Sue McRoberts, author of Lifter of My Head: How God Sustained me through Postpartum Depression, recently blogged about her recent revisit with depression. I asked Sue for permission to share her words here and she graciously granted it. So here are her words, her story about coping with depression after surviving Postpartum Depression. To keep up with how Sue is doing or to offer words of encouragement, you can visit her blog by clicking here.
I have taken quite some time to reflect on 2008 and contemplate what 2009 might hold. This past year has been a mixed bag of good and bad. I am thrilled for my husband and his wonderful new job that has brought us to Indiana. But this move has been pretty hard on me. Ten days after we left Minneapolis for Indianapolis my dear Aunt Carolyn died. I felt like I’d lost my mother and immediate support system all in one swoop that month. How do you make new friends in a new place when you are hurting twenty four hours a day? How do you even talk to someone when you have nothing but tears and grief? For six months I suffered because I had no idea what to do with all my grief. To make matters worse, once again, I felt like I’d never even existed in Minnesota. I found myself missing my friends way more than they missed me. It was deja vu and painful. I had no idea what to do with all my pain. So I spiraled downward and found myself in a familiar place. With no church home and no friends to speak of I found myself desperately depressed. I did a weird thing with God that I don’t recall doing before. I ran and hid. I didn’t want his comfort or peace. I wanted to hurt and hurt. I avoided any scriptures that would offer comfort. I read stories and parables and things Paul wrote; I avoided anything David wrote. It was completely different that when I had PPD. Each and every day I wanted to feel better, to feel human. This time around I did not want to feel better. I wanted my friends and church back. I wanted my aunt back. I reasoned that if I felt better then I didn’t really miss these people. I wondered if somehow it would mean I was okay with Carolyn being gone if I didn’t cry every single day. I cried each day for six months when I finally decided to address what was happening. I admitted publicly that I was struggling with depression…again…and it cost me some huge opportunities professionally in ministry. I was devastated as I never predicted such an outcome of my honesty. It took me six weeks of reeling in pain to reach the point where I called my doctor for help. My world felt like a bottomless, foggy pit and the medicine and medical support gave me a floor to stand on. I am now reading the Psalms again and clinging to God for strength and hope. I’ve decided to quit being a stubborn mule and ask Him for his loving comfort. For some reason I felt like I needed to prove to God that I could do this by myself, boy that was dumb. So here I am feeling pretty darn healthy. I’m running and training for my first half marathon. I’m sleeping well and I’ve stopped crying. I’m reading a book about grief that is helping me sort out my world post Carolyn. I’m determined to figure out how to live in my new world in Indiana. I will continue to encourage people to see their doctor if they are depressed for months on end. I take a pill and I’m okay with that. Not everyone in ministry is. I’m in a good place now and I’m able to pray for them, pray that they will never experience the depths of depression that I have. I pray they will never understand the pain I’ve felt. And I’m grateful to God for new opportunities that he’s already brought me. I am hopeful that I will find my place in this world and that God will grow me up some more in the process. So here’s to a new year, a new year for a better me, and for a better you.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.