Saturday, January 8, 2011

Through the Mirror Dimly

I've known today's contributor my whole life, as Megan is my sister. I'm so honored that she would share her story here. Megan is a really phenomenal woman, and it is a joy and privilege to have her in my life. If you'd like to share your story, you can send me an email

Before I begin to tell my story I feel the need to make a few disclaimers.  
  1. What I don’t know about depression far outweighs what I do know.  
  2. Everything I thought I knew about depression changed drastically when I actually experienced it.
photo © 2008 Viktoria | more info (via: Wylio)
The second of those two disclaimers is where I believe a lot of confusion exists. People who have not experienced depression or anxiety often have a lot of misunderstanding, confusion and judgment about the kind of person who will experience depression.  I lived much of my life in that confusion and judgment. I used to think a person could prevent depression, stop depression and snap out of depression but my experiences with post partum depression quickly changed that opinion.

In all honesty I probably experienced post partum depression with my first child but never really admitted it and it was not bad enough to warrant serious concerns. After my second child was born there was no denying the awful anxiety and accompanying depression  For me the anxiety was stifling and terrifying. Even the simple things in life created anxious spiraling thoughts. My heart raced and my breathing was labored. I never knew what might bring it on but I would mentally, emotionally and physically jump from A to Z in a few seconds. 

I felt horrible for not being able to control anything that was happening to me. I yelled, I cried, I panicked and I felt unbelievably guilty all of the time. I knew what I wanted, I knew I was blessed yet I was unable to function normally, to accomplish simple tasks or to snap out of whatever was happening to me. My breakthrough came when I finally admitted that I needed help. After 4-5 months of wondering everyday what was wrong with me and how could I be such a horrible mother/wife I confided in my mother, my sister and a few trusted friends. I chose to seek balance through herbal supplements, progesterone cream and counsel of friends. For me simply admitting that I didn’t have it all together and that I was unable to do everything on my own made a huge difference.

I would like to say life improved immediately after I knew what was going on but for me I didn’t feel normal for the whole first year after giving birth. Anxiety still plays a part in my life in a way I never remember before this experience but it doesn’t plague me in the same way and I am more aware of admitting it now.

My experience with post partum depression and anxiety taught me so much about control; I don’t have any.  I did nothing to bring on the anxiety I felt, I couldn’t snap out of it and as a person who always wants to be in control, that was awful. I am still learning that life is full of the unexpected and that I can never know exactly what will happen. For me, what I do know, is that God is always with me and that I have people around me that care about what I am going through and are willing to help me when I am open. 

Megan Wright is a wife and mother of 2 beautiful girls.  She spends her time reading, teaching, cleaning and trying to be crafty.  You can find her family news at Parenting Beyond and her own personal and spiritual musings at Cadence.

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