Saturday, April 5, 2014

Remembering: After the

I clung to the Lord through two more depressions, hung on for dear life through minefields of destructive and even deadly thoughts. My dear husband asked me often what I was feeling, what caused such intense stress, and what brought on the tears and fatigue. I never felt able to articulate what was going through my head. A sense of shame, of weakness, of fear... something always kept me from voicing the darkness.

Pregnant with #6, I finally saw a psychiatrist. Words describing the ways I had envisioned killing myself came out of my mouth. Words describing how I would be carrying one of my children and suddenly envision dropping them over the stairway or how many things I had thought of bashing my head into. The sleeplessness...the fear...the feeling that I was in some deep hole trying to claw my way out but couldn't...My thoughts had no filter. I had no way to process anything that came to my mind. Living with these uncontrollable thoughts and feelings was a full-time job that left me exhausted, but the anxiety left me no way to rest. In this last depression, I finally turned on God. I stopped clinging and started getting angry. I stopped praying and started doubting. I have never had more love and support from our precious friends here in Cambodia and around the world. I have never been more selflessly loved and served by my husband. But I have never felt so alone nor so desperate as I did when, for the first time in my living memory, I couldn't run to my first Love.

The man sitting before me, pen in hand, had zero concern for my spiritual life. He did, however, seem convinced:

Major Prenatal Depression was the diagnosis.

I let out the air I had held in and breathed out, "It' not me. It's not my fault."

"No," he said, "No, it's not."

I have put off writing this post. It felt too close to now, too near to want to remember, and too terrible to describe. Our sweet Melissa Grace was born two weeks ago.

A few days ago, as my Chris and I were remembering the exciting birth of Melissa, we celebrated that we had survived.

But, for the first time, I don't want to forget. 
  • I don't to forget that He is faithful even when I am not.
  • I don't want to forget the example of true love my husband lived out every single awful day.
  • I don't want to forget how a community who serves to the very end of themselves here in Phnom Penh, who lives with unbelievable stress on a daily basis, served and loved my family.
To all of you who prayed, to all of you who served, to all of you who encouraged, I thank you. We thank you.

To my husband: Truly when you (and especially I) were weak, He was strong and gave His strength and love to and through you. I've never seen such strength, long-suffering patience, and joy in the midst of pain and trial. You walked before me, an example of Jesus, when I was walking away from Him. Thank you. I love you.

To those who are or have suffered from prenatal depression, you have my deepest empathy and prayers. Please feel free to contact me.

Read the Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, and Part 5 in this series! 

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