Learning through depression


#1

I love this forum. Everyone here is so understanding! I just want to share my story…Feel free to add your story too!

Shortly after my daughter was born ~ I went thru a period of postpartum depression that lasted a little over a year (I didnt recognize it as PPD at the time, but now I do)

Its been a roller coaster ride. During my PP depression, my thoughts were foggy, my goals for my life were unclear, I feared making decisions because I was sure it would be the wrong one. During this time, I struggled with these things on a daily basis. I made every excuse so that my loved ones would stop telling me I was depressed… First I blamed it on being homesick-I wanted to move~I was sure that would be the answer…Then I wanted to go back to college & pursue a ASN degree (very different from anything Id done in the past) I felt guilty for not being a SAHM because of poor financial planning & nursing would allow flexibility (I knew deep down I would never finish my degree, it was an escape & deterrant). I had an array of reasons to feel guilty for something & a mountain of ideas for making my life better (all QUICK FIXES). I now realize that all of these quick fixes were masking the fact that I was avoiding working on myself…I was looking for answers in places that wouldnt provide meaning or purpose.

With lots & lots of love & support from my husband & God, I got thru it & amazingly feel like myself again. My recovery process was very difficult, but with each passing day I started to learn things about myself, & started facing difficulties that I had ignored for years.

I found this explanation on a website & it really rang true for me:

*People miss out on spiritual learning experiences of depression when they look for a “quick-fix” vs. working on the core issues which are causing their depression. People can work out of depression with God’s help and the resources (He provides!) which are available medically and psychologically. *
All of life is a spiritual learning experience. God is there for people who are suffering. People can really experience God’s help and presence in the valley of depression."


#2

I love what you shared! While I do believe that proper medication and counseling are necessary for many of us, I also think we need to acknowledge the learning experiences we can garner from redemptive suffering. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

As for me, my last child was lost when my husband died in a drowning accident. I tried to save him, couldn’t and later that night miscarried my child. So within 24 hours I lost the love of life and my last baby. The tragedy just devastated me and I spiralled down into alcoholism and drug addiction. It took several years before I found my way to sobriety, and the lessons I learned in early sobriety was that all the horrors I had experienced while I was drinking and using would someday be valuable. I thought, oh these people are just crazy! How could some of the horrible things I did, saw and experienced ever be anything but evil? Well, just like our Catechism teaches, from great evil comes great good. I have been sober now for 13 years. I have five children waiting for me in heaven. I have an wealth of experience, strength and hope to share. I do not suffer fools lightly - in fact, I suffer greatly from the sin of impatience (like Sister Angelica in many ways - she used to offer many words of wise counsel to me that could easily be summed to ‘easy does it’ and ‘lighten up’). I am so grateful for all the things I suffered, including the years of depression and alcoholism, and I am so grateful for my sobriety!


#3

Thank you for sharing your story!

My prayers are with you!


#4

Suffering has formed even more beautiful souls in both of you, thanks to the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for having the courage to share these things with us. God bless you both.


#5

The worst part about depression is that while we can know, intellectually, that our crazy thoughts, absolute hopelessness, and absolute loneliness are a product of screwed-up brain chemistry/wiring connections, we can’t escape this state of mind.


#6

This week I have been telling myself that to despair is a sin. I had a dream that I was in Hell. I dreamed I was all alone and would be all alone for ever and ever and ever. I would never ever speak to anyone every again or see anyone ever again. I would never know what happened to those I loved. This is my fate. During the week when I found a few moments of happiness breaking through, my mind (that demon in my mind) would tell me, “You’d better enjoy this moment, because it will soon pass away, your life will pass away, and it will be into the complete isolation and loneliness you will go, for ever and ever and ever. You’d better cling to this life and hope something doesn’t strike you dead, because it will be the last contact you’ll have with the people you love for ever and ever and ever.”

My waking moments are consumed with thoughts like, “Did I commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and my dream is merely letting me know my fate, and there is no way to escape this final destination of absolute isolation and loneliness for ever and ever and ever?”

This past Saturday I got the Sacrament of Reconciliation and felt joy for an hour, until I thought of the possibility of having blasphemed the Holy Spirit and no way to stave off Hell.


#7

It is not a sin to seek medical help and take medication for depression (or other psychological condition). Indeed, studies are showing that the best treatment for depression is two-fold–cognitive therapy (psychological counseling) and medication (at least in the short run). I have followed a family member go from suicidal to well-functioning. If you are struggling with depression, please get medical help. Sometimes prayer and personal struggle are not enough.


#8

Note that La Chiara spoke of short and long term.

Of course, medication and the like should be determined by a doctor who knows you personally, but in the long run, the very way we think about things can “rewire” our thoughts. We can learn to become less judgmental and quick to anger, for example, or quick to give up hope when things don’t work as expected.

All of this directly affects the spiritual journey as well. We are to conform our minds and hearts to Christ, who has perfect peace walking in the strongest storms. To the greater extent we do that, the more we can change our ways of thinking, and ultimately the way we feel and emotionally react.

I think it pays to have professionals who can not only treat your body and mind (like doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists) but spiritual directors because if your spiritual life isn’t right, every other remedy is limited – plus, I feel that even with better catechesis these days that doesn’t necessarily limit the problem unless we focus on transformational types of spiritual searching in addition to learning basic theology.

Alan


#9

[quote=La Chiara]It is not a sin to seek medical help and take medication for depression (or other psychological condition). Indeed, studies are showing that the best treatment for depression is two-fold–cognitive therapy (psychological counseling) and medication (at least in the short run). I have followed a family member go from suicidal to well-functioning. If you are struggling with depression, please get medical help. Sometimes prayer and personal struggle are not enough.
[/quote]

THANK you, my darling friend, for reminding us all of this…you BET it is not a sin to seek medical help for depression…in fact, it would almost be a sin NOT to…and if medication is appropriate then it should be taken. YOU are a DOLL BABY and I mean that…


#10

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