I attended a church convention this past week that I go to every year. I would say that it has been about a year before I really remember the postpartum depression symptoms getting bad. The symptoms started to get bad during the church convention last year. I love to go, and I need to go for the benefit of my soul, but the fact that there are so many people and that I have social anxiety means it is very stressful for me.
I was handling everything really well the first couple of days, or so I thought. On Friday night I actually commented to hubby that I was so happy at how well I was handling everything and that maybe I was finally getting better.
When we got home and I put baby girl to bed and I laid down, finally able to relax, it was like a switch flipped in my head and suddenly I was this depressed and anxious person. Literally, just. like. that. No warning.
And that’s how it continued for the next two days. It took over my whole body. My body began to “buzz”, which is the only way I know to describe it. My jaw is literally sore from clenching it. I was so tired that I didn’t want to do anything but crawl under the covers and sleep. I felt myself taking shallow breaths—thankfully, I can recognize these symptoms and I know when to start practicing my coping skills to get the anxiety part under control.
But I didn’t feel like it was so much anxiety this time as it was just this overwhelming sense of sadness, of feeling simply overwhelmed, like I was incapable of handling anything, like I was not meant to be a mother, like I am simply not good enough for my hubby and baby girl. Like I didn’t want to exist.
I was lucky to have my mom’s help and hubby’s help and to be honest, I feel like they did more of the work than I did—so I’m really not sure what this is about. But I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I cannot live like this.
Sometimes I don’t know why I was given such precious gifts of a husband who loves me to no end, or a vibrant and social little girl who I feel so incapable of meeting her needs. I feel like I’ve been placed into someone else’s life—a life that I don’t deserve but want to deserve so badly.
Usually, I feel completely refreshed in my soul after being at the church convention just a short while. I was so distraught when I realized that I hadn’t heard anything that had really, really fed my soul. I felt like God was disappointed in me and had turned away from me.
I prayed and prayed that night that God would speak to me as He always has in the past. The next morning, a minister spoke about depression specifically and the guilt that it can make a person feel. And then I knew that God had heard me. The minister continued on that Satan can use those thoughts to try to discourage us, but we need to just turn a deaf ear to those thoughts because Jesus can cover all of our imperfections. And now if I can just learn to do that.
I realized that it has been a long, long time since I really felt like myself. I would even venture to say that I was slightly depressed while pregnant. That’s almost over two years of not recognizing myself and of being trapped somewhere while my mind and body have taken over to become my worst enemy. Imagine your worst enemy being trapped in your mind and constantly telling you lies that you begin to believe even though you don’t want to.
How is it possible that I’ve become like this? How do I make it stop? Will it ever stop? Will I ever be me again?
I am still clinging to hope that I will find myself again. I’m going to make an appointment with my doctor to see what she can do for me. I also have a counseling appointment tomorrow.
There are some positives to this experience: 1) I have more empathy for others, 2) it has made me “hate” life enough that I have a greater hope for eternity, 3) it has made me feel a more desperate need for God, 4) seeing my husband’s unconditional love for me has opened my eyes to the perfect love of God.
And so I will take it one moment at a time—sometimes taking it an entire day at a time is too much. But I will continue and keep hoping for improvement! But I cannot shake the feelings of guilt for why I am not happy with all that I have been given—it’s not that I am not thankful. I’m trying to convince myself that I am just sick. Mental illness is hard because it doesn’t really show—it’s only felt.