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.