Chasing After Happiness or Running from Hopelessness?

The recent death of Robin Williams has stunned the world. (Me included)  Such talent.  Such laugher.  Such life.  But hidden behind the gigantic grin was a human being struggling to survive.

I don’t claim to know much about clinical depression or bi-polar disorder.  I grew up with a brother who struggled with depression.  My mother also battled a depression/anxiety disorder.  What I do know is, depression is not a “I feel sorry for myself” state of mind.  Depression is a physical disorder.  You can’t talk a depressed person out of feeling bad.  It’s like when I broke my arm as a child.  I couldn’t talk myself out of the bone being broken.  No matter how many people came up to me and told me they loved me and that my arm was fine, it wasn’t.  The bone was fractured.  And it wouldn’t heal on it’s own.  Mental disorders are much like that.

A simpler time.

A simpler time.

My mother went through therapy for two years.  Hour long sessions every week of talking it out to a professional didn’t do much good.  It was the right medicine correcting the chemicals in her brain that turned my mother back into a normal functioning happy woman.

What I do understand is hopelessness.

And I’m pretty sure Robin Williams battle with depression left him hopeless.

I’ve never struggled with depression.  But I’ve struggled with hopelessness.  A feeling that there’s no future.  A feeling that I’ve messed up so bad that nothing could ever make it right.

I’ve made some pretty bad decisions based on hopelessness.  Yes, I felt so hopeless at one point that I even contemplated suicide.  It wasn’t so much of a “I can’t stand this pain.”  It was a “everyone would be better off without me” mentality.

You would think it would be visible, this hopeless state of mind.  But it wasn’t for me.  No one knew how I felt.  I put on a happy face.  I was good at making sure everyone around me thought I was bubbly and vivacious.  I refused to holler out for help.

When I packed up my 12 year old daughter and left a marriage of 15 years, I felt as if I was bound in a tight bandage and I was suffocating.  I couldn’t breath. No one around me knew what I was feeling.  My entire family and close friends were shocked that I would “do such a thing.”  They all assumed I had lost my marbles and was running off with another man.

That wasn’t the case.

What no one knows, I wanted to die.

Had it not been for my precious 12 year old daughter…

I ran away.  In order to….survive.

I didn’t really want to talk about my hopelessness to anyone.  No one would understand.  So I kept it inside.  Bottled up.  The good news is…I immediately got into a great church.  I surrounded myself with some fabulous women.  I got into a bible study.  I started counseling.

After about three months of getting my relationship with God back in tact, I had made the decision to return home to my husband.  It was Christmas.  What better gift than to announce to my family that I was returning home.  What greeted me at the time was divorce papers.  And there was no convincing him of taking me back.

Did hopelessness set back in?  No.  The difference now was my faith was much stronger.  My hope was now in Christ and his plans for my life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)


I have been divorced for over 12 years.  I remarried a wonderful Christian man.  My 12 year old daughter is now 24 and recently married the man of her dreams.  My husband and I adopted his biological granddaughter.   Maddie is now 10 years old.  Ten months ago my step son and his baby boy moved in with us.  I am now raising my 5th child.  Garrison is 2 1/2 years old.  I have never struggled with depression.  I have struggled with hopelessness.  The broken pieces of Merrily have been put back together into something whole.  I give all credit to God for being the master who holds the glue, waiting to put back everything into a masterpiece of his creation.


 Here’s one of the books that helped me:


  1. Julie Sandeen says:

    Merrily, thanks for sharing your life new at least to me. It is both encouraging and affirming to several seasons in my life as well. Glad that God NEVER gives up on us and is ALWAYS there to bring HOPE when we reach out to Him!
    Love and m

    • Hi Julie! I feel privileged that you took the time to stop in and read my blog. After attending a blogging conference, I’m pumped to keep writing! God is good. And His plans are so much better than mine! Case in point…my daughter’s “dream man” being your son!!! Love you! m

  2. Toni McCollum says:

    Thank you Merrily for sharing your heart. our hope does remin inGod and God alone. I feel as if I know you better now. Thank you.

  3. Excellent post thanks for sharing ….many blessings to you and yours!

  4. Thank you for your transparency in sharing your story, my friend! I know it will bless others as it has blessed me.
    Andrea Tabler recently posted…They’ve Flown the Coop!My Profile

  5. Such a beautiful story and testimony. Thank you for sharing. I think if anything good comes out of this sad situation with Robin Williams I hope and pray it’s an open and real dialogue that’s much needed in our society about mental health.
    Tania // Run To Radiance recently posted…Tips for Wine Tasting & our Trip to Fredericksburg TexasMy Profile

  6. So well written! I love your sensitivity to the issue. I’m hopping here from Thursday’s Favorite Things and following you. Blessings to you and yours!

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