As some of my faithful readers know, I have taken a rather lengthy break from writing this past year. It’s been about 7 months since I have posted regularly. At first my break came unintentionally when I took a part time job at the beginning of summer 2018. It required a few hours per week from me and incidentally, it was the same hours I normally took to write. Then came the fall of last year where I feel like my world imploded and was built up at the same time.
Post Partum Depression
The moment I heard the words “You have post-partum depression – severely” was the moment for me when I felt simultaneous brokenness and freedom. Brokenness from the fact that I had ‘another’ thing to deal with when I was already completely overwhelmed and freedom from the fact that there was actually something wrong with me and life doesn’t have to be SO hard. I had a way out.
My hope of an exit felt like the tiniest sliver of light in ceiling far, far away but it was there.
My son Remmik was 14 months old at the time. I had felt the weight of it since the day he was born but just thought this was the new me. I tried my darndest to choose joy in my heart when I knew I had a gift of a tiny human life in my hands but I didn’t feel much of anything. I loved him more than anything but I wondered where the joy and bonding was in those newborn days. Things just felt HARD.
I didn’t feel like myself but I figured it was just because of my new role and I was supposed to change once I became a mom, right?
Post Partum Depression looked and felt different than I thought it would. I’ve been depressed before and that was the type of low I was looking for.
I wasn’t expecting a void of emotions. I wasn’t expecting such a vast emptiness inside of me. I wasn’t expecting that I might not know if I am okay or not.
When I was told I had post partum depression I was shocked because I thought that surely I would know it. I had some speculations that something wasn’t quite right with me but maybe a small chance it was post partum depression.
I had been trying so hard to keep my house, new baby, and husband under control that it was scary to me to have something that I couldn’t control in myself.
But then enter my amazing counselor, Dori Hagen. Homer folks look her up, if you’re in need of any professional assistance, she is amazing and I can’t recommend her enough!! Check her out at Cornerstone Counseling Clinic – Homer
Over the next couple of months I continued to see Dori as well as a Functional Medicine doctor and each and every week I found a new depth of freedom and peace that I didn’t have before. And I’m talking levels of freedom I didn’t have before PPD.
I went to places in my soul that have not been visited for a long, long time. It was actually scary to go to those places. Being 100% honest with my thoughts, emotions, and experiences was not something I did for certain parts of my heart. There were times I wanted to run out of Dori’s office just so I didn’t have to say what I needed to say.
But I realized that I was showing incredible bravery in showing up for myself. I felt like I conquered mountains at the end of each session. Sometimes I went just because I knew I would feel like a conquerer at the end of the session.
I had previously thought that going to therapy made me a wimp somehow. Like I couldn’t handle my life when I should be able to. I had shame in it, even though I thought it was a great resource for others. Going to therapy and counseling myself, I realized what an incredibly strong person it takes to deal head on with scary and hard issues in their life.
Taking care of myself in the ways I needed is a brave act of love that I have never taken at that level before.
I remember one of the first times since having a baby I felt a round, full, true joy come over me. It was after leaving Dori’s office and I began driving down the Homer Spit. It was a grey, ugly day by all definitions.
The sky was grey, the mountains were grey, the grey mist came down to the grey water of Kachemak Bay and I was looking around with a smile on my face thinking “Look how gorgeous and breathtaking this is! What a sight that I get to see right now. Look at all these beautiful shades of grey with a tiny sliver of green water coming through.”
After that particular session with Dori, I literally felt 15 lbs lighter. It was like a literal weight from anger, shame, and guilt had been lifted away and I could stand up straight. It felt like I had met Jesus all over again.
I couldn’t help think what heaven must be like. I was carrying around 15 lbs of chains on earth and didn’t know it until I found freedom. Imagine how many things we are carrying that we don’t even know about – and the freedom and light we will experience when we they are all removed forever.
So What Now?
These days I get the honor of encountering joy. It’s an honor because I get to feel the Lord’s joy in that moment. The honor to feel and experience joy when I had been so long without it.
You see, good things can come of being in unknown depths. Without the depth of depression I wouldn’t know the height of joy. I can see joy as a privilege, something sacred where I can feel joy for feeling joy – making it multiply to heights that have never been reached in my life.
I’m not here to say that I am healed/cured/over post partum depression or even depression in general. I’ve walked through my hardest parts these last few months and am coming out the other side. But I still have hard days.
This blog is never intended to be a place where I appear to have it all together. I write about where I am, what I know, and who I am in this moment.
I count it a privilege that you would read my story and even moreso that you might see that God is in the dark. Even if it takes getting to the light to see that He was there.