As most of you know, my life has dramatically changed since 2018.
My brother passed away and two months later my two precious sons were diagnosed with an incurable disease. These events changed me as a person. I went from a carefree normal mom, to a grieving special needs mother with no idea how to navigate my new world. I was thrown into the world of homeschool, physical therapy, equipment needs and medication hurdles. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety I knew that my new emotions were not just my all too familiar anxiety. I knew that my new hopeless, fearful feelings were something different and something darker.
I started to have days where I dreaded getting out of bed, feeling like “what’s the point anyway.” I still felt such love and joy for my children, but is was muffled by my shattered, broken heart. I clung to my faith, but still felt empty somedays. I went to bed focused on my failures and future worries, failing to see all the good things I did that day. Failing to see that God loved me no matter what I accomplished that day. I took care of my kids, but not myself. I cried a lot, worried endlessly, and felt like my entire life would just be filled with pain from now on. I just numbly accepted this fog as my new normal, but God didn’t. God fought for me.
Even the happy moments sent a chill to my spine as I wondered what my future may look like in this new “Muscular Dystrophy Mom” world I lived in now.
I felt like an alien sometimes. Most moms my age were talking about soccer games, swim lessons, field days and birthday parties. I was happy for them, truly, but couldn’t help but feel sad at all the things my boys could never do. I worried my boys would fall down at any given moment. I had to worry about accessibility now, not athletics. Even climbing up one step to get into the house was a struggle for my oldest. We were filling out paperwork for home modifications, and driving to clinic appointments while other families were enjoying spring break at the park. Everything was painful for me. I couldn’t even look at baby pictures of my children without crying. God kept nudging me though, telling me that my life was meant to be so much more than pain. My life was different, but my calling was still the same.
I had medication for panic attacks, that I took on difficult days. One day I realized I was taking them at least a few times a week, which made me wonder if that was normal. Finally after putting it off for about a year, I forced myself to go to the doctor. He was shocked by my situation and questioned me for over an hour. I prayed for God’s will in my situation and submitted to the doctor’s recommendation to start a safer medication for anxiety and depression. He knew I had tried so many other alternatives and said it was time to try a daily medication. He said it would help with the anxiety, depression and PTSD I was now dealing with.
It’s been almost a month and I can finally say I’m starting to feel better.
I feel like myself again. The pain is still there, but it’s not constantly tormenting me anymore. I go to bed focused on the good moments of my day instead of punishing myself for the one time I raised my voice. I still have future worries and feel a stabbing pain in my heart when I picture what my life could look like someday – but I try not to dwell on it. I visit those thoughts, but I don’t live in them. God is my refuge, not the medication, but I do feel that this has helped me hear God more clearly and focus on my calling as a mother – not just my sorrow.
I don’t write this to encourage everyone to use medication for there mental illness, but I do encourage everyone to find help somehow. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t ask for help until I’m in a deep pit of despair. Only now can I see how deep I had fallen, only now do I feel my sense of hope again.
I encourage everyone reading this to remember the beauty of pain.
It affects all of us eventually, but God can use it for good. He can use it to glorify Him and bring about powerful perspectives in our lives. Suffering is meant to refine us, NOT define us. God has shown me that my pain, though difficult to bare, is not without extreme joys too. When my children smile, hug me, or call me mama, I feel such a profound sense of joy and honor that I tear up at the very thought of my love for them. I feel blessed to be their mom. I always felt that joy, but it had recently become so clouded by unbearable pain that I couldn’t see it as clearly. Now I see the rainbow through the storm. Now I feel the peace in my heart, not just the constant fretting voice of anxiety. I still struggle of course, but I can see that light peaking up out of that pit again.
I will always feel the intense weight of my life. I will always have to face tough situations as time passes, but thanks to God’s unfailing love for me I know that I will also continue to survive. I know that sometimes I will fall, but I will also rise again. I will continue to trust God with his plan for my life, and let go of the expectations of what I thought my life would look like. I had to grieve those expectations and adjust to new ones, but I know that I still have a beautiful life full of constant love.
The reality is that depression can hit anyone, even those of us who know how loved we are by God.
Even moms, dads, brothers, sisters and friends can experience periods of depression for so many different reasons beyond their control. I never thought I would go through something like this, but now that I have I want to offer hope to others. Depression is not your fault dear one, it’s not something you asked for and it’s not something that always just goes away on it’s own. Give yourself grace to heal and try to remember that just because it feels like you will never be able to get back up, eventually you will. You will get back up and you won’t always feel this way. Don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith because one day you will rise up out of that pit.