At Resurrection Church, we want to share stories of how God is working in our lives, as individuals and as a community. We are a church of real people, with lives that aren’t perfect but where grace abounds.
Stories of Grace is a way for us to let one another into our joy and our trials to encourage one another as we witness the steadfast love of God. We hope this story is an encouragement to you.
Can you give us a little background on what you’ve been struggling with?
Brittany: About 6 weeks after my baby, Harper, was born my husband, Joe and I started realizing that I had depression. It started with feeling like I didn’t really want to be a mom, like I didn’t want to be doing life, all the everyday activities, I didn’t have the energy. I didn’t want to be in community or to be around people. Eventually it turned into anxiety and I ended up in the emergency room, not really knowing what was going on, and feeling like I was dying. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety and ever since then we’re just trying to figure out how to deal with it.
What has that process of “dealing with it” look like for you?
Brittany: First it looked like telling people that I was struggling and not being closed off. Then realizing that it is actually a medical condition and that it is not just a failing, or not being good enough. And reaching out to a counselor was really helpful too.
Where has God been through this struggle and what has He been teaching you through it?
Brittany: I think at first, before I knew what I was struggling with, I felt like God wasn’t there, even though he was. I isolated myself from people and from God and basically tried to run away from him instead of running to him for comfort. But now, after realizing that I was running away from God and what he is actually calling me to is relationship with him, I feel the presence of God in my life. He did not leave me because God never leaves us! He actually wants me to bring my depression anxiety to him to heal me; to heal my heart; to heal my body physically.
I guess that he needed me to see that I cannot do life on my own. I can’t raise my babies on my own just by being a good mom, because that’s impossible, especially when you have depression and you want to lay on the couch and you have anxiety and you feel like you’re going to vomit all day long. You just can’t be there mentally for your children. But he’s been showing me that I need to bring all of my fears and all of my anxiety to him.
A lot of my depression anxiety is performance based, and not feeling lovable. So I think the biggest thing that God has shown me is that I am perfectly loved by him, and that I don’t have to have my life together, that I don’t have to feel happy all the time, or secure all the time, to be loved by him. I can have anxieties and fears but I need to bring them to him so that I can let him show me truth instead of letting Satan come in and feed me lies and make me more distant from him.
Also, God puts people in our lives to help us because it is so easy to isolate yourself and feel like nobody understands what you’re going through. But God puts community in our lives to run to in time of need. And I’m slowly learning that.
He’s been teaching me to run to him and that He provides comfort and joy in the midst of suffering, which I didn’t actually think was possible before.
What would you tell other moms that may be struggling with postpartum depression or depression anxiety?
Brittany: That it is okay. A lot of people struggle with it on different levels. And to actually seek help from your friends and talk about it even if it is incredibly uncomfortable! You are loved by a perfect God so you don’t have to be put together enough to be loved. Trust that God loves you in your fogginess, in your sadness, when you can’t be 100%.
Another thing is, I know it is really hard to get up and read your Bible and pray but you should see that as a lifeline and not just something to do when you feel like it. The word genuinely gives you life and clears your mind. When you have depression your mind is so foggy so going to the Bible daily is just so helpful, so practical. It’s amazing when I see it as medicine for my soul.