Bill’s Depression and Me, Part 2

by Sue Tell


Today’s Treasure


What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it -- we're called children of God! That's who we really are.
I John 3:1, The Message


The Tipping Point -- The Uphill Journey

Bill, one of the Navigator Vice Presidents, attended a meeting of the National Leadership Team in January, his first day to return to work. That evening he and I went out to dinner with one of the senior consultants and counselors for The Navigators who listened attentively to our story. We realized Bill was not yet ready to return to the office. The consultant then invited us to spend a weekend with his wife and him in Phoenix when Bill felt he was ready to travel. We flew down in February.

What about me?

I was cautiously optimistic. Perhaps we were on the right path. The medications Bill was taking were helping, but we knew that the solution was more than meds and calendar control. God used our friend’s discernment to take us to the next step.

The Counseling Suggestion

He suggested we attend a counseling intensive and knew a counselor in Denver who he thought could help us. My Bill was eager for anything that would help, not wanting to live through the dark days of the past months again.

What about me?

I was distracted and scared. I had issues, too. Was I going to come into the light and stop trying to protect myself? My issues had come to a head two years previous and I was living in a dark place of my own, my spiritual growth stymied. Bill had suggested counseling for me back then. NO! Was I that bad off that I needed professional help? My wise husband didn't bring it up again.

This suggestion of counseling was different. I was joining my husband and we were going to counseling for his problem -- not mine. This gave me the courage to move forward. We were walking together into our future.

The Counseling Intensive

A few weeks later we temporarily moved to Denver not knowing how long we would be there. Milt, our counselor, assured us that he would know and we would know when the time was right. We did. We were there for two weeks.

Milt quickly earned our trust. My counselor defensiveness evaporated. We met with him each morning and then had a bit of homework for the afternoon or evening. The light was beginning to dawn as our understanding of Bill's depression was becoming clear. In addition, I was getting help with my issues and we were getting help with our marriage. A three for one!

What about me?

I was healing too.  I was just as needy as Bill, although I manifested it differently.

My appreciation of counselors radically changed. They are a gift to the body and we had the privilege of benefiting from their contribution.

The Cure

During those two weeks we both caught glimpses of the gospel that had previously eluded us, primarily relating to our identities as the beloved children of God. Our significance rests in who we are, not what we do. Those glimpses caught fire in our hearts as we continued to meditate on God’s love for us and the incredible truth of our identities.

What about me?

I discovered God's love for myself! I started journaling scriptures that spoke of God's love for me. My special leather journal became the foundation for my times with God. Reviewing the truth of God's love was life-changing for me then and continues to be so now. For the next few years, I limited my reading to authors who helped me flesh out God's love. Henri J. Nouwen and Brennan Manning were two of those authors. 

The Continuing Journey

Like anyone who lives with Clinical Depression, Bill still has down days once in a while. Our doctor sometimes needs to adjust his medications, but more than a medical journey, this has been a spiritual journey for us.

What about me?

I am so thankful for our new and deeper understanding of the gospel and God's love. I continue to review those truths recorded in my special leather journal. God is using this journey in ways I could have never imagined. I am so thankful for counselors and for our two weeks with Milt.

Some final thoughts

I don't like it when Bill has another experience of depression, but I recognize the symptoms now and I accept this as part of our journey.  I continue to grow in praying for him and loving him well in the midst.

What about me?

When Bill is down, I know I can protect him, but I can't fix him. I stand at the fringe silently. There are no silver bullets. Every person's dark experiences are unique. My presence is needed, but not my words. Words of admonition or pep talks just reveal that I don't understand.




Father, please continue to use our life story to minister hope to all who hear. God wherever our journey takes us, please use it for Your glory. Amen.

Sue Tell and her husband Bill have been married for almost 46 years and have served on the staff of The Navigators for 46 years as well. Although their official roles have changed over the years, the campus ministry has always been a part. Sue writes a weekly faith-based blog, Echoes of Grace, that you can find at (Echoes of Grace is "on leave" for the months of July and August for some website updates but will return September 6.) also enjoys facilitating Sabbath-Living retreats to help women grow in their friendship with God. Bill and Sue have two married sons, five grands, and her favorite walking buddy, a Golden Retriever named Lexie.




At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview “First Responders: Wounded Healers" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:

Over 300 firefighters lost their lives that awful day and yet their fellow officers continued to risk their own lives to do their job. . .The horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers of New York City, New York, on September 11, 2001, opened our eyes and hearts to the terrible price emergency personnel pay for being the first responders to tragedy. President Bush called these hidden heroes “Wounded Healers.” Are you one of those wounded healers? Do you live with a wounded healer? How do you handle the day to day stress of saving lives or perhaps arriving too late to rescue the broken? Do you struggle to keep your marriage strong? Are you trying to numb the pain with drugs, alcohol or illicit sex? Does anyone care about the struggle hidden by your stoicism? In this honest interview, two wounded healers share their own journeys with the goal of offering hope and encouragement to other EMT’s firefighters, and police officers – those often nameless heroes who answer the first call for help. It’s our hope that their stories will help keep on keeping-on.

Subscribe to Daily Treasure and have devotionals like this one delivered to your inbox.

Contact Sharon with comments or questions at