So, there’s been a tragedy in my community and its raised a lot of opinions and voices and emotions, but I’m not seeing what we should be seeing. So I’m going to share my story.
April 2013 – A few days after finding out my husband and I were expecting our first baby, we found out we were no longer expecting that baby. I had miscarried. Anxiety set in, BIG time. Not just “Oh, I’m nervous about such-and-such” but the big anxiety that causes paranoia, damages relationships, and challenges faith. I’m unaware of a problem, but my husband sees it.
May 2013 – We learned we were expecting our son and anxiety went into overdrive! I mean, I’d be driving down the road imagining every possible scenario of how I would wreck and then realize I didn’t remember the drive home. The marriage is taking a hit, as well as other relationships. Its so consuming, but I still don’t see a problem.
Early to Mid 2014 – Our son is born, I’m completely in love and overjoyed! Post-partum depression sneaks in. I battle emotions I’ve never felt before for months, yes months, before I’m willing to admit that there might be something going on. Might be. I would like to say here that never once did I think about or imagine or want to hurt my son. Never. I wanted to hurt myself. Sometimes I did. I woke up one morning with a bruise on my forehead from smacking myself. I often thought this world would be better off without me, but I didn’t follow through with suicide because I didn’t want someone else raising my son. I turned away from God. I told Him I hated Him and He wasn’t real.
December 2014 – Sobbing, I say to my husband “I think something is wrong with me.” (He later tells me that he suspected all along but was scared to bring it up.) I called my midwives’ office and told the secretary, while crying, that I needed to talk about some issues. I was seen that afternoon. I was also seen by a therapist. I was given a prescription for an antidepressant and scheduled my next therapy session. I left the office that day feeling hopeful for the first time in over a year.
January 2015 – Over the next few weeks I continue seeing my therapist and gaining insight on where all my feelings are stemming from. At one point y’all, we even did the typical “its your mother’s fault” routine! I’m beginning to feel better, but there’s still an evil lurking in the shadows.
Summer 2015 – I woke up one morning, crying over I-can’t-remember-what, and told my husband “I’m tired of this. I can’t do this anymore. I’m done.” (That sounds bad, I meant I was done letting this evil have control over me.) That morning was a Sunday, and at church I asked the women to lay hands on and pray for me. In that instant, I felt months of agony lift off of me! It was gone! I was so light, it was amazing. The thing I had been begging of God for months was finally done, all because I simply…let go. At this point all I realized I had was depression, and that’s what was gone. I never finished that prescription. (Not recommended, discuss it with your doctor!!)
December 2016 – I’m a month out from expecting my little girl and the midwives bring up the topic of starting antidepressants as a precaution. “Just in case.” I decided to wait and talk it over with my husband, because I certainly felt fine! That week was eye-opening. God showed me exactly what I needed to make a decision. I realized at this point that anxiety was holding on with its nasty claws dug in. At my next appointment I told the midwives I was ready to start the Zoloft. Within a couple of weeks, the anxiety was managed! I was stunned! I still didn’t know it had crept in after the miscarriage, but I felt like my old self again.
August 2017 – I’m on my last bottle of Zoloft and feeling pretty good, so I decide to start weaning off. Instead of cold turkey, I decide to try an every-other-day method. Well, it sucked. The anxiety reared its ugly head. I hated, abso-freakin-lutely HATED, to request an extension for the pills, but it was better than the alternative. I don’t want to be on these pills for the rest of my life, and I don’t believe I will be, but I know I need them for now. My anxiety is managed and I’m happy. I’m able to function like I should and care for my kids. My marriage is amazing, we’re closer than we ever were before. Some people might say “Why don’t you just give it to God like before?” Well, I don’t know. I do know that my faith is stronger than it ever was and my relationship with God is on the right track.
I believe with my whole heart that we go through things for a reason. I had it confirmed so many times. My miscarriage was used to help someone else heal and find peace. Would I have chosen that? Nope, but I find peace in knowing there was a purpose. I’ve already seen reason for my battle with depression, and it makes the battle worth it. I would have never chosen that path, but now I have that tool to help someone else.
So, all this to say, if you feel demons sneaking in, telling you horrible things, making you feel horrible things…GET HELP. There is no shame in having mental health issues. There is no shame in getting help. There is help out there, and if you don’t know where to turn, ask a friend, relative, doctor, Google, anyone! Just say “I need help.” Society shames mental health issues and its time for that to stop. These problems are real, and they need addressed. The more people speak up, the more the stigma goes away. Also, if you suspect someone is suffering, tell them. Say “I’m worried about you, is something going on?” Be persistent. Get help or give help before its too late.
I’m going to put some numbers and websites below, use them.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 (always available)
MentalHealth.gov – Loads of resources on how and where to find help.
Or you can call your primary care physician or even the number on the back of your health insurance card.