One of the less publicized struggles of grief may be the most obvious. I expected it immediately but had no idea how heavy and life stopping it would be until I was in the midst of it. I'm talking about depression.
There are "normal" stages of grief, and, as we have heard from others and experienced for ourselves, they tend to be more cyclical than steps on a straight path. The point, though, is progression through the stages. Progress signifies healing, or at least, coming to terms and accepting the tragedy in your own life. Trouble comes in when you aren't able to progress, to adapt, to heal. When you get stuck.
June marked 6 months after Jairus died. Things were looking better on the outside. We played with the kids and enjoyed time as a family. I gardened and spent some time with friends. But inside, I was stuck. The scream of my soul that "I WANT MY BABY!" was not becoming calmer or even quieter. It felt louder in someways, more intrusive, unable to be pushed aside.
And another word began to creep into my mind...despair. Or, the argument against despair, I guess. "Despair" would come into my mind, and I'd think, "no, I will NOT fall into despair, I am saved from death and hell and sin by Jesus, I have true joy from Him." And its true. Yet I couldn't get that word out of my head.
Nor could I clear the fog I felt my head in at all times. Especially when the weather was anything but sunny outside. The way you feel when woken at 3 in the morning, awake and fairly alert but not really present. The weather began to dictate the outcome of my whole day. When I awoke, if it was sunny out, I knew I would have a "good" day. If it was cloudy or raining (which it did a lot of this spring) it was like a shroud covering me that I couldn't shake off no matter what I tried. I began to struggle to care for my kids based on the weather conditions. And it scared me.
I spoke with my husband, sister, best friend and doctor. And I decided to begin taking an antidepressant.
Sharing this with you all has been something I have thought about for a long time. And after 2 months, I think I know why it is something that (even though it is hard to share) needs to be told as part of our walk through this valley. It's the reality of grief for me. I couldn't get through. I needed help. I'm trying to get it.
There are still many stigmas against antidepressants. Especially among Believers. Shouldn't my faith be enough to get me through? Christians shouldn't be hopeless or sad enough to turn to chemicals for help, should they? Does taking a drug mean that God isn't my source of strength?
My answer is this: Jesus is my all in all. I depend on Him each day in more ways than I am even aware of. Without Him I would be lost in myself. He is enough to get me through ANYTHING. And sometimes (but not by any means always) He uses modern medicine to help His children wade through the murky waters of living in this fallen world. Any help I can get through any medication is by the grace of God imparting His wisdom into the medical sciences. He didn't make our bodies to be dependent on foreign chemicals. He simultaneously didn't make our bodies to live in a world full of brokenness.
God has provided many amazing people in my life. Those people have counseled and comforted me beyond measure in the last 8 months. And through those relationships encouraging me to counsel with God Himself, I have experienced tremendous healing. Yet, for me, I needed something in addition to verbal processing and counseling. My body reacted to losing Jairus in a physical, chemical altering way. And now, through the help of modern medicine, God is bringing healing to my physical body's health as well as my heart's spiritual health.
If you need help, go get it. Find people you can confide in who will be honest and gentle, encouraging and partnering with you. And don't be afraid to talk to your doctor if you need to. Allow God's healing to come from where He would bring it to you. And know that you are His precious child. He desires healing for your whole being. Just as you would for your own children.