"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house..."
I've been away a week, on holiday with my family. I carried my laptop (which I never do when we go away) planning to write; but when I saw the sun in a pristine blue sky, the sea sparkling like a thousand jewels, I knew that computer wouldn't be leaving my suitcase. There's just something not right about looking down at a screen, when God's glory surrounds you so powerfully.
To be honest, I've also been stalling writing this post. But here I am.
On a sunny Thursday morning, our daughter was born.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
My son turned one in July 2014. His second year was incredibly rewarding. He was, and remains so, the funniest, most boisterous, strong-willed child we had ever known. He is at once headstrong and tenderhearted. And finally, I was enjoying motherhood. I woke up genuinely excited to start our day. What seemed like insurmountable tasks before, had turned into simple gratifying times together. I didn't mind having breakfast with him, taking walks with him, putting him down for a nap, giving him his bath...all of it. And he wanted to be with me. He would gurgle and squeal whenever I would enter the room. He put his arms tight around my neck when I carried him. He would stroke my face as I held him in the rocking chair, lulling him to sleep. It was glorious. I couldn't thank God enough, and I still can't. My son and I became inseparable.
HE stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
Before I am misunderstood, I'd like to elucidate the ending of my last post. That young lady in the psychiatrist's office that morning,was sick. I'll never know what exactly she suffered from; most likely bipolar disorder or perhaps schizophrenia. But our experience with her was not to suggest that my depression was, you know loony bin-lite. I wasn't comparing situations, or laughing AT her. We always remember that day as the first ray of light into our darkness. She caused two people who had not felt any joy in half a year, to finally exhale.
If my story should teach us all anything, it's that disease can happen to anyone, including the mental kind. I pray that my story will be your first step in eliminating your stigma when it comes to depression, bipolar disease, general anxiety disorder and schizophrenia. They do not affect people with somehow defective brains. These diseases will break into the mind of any human being, and steal everything. Remember that, and start to extend grace. I know it's not something automatic, but make the effort. We need you to. Oh how we need you to.
A few clarifications:
-This is not a blog on mental illness. It just so happens that this was the story I was led to begin with and I'm no longer sure what is happening. Like, is this a blog or am I making a feeble attempt at an autobiography? So in terms of the overall framework, I've definitely lost the plot for sure. And I must have a lot of you thinking, "Umm...nope. I didn't sign up for this." Please don't go...LOL.
-This is not a women only blog. I am a woman, discussing post partum depression, and so naturally, more women than men will be interested. But a lot of these women that suffer from this disease have partners and husbands who suffer greatly as well, because of it. So you are all more than welcome to read my story.
-Lastly, many of the symptoms of postpartum depression overlap with those of clinical depression or major depressive disorder. So if you suffer from it, then I pray my story helps you.
May God be glorified.
"There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, 'There now, hang on, you'll get over it.' Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer."
I remember the day this picture was taken. I think Tito was around three months old. It was a Sunday, and our first time back at church since his birth. We met many of our friends; there were lots of ooohs and aaahs , people carrying him in turns, we took some pictures with a couple of them. And the entire time, I was silently screaming.
My husband took this picture in the parking lot. I didn't want it, but he insisted. He said, "You're his mother, and he loves you." And I plastered on the smile I had learnt how to fake effortlessly. I've come back to this picture many times. It once made me so sad I would have to look away. Now it causes my heart to ache, but I have gained perspective.
So here I am, pulling back the curtain, peeling off the scabs...this isn't easy. It hurts to remember. It's quite late, my husband's staying up with me tonight because he knows how hard this is. I'm already crying. It frightens me to share it. But this experience has taught me that I can't be quiet...not when so many lost at sea.
Christian, wife, mom, doctor, and an alien on earth, on my way to the city of God.