Six long years ago, after I weaned my two-year-old daughter from breastfeeding, I decided to begin taking the birth control pill because a) I wasn’t sure if and when we would have another child and b) my hormones seemed very out of whack and I was hoping this would even them out a bit.
Talk about your all-time backfires.
Though I had taken it for four years before I had children without incident, this time the pill (and possibly it in combination with the cessation of nursing? I’ve always wondered) sent me into a crushing depression. Never having been depressed before, I was completely blindsided. I felt despair. There was no joy in parenting my two kids. Every time I had to meet one of their needs – change a diaper, make a sandwich – I felt an emotional pain so deep that I would have much preferred a physical counterpart.
Months went by. I got anti-depressants. I tried a different birth control pill. Eventually I had to sack that idea altogether – when I finally went off the pill I felt 90% less depressed. And after about a year, I weaned off the anti-depressants as well.
I was back. But I wasn’t unchanged. My experience with depression gave me empathy for others, a new perspective on mental health, and a deeper faith in God. Recently I looked back at some of my writings from that time and came across this piece – I’ll quote myself from six years ago, when I was just starting to come out of my depression:
“The truth is I am tired. Tired of trying to get better, tired of waiting to get better, tired of not being better. Tired of feeling totally awesome for a couple of days and then the crushing disappointment of feeling the opposite of awesome the next day.
And sometimes, I am afraid. Afraid that this will be the rest of my life. Afraid that I will end up laying in the middle of my lawn speaking jibberish and wearing my underwear on my head.
What will I learn from this…’period’ in my life? I want to know it, this lesson. I want to have learned it, earned it, put it into practice. I want to tuck it into my back pocket and say, “Oh, I am so glad I had that experience because it made me a better person.”
The Bible says we are to count our trials as joys. Because they build faith, and character. It also says they that wait on the Lord will soar like eagles. And soaring instead of muddling sounds lovely right now, and I want to do it. So I wait. And I remember, in my saner moments, in the quiet, in the stillness, that it is enough that God knows. He knows the number of my days, which ones will be a battle and which ones will be full of effortless joy. He knows these things that it is not time for me to know yet, and for that I am so thankful. It is unknown to me but it is not unknown.
It is enough.”
Though I haven’t been depressed in years, I do still have some leftover anxiety that creeps in once in awhile from that time. And when I get anxious, I often feel a niggling fear that grows quickly if I let it —the fear of going back to that depressed state of being.
But then I remember. I replace the fear with a remembrance — that He knows. He feels. He is with me. He is enough, and the fact that He is enough? Is also enough.
Are you struggling today, my friend? If you’re reading this and going through something hard, leave me a comment and I will pray for you. You are not alone, and I pray that you too will find that whatever your circumstance, He is enough for that, too.