Saturday, January 17, 2009


Today is one of those days when the depression is very present. I don't have anything to be depressed about, but it is here nonetheless, joining forces with the herxheimer exhaustion, fogging my too-tired imagination.

I feel like I'm reaching today, grasping at energy, at ideas, at focus, hoping to stumble across something tangible. I left a comment this morning for someone who miscarried; I reminded her that God was reaching for her, longing to hold her close, to let her know He is aching with her.

Why do I feel that I can't accept His embrace today, sitting here in my normally aching body and too-often depressed mood? I feel I don't deserve His understanding. I am used to it, after all. I go back to my work, editing a few more photos from my October wedding.

I played the piano today, and then I didn't play. I always forget how much life there is, how much ache, how much beauty in music. He gave it to me; I forget how it always touches Him.

I reach for His hand with my heart and hope in what I know of His love, the "you're not perfect, but I AM always here" love of His.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Bit From Us

Heidi has been posting recently over on her blog, Live With Desire about what she has been facing this Christmas season from hormonal imbalances and weight gain. I so admire her for living, even in the crushing disappointment and frustration she experiences every day.

I also recently posted some thoughts about the nitty gritty of our Christmas at Restless Heart - no snow, no cold weather, no traditional Christmas. I feel disconnected from the season, but this is where I am.

Helpful Links Sidebar

Katherine Stone, advocate, stay-at-home mom and owner of the Postpartum Progress blog, linked to my last post about my journey through postpartum depression on her blog.

Looking over this blog, I decided that we should add a sidebar here for sites like this one that offer encouragement and help for those dealing with depression.

If you know of other such sites (for any kind of depression), please leave us a comment here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

When You're Supposed to Be Happy

Postpartum (yeesh, give me that word in a spelling bee, I'll spell out every time!) depression was not something I'd thought about. I'd heard about it, but never really considered that I would end up walking through it. That kind of thing was responsible for news stories of moms who killed their own kids.

Within four weeks of Piper's birth, I found myself fighting postpartum depression. It was like looking through a plexiglass window, where you can't hear anything on the other side, but you can see people going about their lives, occasionally tapping the window to see if you'll respond.

Here I was, a new mom, with the whole world expecting me to be bouncing off the walls about it. But they didn't know that Piper had just sort of happened to me. I hadn't spent my whole pregnancy dreaming about her arrival. Pete was studying for the Bar, and I didn't want to leave him behind. Just before we got pregnant, I had four months of really good health for the first time in years. Ten months later, I had exhausted adrenals, a renewed attack from my Lyme disease, a different body, and a baby who demanded all of my time.

Everyone made assumptions that I was happy. I couldn't just say what I finally blasted at God:

I feel like such a lousy mom. I feel so self-centered, but I know it *is* healthy for me to have a break sometimes. I guess I feel like You're supposed to have more control of this all somehow, so in a way, I guess I'm kinda mad at You. I don't want to be, really, You're just the one that things get directed at.

I know You already know all this stuff is inside me. I hate it. I don't want it to be there. I have such visions of spending time with her, cuddling, talking, loving, and when it comes down to it, she screams and screams and I can't do anything but make it stop, and somewhere along the line I lose my sanity over it and feel like I can't even be my own person.

I don't want to admit that I wanted this. I don't want to remember that I decided to try and trust You with it. I don't ever want to get pregnant and have a baby again. And I wanted to trust You with that too.

I miss Pete, God. I miss spending time talking with him without a baby squalling in the background. I miss being independent and having some time for myself to email or blog or whatever--now I can't even do my photo-editing!

I don't know how all this is supposed to work, but I know You're supposed to, and if You could just somehow make it easier...? I feel horrible asking, like I'm such a wimp, and why can't I handle all of this, but God, I don't have anything left. Am I just having a pity party here? I mean, women throughout history have dealt with all of this before, and why should I be any different?

But I guess I'm just desperate. I feel like I just can't take any more. Please, I need You to help me, because I just can't keep going on like this, and nobody else understands, and I can't explain it all to them...
I have discovered that a lot of women go through postpartum depression. My doctor told me that it can take ten to twelve weeks for hormones to normalize after a pregnancy. Mine haven't normalized because of the effect of the Lyme disease on my pituitary gland.

In my opinion, postpartum depression is the worst kind of depression you can experience. You're supposed to be happy with this new baby that you dreamed about, enjoying the attention, and learning to live a completely new, wonderful life. But because of the depression, you can't enjoy it the way you dreamed you would, and those around you blame you for having a bad attitude or not being grateful or... a million other reasons.

And their blame doesn't begin to approach the weight of your own guilt, because you just know that somehow it's your fault.

I want to say it's okay, but it doesn't always feel okay. It's scary, and it's something that I can't go through alone. It helped when I ran across a post in September from a mom who was encouraging postpartum depressed moms. The two things that encouraged me the most were her suggestions: making a list of things I was thankful for, and being kissy with baby.

The thing that helps me the most is looking outside myself and remembering that I am not alone.

I'm now 17 months from Piper's birth, still dealing with depression, still dealing with the herxheimer reaction. Still learning to trust. Still waking up every morning. Still not sure if I want to have another baby. I pray for quiet, for naps, for something done. I pray for happy - or at least, content. I am reminded in small ways that God is good. I know He is more than I am.

I'm not bouncing off the walls; but I find peace. And there is sunlight on my fingers as I type.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

When Nothing Happens

Starting a blog to talk about depression when I deal daily with depression was probably not the best idea I've ever had. On the days I'm not as depressed, the last thing I want to do is acknowledge its stalking presence. On the days I am depressed, I don't have the energy or motivation to say anything at all.

Today, I'm at my computer trying not to think about the fact that my baby is in the other room with a reluctant babysitter while I attempt to ignore the all-over-my-body pain from a Herxheimer reaction.

My journey over last few months has brought me to a new place of trust in a God who loves me, but I struggle today to accept that He allows all of this to happen without giving me options that make it all easier to handle. I feel discouraged and inadequate when it comes to dealing with the responsibilities of my life - including getting out of bed in the morning.

Have you ever sat down with a friend after talking about the problems of the world and just stared into the distance for a while without saying anything else? Though the problems are still there, there is an easy silence between you. You're not alone in it. I've been finding recently that sometimes just telling God what I feel and letting Him know what's going on helps me. I think it's got something to do with having a pure heart - literally, being poured out before Him.

When my daughter bonks her head, as she is prone to do right now, there's a lot of pouring out that happens. She is in pain and she didn't want to be. She's honest about it. Short of locking her in a padded room, I can't stop the bonk from happening. I can't rewind and undo the bonk. All I can do is be there, hold her, tell her it's okay, even if she doesn't know the pain will be gone in a moment.

I've started wondering if God doesn't feel the same frustration within the boundaries that He set in the universe. But He's here, willing to hold me and tell me it's okay, even if I don't know it in this moment.

When nothing happens, the clouds don't lift, and the silver lining is inaccessible, it is okay to just sit in the rain for a while. An umbrella is always nice, but not essential. As discouraged as I am to still be in the storm with no sunlight in sight, I am grateful for the easy reach to His hand (which is wet too) and knowing I am not alone.

(Image from SXC)

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I think it's normal to feel guilty for being depressed. I think it's also normal (and important) to fight that guilt.

But feeling guilty for having a good day when you have been depressed... That feeling has sent me spiraling downward more than once recently.

I said I was depressed yesterday - am I not depressed today? And if I'm not, was I really depressed yesterday?

I am finding that depression is a confusing place to live. What is upside-down is often right-side-up, and things that are normally plain are polka-dotted, and sanity is something that people expect, but you are sane, really... You just have to convince yourself of that - and it's awfully hard to do when you have a good day and you can still see the edge right over there. You know its reality - you fear its encroachment. You don't want to be caught unaware if the edge is suddenly before you again.

But I don't want my good days to be driven by the need to legitimize my bad days.

I have noticed that my good days are the days that I take one minute at a time. Even the bad days are more bearable when I do this. Maybe I don't have a perfect yesterday or a perfect ten minutes ago or a perfect plan for the next hour or week or year, but I don't have to die over the fact that this moment is (or can be) a good moment.

Each moment is a gift. That is reality. I want to accept that with an open heart.

I'm taking my daughter and my sister for a walk when I finish this post. The air is clear and the sun is shining as it hasn't shone for over a week. I can hear the neighborhood children playing their daily games outside my study window.

Today, their sound is brighter.

If my heart is a bit lightened, there is no reason for me to hide my smile.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

While Waiting, Afraid

O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose,
My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill,
Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still.

Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes,
Confusions multiplied;
From crowding things of sense I flee
And in Thee hide.
Until this tyranny be overpast,
Thy hand will hold me fast.

What though the tumult of the storm increase,
Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord,
And bless with peace.
~Amy Carmichael