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220 views • September 17, 2018

Depressed in bed for days, her husband's messages were touchingly beautiful

Celeste Li
In June 2017, Sarah Loucks of Merced, California, was having a normal day at home doing dishes. Then she suddenly stopped. “My emotions turned to black, every ounce of energy escaped and where my soul had been was a vacant void.” Loucks was having a depressive episode, but there was absolutely no trigger. These episodes—which come in all different forms—stem from her bipolar disorder. Some episodes only last a few hours, but others last a few months. As she stood there, she knew her then 4-year-old son was expecting lunch. But she felt herself deflating like a balloon pricked by a needle. It wouldn’t be long before she was incapacitated completely. Loucks usually hides her depression from her three children, so she took them to her parents’ house where they could be taken care of for a few hours. When she returned home, she felt her pain getting worse and went to the couch, calling her husband, Michael Mayfield, for help—while he was at work. When Mayfield came home, he found his wife in the that she had called from, seemingly unable to get up. Loucks didn’t greet him; she merely walked away from the couch and climbed into her bed where she stayed for hours. She was fighting a war within her own mind. She kept insulting and belittling herself, attacking her own weaknesses, feeling pathetic. As this was happening, Mayfield took care of the kids. He helped them with homework, cooked dinner, played games, and watched TV with them. Mayfield made sure not to leave her out completely, though. “I would check on Sarah every so often; she would not even poke her head out of the covers,” Mayfield said. “This hurt me to see her like this.” Loucks stayed in the same spot for days, not getting up to change her clothes or brush her teeth—even using the toilet was rare. Instead her days were spent listening to that same internal argument play out over and over again. Eventually though, she worked up the energy to get up, and what she saw when she got into the hallway made her feel so special. It was around 6 in the morning when Loucks decided to get up for a cup of water. As she walked out, she saw tiny yellow squares all over the walls. They were sticky notes, and each one had a special message written specifically for her. There were several, all with different encouraging messages like “You are wanted,” “You are not a burden,” and “I love you.” Reading these loving messages, Loucks began to cry and when Mayfield stepped into the hallway, revealing that this was something he had planned, she became even more emotional. According to Mayfield, the idea behind the sticky notes came from a video he had seen a few days prior to his wife’s depressive episode. The video was a list of things to say to someone struggling with depression—but her husband wanted to take it one step further. The as had a profound impact. Loucks ended up saving 20 of her favorite notes and taping them to a wall next to her, so they would be the first things she saw both when she woke up and went to bed. “I did not expect the reaction she had; I just thought it was something nice to do and these are things she needed to hear,” Mayfield said. Those sticky notes are still on Loucks’s wall over a year later, and serve as an inspiration for her to keep going.
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