I'm still here | My struggle with depression, anxiety, OCD, and the choice to live

still here depression anxiety OCD choice to live

“So, are you still doing that stationery business thing?”

It’s been really quiet around here lately. No blogs, no new products, no Instagram posts… just silence. A lot of my friends and clients have been asking: Do you still have a business?

The answer is, resoundingly: yes. I do have a business. It’s actually alive and well, despite what you have (not) seen online. I’ve been focusing on bridal stationery suites, and boy, do I have some exciting work to share in the coming weeks.

But my Internet presence has been lacking, because frankly, I have been lacking. Remember that gutsy blog post where I told you about my decision to quit my teaching job and start the business of my dreams? It’s still true, but it’s only half the story.

You see, the truth behind the truth is this: I have spent the better part of three years locked in a battle with depression, anxiety, and OCD. I started this business because I was having a personal crisis.  As a teacher, I spent all of my time working, and spent my free time worrying about working. I became a shell of a person: smiles and laughter all day in the classroom, and then insomnia, tears, and panic attacks all night. As an artist I could work in private, behind a screen, in my pajamas, with tears in my eyes, and nobody would know the difference. It's easy to fake it in photos.

Kyle Sommer Sommer Letter Co by Natalie Kunkel

Last year, after I started this business, my crisis got a lot worse. You know all those ugly monsters you bury deep inside? Mine came back, with a vengeance, looking for answers. December hit and I couldn’t run anymore. I couldn’t fake the happy online independent business girl. I froze, literally, for months.

I failed to get out of bed for days at a time. I failed to release my Valentine’s Day cards because I wasn’t happy with them. I stopped blogging. I stopped seeing my friends entirely. I stopped responding to business emails. I stopped dreaming. The hardest thing about depression is being unable to see reality through the fog. I stopped being able to discern what was true and what was just in my head. I really believed the lie: I looked death in the eye, and saw an escape.

Kyle Sommer Sommer Letter Company

There was no clear turning point for me. Day after day, my husband held me, prayed over me, coached me, pointed me to Jesus, and helped me make the choice to live. I had been in counseling for months. I started exercising and eating better. I accepted my psychologist’s recommendation to take medication. I finally let my family get close enough to see the depth of my despair. I stopped pretending, and faced the demons and the unanswered questions. I called out to God and admitted I desperately needed help, and He was faithful to answer me.

The days are brighter, and I think about the future again. I have hope that what God is doing is best. I know He has used my suffering to restore my hope in Him. But I’m not naïve. I’m still in this battle; the choice to trust is a daily decision.

So, yeah, I’m still here. I’m still doing “that stationery business thing” (and you'll get to see everything I've worked on since December!) Stay tuned, because I’m not going anywhere.

Psalm 34
I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked;
    the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord will rescue his servants;
    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

P.s. Portraits in this blog post were taken by Natalie Kunkel of Natalie Kunkel Photography. Isn't she kind of the best?? She has truly been a faithful friend through the last year.