This morning I woke up to the news that Robin William had supposedly taken his own life after battling depression. Even though I'm an emotional person (understatement of the year!) I don't usually make a habit of crying over people I've never met. But this morning broke my heart.
I cried for his family, for his fans and mostly for the horrible illness that overwhelmed him and made him do something so drastic.
So, instead of the post I was going to share today I'm going to share something very close to my heart.
Depression. It's a horrible illness. And one that really can hit anyone at anytime.
The depression I have suffered from (and still do) is more post-natal depression than anything else. I got it when I was pregnant with the second and fourth of my four pregnancies and it was awful.
It hit me firstly in the form of panic attacks - not wanting to go anywhere where I knew a lot of people who would be asking me how I was. This meant I couldn't even walk into church without hyperventilating and completely panicking.
It was horrible. Such a massive part of my life and I couldn't even walk in the door. I came out in a cold sweat, was on an emotional tightrope - praying that NOONE would look at me, talk to me or dear forbid, touch me... If they did I'd just explode. Tears galore, hyperventilating and a 'please get me out of here' plea to my hubby.
It was a dark time. I couldn't go out, I couldn't have anyone come to visit me and I couldn't enjoy my life. At home I wasn't on top of anything. The housework didn't get done, the laundry didn't done and the meals were basic at best.
The one big blessing was that it has effected my relationship with my kids. Never. And from talking to other mums with PND who couldn't even lift their baby, I am so thankful to God for that.
The first time this hit me was really dark - really dark. I can't even explain in words how dark. Suffocating panic. Inability to do anything. I couldn't focus, couldn't be productive, and couldn't get myself out of this hole.
And it is just like being stuck in a hole. You can see a light where you should be able climb out but you can't even motivate yourself to try. It's a suffocating place - you really can feel as if the walls are closing in and as if life is no longer under your control.
I was on tablets for years and have had to restart taking them so many times in the last 10 years that the doctor told me I should just accept that I probably need to be on them for the rest of my life.
Yet through it all God was with me - the whole time - for the whole journey. There are bad bad bits that are too personal to share but I know that God have me specific verses at specific times and I couldn't have gotten through it without him. I don't think I would be here today or be able to even talk about this if it hadn't been for His voice leading me in the midst of the darkness. Really. Read this paragraph again and I hope you will really 'get' how much I've had to rely on God. I can't thank Him enough.
And even though I've come through the worst of it, there are some lasting consequences. I struggle to go to church. I love my church and the people there, but I struggle to go regularly. I go once then can't go for 4 or 5 weeks. It's a mental struggle and I'm sorry to say that the devil wins far more than I want him to. I try and fail. But I'm going to keep trying and keep praying and keep trusting God that it will get easier.
Like an alcoholic I know that this will probably be something that can take hold of me at any time throughout my life, but I thank and praise God that I know I don't have to do it alone.
Please - if you feel down AT ALL - whether it's just a bad day or something that's bugging you - you NEED to talk to someone. It's unbelievable how many people we see every day that are going through horrible times but just don't tell anyone. We need to be more honest with each other and actually listen to each other when we talk.
Praying for you all.
Keep shining xx