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When I saw Alise's request for stories on depression, I immediately e‑mailed her and volunteered to share my story. Since then, I've wondered "what have I done????" I've only shared a small part of my story briefly on a blog post of mine nearly a year ago. When I get so anxious, I tend to procrastinate. So finally I decided to just tell my story. After all, sometimes it's in the sharing that we can reach out to others. I don't think we're meant to go through the hard times and not use it to help others. So this is me...tearing down one of my walls to maybe help somebody else out there.
I had a wonderful childhood with amazing parents who are still together and have been for 33 years. I always had friends and made good grades in school. I accepted Jesus into my life at a very young age and have never known life without Him. But I've also dealt with depression on and off for the past 11+ years. I married very young and our marriage didn't last very long at all. After we broke up, I pretty much spiraled a bit out of control. It ended up with me heading downhill very fast. This was my very first encounter with the monster called "Depression". I felt very alone, hopeless and helpless. I felt like nobody knew what I was going through, much less cared. Of course, that wasn't the case but when we start to feel that way, it's easy for Satan to come in and build on that and make those feelings grow until we see nothing but the despair.
I remember that I was feeling particularly lonely one afternoon. Actually it wasn't just any afternoon. It was May 1, 1999 and I was 20 years old, exactly one month before I turned 21. I felt that I no longer wanted to keep trying to get up and go each day. I felt that who I was wasn't enough. I felt that it would be better for the world if I no longer existed. I felt that I could not go on. So I took 103 pain pills. I remember sitting there and counting them out and crying. I remember hesitating but then just taking them all. I just wanted to go to sleep and forget it all. I didn't want to feel that pain anymore. I didn't know where to turn or what to do. I was so lost. I immediately freaked out and ran next door because it was right at that moment that my neighbor pulled into his driveway. I told him to go get another friend because I needed help. A few minutes later (we live in a very small town), two of my best friends walked in the door. We ended up going to the hospital where I was treated and released to my parents. After that episode, I was in counseling for a little while. I don't remember the doctor or anything he said but apparently I was deemed “better”. A few weeks later, I became pregnant.
While the circumstances were definitely not ideal, that baby was my saving grace. He came into my life and it was then that I found what love really means and how big Love is. If I could love that little baby with SO much of me, then how much more did my Heavenly Father love me? I felt like I finally had a purpose. My depression got better and I threw myself into taking care of this little guy. Depression and I didn't meet up again until about five years later....
My husband and I got pregnant and had a baby boy at the end of 2004. After I had him, I felt like I didn't quite connect with this baby. Of course I loved him with all my heart but I felt somewhat disconnected. It wasn't until many years later that I discovered that I had post‑partum depression and it went untreated for 3 years. As women we feel that we should just "suck it up" and take care of everything. The thing we forget is that we're on that list as well. We can't forget to take care of ourselves while we're taking care of everything else around us. This depression that I felt mildly after the birth of my baby developed into what was later diagnosed as an early mid‑life crisis. My husband and I nearly divorced. We went through a period of nearly two years where we would split up, try to work it out and it was just a cycle of "mess". We finally started going to a Christian therapist that we both trusted. It got so bad that I could not stop crying and I met her for an appointment and all I could do was sit there and cry. She finally got me a prescription for an anti‑depressant. For me, it was necessary to take the pills to then get to a place where I could work to get better and feel better. Don't be ashamed to get the treatment that you need.
I was on the road back to "me". I finally felt like I knew who I was and what I wanted in this life. I felt on top of the world. My husband and I were better than ever and had worked really hard to get to this better place. I believe that it was those trials that helped prepare us for our next trial... In November, 2008, I got sick and then was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on January 9, 2009. I never felt down about the diagnosis. I always had a positive attitude. I was so focused on "what can I do for this disease" that I didn't think about anything else or what this diagnosis really meant. It didn't really hit me until recently and Depression came back to rear his ugly head. I don't think depression is something that you can ever walk fully away from. But I do think that you need to be very aware of the signs so that you can be prepared to deal with them before they worsen.
After sharing all this, I want you to know that you are not alone. I've been where you're at and there is hope. There is a light at the end of the dark tunnel that you may be traveling through. I know it's really hard to believe that when you're in the midst of the darkness. Don't be ashamed. You're not alone. There is a way to the other side. Please do not think that you have to go on this journey all alone. People love you and care about you and you deserve better than this. You are worth it.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
Jamie is a 30-something wife & mom to 3 boys who spends her days in a law office and evenings with all her guys. Diagnosed with MS in January, 2009, she works to spread MS Awareness. She loves Jesus, family, laughing, adventure, taking pictures, music, blogging, creating and happy mail. "Create Adventure. Live Inspired." is her motto and she tries to do that every day! You can follow along with her on her journey at her blog:www.inspiredmess.com (inspiredmess.blogspot.com) and on twitter at: www.twitter.com/inspiredmess