Hi, I’m Bailey Koch. I’m new here, and I’m honored to share our story. So thank you in advance for reading. What should you know about me? Let’s see…I’m a wife and a momma. I have two very rambunctious, but equally fabulous, little boys. They are currently ages 8 and 5. Living room wrestling and screaming are common. My husband and I are family business owners and I’m a full-time doctoral student specializing in Special Education and working from home. For seven years, I taught in public schools as a Special Education and Spanish teacher. We are middle class, very real people who work hard. Oh yeah…my husband’s brain tells him to kill himself and we’ve had to learn to live with it. Do I have your attention yet?
Yes, Jeremy was diagnosed with severe depression in 2009. He has had multiple suicide attempts. But he’s still here. In February of 2012, we almost lost each other. Really almost lost each other. Jeremy was involved in a head-on collision at highway speeds. His Dodge Ram was no match for the semi-truck.
I prayed it wasn’t suicide. I prayed he hadn’t lost all sight of hope. I wanted to know the truth – every horrible detail. But God is good. He opened our eyes to the realization that it doesn’t matter. Jeremy remembers nothing from the accident. He doesn’t even know why he was in the truck or where he was going. While I want to understand, I have learned to be unbelievably thankful God has protected Jeremy from any memory of that day. It was a blessing in disguise, and three years later – I get it. I truly, truly get it. Jeremy’s alive. That’s it. That’s all that matters. My husband is here because God is not done with him yet. So we have a purpose. But what is it?
How could something like depression be good? It seems so much easier to just be angry…really angry…than to have to force myself to find the good in my husband’s brain telling him, often relentlessly, to kill himself. So we did what society taught us – we hid. We hid for a long time. We segregated ourselves. We dealt with our reality on our own. We could handle it right?
Except we couldn’t.
One day I broke. I had just dropped off my husband at Richard Young Hospital because I came home from work and found him sitting alone in a dark room. He had put a gun to his head that day because his brain had convinced him it would be better if he were gone. I lost it and finally spilled our reality to my best friend; someone who had been asking me over and over to tell her what was wrong. Had I really segregated myself that much? Had I really let my husband believe we had to fight this beast alone?
Guess what? There was even good in that day. Jeremy began learning to listen to his heart instead of his brain. His heart pulled him out of it; he didn’t pull the trigger. Why? God’s not done with him. Jeremy saw something was terribly wrong, and he finally let me in and told me the whole story. The truth about what his brain says to him in these times was devastating and liberating. For the first time, my husband accepted help. I accepted help. It was the first step, the most important step, toward hope and healing. We realized we are not alone. God placed the good in Jeremy’s heart that day and Jeremy listened. God showed me the good in the support of friends and family and I let myself be vulnerable to my fears. But my fears were not confirmed. In fact, my fears were completely blasted.
Everything I thought would happen, because the stigma attached to mental illness seems so real and debilitating, didn’t. The reality that happened when we opened ourselves to accepting help turned out to be faith and healing.
Many years passed. Many years of ups and downs, but we began to understand our purpose – to help others. Yesterday, when I had the pleasure of meeting another writer for Her View From Home, Betty said something that is so true. “Depression is more common than the cold.” And it is. It’s just not talked about often – until now. When we finally began openly talking about our situation, we couldn’t believe what happened. People came from all over with stories of despair caused by unseen illnesses. Depression. Anxiety. Bi-Polar Disorder. Mild Autism. Schizophrenia. MS. Fibromyalgia. The list goes on and on. And WE were helping them by sharing our reality. We felt honored and terrified, all at the same time. Could we really use something so horrible in our lives for good?
There are so many people out there who know what it’s like to live with pain and suffering, but who believe they are alone and are terrified to reach out for help. God has helped us find the good in our situation, and we know there is good in everything.
So what is our good? We now have the opportunity to help others who suffer in silence or who don’t understand they are not alone. We get to speak openly about our struggles and finally our willingness to see the good and accept help. It’s not completely selfless – it helps us too. It feels amazing to know we can help others. God revealed our purpose. There is so much hope in allowing yourself to see His good, to accept help from the good He has placed in your life, and to submit to His will.
Jeremy telling his story at Parkview Baptist Church – Lexington.
Our book, “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith”, is available now in eBook format on Amazon and will be available in print soon at www.jeremyandbailey.com. We pray we can help many by sharing our full story. From completely helpless and harsh to hopeful and happy! And now, we can help you understand there is good in everything and God is always with you. There is good everywhere in your life; from people who are willing to help to professionals who are educated to help. God is good all the time, we just have to allow ourselves to see Him even when it is so undeniably difficult.
So find the good in your situation. I know you can. I believe in you. But what’s more important – God believes in you. He has such a beautiful plan for you. Oh – just wait till you see it. But you have to let yourself.