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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Holding On


I've been struggling with a question lately. Well, that's an understatement. It seems that daily I struggle with innumerable questions. The latest one, though, is this: Am I depressed?

Like many of you, I use blogging as a form of therapy. It is definitely not always easy to think about and communicate all of the feelings I have about infertility and loss. It's difficult, but writing about it and getting it all out there does help some. Something interesting about it, though, is the passage of time. It feels like the minutes, hours, and days are so slow that you almost feel like you're moving backwards. But somehow, after you trudge along in slow motion with your head down for what feels like forever, you look up and realize that years have passed. Not a couple of years. Not even just a few years. Seven or eight years -- almost a decade of hoping, wondering, worrying, trying, failing, grieving, and finally letting yourself hope again. The cycle is endless, with reminders every month that nothing has changed.

Something is different for me lately. While it is certainly true that every miscarriage is utterly devastating, there have been a couple that had an even greater impact.

The first one was so unexpected. I thought, "Is this really happening to me?"

The second was so much like the first. I realized there might be something wrong.

The third told me that something definitely wasn't right but I was sure that with some help we could fix it.

The fourth miscarriage sent me into complete despair. I was so sure this was it and we'd made it so far. Our baby was growing and developing and had a great heartbeat. We were so hopeful and then all was lost.

After the fifth I began to go numb, and after the sixth I was heartbroken and still haven't "recovered" more than two years later.

I really can't explain why the last one has left me feeling that I'm down for the count, but I know that something in me is changed. At first I thought that in the months it took me to grieve, maybe I had just developed some bad habits. I couldn't get motivated to do anything. I didn't want to go anywhere or see anyone. I ate a lot of food that wasn't good for me. I didn't want to cook. I didn't even want much to do with my favorite activities, unless it involved getting lost in a book or a movie for a few hours so I might have a distraction. I began to rely more and more on my husband to take care of things and to try to cheer me up.

I wish I could tell you that I was that way for a few months two years ago and now I've put myself back together, but I'm afraid things really haven't changed at all. I can't believe that it has been this long and I can't seem to get a hold on things. Although I am sad, it's not just sadness. At the same time, it's not completely crippling. It's something that I don't know how to name. Is it depression? Not just "It's a dreary day today and I feel depressed," but Depression with a capital D. I'm not too proud to admit that it may be. Although I have no real experience with it, I think I need to own up to what's going on. I know that I'm a joyful person. I love to laugh. I'm not lazy or reclusive. I like being with people. I want to enjoy my life. I don't want to be controlled by my circumstances, and I'm tired of feeling like I have no control over my emotions.

It has been gradual but I've been realizing that I'm not quite myself, and I really want to make that better. I know that unfortunately I can't just snap my fingers and make it happen. I'm not asking for advice so much as encouragement and your prayers. As much as I hate this feeling that I'm just barely holding on, I can't help but try to remain hopeful. After all, I'd rather be here barely holding on to Jesus than anything else.

26 comments:

Life In Mazes said...

I am sorry you are feeling this way. I can tell you that there is an ebb and flow to the sadness. I know that you said you have very supportive family and friends and that is helpful, but sometimes it is great to have an outsider who is neutral to give you some new encouragement and perspective. I was blessed to already have a spiritual director when I found out about my first pregnancy ending in miscarriage. It has taken me a long time to recover and I will say some speical prayers for you tonight that your heart finds its way to healing.

I know what you mean about the years taking fovever to go by and then flying by at the same time. I just realized the other day I realized that my husband and I have almost been married for NINE years. But I keep reminding myself that some of the best times are yet to come and that is the same for you and your husband! Sending smiles and hugs to you!
C

Erin said...

Stacey I'm praying for you. I know how easy it is to feel like you've lost yourself when faced with hurdle after hurdle, and tragedies that truly break off a piece of your heart. I will think good thoughts for you. I think just acknowledging this is good. It's a step in the right direction and I know, in my own struggles with similar issues that just saying it out loud makes it a little better and a little easier to get myself back on the path to me.

The Lord will carry you there. Your family and friends will carry you there. You will get there and be better for having taken all the steps it took. Hugs!

Jesus, My Best Friend said...

You have an award awaiting you dear friend... click on over to my blog to get it :D

sharonvw said...

I know exactly what you're referring to Stacy! I suspect I'm clinically depressed myself.
Let me know if you figure out how to shake it off!
(((ugs)))

Steve G said...

I will pray for you. I have battled and struggled with depression (and still do) since I was 14. It is a terrible kind of drowning - a helplessness - while you feel that others around you are carrying on as normal, and for a long time no one seems to notice that you aren't.

I was actually just trying to explain depression to a friend of mine last night, because the idea is entirely foreign to her. One of the things I was trying to explain is pretty much exactly what you said, which is that depression doesn't always manifest as sadness. For some it manifests in anger, or eating issues, or even physical pain. For me, it's certainly all 3 of those, plus sadness, but most of all apathy, and a black hole where all motivation, ambition, and drive disappear, seemingly never to be seen again. It's crushing, and ceaselessly amazing to me that in the midst of my utter apathy I can still feel such intense guilt.

I'm actually just now starting to peek out of the dark tunnel I've been traversing for the past 4 or so months. I'm so sorry for what you're going through as you process your losses; putting a name to it helped me. Again, I will pray for you.

Steve G said...

Garr, I just realized that I'm logged into my Dad's account. This is Lauren Threadgill (whatsoever things are true). You can publish or not as you see fit. Either way, I'm still carrying you before the Throne of Grace.

TRS said...

I'm sorry.
I don't know how to help - but I'll pray.

Samantha said...

I know that I haven't been through all that you have been through because I have never been able to get pregnant, but I know how that empty feeling in your life can be. I have often wordered am I just having a bad day? a bad week? a bad month? or am I truly depressed. To people on the outside I appear to be this happy person always smiling. But in the inside I feel like I am dying. I a, usually a very neat and clean person but I find myself not wanting to do anything. I don't have a job because my fibromyalgia and RA has gotten so bad, so I am at home most of the time. I wonder each day what I have to look forward to. And like you I look for distractions getting lost in a movie, a book, but then when that is over it seemd I am brought back to reality. I know that it must be hard on you, and the only true comfort that I find is in the Lord when he comes by and gives me the strength that I need. I pray that the Lord lifts you up and carries you through this storm. Samantha

twondra said...

Oh, Stacey, I wish I was right there to give you the biggest hug. I feel so much for you. I know there's nothing anybody can say or do to help. I can't imagine going through all the losses you have. You are an amazingly strong woman and I admire you so, so much. (((HUGS)))

Always here for you. Love you....

And so it goes (AshaAnn) said...

My heart aches for you. I feel like so much of this post I could have written. The cycles of planning, waiting, hoping, despair. All too true. I think the strength and hope in your post is how aware you are of this valley. I think there is power often in being able to at least name that we are experiencing an extended valley. Keep writing, and we'll keep walking with you.

Alicia said...

Stacey, I'm sorry for all of your loss and sadness. I'm so glad that you are brave enough to be honest with yourself and with others so we can offer you our love and prayers. Depression is a tough battle and I pray for healing and that the Lord will guide you. You are such a blessing :)

Love Alicia

Andi said...

It took lots of courage to share that, Stace. I'm proud of you. And praying for you, as always.

Andrea said...

*HUG* I felt that way after my m/c. I don't know if you read my post the other day, but I'm just now getting back on my feet. Some days were worse than others and the really hard ones I could admit to being depressed, but I didn't know that I was Depressed (with a capital D) every single day until recently when I've started getting back to the way I used to be before the m/c, etc. I struggled with depression a lot when I was in jr high and then again after I graduated college and I think that last time carried over into the m/c grieving. Anyway, what you are saying reminds me so much of myself and I think that you are probably struggling with depression as well. I will definitely keep you in my prayers because I don't know of anything else to do or say to help!

Living With Loss said...

That was a really powerful post and I could relate to much of what you wrote.

I'm sorry you're feeling this way but I think the very fact that you've recognised it and want to do something about it is very positive.

It's not surprising after all you've been through that you're feeling this way.

It takes a lot of courage to hold on and stay hopeful - be proud of yourself for that.

I hope things start to change for you soon and get brighter.

Connie said...

My precious precious sister. I cannot begin to tell you how this breaks my heart. I long to help you. I am so so sorry. Please know that I am praying that God will comfort you in a way that only He can. I pray that He brings you all encompassing joy, understanding, and peace. I'm holding on with you. I'm hoping with you. I'm praying with you. I love you.

Abby said...

Stacey, It's perfectly fine to admit you are depressed! You have every reason to be! I can't imagine having gone through all the losses you and "Chuck" had. In our eyes you seem so strong and encouraging to all of us in blogger world. God is in your heart and although he hasn't shown you completely what your purpose and future in life will be, I think we've seen part of that purpose here. You are such an encouraging person and you write what we feel and don't have the words to say! I'm so sory you are having a hard time. You and "Chuck" are in my prayers! I pray you he will show you that things will be fine and that you have such strong character.

With thoughts, prayers and BIG hugs,

Abby

Renovation Girl said...

This is a painfully beautiful post. To admit and confront depression is powerful and overwhelming. Know that you have the support of all those here in IF land. Prayers to you for a heart to heal.

My Quest said...

What can I say that hasn't already been comment on.
Your last paragraph said it, keep holding on.
Knowing the Lord helps us through these difficult times.
He will see you throgh and bring you out victorious on the other side of motherhood.
though it tarries, wait for it, for it will surely come.

Amy said...

Stacey, we all love you very much. I'm sorry you are going through this...yuck. These are the things in life that should have reasons and answers. I'm sorry they don't. I'll be praying for you...wish I could offer you something yummy like you did for me with the Cajun food. I did make a pretty mean chili mac tonight. :)

survivingbaby said...

I'm depressed, I know it. I take drugs. I have to. I can't get through the repeated miscarriages and losses with out the drugs. I'm so impressed with your ability to handle the losses with the grace that you have had. Depression is a mean, mean thing. It takes away all the good things in your life and replaces them with gray. The therapy and the drugs, they are helping to bring back a little color. If you need to talk, email me.

I Believe in Miracles said...

I have tears in my eyes sweetie. I'm praying for you. Apart from that - no other words to stay. ~~HUGS~~

Life In Mazes said...

Just wanted to let you know that the weather did get a little crazy here, but I think most of it passed while I was napping. So far, the headache has not returned. How are you doing these days? In better spirits? Is there light peeking in past the darkness?

andrea_jennine said...

(I first read your post a few days ago, but I didn't have time to respond then; I flagged it to come back to later...) Your honesty in this post and your tenacious clinging to Jesus honor him so much. He doesn't want stoics; he wants people who admit the anguish but say He's still worth it. I don't know if you're looking for any resources, but some reading that has really helped me are Ed Welch's materials on depression (an article and a book) and "Suffering and the Sovereignty of God" (ed. by Piper and Taylor), especially the chapter written by David Powlison. Several friends have also highly recommended "Spiritual Depression" by Martyn Lloyd Jones. I'd be glad to send you copies of any of those; email me if you want. Praying for you, dear friend.

Jenn said...

Stace, I have read your blog and sincerely feel for you. I do not have the same "issues" as you but I am depressed and have been since a child. Although I don't announce it regularly, I take medicine for it and have noticed a BIG change. I am not trying to promote anything one way or the other but all I know is for a long time, all the problems and issues I had, I believed that Jesus could and would heal me. Although he can and still does heal, it has not manifested in the physical yet. When I finally realized I needed to do something in the natural, it was a frustrating time because I went about a year of trying different medicines and different dosages. When I FINALLY found one that worked, I then started having side effects, so here we went again. I do have a medicine that is helping me now and I am thankful for it. I had trouble believing I was depressed because I thought anyone with faith shouldn't be depressed. I was wrong. All I know is the medicine helps me. It does not cure or fix my problems but it helps me, the way I react to things and with my everyday life, whereas it used to be hard to even get out of bed in the morning. I still give God all the glory and know that he is a GREAT and AWESOME God!!! I love you bunches!

katdish said...

Oh, Stacey! You know you are not alone. I feel blessed that our paths have crossed, and if laughter is sometimes the best medicine, I am happy to know that we have shared in that - even if it's not face to face. Hang in there!

I big red monkey butt heart you!

Sunny said...

Stacey, you are so not alone, girl! I am proud of you for being so real and transparent with your feelings and issues. You bring inspiration for others to do the same thing. Life is real. Life has trials. Life isn't always, be a little girl, Daddy twirls you around as you dance on his toes, Mommy makes cookies with you in the kitchen, you grow up, fall in love, get married, and boom, there you are mother of three. Life isn't cookie cutter, which I know you certainly know. For me, though, knowing and accepting have been two very very very different things. Depression has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. What I'm learning now, is that it doesn't define me. Depression is something I have - not something I am. What I am is a child of God, a princess in His eyes, born in to a royal family, who was called by His name into the path and life that I have. He has brought me to places in life not because he wants me to suffer, but because he wants to grow me in the situation. I'm starting to ask myself - in this situation, how can I glorify Christ? What purposes for his kingdom can I accomplish through him in this? I would encourage you to seek medical advice regarding whether or not you have depression. However, seek the ultimate Healer to heal that hole in your heart that your losses has caused. After all, we know that he's the only one who can. Hallelujah!