He came home again to find me locked in our bedroom. A baby in the living room. Toddlers in the hallway. Crying. Everyone crying. I buried my face in his shoulders. Wanting to disappear from the present. I no longer controlled my anxiety. It now controlled me. It probably always controlled me. To hide in my closet in darkness was no longer an option. We were all desperate for light to stream into the dark room.
With one step in front of the other she entered a therapist’s cozy office. She was numb and her head was foggy. She was not ready to “expose” herself. Because she didn’t know where “herself” had gone. She was buried under all the anxiety and depression. She no longer knew how to function under the labels that were put on her. She had checked out of the game of life. Decided she’d rather hide then play charades again. In her place stood anxiety, fear. And in her head were the whispers of lies that boomed throughout her body. Facing the darkness felt blinding to her. She closed her eyes and took the hand that was extended. She needed the incarnation of Jesus. And it would be in the form of a therapist. It would get worse before it got better.
I lie in bed, tears streaming down my face. Wondering where He was. Was He even real. Was all this for nothing. Because it felt like a bunch of nothing. Struggling and broken in the echoes of silence. Abandoned. Forgotten. Left out in the cold. No words for my aching heart. Drowning in my own self doubt. Swallowed whole by lack of faith. I spent my days with talking babies and an attentive husband but the loneliness in my soul felt crushing. I walked around half numb and half aware of the pain I carried. The cloud of frustration would hover when I would realize after all these sessions I still didn’t have my shit together. Wasn’t there a button to push. A box to mark off that said, “I did my five sessions and now I’m better.” But there wasn’t. There was only more layers of life lived unaware of the deeper places. A life lived that hid from vulnerability and authenticity. Life is not always black and white. I was now on a path of self-discovery and could not get off. Part of seeing God was seeing myself. All the broken and dislocated parts of me. And then reaching out to a Savior that could make beautiful harmonies out of all of it. Except right now I couldn’t hear the music. Only the deafening silence.
It is only later I look back and see He was there all along. Giving me grace and strength to take off the masks that hid my true self. And the courage to embrace my story. I read recently that “getting better” is like a labyrinth. The messy work includes circling around your struggles. I would continue to come around my lonely heart. But in time the circling would get wider with always an unexpected returning. It refines each time leaving a deeper mark of healing.
**My counselor and I believe I was suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety. My hormones felt incredibly “off.” I also had layers and layers of things left un-dealt with (smile). And so my journey with PPD includes more than just hormones. I began taking some herbs and working out. God also provided money for my two oldest to attend a Mother’s Day Out twice a week for a short season. The combination improved my “off” hormones. But I was still left with a lot of mess in my heart. And so I continued on the path of self discovery. My prayer is that my story with PPD and self discovery would encourage some other mother out there struggling. Really anyone struggling. Shame can cover like an ugly blanket. May God give you strength to reach out and ask for help! My counselor told me once that you can’t give your children what you don’t have yourself. I needed to pass on emotional health, a True self and a desperate dependence on Jesus. **