Friday, May 20, 2011

On brokenness

I realized--with much horror--that I may have committed one of my own cardinal sins with my post yesterday: making light of very real and very desperate depression. If you've read this blog for a while now, you know that I've been in the miry pit more than a few times in my life. I've written about it many times, and if you do a search for the term "depression" on this blog, you'll get several results. 

For whatever reason, there seems to be something of a sadness gene in my DNA, and I'm especially vulnerable to it rearing its ugly head in the months after adding a new little person to my life. I'm not proud of this fact, but I'm not ashamed of it, either. While I didn't understand the reality of this issue in my life when it first appeared, I am much more aware of it now. Depression is not a lack of faith. It is not a failure to pull one's self up by the bootstraps. It is not a lack of appreciating the blessings God has poured into one's life.

It is a beast that springs from many ills. Some are chemical. Some are situational. Others are a complete mystery. But understand this: depression is real. It is painful. And it hurts more than just the person afflicted by the darkness. For this reason, I immediately began taking a prescription medication for post-partum depression when Seven was two weeks old. 

And you know what? The addition of this child was absolutely the smoothest, most joyful, and least blue of any our family has ever seen. I don't think that this is a coincidence.

I didn't post about this because honestly, it didn't occur to me. Why not? Because I skipped over the part where I navel gaze and begin to worry. I breezed past the part where I feel inadequate. In other words, out of sight, out of mind. Why talk about what's not an issue when there are so many other things that are?

I'm writing this post because the last thing I want to be is one more voice in the sea of others telling hurting women to just grin and bear it. Nothing--and I do mean nothing--is more useless when you're depressed than looking into the reflection cast by someone who seems to have it all together and seeing how woefully short your own image seems by comparison. It's worse than the folks who urge you to just take more B12, worse than the women who pat your back and tell you that you'll be fine, just fine, worse even than the friend who loses her patience and tells you how good you've got it and to quit bellyaching. 

If you are hurting, please, please don't fake it. Please talk to someone who loves you and ask for help. Please go to a trusted pastor, doctor, therapist, etc., and let them assist you in reclaiming your joy. Depression robs you--and your family--of far too much for you to simply fake your way through it. God has so much more for you. Receive it--without shame.


Sandi said...

Loved your thoughts and heart here. Though I understood what you meant yesterday....sometimes joy comes from the choosing not from things being easy or going our way.

I can also see where, if your were depressed you might not be able to see the difference. Depression is a "robber" of many kinds and it took several friends being honest with me to help me see that. Though mine was/is related to sleep deprivation it effected so much of my daily life and with special need kids life is that much more demanding.

Thanks for your honesty and for sharing without shame!

Erin said...

This is such an encouraging post! I am not currently in a place where I am struggling, but I have been there many times. I appreciate you sharing your journey!

@lici@ said...

For what it's worth, I appreciated your post yesterday and didn't think it unkind or unreasonable. . .and I was having one of "those" days.

Anonymous said...

I love both posts.

I agree... it is never wise to tell a hurting person to fake it but I do think it's good to know when we need to tell ourselves to fake it. Sometimes we have a day where we need to fake it like your day. I tend to have times of the day I need to fake.

I tend to think of it as autopilot. If it's between the hours of 8pm and 9am that's where you will find me... operating in autopilot until my senses catch up with reality.

Tara said...

You know what? I appreciate your clarification here. I read yesterday and my response was, "Whatever." Even though I know there is truth to what you wrote, I know I can't fake it in this season. I am slowly coming out of it since the birth of KJ, but it still hits me some days. I have no idea why I didn't take meds this time around. I didn't really think of it until it started to recede and I had moments of clarity, again.

Anyway, thank you for BOTH posts. They were real and compassionate and plainly show that there are seasons and trials in all of life.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Good post, and very sensitive of you to think of it.

I think so much of you!.