When are we going to acknowledge mental illness? As a church, when are we going to stop the shaming and begin the healing? As a church do you believe in medication to help in the healing process for any disease? Cancer? Flu? Diabetes? Mental illness? When will the judgment end and the help begin?
photo credit: Angela Norton
No, I haven’t written in a while. To tell you the truth, I haven’t felt like I had much to say. I went back to college and was so busy, I had no time. Then found out I was pregnant after 7 years of trying and giving up. Remember my aortic aneurism? Still there! I was told we should have aborted the baby and that’s just not an option for us in any circumstance. The what if’s and the maybes haunted me and thus began … post pardum depression and it really began about 6 Weeks before I gave birth!
News flash. I couldn’t stop it on my own! What?!!! Yep! I’m not God! I wasn’t in control and I’m still not. I’m a human, a very imperfect human.
A great friend of mine said something so profound as I was beating myself up for having to take Zoloft. She said “Rachel, I have come to accept that I am living in a broken world full of brokenness and in my own weakness the part of me that’s broken is my mind. So, I stay on a low dose of this medication to keep me fixed”.
A broken vase can’t hold water but with the right kind of glue to hold it together, that same vase can look flawless, hold water and display the most beautiful bouquet of flowers you’ve ever seen. That medicine that keeps my friend fixed and keeps me fixed during this healing process, is that very same glue. And because we take our glue, we can be kind and nurturing and loving and we can know that we are needed and loved and we have so much to give and so many amazing people who want us here and who love us and depend on us.
Do I doubt the hand of God’s healing power? Absolutely NOT! Do I doubt that he gave scientists the knowledge to create a mild or not so mild medication to help people heal? No I do not. Can I help myself? Only by taking my medicine and praying and exercising and I do all three things.
Here’s the thing. I SUFFERED… SUFFERED with depression for several years after my mom died. I SUFFERED again after the birth of my first baby. I was over the moon excited and happy to be a mother, but the thoughts and the sadness brought on by fear overcame me. I prayed! Believe me! I prayed! I read my Bible daily and sometimes several times a day. I believed and yet, I still suffered for almost 2 full years before I naturally came out of it. My husband suffered. My family suffered. My baby suffered. I was not the mother I could have been. I was not the wife, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, aunt, or friend I could have been. I let me myself go. I cried. I thought everyone would be better off without me. I fell asleep multiple times while baby was left on my bed or in the crib. I wore ratty clothes. I hated myself. I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I felt and thought the things I thought. I didn’t know how I got there or why I couldn’t leave. I felt shame! I was shamed by the church because they preached that to be depressed was to be selfish. I was shamed that medication was not the right thing to do. I was so ashamed that I couldn’t admit I had a problem until it was over and I was through the storm. It was a hurricane inside me.
It was in that moment of healing that I made a declaration to myself that if I ever felt that way again or thought those things again, I would NOT allow myself or my family to suffer. Never. Again.! I also made it a serious issue to be talked about with friends. I declared to myself that I would not allow a friend to suffer the way I did. I would present them with the information and encourage them gently to get help! I would recognize the symptoms, show love, and help my friends.
Now, here I am. I’ve found myself in that same place with every single symptom except suicide, Thank God. But, I did think I should take the baby and just leave. I believed that my amazing husband was a better parent than me… so much better that he and the children didn’t need me. The only reason the baby needed me was to eat. I even thought I might bring her to him when she was finished breastfeeding. You see, depression isn’t just “sadness”!! Depression includes all sorts of symptoms that are mostly internal that we who suffer from it are left to suffer alone. Alone on the inside unable or afraid to share because of shame and embarrassment. I’m not ashamed anymore.
Hi! My name is Rachel. I take Zoloft. Hopefully I won’t have to be on this forever, but if I do, it’s for the joy of me and my family.
If you suffer, get help! Tell the haters to hate somewhere else. Help yourself and then become an advocate to help others. Because the truth is, we live in a broken world. We are not in Heaven yet. Just as someone else suffers from back pain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or aids and just as someone lives unable to walk, see, or speak, others suffer with the inability to think straight, to make logical decisions, to believe they are needed, to know they are loved and to walk in complete peace everyday of their lives.
Become an advocate. Don’t just say it, do it! Do something! Realize it’s real. It’s scary. It can be treated!
Below are links. Click on them. You’ll find the symptoms of depression and post pardum depression. If you or someone you love has these symptoms, call your doctor, talk to your loved one, share this post. Get help. Give help!
Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of PPD (Post Pardum Depression)