt abandoned even by God at that point.
I had never sank that low, and had never felt that abandoned by God and my spouse but I knew that I didn’t want to stay there. So, I started fighting to bring myself out of it anyway that I could.
The first way was to find joy in every little thing no matter how small. I also started making myself more of a priority – my health, my happiness, and my career especially as a writer and as a horseman. If I could focus on those things and have something to work towards, I knew I could keep moving forward – and I did!
I finally came to a point of reality with my marriage as well, and I knew I couldn’t stay in a relationship that had slowly been contributing to my sinking that low. I knew it was time to get out, and that’s where I’m at now.
While taking that first step was most definitely a terrifying one, especially after thirteen years of marriage, I also felt a great sense of relief in the midst of such uncertainty. Because of that, I knew deep in my heart that I made the right decision. I also started to realize that sometimes God gives us silence, and doesn’t answer our prayers, because we have to become miserable enough to move from where we’re at.
The divorce papers will be filed early next week, the farm is up for sale, and I’m trying to figure out what in the world I’m going to do with seven horses on short notice. There are good days, and there are still days that I cry – a lot – but the difference is that I can see I’m moving in the right direction and I feel a sense of joy, hope and purpose again.
I’m also finding my true self again, and doing things that I love to do. I’ve been eating healthier and it’s not the struggle that it always was before because I’m not medicating myself with food. I’m working out and lifting weights. I feel stronger than I have in years, and I’m riding a LOT better as well!
I’m also getting out and going to local places that I’ve always wanted to go, such as Bald River Falls in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. I plan on seeing a lot of trails this year.
I know that this year is not going to be an easy journey, but every day I’m finding how strong I can be. Life is gift that is too precious to be wasted in sorrow. So get out there and find the things you love and go after them with everything you’ve got!
I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough time. I think you underestimate all the people who love you and all the people you inspire. Hang in there. You’ve got this.
Thanks Steph! Every day I’m getting stronger and feeling more loved! 🙂
You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing. Those of us who follow you knew something was wrong, but didn’t know exactly what. You gave us just enough. Keep doing the stuff you love and the rest will just fall away. Know that you have friends who care about you. We are happy to see you making positive changes. If you need help of any kind, we are here. Use us…that’s what friends are for.
Thank you! 🙂
I am sorry that you have had this defining moment in your life especially where you felt Alone. But I understand it better than you can ever know. You are the bravest most courageous woman I know. I can only admire your strength and wisdom. You are and have always been the one who manages to come out on top. You are Loved.
Thank you for the kind words & encouragement.
Thank you for sharing. Life devastates and abuses us at times & by sharing your story you offer hope. I admire you for this. We truly do help mend each other. Personally, when my devastation struck, I found strength in my faith and belief slowly became a wonderful relationship with God and myself. Only when I turned to faith, did the process begin. But until now, I only told a few close family members.
I am grateful for your voice,. We need more beautiful, smart, strong women that speak up and speak out. I am grateful for the nightmare that finally led me to this day and I embrace life. It is a process, but oh my, it is worth it. It makes you fearless, joyful, satisfied, strong……so much more than I never imagined.
Bless your heart, keep writing, keep sharing……and I Wish you every wonderful adventure in the present & future. (and I want hear about it, lol!)
God bless you for sharing. And the best part…….it puts fire back into your soul. The good stuff. Go get it! You deserve it.
Thank you for the sweet words! I plan on having a LOT of great times to tell you about! 🙂
Frances, in the midst of your changes, o am grateful you are being a voice. I told you God will use this for His good. And I believe you sharing your struggles will truly help others. I love you girl, and you are still on my mind, in my heart, and in my.prayers.
Yes you did, and He always does! Thank you Kate! I love you guys and I appreciate your encouragement so much. I need to come see ya’ll when things settle down.
In 2001 I lost 4 people in one day to a tragic accident (2 of them were my 10 and 11 year old daughters). My life slowly ceased and I began to exist, not live. I completely understand this pain. I too battled the how to commit a non-looking suicide. I have been there, I am slowly rebuilding and it also ended with a divorce, loss of my horses, and I moved 3,000 miles west. Here I am, 17 years later, 100 pounds lighter(I got up to 285 lb at 5’7″), and I’m working at a ranch. I don’t own any horses anymore, however in my truck are my Paint geldings bridle, his yearling halter, and my new headstall I purchased for him before it all went to hell. Maybe one day, I will be strong enough to use them on a new project. Every single day, I struggle with living. I envy those that get to live life without over thinking everything. I am also a christian and I too believed God had forsaken me. I now know he sees all, and didn’t answer prayers for reasons unforeseen to me. May God bless you and yours always, and may you win the fight of living that good life. ((HUGS)) sincerely, Maria Taylor California ❤
Maria, thank you SO much for sharing your story. You are such a strong woman for going through all that and making the decision every single day to keep going. I know God has a purpose for you and a way for you to use and share what you’ve experienced, thought, and felt. You are worth the effort you’ve put in to keep going. Hugs & you are most certainly in my prayers. Frances – FJ
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What an extremely tough post to share– as it is very personal, and heart wrenching. Please know that one of God’s purposes for you is sharing your struggle and allowing others to see that lovely woman behind the struggle. Keep going–know that there are those that care out here! It may not always seem like a lot but even virtual hugs can brighten a day. So— BIG HUGS—and much cowgirl love heading your way, girl!
Susan, thank you SO very much. Your words mean a lot and are much needed. I appreciate the encouragement.