October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011

This was Evalyn’s going home outfit. She is under 20 hours old here.

I Have the Highest Confidence In You

No one has it all together. It’s just a part of our human nature: we’re all a mess in some ways.  Even when we think we’ve got it all figured out, we still don’t. I’m included in this– I do NOT have it all together. I think it’s something that women are afraid to say to one another, whether you have gone or are going through postpartum depression/anxiety or not. We don’t discuss this because it’s vulnerable: someone could use it against us to hurt us. I know that I certainly don’t want to be hurt– especially about something that I say or write on this page. But one of my goals to all of this is to be real about postpartum depression and anxiety, so I find myself being vulnerable in quite a few things I say. My desire is to help, support, and encourage women who are going through what I have been through– but like I said I don’t have it all together. And I have something on my heart that was unexpected… I am not offering advice or wisdom or anything really. Right now, it’s just me and my computer in a quite moment while my daughter sleeps peacefully in the other room. I am getting vulnerable here so I hope that if you know me personally or if you don’t, that you will stick with me until the end.

Because of dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety (though I know it’s not my fault), I feel that I have to PROVE that I love my daughter to my family and friends. I doubt that they believe my sincerity when I say love and cherish my daughter because I openly discuss the hard things I went through after she was born. Under typical circumstances when a woman has a baby, it’s easily understood that she is tired or stressed but head over heels in love with her baby. It doesn’t matter if she has bags under her eyes or talks about how wonderful a good nights sleep is because nothing can compare to the love she has for her baby. But with postpartum depression/anxiety it’s a whole different story and that is why so many don’t talk about it or seek help: because almost every move after admitting to dealing postpartum depression/anxiety feels judged or critiqued or tiptoed around or just simply not discussed, whether or not any of these things are true. I think that almost every mother has told a friend or family member that they love when their baby sleeps through the night or that whining might be annoying or something along the lines of expressing a frustration of typical motherhood. Yet when I do it I feel as if I am confirming some unspoken idea that I don’t love Evalyn as much as I should or that I am looking for some advice or way to “fix” her so I don’t have to deal with her. So I find myself guarding my words because I don’t want to give any credence to that idea because it’s simply not true: my daughter didn’t cause my depression/anxiety and it doesn’t make me love her any less. To be honest, it is exhausting having to pretend that I am wonderful and happy all the time so as not to weird out people who know of my postpartum depression/anxiety. Sometimes I would just like to say “yeah, Evalyn has been a pill for the last two hours and I am irritated with her” without feeling like I’ve just stepped on conversational sinking sand. Babies get cranky– they get irritable and whiny, Evalyn sometimes is and I, naturally, get irritated about it. It has nothing to do with my postpartum depression/anxiety and absolutely everything to do with the fact that I am just a Mom trying to raise a 10 month old daughter. It doesn’t diminish the fact that I would jump in front of a moving bus to save her life– it just means I’m irritated. It’s almost impossible to discuss postpartum depression/anxiety without some concern of relapse or that somehow I’m broken in a way. While I understand and even appreciate the concern for my health, this is heartbreaking for me because it’s something that I know that I can never get back: that I am a sane, normal person. I feel as if no matter what I do postpartum depression/anxiety will always be in my past making me look like I am slightly less sane than some mothers. But I AM sane– as a woman and as a mother. I have motherly instincts (along with motherly insecurities) and I love my daughter.

I suppose in some ways what I am saying is this: just because a woman goes through postpartum depression/anxiety doesn’t mean that she can’t be trusted as a mother. Have faith in that woman and the mother that God purposed her to be, whether you’re her friend or spouse or family member.

2 Corinthians 7:4
I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me happy despite all our troubles.

A Friend Is as Sweet as Perfume

This post is for those who are family and/or friends of a woman who is going through postpartum depression/anxiety (and if you’re like me, my friends are my family). If you are going through this, feel free to share this so that those around you can help you and be an encouragement.

Everyone responds to depression and anxiety in a different way– whether it’s postpartum or not. Everyone is different and needs different things. I can only share things and ideas that helped and meant the most to me (because that’s the only experience I have). I have been a friend/loved one to those who are dealing with depression/anxiety and now I have been the one dealing with it myself and I think that both are equally distressing places to be, but for different reasons. As a sufferer of depression, it’s a miserable and lonely place to be even if you’re surrounded by caring people. As a friend/loved one it’s heartbreaking to watch and know how much you care about this person and feel utterly helpless. Worse yet, there are often fewer resources for friends/loved ones and this leaves us empty handed and left to our own devices to try to figure out what to do to help. I want to share with you some things that have been on my heart and also some tips/ideas for going through this process (because healing doesn’t come overnight, trust me).

The first and foremost thing you should know is that it’s not your fault. If you are a spouse, parent, sister or brother of someone who is going through this you need to remember this. You didn’t cause this and more importantly: you can’t fix it. It can sound harsh– that’s not my intention– but I find that these two things often go hand-in-hand. Before I went through postpartum depression/anxiety, when I had a loved one who was going through this I wanted to fix it: to make them feel better. I would offer advice on how to “fix” the problem or suggest things for them to do. Having been through the experience now, I can honestly say that’s one of the most annoying things anyone can do. Simply because you can’t “fix” it– it just is. One minute I would be fine looking for Christmas trees with my family and the next I would get this overwhelming anxiety and sudden hopelessness. It sounds strange but this was my experience.

That begs the question: what can (and should) you do? For spouses and family, I think the easiest thing is just to be there. It can be a hard task to watch someone you love suffering, but the best thing you can do is just be the safe place to land. I remember having to admit to some difficult thoughts– like just wanting my daughter to go away at the moment– that I am positive broke my husbands heart because of his love for his daughter, but he never judged me for them. That’s something that I appreciate more than I can express: he knew/knows me and he knows that in my healthy state I would never feel that way, that I love my daughter beyond words. But at that moment in time it’s how I felt and it was okay for me to say it. His non-judgment helped me to know that I had a safe place in him and that he wanted me to get better, no matter what it took. My MIL was the person who challenged me during this time and I strongly think that every person who is suffering from  postpartum depression/anxiety needs this otherwise it’s too easy to wallow in our helplessness and loneliness. You might not be that person– just like that person was not my husband, thank goodness– but someone else might be. Or it might be you! To which I applaud you, because I think it’s the most difficult position to be in. It’s a delicate balance of love, grace, understanding, and toughness. There is fine line between empathy and tough love: we who suffer need to know it’s okay to just be and have a safe place to land, but we also need to know that eventually we will have to pick ourselves up and get things done otherwise healing can’t come. I can’t tell you how to do this because I have never been this person– but I think that it comes with Holy Spirit inspiration, a tenacious attitude, a soft gentle heart, and wisdom for understanding timing.

Friends often get left in the dust during this time. It’s difficult when you’re outside of the home to truly grasp what is happening or how to support them. I have great friends (family in my heart) that blessed me immensely while I was suffering. For me, it was the simple things that helped so much. A phone call or text that said I am thinking of you and I love you, a thoughtful surprise gift for the baby on the porch, or a reason to get out of the house.  One of the biggest things that helped me were meals. Cooking was the last thing on my mind and if food wasn’t around, I didn’t eat. Not eating is not healthy– nourishment is a huge part of a successful recovery not just from childbirth but from the havoc anxiety can cause on the body. A good meal meant the world to me. I remember my husbands cousin bring over a rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, and baby carrots one night for dinner and I could have cried. After having take out and fast food for weeks on end, having a delicious dinner like that which didn’t require me to cook anything was such a blessing. When one of my friends was going through her own battle with depression and anxiety, the first thing I did was offer and make a meal because I understood how important food can be during that time. If you know someone going through this I think the best thing you can do is not ask if that person needs anything (because if they’re like me, they will say they’re fine) and instead just come right out and offer to bring a meal. I also found that having guests was difficult for me, because while I knew my house was not up to par my motivation to clean was dead; it was overwhelming. I so appreciated the times when friends/family just dropped off meals! Also, if I have a friend who is expecting a child or suffering from depression/anxiety I think a wonderful gift would be a cleaning service. I’m certainly not wealthy but if you can offer this to a friend or loved one during a rough time, I can tell you it will most likely be appreciated.

Some of these things require money, which a lot of us don’t have. The bottom line is this: your time, thoughts, and prayers are the most valuable thing you can offer to someone who is going through postpartum depression/anxiety. Forget the meals or gifts or whatever if you can’t afford it; don’t let that stop you from being present during this time. Even if you are physically separated or simply don’t have time– a phone call, a text, a homemade card, a letter– anything that offers support or love during that time will be remembered and treasured. 

Proverbs 27:9
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

Details Details Details…

I realized as I re-read some of the post I have made that I have become one of those people that I found so annoying when I was sick. “God handles the details” type person. When I was sick this drove me insane! I didn’t want generic spiritual answers, I wanted concrete firm answers to my parenting questions. I was raised around babies– I am the oldest of five children, three born after I was eleven years old. I was very familiar with how to hold a baby, how to change a diaper, how to play peek-a-boo, and all of those things. But when the going got rough I was able to hand that baby back to Mom– now I WAS Mom. I was the one responsible for everything with my baby. All of the work that I was able to hand off  when I was younger was now mine to do. It was scary and it added to my anxiety and shakiness. When I asked my pediatrician how would I know when to feed my daughter more than two ounces or when to go up in a size in diapers, I did NOT want to hear “you’ll just know”. I wanted a list of required occurrences so that I would know what to do and when to do it.

I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t work that way. Being a Mom requires you to trust your instincts despite feeling insecure about every decision you make. I can’t tell you concrete answers because they just aren’t any! Every single baby is different and needs different things and you (and your husband) are the only ones that know your baby well enough to know what they need. You can seek advice and wisdom from those around you and I encourage that: find out what works for others and see if it works for you! One thing that did work for me is a book. There are TONS of parenting books on the market– whichever way you want to parent, you can find a book on it. I don’t religiously follow one, I just work with some of the principles and see if they work. If they do then I use them. But really the most important thing you can do is just trust yourself. You WILL know what to do and when to do it.

I don’t want to tell you how to parent or raise your child- I just want to help you and be a comfort to you through your postpartum depression and anxiety.

What You’ve Accomplished

There were times in the beginning of my daughters life that I felt like I could do nothing. It all felt overwhelming and pointless. I felt like all I did was take care of her all day and sit around– because that’s what I did. When I told this to my therapist she shook her head and gave me some great advice that I want to share with you.

She told me to make a list of everything I did during the day. Not just “changed the baby’s diaper” but “I changed my baby’s diaper 8 times today”. Not just “I fed the baby” but “I fed my baby 7 times today, twice in the middle of the night”. Not just “I cleaned my baby” but “I gave my baby a warm bath and made sure she was clean”. Not just “went to a counseling appointment” but “I went to a counseling appointment so that I can get healthy”. Not just “took a nap” but “I took a nap to keep myself rested”. Making a list of the things I did helped to me focus on what I accomplished and not what needed to be accomplished. It doesn’t diminish what needs to be done; those things will be here today, tomorrow, and forever. But what it does do is bring a new and positive perspective to what you are capable of.

It may sound silly, but I encourage you to try this task today or tomorrow: get one piece of paper and a pen.  Write down everything you do– with a positive perspective. Before you go to bed, re-read that list of things and think about everything you did that day. Don’t focus on what should have been, focus on what was! I hope that this gives you the same burst of encouragement as it did for me. I would love to hear your list of daily tasks and if it did/didn’t help you, so feel free to leave me a comment.

You are a fabulous Mommy!

I love being a Mommy. I love holding my daughter (when I can, she’s very independent), making her smile and giggle, and laughing at all of the funny faces she makes. I love that while I’m on my laptop at the coffee table she will crawl over to me and lay her head in my lap for no reason and then go back to playing. It’s as if she is saying “I love you” and then goes back to her little world. The joy that I feel when the Blues Clues song comes on and she just smiles and smiles can’t be expressed in words. She is precious– innocent, wonderful, and full of exciting hope.

Thing I love most about being a Mommy is this: I am good at it. In fact, I am an excellent mother! I am not saying that in a boasting or vain manner– I just know that I am the mother that God planned for Evalyn and that makes me an excellent mother for her.  I didn’t always know that though; in fact, I didn’t even want to be a mommy! When I became one and depression/anxiety came into my world, I felt like the biggest failure of a Mom. In my head, I just remember hearing all the stories about how the moment a newborn was placed on a Mom that it was just instant love or how Moms could just watch their babies sleep all night long. I can honestly tell you: I did NOT feel this way. The first week is a little bit of a blur for me, but I know that the moment the Doctor laid my daughter on me my first thought was “is this my baby?!”. First, my daughter looked nothing like I expected; I had expected an old wrinkly weird looking baby– let’s be honest, most babies do. Second, I expected a completely bald baby because in my family all of the babies were born bald. And third, I expected to feel completely different– like a new person. None of those things happened. My daughter was surprisingly adorable– I know, I know. I am her Mom, so of course I think she’s cute but really I was just shocked her head wasn’t egg shaped, bruised, and wrinkly from head to toe. And the girl had HAIR! Lots of hair– dark brown and soft, a full head of it and it threw me for a major loop. But mostly, I felt like myself. Well myself after 3 hours of pushing and a sleepless night in a hospital. I was exhausted and I didn’t feel any different, except that I had this new creature crying at me and I didn’t know what it wanted. Newborn baby cries all the sound the same: urgent and scary. This is pretty much when in the back of my head that I had an instinct that something wasn’t right with me– when my body didn’t respond to my baby’s cry. This moment happens for different reasons and at different times for those with postpartum depression and anxiety, but I think it does happen for most of us.

The first week is like a fog: people coming to visit or dropping off meals and telling us how beautiful she was and all of the nice congratulatory sayings. I, however, felt like the walking dead. I was tired and anxious. And I didn’t see a cute baby: I saw WORK. When I looked at my daughter I saw the thing that kept me up the night before, the thing that I had been forced to clean poop off of more than I could count, and the thing that took all of my energy. My daughter was the thing that stole my time. I would see pictures of my friends– who are married but have no children– out doing things and having fun, the things that my husband and I used to do together, while I was stuck home dealing with an aching body, stitches (yowza!), and a demanding newborn. I longed for that freedom again.  It made me feel so guilty and like such a horrible mother. Shouldn’t I be infatuated with my newborn?, I thought. Shouldn’t I care less about those things when I have this beautiful child in front of me? How could a Mother feel this way? I must be the worst Mother in all of history– aren’t I suppose to be completely selfless: giving up everything for my child? I ruminated on these thoughts all the time. Every time I would long to go out but felt trapped, I would guilt trip myself about it and end up feeling like a failure for my daughter.  This lasted a long time for me– months. It went on in the beginning of my treatment for my postpartum depression and anxiety.

Unbeknownst to me, I was being a good Mom. (This is something that I didn’t recognize until after my healing came so don’t worry if you’re not at this moment yet. It will come.)  There’s a saying I adore: “Love is not a feeling, it’s an action.” This is the definition of a Mom to me. Let’s be honest: who WANTS to get up at 2 am and 5 am? No one. No one wants to get woken up multiple times during the night. But Moms do it! Who else WANTS to change a diaper full of gross looking poop? No one! But Moms do it! Who else WANTS to hold a crying infant that can’t be consoled no matter how many lullabies or ssshhh’s are sung? No one! But Moms do it! Who WANTS to stay home while their friends are out having fun? NO ONE! But Moms do it! My friend, that IS love. That is being a fabulous mother. That is self-sacrifice. You are a great Mom– just like I am a great Mom. God did not just on a whim decide to give you the baby you have and leave you to figure everything out. He planned this child specifically for YOU and He gave YOU the skills and abilities to be the mother you need to be, even when you’ve been wearing the same pajamas for a week, haven’t brushed your hair in days, and there is no dinner to speak of. When you’re depressed and anxious, God knows. He planned for that– He still gave you the capabilities YOU need to be a good Mom. That might include letting go and letting your husband take the reins of the baby duty for a few days– but who has EVER said that Daddy and baby time is a bad thing? You’re being a good Mom by letting them bond. Or maybe your baby needs to stay at Grandma’s for the night so you can get a full nights sleep. You’re being a good Mom! Grandma’s love their grand babies and you’re building a foundation for that relationship. Or maybe you’re not the one who gets up with the baby… Maybe you don’t do the feedings, diaper changes, or lullabies. Maybe all you can handle right now is just treatment, sleep, and getting better. You are a fabulous Mom! You’re getting healthy for your child– that is a fabulous Mom! The fact that you have searched the internet and found this blog shows your concern and dedication to parenting your child. Whatever you’re capable of doing right now, just know that it makes you a great Mommy.

I will never be what another Mom is; I will not be my friend, Vanessa Shepherd, who is a stay-at-home mom and bakes amazing food and has a wonderful clean house and juggles it all. I will not be my MIL, who worked hard at her full time job and made dinner every night and went to every baseball game her boys were in and juggled it all. I will not be my Mom, who homeschools all of her children and loves to cook and runs bible studies and brings every needing person a meal or arranges for meals to be dropped off and is the go-to person for serving at her church and juggles it all. I admire them for their Mom skills. I love them for the wisdom and unique example they set for me. But I will not be them because I am not them. I am me. God gave me my skills and attributes for a purpose: to be my daughters mother. You are you. You are not me and God gave YOU the skills and attributes to raise and be YOUR child’s mother. Rejoice in that and constantly seek God for the motherly advice you need. Know that you are a fabulous Mommy!

I will hold you up with My victorious right hand

This word is for those that are struggling back onto the road of life after experiencing the trauma of depression and anxiety and those like me who are on the other side of the valley. I want to say this: we who have suffered from Depression and Anxiety are not victims. By saying that I mean that although we are or have been ill and needy, we are not hopeless or helpless. It’s easy to be consumed by Depression and Anxiety– to let the illness become the focus instead of the healing. In the moments of anguish and torment we can’t see what’s ahead, no matter how hard our loved ones try to encourage us or tell us that everything will be okay. But seeing is not the same as believingI couldn’t see my way out my Depression and Anxiety; it was dark and scary and lonely. But my faith became the lifeline to my salvation– my anchor in the storm. I was tossed on the rocks and torn apart, but that anchor was still firm: faith. Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Healing is coming or here for you so don’t be the victim of your illness, be the victorious.

What we’ve been through is war; a war for our minds, our sanity, peace in our spirit, and rest for our families. We’ve come through VICTORIOUS! We are victors in this war– not because we are strong and awesome, but because God is strong and awesome. As victors, I don’t believe that we are to live with an attitude of victim-hood or pity. We have been the needy– now we are the provision. We have been the ill– now we are the healed. We have been the broken– now we are the redeemed. Now is the time when we show ourselves strong– to began to recognize what God has done for us through our illness.

Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.

Note: I say this with the hope and prayer that if you have or are suffering with postpartum depression and anxiety (or any kind), that you have sought treatment– whether it be through therapy, medication, or education. I believe that treatment is the key to a full recovery and emotional/physical healing from postpartum depression and anxiety. If you have not sought treatment, I urge you to seek it out.

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Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God

I spent a lot of time at my mom-in-love’s (abbreviated: MIL) when I was really sick and in the middle of some tough time (my side of the family lives nearly two states away from me). I thank God every single day for my MIL and I know that God had everything planned out so that I could be with her. There are a lot of reasons I spent so much time at her house, but the one I want to tell you about right now is this: it was safe. That might sound strange– as if my own home wasn’t safe, but that’s not the case. What I mean by that is this: she took care of me. She took care of me in ways that I don’t think she even realized at the time.

As I am sure you know, depression is a nasty thing that sucks the life out of almost everything around you. It makes the simple tasks that were once so easy to accomplish seem so overwhelming that all you want to do is bury your head in the sand and wish it all away. For me this was my home. When I was home I constantly saw the dust covering my coffee table, the marks on my kitchen floor that needed to be mopped, the laundry that was piling up (hello new baby!), the ring around my guest bathroom toilet, and mostly: my empty kitchen, which hadn’t seen a meal cooked in it since long before my daughter came into the world. It was overwhelming. I remember crying at my therapist appointment, my husband sitting next to me, and saying “I just can’t do it. Everything is so overwhelming.” It seemed that all I could manage to do was just feed my daughter, change her diaper, make sure she was clean, and hold her. Other than that, I just wanted to zone out from the chaos in my brain and stare at the TV all day. So I found a way to escape: I went to my MIL’s. Looking back, I suppose in some ways it was a bit like running away– but I NEEDED it. I needed the escape from the pressure I put on myself. If I didn’t have a safe place to go, I think I might have had a nervous breakdown on top of everything else I was dealing with. Listen: it’s okay to have a safe place to hide. We all need that place where we can just be, especially when our mind is the battlefield.

So what was it about my MIL’s that I found safe? It was clean. Of course, there are other reasons but I am saving those for a later topic. In this instance for me, though, it was because it was clean. My MIL has always kept a neat, tidy, and clean home. It’s one of her great attributes; rarely would you walk into her home and find dishes from the night before (as I am typing, I am looking at dishes from last nights dinner at my house). And this made me feel so safe. I would walk in from the garage and her floors were clean, her kitchen spotless, and her living room free from dust. This made me feel safe from my own guilt over my house being not what I wanted. I could just be at her home and not think about the fact that I needed to vacuum or make dinner; I just held my daughter and zoned out– even slept if I needed to. And when it came time to eat, she always fed me. (Disclaimer: my husband is a fully capable man– he feeds himself and takes care of himself very well. The pressure I felt was my own, not his) I didn’t have to think about what was in the fridge or what I needed to go to the store for; food just showed up in front of me and I ate. The best part though, was the fact that I didn’t have to think about cleaning up afterwards. I just ate what was put in front of me and my plate disappeared and everything was clear. In my mind, this was nearly a vacation! This was safe to me; it was what I needed. Some of us have this fear of being needy– I did. I remember crying and being upset and saying “I don’t want to be a burden!”. Hear me out: sometimes we need to need. We need to know that we can’t do it all– and that it’s okay to not do it all. “But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, My power is made perfect in you.”” 2 Corinthians 12:9. Let someone take care of you: human and God. You will not always be in this position– someday you will be providing care or strength or safeness. I promise.

Ruth 1:16
But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

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You care about the anguish of my soul

 Never in a million years did I think I would be here. I never struggled with depression or anxiety in my life– I was always stable and happy. I love being joyful! But after my daughter was born, my life took an interesting turn. I sunk into a deep depression and suffered from major anxiety attacks. I won’t get into details right now because I have so many things I want to share in the future, but I will just say that I felt isolated and scared and weird and even crazy. I remember telling my Mom that I thought I needed to be put into a mental hospital– not because I wanted to hurt myself or my baby or anyone for that matter– but because I just wanted some relief from the anxiety and depression I was experiencing. My husband and Mom-in-love were an amazing source of support and care, but that only made me feel MORE guilty that I couldn’t just snap out of it (though I am SO grateful for their help now). 

The one thing that I do remember with the utmost clarity is this: when I got on my knees (literally, for me) and cried (literally) to Jesus for help, He heard me. How do I know this? I remember one day in particular I had just returned home from a particularly rough appointment with my Psychiatrist, who wasn’t a christian. I was admitting to myself some hard things– I just wanted my daughter to go away so I could sleep and get better. That was so hard to say because in my head I knew I should have been in love with her. My Psychiatrist told me “It’s okay to be selfish” and I remember thinking to myself that Jesus wasn’t selfish, the Word of God says to be selfless and giving. I now understand what she was saying, though she didn’t say it very well (further evidence we’re all human) but that is for later on. And I was TORMENTED by her statement. Tormented because I thought “I’ve let myself be influenced by an un-Godly advice and now I am sinning” and my mind just spiraled. I was diving deeper and further into my anxiety until I just stopped and got on my knees in the middle of the day, right in front of my couch and my husband and just cried out to God. I was sobbing “God, why me? What have I done? I hate this– I hate how I feel! I just want to love my daughter, my life– You gave her to me! Why? I’ll do anything Lord!! I’ll be homeless on the street, I will give up everything to not feel this way! (I remember saying that so clearly) I don’t know what to do!” And I just sobbed and sobbed. There are mascara marks on my white couch to prove it too. Eventually, the tears ran dry and I stood up and told my husband I wanted to go for a walk. We were barely out the door when I said out of nowhere “I’m just sick and I need medication” and peace hit me like a ton of bricks. My knees almost gave out and I almost fell to the sidewalk– It wasn’t me that had spoken those words, it was the Holy Spirit. My Mom always said “follow the peace” growing up. God heard me. He loved me, He guided me, He answered my prayer. He provided the way to redemption from my depression and anxiety. My mind cleared and I was able to focus on Him– on His love for me. On how much this broke His heart see me suffering this way. I wasn’t cured– I had a long way of ups and downs until the good days became all the days. But when I cried to Jesus, He heard me and He gave me relief. 

If you’re in the midst of torment, I just encourage you to just stop doing whatever you’re doing and pray. Let those tears fall, let your emotions out, tell God everything that is in your heart even if you think it’s shameful or bad or sinful. He already knows– He’s just waiting for you tell Him. Be angry, be sad, be depressed– it’s okay. Just be you; He loves you. 

Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul. 

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He will wipe every tear

Jesus knows you, He loves you, you’re not alone, and life will look different in a year no matter where you are right now. Cling to what is good, hope for the future, and just breathe. 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and their will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelations 21:4