While you hear and see quite a bit about depression in all forms, you don’t often hear about the murky, grey area of post recovery. There are people telling their story from a distant perspective, telling of their darkest of days now that they’re better. There are people who write about it in the thick of it, and there are some in the in-between, like I was when I first wrote “My Heart in a Poem”.
I say this because although I would class myself as “better”, I am still suffering from the after effects. I am confused about whether what I feel on a day-to-day basis is normal or healthy; or if my emotional reactions are over the top or not. I’m still quite prone to panic and nervousness and the occasional down day, but, who isn’t at times? I’ve always been a sensitive person, but it’s been so long since I’ve felt like me that I have no idea who that is any more. So I’m making her up as I’m going along, remembering things I used to enjoy and trying to make time for myself again – and not feel guilty about it.
I was diagnosed with postnatal depression in the summer of 2014, and, if I’m honest, I think it stems back to when I was in university and really, really not wanting to start 3rd year (2010). Whether I was reluctant to start because I felt rubbish or feeling rubbish because I was reluctant to start, I have no idea… as it was, I left my course a few months later. That’s almost 6 and a half years ago (!) or, in other words, almost my entire adult life.
I have often thought about my recovery in terms of climbing out of a deep valley, and how close I feel I am to reaching the surface. A year ago I felt like I was so close to reaching it but not quite there. Now, I feel like I have reached the top and I’m wondering where I should go… Sometimes I feel precariously close to the edge, but, for the most part, I am still on top.
Whilst thinking about it today, maybe it’s more like climbing a mountain. The hardest work is in the climbing, and once you get to the top you’re like “Yippee!”, then once that initial feeling of accomplishment and excitement passes, it’s more like “Oh. Now what do I do?” And so begins the descent back to the land you normally inhabit. Whether you ever get there after having been up the mountain, I have no idea. You may have injured yourself in the climbing and that has a permanent effect on you for the rest of your life. You are stronger in some ways due to the sheer exercise of effort in overcoming the mountain.
Choosing a path
But that’s it, I have overcome. You have overcome. Now we need to carefully choose our path back down. For me, it’s like it says in Psalm 25 verse 4 “Shew me thy ways O Lord; thy paths, O teach thou me”. Though at times the Lord felt very far away to me, I know that He kept me safe in the palm of His hand and that He was and is in control of all things. I want to be in control, but I also know that God works things out far better than I ever could and, as such, I need to trust Him.
I’m learning that true Godly joy is far better than mere happiness. The joy that comes from knowing and believing that God sent His own son, Jesus, to die for us, to save us from our sins because He loved us that much.
Looking back over my recovery, this verse sums it up the best for me. I was actually looking up bird related Bible verses when I found it.
“In shadow of thy wings I’ll joy;
for thou mine help hast been”
Psalm 63 v7
Kathelle x x x