Depression is a beast. It exists because we live in a fallen, broken world. God allowed it.
I’ve been dealing with depression for most of my life. I was trying to pinpoint a starting time or season, but as far back as I go, it’s just there. I guess we all handle it in different ways. When I was young, I’d stress eat or cry. I never knew that of course. As a teen it turns to moods, tears, hiding in my room and stomach issues. The real swings started to come after our first son. I had terrible post pardum depression which left me feeling scared, exhausted, suicidal, lonely, fearful and anxious. I had rough post pardum with both of my boys. I think my journey with some type med started 6 months after I had my oldest. I went on and off of one medicine in between the boys. I hate thinking of that now, because it really only made it worse for me. Years of rough patches.
I don’t write that for some shock or awe response. It’s just my life and how it’s been. I don’t want to delve into “why” it all began really. I want to talk about how it has hurt everyone in my home. I know I carry guilt with me every day because of it. I’ve been trying to work through that recently.
I remember when Noah was 5 or 6 months old I first confided in someone about it. She was very kind to me. I had isolated myself at home with my baby. We’d moved to a new town with no family nearby and I’d quit doing everything I loved to do. It was tough! She gently suggested getting back into a few activities I enjoy, like choir. I did and it certainly helped. I’m thankful for her because I felt comfortable opening up to her and she didn’t say anything hurtful, nor did she act shocked. She prayed and helped me. (Thanks, Felicia!)
Noah was a very content and happy baby, so that really helped. He made me smile often and lifted my spirits, even when the darkness often took over. I remember being so scared I’d hurt him at times. I needed help, but didn’t know what to do about it. It was almost paralyzing. The doctor wasn’t much help. Now that I love health related topics, I wish someone had checked my thyroid and hormone levels, but they didn’t. They’d rather just give you a pill. They can have their place, but I truly believe low vitamin D and thyroid issues were much to blame. Wonky hormones.
Years went by full of ups and down. Infertility wasn’t something I was prepared for. It was meant for my story though. I was told I’d not have any more kids, which was hard news. I was so sad and longed for most babies. Titus was a shock! 6 years after Noah he absolutely surprised us. I struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my pregnancy. I was so scared to lose him. Meds again. After I had Titus, I struggled again with baby blues. I didn’t care for him as well as I wished I had. Noah often learned to get a snack, do schoolwork or other things on his own because I couldn’t do them. I was almost glued to the bed or couch. I can’t even think about it because it makes me so sad.
I’d love to say that’s all resolved and was only post babies, but it’s not. It always feels like an undercurrent in my life. Sometimes it’s a focus and sometimes it’s just there. I can see how it’s burdened and hurt everyone in my family in one way or another. School work I wish I’d have done. Things I wish I’d have stood stronger on with my kids that I let slide. I didn’t want to argue nor did I have the energy to keep working on some areas with them. I have two very strong willed kids. I’d often be reduced to tears and give up. I wish I didn’t give up so easily.
The level of hurt I’ve caused someone I love was recently brought to my attention. I have thought of the ways my depression has impacted my family many times. It haunts me most days. When it’s brought up right to you, it’s even more painful because you know what you suspected is true. I know my flaws, though how deep the hurt has been for others isn’t always easy to see. I knew, but now I really know. I know we all have levels of hurt and trauma from our parents. I think that’s of life. Our human, fallen nature is just prone to sin. But God.
I can’t do this on my own. I have never given up, even when life hurt so much that I felt like it. Though I struggle, I can still see God in it all. He still lifts my head with His word. He encourages me through a message from a friend. He is my Rock, Shield, Comfort, Right Hand, my Strength. When my hope seems lost, He is there. He is my Hope. If you don't have Him as your Hope, please reach out. Without Christ, I can't image making it through.
I’m writing this for whoever might read this that feels guilty and sad about how their family may feel. You have to know it’s affecting them. Depression touches everyone in the house if one person struggles. Let me tell you this, God gives enormous amounts of grace to you and to those living with you that are in Christ. I am praying that He will heal relationships, hearts and lives. I can repent and ask forgiveness when I know I’ve hurt someone. We have to do that. But, I can’t make them forgive me or work on our relationship. That’s the Lord’s work in their life. I know that everything in our lives is there for a purpose. Even depression. He can use it for His glory and our good. In my kids lives. In my husband’s life. In my life. He can use it all for good. Just know they may be hurt or hurting and that may be because of you or what you're going through. Their feelings are valid!
I find hope in that.
I won't get into all the reasons for depression or what you should do to heal. Sometimes you don't heal. Sometimes it's a thorn in the flesh. If you don't have Christ, you don't have Hope. You need Him. He is such a deep, rich source of comfort in pain and suffering. If you are in a desperate situation, please get help. I know how hard it is to ask for help. I know. Sometimes when you do ask, it's not received well. Some people just don't understand and don't even try. Don't let them discourage you from asking someone else. I may write another post about the bad responses I've gotten when I did tell someone. They have taught me many lessons as well.
I recently read this article that really touched my heart. Please take a read if it suits your situation. (Why Did God Give My Kids a Sick Mom?)