In a world so busy that most people never notice the obvious, we sometimes allow ourselves to fall through the cracks and get lost in overwhelming depression. I see and hear more these days of folks dealing with this horrible enemy. It seems like so often in the past, people never admitted to being sad or unhappy with themselves or life. They just pushed through and pretended all was well. It was embarrassing to admit one had a problem. In today’s society, you are encouraged to air your issues on social media and self-prescribe something to numb your feelings of real life. Even the daily news is heartbreaking and the world seems so miserable. No wonder folks are depressed, right? The National Institute of Mental Health tells that 18% of the population suffers from depression. I wonder how many the NIMH missed.
Sometimes depression can sneak up on you when you least expect it. I do not watch the news often. If I want to see something that causes me fear, I just pull out the previous week’s grocery receipt. I do not need something to make me never want to leave my bed—I have a five-month-old who wakes up five times during the night. She makes me want to stay in bed. And the huge pile of dirty clothes that have to be washed makes me pretty sad too. So, why am I talking about depression? I do not have time to actually be depressed. I tell you all this to say that depression can sneak up and bite you so fast that you wonder, “Hey, when did I get this way?”
After I had my third child, I began fighting to put a smile on my face. I became the biggest faker. I looked on top of the world, but I hid my secret. At times, I found myself yelling at my husband and kids for absolutely no reason at all. Many mothers deal with this problem after having children but never admit it. Mom is supposed to have it all together, right? Wrong. Mothers are not super human. Motherhood is very exhausting and challenging. There is always something to do or someone to take care of. Even when I am sitting at work, I run through my mental to-do list for the evening, week, or month. All of that can literally drive you to a breaking point.
I thought I was covering up the issue quite well until I finally asked for help and then others started commenting on how unhappy I looked. I thought I had looked happy. My eye shadow was a happy color. My hair was happily in its place. But my fake smiles were almost always at the ready. My outer mask was not covering it all up like I thought it would. I asked some of those aware of my struggle if it was that obvious. They all said without a doubt I was not myself. Admittedly, I am truly the queen of fake smiles and false “I’m doing great” statements. So to know that my depression was seeping out of me in such a way screamed that I needed help.
I kept my little secret from my husband at first. I wanted him to think I had motherhood completely under control and that life was great. I showed absolutely no weakness. That was my first mistake. My husband has proven to be the ultimate rock and has shown a huge amount of support once I opened up to him. So on the days that I did not want to get out of bed, he held my hand and walked with me through the storm.
To any mother reading, be careful not to allow your role and duties in this life to stop you from reaching out to your spouse and God in your time of need. God can heal any sickness and calm any anxiety that you may have. I prayed every day for 12 long weeks that God would help me feel normal. And He did! I could not have done it alone. I had to reach out for help, but Christ took my shame from me and gave me peace about asking for help. God always proves His word to be true. Through this, Psalm 34:17 came alive to me. “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
Never be ashamed to reach out to God in your desperate time of need. You will be a better healthier Christian, wife, and mother if you let go and cry out to God and allow yourself to seek His peace. The Lord guided me to where and what I needed. He will do the same for you. He will lift you up and raise your chin. He provides you with peace and comfort. He will wrap you in His big, daddy arms and protect you from harm.
Psalms 40:1-3 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”