This post is part of a series on sharing individuals stories to help others realize, they are not alone. If you haven’t read the introduction to this series, please start here.
I was never aware of how much my mental health impacted the quality of life I had on a day to day a basis. Growing up, I had never heard of another person being diagnosed with depression and anxiety and so for most of my life I felt really alone. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I started seeing a professional therapist, that I really understood the weight of depression and how it impacted every inch of my life. My therapist sent me to see a physiatrist where I was prescribed Prozac and for the first time (probably ever) I felt like I could breathe a little easier. Is this long enough, I didn’t count the words? And please let me know where to add and take away!
As a mother, depression threw on this huge weight of pain and worry in every scenario and it always feels like I’m drowning in a huge ocean and frantically looking for a life raft. I’ve allowed fear and anxiety to rule and dictate every behavior and every choice that I’ve ever made. On some days, this has resulted in me screaming at my child because she forgot to lock the door if she was left home alone, because I was so afraid someone would come inside and kidnap her. In other ways, depression manifests in ways like complete disconnection from the world around me. Everything feels too hard to accomplish. Sometimes it takes everything out of me to roll over and get out of bed to drive my daughter to school. The hardest part is the days when she’s talking and sharing something with me and I can’t stay engaged. And to her it looks like I don’t care. But, all I want to do is care. But, everything seems too far away. Like this life doesn’t even matter. Sometimes, I have to give myself space away from other people and enforce healthy boundaries like not taking on more tasks than I can handle. I’ve had to learn to say no to participating in many different social activities at my daughter’s school or at work. The great thing about knowing the lord and having depression is that God has been able to provide an amazing community to walk through life with. Opening up about my mental illness has opened this door to vulnerability that has allowed others to feel safe enough to walk through. I’ve come across some amazing godly mothers (some who take medication, some who don’t) who all support each other in remembering God’s truth in the moments of great suffering. Having this community has helped me to remember that I’m not alone, and that God understands my hurt and pain. Even more so, it’s given me accountability to prioritize being apart of bible studies and Sunday school classes. Because in the moments, when it is just you sitting before your depression and listening to the lies of this world, God uses his word to pierce through the darkness. It shines a light, as if to keep leading me, reminding me, that this is all temporary. Because of my mental illness, I’m more observant. I care deeply for my child who may or may not be living a life with the same challenges. I’ve found that I’m more prayerful but also much more trusting of the Lord with my child. I’ve learned that I have no control over how I feel, or how she feels but that God is still able to work through any circumstance for His glory. I’m made a choice to educate myself much more about different mental illnesses and to also share what I learn with my family members. And my biggest take away is that I see the Lord shaping me to be more gracious. To understand that not every behavior is what is appears to be on the surface and to give grace to my family members who may also be fighting the same battles.