Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heart Song:Post-Partum Depression

I was in a deep pit; a deep dark hole in the ground able to look up and see the top with the sky in view, but where was God?  I couldn’t see Him anymore in the life around me.  I couldn’t feel Him anymore.  All I felt was loneliness.  Had God forgotten about me; had He left me?  I felt totally separated from Him.  I wanted to die.

I had my second daughter in July of 2002 and I was completely overjoyed to have her.  I adored her.  So when I was in the hospital recovering from labor and delivery, it didn’t occur to me that something could be wrong.  As far as I knew, post-partum depression meant you didn’t feel connected to your baby, like in that movie from the 80’s with Molly Ringwald.  I felt angry, but not at my baby, I felt angry and irritated with everyone around me.

When the nurses came in to check on me, I was irritated.  When family came to visit me, I was irritated.  –But did I let anyone know?  Absolutely not!  I am a Christian, and Christians don’t go through things like this.  We are supposed to be victorious in every area of our lives; and I wasn’t.  I felt like a failure and an embarrassment to God.  How could I represent joy and victory in Jesus if everything inside me was feeling the opposite?  So that day, the day that Madison was born, the deception began.

I went home, letting everyone think that everything was great.  My husband soon found out that that wasn’t true.  One minute I was feeling fine and the next, complete anger and then sadness.  When the anger would come over me, it was a sensation that would start at my feet and move up my body until I released it through my words or actions.  It was horrible and felt uncontrollable.  Then I would feel like such a failure again as a wife, mother and a Christian, that I would settle into a depressed state.  No one at church knew.  Not even my best friend at the time. 

How could I ask for prayer when I was the “prayer warrior” at church?  I knew I needed help, but who could help me when it felt like God no longer existed?  I felt hopeless.  I wanted to die and I had thoughts of dying to the point of planning things out in my mind.  The one thing that stopped me was my love for my girls.  I rationalized that my husband could go on without me, but my girls would suffer.  So I told my husband my thoughts and he called my doctor.

I went in to the office, trying to carry on the fa├žade that this was really nothing; that I was still the happy-go-lucky person that I always had been.  Then I broke.  Sitting there in the examination room, I felt embarrassed, humiliated.  Again the guilt and failure of knowing that I am a Christian, and believing (what I know now is a lie) that “real” Christians never go through any struggles, weighed on my heart.

I walked out of there with a prescription to Paxil, an anti-depressant.  I still felt hopeless.  I took the prescription and felt…..numb.  I felt numb to everything and everyone around me.  I no longer felt angry but at the same time I no longer felt happy.  I would watch something funny, and like someone looking through someone else’s eyes, I would wonder why I didn’t laugh.  I also was numb to God, I no longer felt him or desired to feel him.  I was living moment to moment. I was on this medication for two months until one day I had had enough of feeling numb.

I went off of Paxil.  Just like that.  I decided that this wasn’t the life I wanted and wasn’t supposed to have.  I wanted to feel God again more than anything.  I pressed through whatever my mind was telling me.  I reached out for God, but first I had to push aside all that I thought I knew. My mind kept telling me that God is disappointed in me, that He wants nothing to do with me, that I am an embarrassment and a failure, that I don’t deserve to call myself a Christian. I remember the very moment I finally got the victory that I had been wanting.

I had gone in to change Madison’s diaper and at the changing table she was crying.  That day I had stopped taking the Paxil.  As I stood there, I felt it, the anger.  It was at my feet, crawling up my body.  It was at my knees when I whispered, “I rebuke this anger in Jesus name!  I have had enough!”  Immediately it went back down and then it was gone.  I’ve never felt anger like that again.

Later when telling my testimony to family and friends, I was told that you’re not supposed to quit Paxil “cold turkey.”  -Well I didn’t know that.  Supposedly you can go into a deeper depression.  Apparently, the authority of Jesus Christ isn’t affected by the rules of our medications.  (Thank God!)  I was free, free from the post-partum depression!

Why didn’t I speak the name of Jesus over my emotions earlier?  I don’t know, it never occurred to me.  Maybe because at that time in my life I wasn’t in the practice of using the authority that God has given to all believers.  Or maybe it’s so that I could share this Heart Song with you today.

If you or you know someone who has struggled or is currently struggling with post-partum depression, please share this blog with them today.  There is a song by Barlow Girl called “Never Alone.”  Here’s a link to their music: No matter how alone we feel at times, Jesus is there. 

Romans 8:38,39 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

Even though I felt separated from God that was just a lie that was spoken to my mind that I believed.  NOTHING can separate us from the LOVE of God that is in Christ Jesus.  That is truth.

What lies are you believing?  Are you ready to push everything aside and use the authority that Jesus has given to you?  If you don’t feel that you are ready, then reach out for someone to help you.  God loves you and wants to help you get victory in every area of your life.   Take that first step of faith and reach out to someone.

If anyone wants to share their own Heart Song of overcoming post-partum depression, please encourage others in the comments section.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Deep Cleaning

For some peculiar reason, today I am deep cleaning my house.  I usually do this about twice a year, and I don’t know what’s gotten into me. While I was sweeping out the dust from underneath the stove, and scrubbing down the kitchen I had a thought.  So gladly I take this tiny break (hoping to not lose the momentum I have) to share that thought with you.

Gross! This is in-between my oven and the cabinet!
How often do we take the time to clean out the crevasses of our lives?  The hard to reach places that you know need to be dealt with, but instead you choose to ignore only hoping that someone else will deal with it instead?  Or maybe it would just magically appear clean over time?  Well unfortunately life doesn’t work that way.  The dirty, dark, neglected corners of our souls will not get cleaned up unless we face those places head on. 

That might mean that we need to get a little uncomfortable and take a little extra time reaching that area, but once that dirty little crevasse is cleaned…ahh, what a relief! It is not able to remind you of the dirt and the filth any more that was left to pile up every day.  Freedom.

Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. (NIV)

It’s when we examine those corners and clean them out, get back to living our lives shining for the Lord, we will find peace.

When was the last time you examined the crevasses in your life?  Are there areas that you’ve been neglecting?  Ask God to show you those places today, don’t let the dirt keep piling up.