Warning: this topic is heavy and dark! But I think it is so necessary to address depression with moms - most of us have dealt with it at some point and some of you may be drowning in it even now. Just to let you know, you are not weird, ruined or disqualified if you experience depression. Actually, you're in pretty good company! And you are not destined for depression - there is a way out!
After I had my first baby, I found myself at home all the time, exhausted, with a fussy infant who had eating issues. There was no remnant of my former life - I was completely engulfed in stay-at-home motherhood. Even though being at home with my baby was my desire, it wasn't living up to its former appeal, for sure.
Before baby, I was able to engage people and accomplish my goals. After baby, all I could manage was baby. I couldn't get a handle on my house, my hygiene or anything else. The transition rocked my whole world...and then came the hormone hurricane! The hormones after giving birth pretty much slammed me against the rocks and washed me up on the proverbial shore. I was a wreck. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't even really see past my own nose for the thick haze I was in. I went to my 6-week checkup with my OB and told her that I was crying all the time...which she said was not normal. (Thanks.) And she wrote me a prescription for Lexapro (anti-anxiety/anti-depressant drug) and sent me home with a 2-week sample to get started. I was kind of offended that she thought I was that messed up...but I decided to try the meds and just see what happened.
I finished the two weeks' worth of pills and didn't really feel any different, so I didn't bother to fill the prescription...
And things got worse. I resented my baby. I resented my husband. I hated my life. I didn't answer the phone or the door. I didn't want to see anyone for any reason. I just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up.
This went on for six more months and my marriage was suffering. My poor, sweet husband Tim had no idea what to do. He knew I was not the same person and that our relationship was very damaged. I really thought that he was attacking me and berating me for how I was taking care of our daughter. I really thought I was the one doing everything and he was doing nothing. I had the sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind that he was going to pack his bags and leave me alone with our daughter. I honestly thought that he was the "bad guy" in the equation. Boy, was I wrong!!! My perception was so screwed up - and I had no idea. Things actually did get rocky enough for me to go back to the OB and ask her to write me the prescription again - and this time I did fill it and start taking Lexapro regularly.
It turned out to be such a blessing! The meds leveled me out so that I could function again. I could see my husband and not have a boiling rage bubble up on the inside! Hey - that was a start! I felt like I was getting back to normal and things were starting to get better in my relationship with Tim, even though we had a huge mountain to climb together because of all that had happened...
Time went on, my daughter began to flourish, I was exercising and FINALLY sleeping - things seemed much better than they had been for a long time. But I started slipping back into the darkness I felt at the beginning. That didn't make any sense to me - I was taking my meds, right?! I told Tim about it and he very gently asked if I would consider having someone at church pray for me about it. I brushed that suggestion right out the door like he was an idiot and said, "No. I just need to adjust my medication - it's a chemical thing." He didn't say anything else to me for a while.
One evening, I was sitting on the couch crying, and Tim quietly asked if I would PLEASE let someone at church pray for me. I had HAD it, so I just said, "Fine. Let's do it." It just happened to be in January of that year when our church has its First Conference...and it just so happened that the next service we were going to attend was with Dr. Jack Hayford (whom I have loved and learned from for years) - so I thought that had to be a sign from God. (all the while, still believing that my issue was strictly a chemical imbalance, but pacifying my husband who wanted to be all "spiritual" and go have me prayed over...) So, we get to the service and hear Pastor Jack teach on worship...then comes the end of the service where I am psyching myself up to go find a minister and ask for prayer for my "problem." Then, Pastor Jack says, "Tonight, I want you to pray for each other. I want you to get in groups of 5 or 6 and pray for each other's needs." ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I never wanted to cuss so badly. There I was, all mentally prepared to bare my soul to a minister and have them get all up in my business...and this crazy pastor throws me a curveball???? Well, there was no way to get out of it. I found myself in a circle of people I didn't know, listening to their requests, praying for them like everything was cool...and then it was my turn. I very matter-of-factly stated that I had been dealing with depression and that I needed prayer. Nothing else. Nothing more. They prayed. I don't remember anything they said. I don't remember how long we stood there. But I remember what happened.
As I stood in that circle, I felt like a huge iron claw was being pulled out of my heart. I felt the void where the talons had dug into me - and then I felt the wave of love and peace that the Holy Spirit poured over me to fill up the holes. I felt like I was floating off the ground because I was so light. Something happened to me. I got set free from something I had never known was there. I opened my eyes and even the light in the room seemed brighter. I could see again. I mean, REALLY see. In that moment, I experienced deliverance from a darkness that had attached itself to me somewhere along the way. I realized that my problem over the previous 18 months was not merely a chemical imbalance - it was a whole-being issue. My body, soul and spirit had been affected and my body, soul and spirit needed to be "treated."
After that night, I quit taking my medication - and I haven't needed it anymore. The weeks after that experience were a little wobbly - like I was learning to walk again, but I tasted my freedom and I made sure to follow that with extravagant praise to my Savior. Whenever the old familiar feelings or thoughts started to creep back in and lure me into my old way of operating, I countered them with Scripture and with praise. And it worked. Halleluia, it worked!!!!
God is big enough to banish depression for you. The death-grip that depression has on you is no match for the power of your Savior. Even if you look around at all the collateral damage from your emotional state and think it can never be fixed, LISTEN TO ME. Nothing is impossible with God. He loves you! He wants you to be free! He sacrificed His Son to purchase your freedom - and Jesus stormed into Hell to get His keys back so that Satan could never lock you up again.
If you need a miracle right now to be set free from the beast of depression, then pray this with me:
Lord, I need you. I need help. I am suffering under the rule of this depression and I choose to reject it today in Jesus' name. I am bought with Jesus' blood and I am Your child. Satan has no authority over me - in my body, my soul or my spirit. I take authority over every dark spirit coming against me and I bind you in Jesus' name. I release the power of the Holy Spirit over my life and give You permission to come and heal me right now, Lord. Restore me, fill me, heal me. I trust in You! Let it be so in Jesus' name! Amen.
Let me encourage you to talk to someone about your battle. You are not meant to handle this alone. In fact, that's one of the meanest tricks of the enemy - he wants to make you think you're the only one dealing with it, or that you'll look like a loser if you tell anyone you're struggling. Tell him to SHUT UP, will you? If you are isolated, then he's got you where he wants you. Don't give him that satisfaction! Find a friend, a minister, a counselor - someone you trust (or have every reason to trust) - and let them know where you are. Ask them to pray with you and for you.
You're going to make it! God's design for you is not to live in depression. You are destined to shine like a star and operate in peace and power that flows from the Holy Spirit inside you. The game's not over, my friend. You're not out. The curtain has not closed, dear one. There are many acts to come, with you as the headliner.
I pray that God's Kingdom will come into your world, just as it is in heaven:
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.' Then He who sat on the throne said, ' Behold, I make all things new.' " Revelation 21: 3-5a