I'm gonna dive right in because this subject's hard to write about, but it's been on my heart a lot lately. And I've recently read some blogs where ladies shared their current struggle. My heart aches for all who endure the dark descent. Depression.
Seven years ago this month, I had just had my sweet baby boy and was adjusting to life as a momma of two. Things were good on the home front; life seemed predictable, slow-paced and secure. Except I was falling apart inside. My emotions were completely scattered. I felt like my outer shell was on auto-pilot while my inside had taken a trip to Mars. The two were not connected. When the inside overtook the outside calm, all hell broke loose. I wailed. I screamed. I checked out. The emotional outburst overload was horrible, but the blank look was probably what scared my husband the most.
He travelled a lot with his job at that time. With an extended trip coming up, I called my doctor in a panic. "Help" came in the form of a prescription for medication that was supposed to kick in and right my system in three weeks. Medicine that made me a zombie. I went through the motions but was like a TV left on with no programming. The blankness was amplified with no one fighting to get out from the inside. I remember staring out the window, and nothing meant anything. I went to the store and forgot why I was there. I couldn't remember the day of the week or if it was day or night until I got to the outside of the store. I forgot where I was going in the car. But the worst was the overwhelming urge that kept coming up to drive the car across the yellow line. I don't know why the temptation to do that was so strong, especially when I was alone in the car, but it was. So I tried to come up with ways to combat these issues, like writing a list including the date and time when I went to the store. I called my husband whenever I started feeling like crossing into oncoming traffic and had him state clearly that I was not to do that. Thank God that I was clear-headed enough to never want to hurt the children, but I did want to hurt myself. I did projects that helped me focus and feel like I accomplished something good. I put one foot in front of the other day by day in a world that no longer meant that much to me.
It was a very lonely time, for me and for my husband. I had one friend who stood with me through that time. Others bailed, most often with judgment. My husband shouldered most of the responsibility of keeping our household going, and he did it without any support or encouragement or knowledge of how long this season was going to last. My hell was chemical and hormonal and defined. His hell was none of those. I don't know how he endured this, but by the mercy of God we made it through that year.
Towards the end of November 2003, I decided that I was done with the medication and came off of it. I wanted to re-engage and fight versus having no will to fight or do much of anything. My husband supported me in this and wanted me to be present again, even if that meant I was an emotional rollercoaster. It was better than the zombie me. I went into counseling with a sensitive, kind, and compassionate lady. It helped so much. Slowly but steadily, we rebuilt our lives and our family. Our children were so blessed to have a dad who worked overtime to ensure that they had stability and security when I couldn't provide those things.
I'm not ashamed about having gone through postpartum depression. And I still fight depression on occasion and some lingering effects from that time which I will write about at another time. I am willing to share about my experiences if it will help someone to know they are not alone. And I will help others fight too. When the dark descent comes, we can be lanterns of hope, encouragement, and love. Tenacious, compassionate, enduring, standing with the person struggling even if you don't understand what's going on type of love. Jesus loves us stubbornly and without ever giving up on us. That we would follow His example with kindness, compassion and gentleness. Amen.