Shifa (name changed) talks about her journey from post natal depression to being free of depression.”I am penning down my thoughts so that I don’t forget…the paranoia, the hopelessness, the inability to relate to or trust anyone, the utter dependence on someone else to reassure you about your own thoughts.”
When l fell pregnant with my first child, I anticipated many things. But what I hadn’t been prepared for was the depression. The chaos in my mind where I felt trapped by my own thoughts. The normal everyday things that I used to take for granted became so difficult that I would wonder how I existed before.
My depression got so bad that I had to take antidepressants and undergo psychotherapy. I kept a diary of what I used to think during those days. Its only now after 7 years of the episode that I am able to talk about it.
I felt unable to relate to my son at an emotional level. The only way I could connect with him was by physically holding him and kissing him. I would see him smile and know that I liked to see that but did not feel it. My husband tried to cheer me up and take me out but I would be unable to appreciate anything. It was as if there was an empty void inside of me.
I saw the beauty of nature, appreciated it at an intellectual level but it evoked no feelings. Whereas earlier I would be ecstatic in the lap of nature. The sound of the gushing river, the fragrance of the flowers, the rustling of the leaves would be like a balm to my soul.
I would get paranoid about everything and everyone. Not enough for it to be a delusion but close enough to be scary.I used to feel so tired of having to monitor my thoughts. Things would take on a negative connotation in my mind no matter how hard I tried for it to be otherwise. I kept on fighting myself or rather my thoughts.
It was around this time that I started turning to religion. Primarily because I found it so hard to trust anyone. It provided me with a rope to hold on to. I felt that even if everyone left me, God wouldn’t and that was my biggest support.
Sometimes I would feel unable to deal with life. A great despondency would overwhelm me and I would feel adrift in a turbulent sea of emotions. I would hold on to my faith as I felt it was my only anchor
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-8
Life often seems to overflow with trials and challenges. Yet, even when there is no imminent threat on the horizon, many of us worry and fret over things we fear may happen. We live in dread of the “what ifs…”What if I don’t get something I want with all of my heart? What if I lose my job or get sick or someone I trust betrays me? What if I lose a game, a relationship, a business contract, or a place on the team? As we work on strengthening our relationship with the Lord, letting go of our desires and truly believing that God is in control; that He cherishes us; and will work all things together for our good despite what appears to be evidence to the contrary can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. Yet, while difficult – it can be done and the reward is undoubtedly worth the effort. When we reach a place in our hearts of total dependence on the Lord – we achieve true liberation! We learn to shift our desires away from the temporal things of the world to the real treasure God desires for us.
Imagine yourself resting securely in the palm of God’s hand. As God considers the details and circumstances of your life, He deliberately arranges them for the purpose of nurturing your spiritual development. He knows the lessons needed to position you to serve Him effectively and how your choices of whether or not to claim these opportunities will impact your life for all of eternity. He knows what is best for you and He wants to bless you. However, since we tend to become distracted by worldly values and the many activities which compete for our attention, God sometimes finds it necessary to pry our fingers off of the idols we treasure in order to give us what we need. If you have ever witnessed a toddler throw a tantrum because he was not allowed to play with something his mother knew to be a danger to him, you can envision the way our reactions often appear to God. We waste precious time clamoring and crying over something that would only hurt us if we were allowed to possess it.
Whatever challenge is worrying you today, stop for a moment and ask yourself, “Is what I am convinced I desperately need in this situation something with eternal value or temporary value? Would God agree with my assessment?” and adjust your thinking about it accordingly. Either way, the God who laid the foundations of the earth, established the cycles of nature, and breathed life into your body is certainly capable of taking care of His beloved child. Resolve to make changes in this area today. Lay down the fears that are keeping you awake at night and your stomach in knots and entrust them to God. Just as the toddler eventually learns that Mom and Dad were right, one day all will be made clear and you will also understand how deeply and faithfully you have been loved by your Father.