(Cue Prince of Bel-Air Music) . . . In little Washington born and raised, in the churchyard is where I spent most of my days, singing and eating like a good Baptist should, doing missions whenever I could. Ok . . . wait. I’m not sure I can do this. How do you sum up 44 years in a short rap? Come and hear . . . let me tell you what He has done for me.
As I walked down the brick steps, a vision flashed before me as I pictured myself letting go of her . . . on purpose. My sweet newborn wasn’t crying at that moment, but there were times I wanted that vision to actually happen. There were times I would leave her in the crib crying as I sat outside rocking back and forth crying myself. My wonderful husband would come home, loving on us with such gentleness and kindness–and I would be abhorred by his presence. Everything was overwhelming and I wanted to leave and never come back. I was suffering from postpartum depression but I didn’t know it.
I thought all new mothers felt this way, but I was mistaken. Life was not meant to be like this. I was trapped in a nightmare and I needed help. One of my most treasured friends showed up at my doorstep a couple of days later, to drive me to the doctor. She more than likely saved my life, my daughter’s life, and my marriage.
But I have hidden my story for over sixteen years.
A handful of people know that I take anti-depressants daily. Most people think I am the happiest person they know. Always smiling and ready to crack a joke. I have hidden my depression, anxiety, and shame for many years but God wants me to share my story. He wants me to help others who may be ashamed of their story too.Depression is not what defines me, but it quite often gets in the way of how God defines me. Click To Tweet
Depression looks very different for different people. My depression had been deeply seeded for many years before I became a mother. And as I write this, I am here to tell you that I continue to fight depression and anxiety each day. There are days I do not struggle at all and there are days when I don’t even want to walk out on my porch.
Depression is the root of something deeper. But God desires something better for you . . . and for me. My biggest struggle with admitting that I suffer from anxiety and depression is the “shame” associated with it. We are told that we need to handle it. That we should be independent women who can withstand all that life throws at us. The “shame” that being dependent on medicine or therapy or friends is wrong. Not true!
Our dependence on Jesus is the core of who we are as Christians.
Dependence on community is how we walk through life. We all need sisters! When we all realize that we are dependent, it pushes us closer to God and the things and people that He puts in our path to help.
Psalms 18:6, (NIV) says:
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple He heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
God hears our cries and He teaches us as sisters to hear the cries of our fellow sisters. He provides His Word, His ultimate truth to combat Satan’s lies that lead to thoughts of depression.
You do not have to walk this road alone.
When I shared my story with my 16-year-old daughter, I quickly realized that she struggles with some anxiety and depression, just like me, and has a hard time accepting God’s word as ultimate truth to help her through it. Through tears, I encouraged her the best way I knew how. I don’t want her to have issues like me. I pray against Satan’s attack on her heart while praying against his attacks on my heart as well. I plead with God asking that fear will not take hold of my heart, of her heart, reminding us that we are both more than enough just the way God made us.
Depression is not who I am, but it is something that I struggle with.
I don’t want depression to be who my daughter is either. God gives us the scripture, God gives us a song of praise that can help us out of depression. God is hope. (Psalm 43:5) God is good, God does good, and God brings all things together for His good even on the days I struggle with anxiety and depression.
This is my story. This is my song. Let me tell you what He has done for me. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I hope that when you meet me that you will see Joy….the Joy of the Lord. There are days when I get up in the morning that I am full of depression and anxiety but I choose to put my Joy on. This does not mean that all is perfect in my world, but it does mean that I choose to face the world head-on with God’s help. May you choose Joy too!