Giselle's Story - Part 1
(Trinidad and Tobago)
How I am winning the battle with depression and anxiety:
I woke up at two (2) in the morning when my daughter was just over one month old and instinctively felt my breasts for milk. I expected my breasts to be engorged with milk, because usually when I awoke in the morning milk would be everywhere, on the sheets, on my husband, just milk everywhere. To my utter shock and amazement my breasts felt as flat as a 'sada roti' and milk less. Now because I had the sad experience of having to stop breastfeeding my son when he was only four months old, I made all sorts of promises to myself that I was going to breastfeed my daughter for a much longer period of time. I had read that once your milk supply had started to deplete it would be very difficult to re-establish it. So, picture me at two in the morning with a young baby, desperate and intent on breastfeeding, with what I thought was milk less breasts and believing the situation was possibly irreversible. I began to panic like I had never panicked before, with one thought rushing through my mind, over and over like a broken record, 'oh my God, what am I going to do if I am not making milk for this child'. I do not know how long I sat there before I woke my husband and told him of my dilemma. Although he tried to be re-assuring by saying, that my body will produce sufficient milk and that I should not worry, truth be told, his words did not comfort me one bit. I never got back to sleep that night and by the time my husband was ready for work, I was convinced that I could not stay with the children alone, so I asked my husband if he could take me to my Mother's house on his way to work. While I was at my Mother's house I felt relatively relaxed and I realized that although I was not getting a great quantum of milk my daughter seemed to be satisfied. My mother had to step out for a brief period during the day and the thought of her leaving me alone with the children drove me back into a panic frenzy. It started to dawn on me that I might be going crazy because, I was an adult that was quite accustomed to running my life and taking care of my kids in a competent manner. I thought how is it that I have fears of being home alone, after all I was not eight (8) years old. My mother being a Christian lead me in a prayer that went like this, 'God in heaven, I come to you through your son Jesus that died so that I could have my sins forgiven, Father forgive me of my sins now and accept me as your child, I repent and turn from my sinful ways, Father you know everything, I do not know what the next second holds, but I know that I am your child and you said that all thing work together for good to those that are called by your name, I am called by your name now Lord, Father I believe that I have the victory in this situation because your word the bible says so, Father I trust you and I love you, amen'. We then read some bible scriptures on fear and the mind. She told me, that I had to take care of my children, and that there was no one else to do it, so I could let the enemy (devil) win or I could fight knowing that I have the victory. In hind sight her statement makes complete sense. From that moment I decided that when I had to stay with my children I would, even if it meant praying and quoting scriptures all the way. Because I was so busy trying not to be anxious and thinking about the predicament that I had found myself in, after a couple of weeks I fell into a depression. My mother stopped by my home, just around the time when I had fallen into depression and very casually said, "you know a lady in church said she suffered with that when she had her first child" and then she uttered the words "Postpartum Depression" and left. Although I had heard of postpartum depression, it never crossed my mind or my family's mind for that matter that I might be suffering with it. Well between my husband and I we did some reading and was convinced that I needed to visit the doctor. Then I got in contact with a psychiatrist. Now being a Christian and knowing what the bible says about the mind, anxiety, depression and the whole bit, I refused to take the antidepressant medication that was prescribed because I thought to take it would be to say that I did not believe in God. I fought without the medication for over a month to the point where I was weary and was a shadow of my former self. So, because of share exhaustion, I decided to take the medication and within a little over a month I felt pretty good. I was still a little anxious on and off but the depression was taken care of. It also became clear to me while on medication that my focus was in the wrong place, I was thinking about receiving healing rather than on God and living a righteous life. You see God's word says we should seek him first and everything else would be added. After a few months I changed to another type of antidepressant and felt even better than I did before, but I still had this lingering bit of anxiety. After about four months on the new medication, I weaned myself off, against my doctor's advice. Weeks after doing without the medication, I had no symptoms of depression. The doctor put me on a very low dose of a medication for the anxiety and I was told to take it as required, that is, only when I felt a need. I began to take some B complex vitamins along with the anxiety medication at the advice of a pharmacist. Presently I take one quarter of a very low dose tablet every three or four days. Because God is perfect, he does nothing half way, so I know that soon, I would be perfectly healed and healthy again. I now know that mental illness is absolutely conquerable, simply because it involves the mind and God's first law is that we should love him with our entire mind. You cannot love him with your whole mind, when half the time you do not even know yourself. I know that God does not love me more than he loves anybody else; He loves us all the same. We say sometimes that we are waiting on God, but we must be careful that he is not waiting on us. He is a perfect gentleman, He is not going to force himself or his will on us. What I have experienced you can experience too. It has been a little over a year now and when I pray; I actually thank God for postpartum depression, because I feel without it I would not have come to know him as I do. FACTS For those of us who are not familiar with the term, postpartum depression it is a psychological (mental) disease that can affect a woman at any time up to one (1) year after she has had a baby. The principle cause is due to fluctuating hormones in a woman's body during the first twelve months after giving birth. What researchers have discovered is that depression and anxiety occurs on a spectrum, which means that people who suffer with either, have varying degrees of both. In my case anxiety seems to be the broader spectrum. Postpartum depression is not to be confused with baby blues, as sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. Baby blues is very mild and is believed to affect more than fifty percent of new mothers, whereas postpartum depression is much more severe and lower in occurrence. Post partum depression does affect several women in Trinidad and Tobago. Some women who fall ill with postpartum depression end up taking medication for the rest of their lives.
Giselle's Story - Part 2 - Complete Healing from Depression and Anxiety
Some time ago, I posted the initial part of my story on this website. At that time I was only able to talk about my recovery from postpartum depression in an miraculous eight months time because I was at the time still battling anxiety. I was convinced even while writing that first account over a year ago that I would be completely and totally healed. This faith came simply because of what the word of God says about fear and the mind. God said that we should love Him with our whole mind (Mark 12:30). How is it possible to love God with your whole mind if you don't possess it as yours to do with as you please in the first place. And it does not matter how long you have been battling anxiety and depression, when we begin to understand the heart of God almighty by spending time in his presence and in his word, mountains become mole hills. My story is basically that I got an anxiety attack when I thought I was not able to produce breast milk for my one month old daughter. And in an instant I fell into an anxiety disorder and when I contemplated the seriousness of it all, I fell into a depression. I had a christian upbringing and when trouble came knocking at my door, I ran to the Lord and soaked up everything in his word concerning me. After a few months on anti-depressants, I was able to come off, as the depression was delt with. I took a low dose tranquilizer type medication for the anxiety occasionally. My daughter is not as yet three (3) years old and I am happy to say that I am medication free. Looking back on my life now, I realise that I was always an anxious type of person. So, presently if I find my self beginnning to worry about something, I arrest it and put it in the hands of God through prayer. I had very loving support throughout my ordeal and I believe that helped alot in my recovery. I think it is wise if you do not have that type of support at home, to find it at your local church and if you have difficultly with that... talk to God about it, and He will be your support as well. When I was going through this ordeal, I would wonder, when I would feel like my old self again and I would have to rely on His word that says that everything is working together for my good (Romans 8:28). Do you know that a peace can be found even in the middle of anxiety and depression? I know it sounds strange, its a peace that passes all understanding (philippeans 4:7). Now, I go for days with out giving anxiety and depression a second thought, then it dawns on me, that not too long ago I was battling depression and anxiety. My God, I am writing and laughing about it now. Folks... God is good, allow him to be good to you too, he is waiting to turn your messy situation around for your good. I love you. If you wish you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.