Terry and I (Julie) get the opportunity to come alongside some great people in our church. As you know in life, none of us are perfect, we all have our ups and downs, challenges and hurdles to overcome. Here’s a testimony from one of the amazing women in our church who has overcome a tremendous battle with mental health. She has graciously offered her testimony in the hope that it will help others:
I’m glad to say I’m now on the other side of a 24-month battle with depression and anxiety, clinically known as Perinatal Depression, which occurs during pregnancy and post birth. It’s been a tough journey and there’ve been many times I’ve wanted to give up, but God in His grace and mercy has healed me.
Sometimes when we pray, we hope for instant miraculous healing, like making two minute noodles in the microwave. I have learnt that God’s timing is perfect and His ways are everlasting. Often, God doesn’t answer prayer according to our timetable and to the way we want it done. He gives us good gifts if we ask, like any good Father does, but never how we expect.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9
God’s infinite wisdom is beyond our human, carnal thinking, and in these moments we just need to take a deep breath and trust in Him. Don’t forget to breathe out. Speaking of infinite wisdom, it all started when I decided to go against advice given by highly skilled and knowledgeable medical practitioners. Because hey, what do those guys know? They’ve only dealt with like, hundreds and thousands of patients and have treated many different mental illnesses through research-based methodologies. Geez, why would I listen to the professionals?
Well, I guess I decided that I no longer needed antidepressant medication. I had been on it since I was a teenager and coped very well in life, in fact, I established a career in marketing, completed a university degree, travelled the world and socialized often. “I don’t need this stuff!” I said to myself, very confident I was making the right decision.
If I knew then what I know now, I could’ve saved myself from two years of mental and emotional agony. I probably would’ve avoided all those hospital trips, including the two week stay in a mental health ward, and I certainly wouldn’t have become so sick that I was underweight. But, because we are human, we confidently do stupid things, like eating fruit of forbidden trees and stopping medication.
And thus the depression came back and it was thick as a cloud. The anxiety came and went, to the point where it was almost unbearable. I was sad and scared. Everything would set me off, into either a tanty or a panic attack. Sometimes both. This went on and on for two years and it felt like I’d never see the light of day again.