I am happily married, a mother of two healthy little people and I suffer depression.
In hindsight, I realize I have always had more ups and downs than most people. When my second child was three weeks old, I became extremely anxious and depressed. There was one moment when, because of its sudden severity, I am aware that it started. It was two years before I had a day free of it.
At my worst, I would begin to cry as soon as my husband went to work. I spent hours crying. It was all I could do just to get through the basic jobs of day-to-day living. Simple things needed such an effort; thoughts of suicide were comforting.
I was aware of it, but unable to get past it. There was a heaviness, a weariness, a sadness deep inside me. No happiness, no laughter, no enjoyment. I became lethargic and had no interest in anything. I was short-tempered and felt helpless. I only saw problems and feared disasters. My preoccupation with these stopped me from seeing anything else. I could not understand how others continued to live normally. I sought professional help and craved sleep to escape. There was an aloneness. I came to the Lord after these two years because there was nothing else.
During the next two years, the number of days I was not depressed slowly increased until it outnumbered the days I was. When I went several weeks not depressed, I believed I was past it, only to be more upset each time it recurred.
In the last six months, my good times have lasted longer than my bad, and I have come to appreciate the cyclical nature of my depression. Only when I am down do I truly seek the Lord. It is only then that I realize how little anything else matters. When I am up, I can go out into the world and work and witness for the Lord. But I lose sight of him and rely on my strength, I go down again and seek him and withdraw, physically and emotionally, staying home to potter and to pray.
Depression is more than feeling down or being blue. There is a depth to it, a sense of no end. It is overwhelming. I know I have to ‘pick myself up’, but there is no reason to do so, no hope, no practical steps to take. I have often cried to friends that I want to get off the emotional roller-coaster. I have often prayed that I don’t want to wake up.
It affects my family because I am moody and short-tempered. I am emotionally distant. So I add guilt to my depression, but try as I may, I cannot stop it. It is a part of my walk with the Lord, but it is a pain-filled way of life for myself, my husband and our children.