About the Author

Alia Joy is an author who believes the darkness is illuminated when we grasp each other's hand and walk into the night together. She writes poignantly about her life with bipolar disorder as well as grief, faith, marriage, poverty, race, embodiment, and keeping fluent in the language of hope in...

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  1. Alia Joy,
    Unfortunately I know that dark place of which you speak. Unless you’ve been there you can’t explain it to anyone….it’s just so awful. I am praying for you that the cloud will continue to lift and blow away and that the dark glasses you don’t want to wear come off. Ironically, I wrote about my very personal battle with OCD anxiety and depression in my blog this week. I felt God’s strong urging to do so. So many people suffer in silence alone because there is still such a stigma about an illness….yes an illness. Not a flaw in faith or character. Yet mental illness is so insidious that it heaps condemnation upon those who are already suffering greatly. But there is help and there is hope. It’s not a cure….yet….but it is possible to experience joy again as hard as that might be to believe when you are in the pit. I hope it’s okay if I invite people to my post as well. Together let’s raise awareness in the Christian community to have compassion and to not turn a blind eye to suffering. Suicide rates are constantly on the rise and we, as Christians, are responsible….thank you for being brave and honest in your post. God is close to the brokenhearted and those who are suffering. Lifing you up….. https://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com/2018/10/can-christians-truly-have-mental.html.
    Blessings,
    Bev xoxo

    • Thank you both for such gifted writing on such depression. It is so true also what Bev says, “Unless you’ve been there you can’t explain it to anyone….it’s just so awful. I am praying for you that the cloud will continue to lift and blow away and that the dark glasses you don’t want to wear come off.” I am going to subscribe to both of your websites. Thanks! I would write more, but not sure my comments show up on these blogs??

      • Nancy,
        Your comments do show up and you are heard….not only by us but by God!! He knows and feels your hurt!! I always respond at my blog….I remember how alone I felt in the darkness and despair and I don’t ever want anyone to feel that way. Being a Christian, I think we heap an extra dose of guilt upon ourselves because we think that Christians ought not to feel this way….we are supposed to be joyful. Unfortunately, mental illness is no respecter of persons. Also, the enemy would like nothing more than for us to feel isolated so that he can seek to destroy….all the more reason we need to band together. I am lifting you in prayer right now Nancy for peace of mind and God’s healing. For me healing had to come through good doctors as well as counselors. No shame in medicine….no shame needed at all. Thanks so much for sharing!
        Blessings,
        Bev xx

    • Thank you, both of you for sharing this today. Alia, you described exactly where I am right now. Actually, I’ve felt it coming for a few weeks. You see, in February of this year we buried my precious momma, exactly three months later we were sitting in that same funeral home again for my daddy’s funeral. In August my beloved mother-in-love took a very sudden turn and a few short weeks later we were celebrating her graduation into heaven.
      I KNOW they are all in heaven, I KNOW, they are in a better place…
      So why this struggle with an overwhelming sadness? My moms were my best friends. I talked to them frequently and could talk to them about anything and be confident that their answer would include what Scripture says and what God had taught them over the years.
      My husband tells me that all I have to do is choose to ‘change my thinking’. And I know he’s right, but I just can’t seem to pull myself up and out of this. So I continue to cry out to God, sometimes in the form of, “Jesus, help me”, because that’s all I can get out. I keep Christian radio playing all day long…and I will push through another day with His help♡♡

      • Robin,
        It’s so hard to “choose joy” when the chemistry in your brain is depleted. You have gone through a lot of loss and severe loss or trauma can bring on episodes of depression. I’m no doctor, but if this perpetual feeling doesn’t lift after a period of grieving, I would seek help. Sometimes we need just some short term therapy or medicinal help to get us through. Not everyone has long-term illness. Please be gentle with yourself. When you are depressed it is virtually impossible to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Sometimes the most sincere prayer when we’re hurting is, “Jesus, help.” He gets it. Praying for you that you would be surrounded by the loving and comforting arms of Christ and that after a period of natural grieving, the cloud will begin to lift.
        Blessings,
        Bev xx

        • Bev, thank you for your encouragement and prayers. I saw my NP yesterday. She started me on an antidepressant and recommended a free grief counseling resource and they have a group specifically for daughters who have lost their moms…
          This a journey I never dreamt of being on. But that’s God. He rarely takes us the direction we think we should be going in♡♡

          • Robin,
            Praise! and good for you in taking good care of yourself. YOU MATTER! I really think the anti depressant will help and you probably won’t need it long term….just enough to get out of the pit of despair. The grief counseling is so important. Grief is a process we ALL go through and each of us goes through it differently. I learned in losing my dad that there are no points for stoicism, but “going with the waves of grief vs. fighting against them” was truly the best way for me. I am praying for you and so glad you sought help!!
            Love and ((hugs))
            Bev xoxo

      • Dear Robin,
        You sound as though you are grieving, your heart has been through so much. You have loved your two moms and now you are experiencing some of the emotional experience of that loss. Can you speak with a person trained in loss or bereavement? There are counsellors and free groups in many cities. Jesus longs to comfort you and bring you healing through websites such as the one we are interacting on and in real life people.
        Praying for your heart today,
        Kelly from Canada

      • I believe depression almost always comes when we are forced to find a new normal after losing such important and string links in our chain of normal. I pray that you can soon emerge on the surface, with a renewed hope, after those stones of grief are emptied from your pockets.

      • Robin,

        You have been through a ton of grief in short periods of time. Each person grieves differently. You miss those people dearly. Don’t let others tell you how to feel. Everyone handles death in their own way. Praying for the cloud to be removed & you feel better soon. Take time to remember the good times you had with each person. Praying God brings healing & comfort to your hurting soul!

        Blessings 🙂

    • Robin I’m sorry for all of your loss. I would like to join Bev and Kelly in hope and prayer that you will be okay. Grieving is not an easy process and especially with a significant amount of loss such as your’s, but it can be done, minute by minute, one breath at a time. When I was struggling I would hear,”It will be okay,” and it was then that I knew it would be. But with that said sometimes we need to seek additional help and that’s okay too.
      I hope you have a wonderful, blessed day,
      Penny

    • I love how, as I read through the threaded comments, you all take care of each other so well. I love the prayer and the sharing and the ministry of strangers. It’s a beautiful thing. Grace and peace to you all.

    • Thank you Bev and Aliza Joy. I’ve come back to this post as I took the leap to seek help with the anxiety for my upcoming trip. I knew and anyone who has suffered from anxiety when the irrational manifestations appear and you simply can’t keep breathing or meditating it away! When it’s more than reactionary or natural way to feel about leaving my children for this masters trip. Going on the medicine has NOT been fun but this afternoon for the first time in days I felt like myself. Believe me I’m exercising, praying, meditating and doing all I can. I hope this afternoon is a signal my body is adjusting Xx Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so open, it helps has helped me SO much xx

      • You’re welcome Jas!
        Yes, the medicine takes a little getting used to, but unlike what people think….it’s not “happiness pills”. Stress depletes the vital chemistry in our brain and sometimes we just need a little help to feel like ourselves again. You are replenishing what your body needs. It sounds like you are doing all the other “right” things!! Sometimes the anticipation, for me, is the worst. Once I get to where I’m going and settle into things, then my anxious mind settles down too. Praying this is the case!! Keep me posted. You are always in my prayers!
        Love,
        Bev xo

  2. I’m so grateful for our Coming God who perseveres in rescue–even when we are ambivalent about both the coming and the rescue.
    Alia, I have missed you, and whenever you came to mind, I shot up a flare of prayer, which, of course, I will continue to do.

  3. Thank you for honestly sharing your struggle. I believe many of us connected with you today and will be better for reading this, if not for ourselves, perhaps a loved one. May your forties be your best decade yet!

    • Thank you dear one —for opening eyes and hearts, mine included, to help us have more insight and compassion to those we know drowning in darkness at times…if not our own battles to come…

  4. I know. I know all too well. I am grateful for God and his mercies. And for Christian sisters and brothers finally willing to share their struggles

  5. This too will pass – that takes me miles in my 30+ year dance with my bipolar head and rapid cycling emotions. You’ve got this, Mrs Alia!! You really do!

  6. Thank you for your transparency. I could resonate with you on many of those thoughts and feelings. You have captured them and expressed them beautifully. Thank god for the hope of wonder and joy returning

  7. Dear Alia.
    Thank you for being so honest.
    People like myself frequently feel we’re the only ones struggling through life and it takes sisters like you to remind me that I’m not alone.
    Many blessings to you my dear sistr.
    Have a bessed day!

    • You’re not alone. I’m always astounded by the comments and emails and response to posts like this because there are so many who struggle in silence and depression is isolating and lonely enough as it is.

      • I feel like I’m the only one struggling with this too. Depression stinks! It’s such a lonely place to be. I’ve attempted suicide once and thought of it many other times. I’m ashamed, embarrassed … I have gotten help finally from a psychiatrist and psychologist but it feels like it’s always there just waiting for me to slip back in.

  8. Alia Joy:
    I believe that the writing of these words (here, for everyone) was also very costly to you. And, I wanted to say,
    Thank you for sacrificially giving, and sharing, these words to others in this world, so that they know that they are NOT alone in the battle.
    Thank you for being willing to be vulnerable, and honest, in sharing your experience with others, so:
    > those who have experienced this will have hope that they, too, will make it through with God’s grace and love;
    > those who have family, or friends, who have experienced seasons like this will have a better understanding of what their loved one
    is going through;
    > and those who are your brothers and sisters in Christ can insightfully and compassionately pray and support those around them
    who may be going through something like this.
    You have a unique gift of bringing others into your experience and helping them to understand in a way they never have before. Thank you. You are a BLESSING!

  9. Alia, your honesty helps so many dealing with anxiety and depression. Thank you! You are giving hope that there is a lifting of the darkness and loneliness of depression. I’m grateful for you! Praying for you!!

  10. I am so glad You are here– Your words touch my life authentically and give me hope again and again– Praise God.

  11. Tears are flowing as I read someone who has visited my nightmare existence in so many eerie,unwanted similarities. What a MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE that pulls us from that pit and shows us HIS TRUTH and HIS BEAUTY and never will leave nor forsake us. I will continue to lift you in prayer and I am grateful for your honesty and for God showing me I am certainly not alone as a Christian woman fighting this demon. THANK YOU!

  12. Thank You Alia for writing ✍ so vulnerably…I am glad to hear the cloud of depression has lifted for you and you can smile again…I can totally relate…You are not alone…God has got us…
    Had a relapse recently and still coming out of it…When I numb out…God pours his love ❤️ and life into me Inspite of ignites my numb spirit back to life…
    It may take days…
    It may take weeks…
    It may take months…
    It may take years…
    Life and joy always returns from the giver of life and Our Creator…
    Sending you love and & hugs

  13. Thank you for sharing these words about your journey. I pray for your recovery and that you feel His presence stronger each day. Your words mirror my journey and soothe my soul. It is healing to my soul to hear the truth of this journey spoken outloud.

  14. Oh, Alia, thank you for sharing! For letting us into your heart and mind and darkness! I know you are not alone in this and there are so many others who need to know that there are others who have felt this way too! Your honesty makes me want to hug those who are struggling, to sit with them and just hold their hand and be there with them through it. Thank you for sharing. It helps.

  15. Thanks for being so open and real. Your story resonated with me in a powerful way, as the shadows of life consistently hover. Prayers of light and peace to you.

  16. I’m always amazed at the depth of your word pictures to describe depression. It helps me see and feel your journey. So helpful as I walk with people I love in similar battles. Thank you! Praying with you for joy in the morning.

    • Thanks Afton. I always love to hear from readers who relate to the struggles I talk about but it’s such a blessing to hear from readers who are invested in learning because they have loved ones they’re walking with. So thankful for those who invest and fight, even when it’s not their battle.

  17. I am there,I fled Texas because I couldn’t find a place to stay in my income within a month,having major anxiety.i came to my mother’s for some time to think, relax and heal. I’m irritating her,within a 4 day time period.now what do I do? My doctor’s back in Texas,my meds are running out.i don’t drive.God says take time for me, prepare for the next thing whilst I hear mom slammed ng cabinets on the kitchen.i want work.shes telling me I’m on my phone too much.how else do I find work?

    • Cindy, I know how it is, when I was in my worst moment struggling with anxiety, I went to my mom’s for help, but she couldnt handle it. She was always mad at me and when I had an attack She would yell and fight me because I didnt try harder to be ok, or didnt have enough faith. It never helps it only makes you more anxious. You need to be brave, and focus on God every moment. Decide not to give in, you can do it, you made it til today, I know you Will til the end. Dont give UP. He Will carry you through. I pray that his peace gives you rest . I can send you helpful material from a Christian specialist. It helped me a lot, if you would like, leave me yogur mail. I Will be praying for you.

  18. Alia Joy, thank you for being so honest with what you have been through. I understand the depression and not wanting to live anymore. I have been fighting the battle of suicide for a long time now. I never think I am good enough for my family, friends, or work. I always think they would be better off without me and that no one would miss me. I have good days and bad days. I am severely overweight and I am a stress eater. I fight my demons almost on a daily basis and I have been fighting them since I was a teenager. The ones that say no one likes you, you aren’t good enough, your fat, they don’t want to be around you, look they don’t want to do anything with you, they aren’t really your friend and your pathetic. I have tried to commit suicide once because of something my husband said to me about wanting to have an affair with my son-in-law. Which was not true at all. Now I am okay, but am having a hard time will taking care of my 28 year old daughter who has epilepsy and who has been separated from her husband for over a year. My husband drinks all the time and spends a lot of money on this. This has also been a struggle for me and a lot of frustration between my husband and daughter. There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed or get dressed. I don’t care what I look like on the weekends and most of the time I don’t shower on the weekends just because I don’t care. I am struggling to hear God sometimes through all of this and I really want to hear His voice and the plans that He has for me. I am also trying to start a small business with the gift of crochet and crafts that the Lord has given me. My husband doesn’t really want me to do this because he never lets me have any money for this, but he spends a lot of money on his beer and eating out all the time. I am really struggling today with all of this and am trying really hard not to let it all get to me. Please keep me in your prayers.

  19. Alia Joy, my heart aches for you and others walking through this sort of deep depression. I am committing to pray for you and others I know in the coming weeks. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably. Your words give me insight on how to pray. Because, honestly, I have never experienced depression this deep. Thank you for your words here. And for the reminder that God is always with us, even in the deep places.

  20. Alia Joy, thanks for sharing your struggle in your words with us. I enjoy your writing as always and thankful you’re feeling better in the next decade of your life! Thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning. For each and every one of us! Keep on breathing, laughing, loving and writing what God’s laid on your heart! Hugs and blessings my friend!

  21. Dear Alia,
    Thank you for sharing such a personal journey! I have anxiety issues at times which manifests itself in tension. I have never known depression though, just a “down” feeling when I’m feeling an extended period of loneliness. So, although I cannot completely relate to what you have experienced, and many others who have replied, I will pray for you and them as well.

    Glad to read your new meds are working. Praise God for the help He has brought to you!!!

    To Cindy,
    Praying for your relationship with your mom; may you both find common ground as you try to find employment and live together. May God grant you peace, rest and insight as to where and what you should be doing.

    Shalom, Sandy

  22. Dear Alia,
    Thank you for your words. As always they breathe heavy truth. I am glad that you are here. I am glad that 40 is another milestone of being in your life. I am thankful for those who see you and hear you. May they continue to walk along side you, fight for you and stand for you as you fight. You ARE loved my dear.
    Janel

  23. Alia Joy,
    Despite your anguish you so bravely share with others, thank-you so much for this selfless act. This community is such a blessing, & my prayers are with all of you that through the darkness comes light.
    I hope that you have a wonderful, blessed day,
    Penny

  24. How do you come out when your in? When you hurt the people you love the most in the midst and they pull away or perhaps walk away? It’s so chaotic when emotions confuse truth.

  25. The valley is so long and glory to God Jesus is always by my side. Thank you my sisters for prayer and grace.

  26. I know this Darkness all too well! There are times it totally consumes me. I couldn’t leave my house for 2 years. I couldn’t drive a car for 2 1/2 years ( still getting used to that at a snails pace). After 6 attempts I checked myself into the hospital. Unfortunately I have had other attempts, but God has other plans. Even through the chronic physical, mental and emotional pain, I know he has a purpose for me. I also can see now when I thought he had abandoned me, that He was actually suffering with me. He is always there even when I forget! Praying for everyone in this situation!

    • “when I thought he had abandoned me, that He was actually suffering with me.” Brandy, what a hard hard lesson but a beautiful truth to learn. Praying for you tonight, sister. So glad you are here.

  27. Profoundly written.
    Profoundly felt.
    I see my journey in your words.
    It was here at (in)courage where I finally began pulling myself out of the pit eight years ago…
    All because of writers like you.
    All because of your vulnerable sharing and incredible faith.
    Carrying you in my heart today Alia Joy.
    Thank you for being.

  28. God bless you sweetie for your willingness to help others while you need so much healing yourself. Please hold down. I’ve been there over and over and lately since I hit my 60’s I feel like there’s nothing to live. My daughter is 45, my son who would have been 43 this year was murdered 13 years ago, my grandchildren are grow and live in other states. I was forced to retire early last year due to back and legs and the depression and PTSD. But let me tell you that without Jesus I wouldn’t be here today. Also when I was 19 and my mom was 49, she killed herself. She never thought she had any problems and it was everyone else. I never want my family to find me the way we found my mother. Always get the help you need and keep on reaching out. That’s what we have to do when we live most of our lives in the valley instead of on the mountain top. I pray for your healing and that the hand of God would always be upon you. God bless you.

  29. Alia, thank you for openness and vulnerability. I was struggling with strong feelings of shame this week about not being as productive at work as I’d like to be. Your words make me feel human and connected and OKAY. They help melt the shame. THANK you.

  30. The struggle is real. I have lived this for over 60 years. Thank you for putting into words what I cannot say myself.

    Keep plugging along. One day and one God at a time.

  31. I tell people that grief and depression are like evil twins. Sometimes we are grieving for our losses, and sometimes the depression causes grief. I have written more about suicide lately than i care to, young people, anyone and even a minister. No believer should have to accept that darkness when we have the light of the world. take your medicines and bless them but speak His words of life and love over each other, we desperately need His peace to body of Christ. I pray for you all according to Matthew 16:19, let’s agree to bing that enemy, loose these evils and let the Holy Spirit rain over us. God bless.

  32. Thank you so much for your honesty and truthful telling of what that black hole is like. I have bipolar disorder as well. My last phase of extreme depression ended in 2015 I spent all of 2014 in the pit. I prayed each and every waking moment that God would take me home. After 8 months of trial and error getting my meds fine-tuned, I finally started to stop hoping to die and to stop actively planning my own escape route if God didn’t bring me through. in the Spring of 2015. I finally emerged from the chrysalis of my trial by fire and was able to look up to my maker and thank him for holding me tight and tethered, even when all I saw was death and a widening chasm of despair. I am happy to report that I am doing 100% better these days. I’ve been quietly content and filled with joy, and know these gifts from my Lord, not to be taken lightly.
    My issue is hyperextended periods of severe bipolar depression followed by an extended period of feeling ‘normal’. To make it harder to manage, I will be going along well and then my medications will stop working so it’s ‘normal’ for me to be on the way or the way down frequently.

    I wish you better days and offer my prayers to you and so many of the other ladies that have shared their struggle. Gods blessing to you all.

  33. I so appreciate your words and your honesty. I do not experience this except as an observer in someone I love. Your words help me understand my suffering loved one better. Thank you!

  34. It’s good to know that others understand the heavy weight of depression and all the feelings that arise from the battle. I am alone, and I am trying to make life decisions alone. I know God is always by my side, but I so long for someone to take me by the hand, someone to walk beside me. So, yes I hear you, and I will pray for you also. I am so glad you have your husband and children by your side. Such a blessing. Thank you for your transparency.

  35. Thank you all for sharing. It gives hope to know I’m not alone and I pray it does for all of you too.

  36. Alia, Robin, Cindy, Gina (especially you, Gina), I am reading this with tears in my eyes. I have a friend with whom I am going to share this. Her name is Michelle. She is not from this country. She is battling a plethora of health and other issues. She is a new Christian, and I will share this with her, so that she has another resource to go to. I so very much want to help her, and sometimes (most times) all I can really do is listen. Thank you for helping me to understand what it’s like. VJ

  37. Alia,

    It is hard to watch & deal with people who have psych issues. You want to help them but don’t know what to do or say. Medications help out tremendously. This country has a huge psych problem. We need more psych hospitals & professionals. One thing I can’t understand is Christians telling other Christians that they need to “pray more, have more faith, etc.” & you will be healed. That is folly. Anxiety/depression could be a result of a chemical imbalance. it could be hereditary. This is the time of year when depression can hit worst. I am praying for all who have any psych issues. May God bring about healing, remove the clouds & shower all with sunshine.

    Blessings 🙂

  38. Alia, I will never get tired of reading your words. My gratitude will never run dry for the way you steward your brokenness — giving voice to the pain so many others feel. I’m so sorry for your suffering. Love you much, sister. xx

  39. Thank you for sharing. I have been in that same place now for six months. Wearing my mask everyday while at night praying that God can help me find the courage to do it all over again. I lost my cousin two weeks ago (to cancer) and she was my safety. The one who knew what it felt like to be there in the darkness. It is so hard to share and open up about it when everyone thinks you have it all on the outside, but they can’t imagine what the inside looks like. I cannot tell you how much it means to know there are others who not only struggle with this but also have a heart for the Lord. Thank you

  40. Thank you so much for sharing this. I also have Bipolar and I struggle with the same things. I’ve been suicidal many, many times. When i’m in the pit of depression or even in mania because it’s dysphoric for me, I feel like life has never been good and nothing will ever get better and God isn’t with me. But when I feel better I feel hope and love and God. I’m so happy you have a good support system in place, it’s very important.

  41. Oh Alia… Praying for you as you go through these difficult times. I completely understands what you are feeling and I wished there was a simple quick fix to this. Sending you hugs and reminding you God loves you. Take Care.

  42. I’m so thankful for my Decon to have sent me this link. You wrote my story, I felt your words. I was in that same dark place, I still to this day cannot remember how long I was on my couch or how my family was getting by without me. I left a very successful job, just walked out on to my couch. I didn’t remember anything until I looked up one day and my husband and my priest said we are taking you to get help. I was admitted into a mental health hospital between inpatient and out patient I was in 7 weeks. Several medications that after almost a year kicked in. I give Glory to God for shining the light so I could find my way out of darkness. I had attempted to take my life and now I had been given life back. My family had two previous suicides one I witnessed. It’s almost ten years since I was inpatient I did go back in about a year after my first stay. Life has been full of struggles but though God and my family I have come so far. This past January 31st. My only Niece took her life she was 41. I have never been more in shock or had my faith shaken. I thought I could have gotten through anything and helped her through her depression I did it why couldn’t I helped her. It’s been 11 months. I ask for prayer every single day for God to hold me up. I feel like I’m falling backwards but I can’t. Please keep me in prayer.