The Light at the End of the Tunnel of Depression

Vindicate me, O LORD,

for I have walked in my integrity,

and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.

Prove me, O LORD, and try me;

test my heart and my mind.

For your steadfast love is before my eyes,

and I walk in your faithfulness.

We sat on the couch together, Phillip holding the Bible while I stared vacantly into the distance. As he finished Psalm 26, I tried to mold my incoherent feelings into thoughts — words.

That’s a new phenomenon for me. All of my feelings used to have names, and all of those names used to have reasons. My ability to articulate what was going on in my head is one of the major things I wish I hadn’t taken for granted.

That, and my ability — it seemed — to pray the psalms.

A Thief Called PPD

For years, I had used Don Whitney’s method of going through the Psalms, day by day, picking five, and praying through them. Even when my Bible-reading plans failed, my quiet time fell off the map, and my spirit was parched, opening to the Psalms never failed — until now. Now, I open my Bible, pick the Psalm of the day, and stare at it. It’s foreign.

Postpartum depression has stolen the familiarity of things that used to bring me joy.

But, the other day, at the lowest of low points, I asked my husband to read us a Psalm, and instead of incoherent feelings of estrangement, I had a very coherent thought: “I don’t feel like this applies to me.”

Bitter Like Sarah

As I have walked this lonely valley, as I’ve tried to make sense of this newly colorless world, I have felt my faith crumbling. The firm foundation that I had built — that others had helped me strengthen — has cracked beneath my feet. The truth of God’s word has been something that I know, but not somewhere I’ve rested.

I’ve been a bit like Sara, with her bitter laughter at the promises of God (Genesis 18:12). I’ve heard them, and I’ve seen them — I’ve tasted, and I’ve felt them — but those instances seem like a distant memory these days. Yes, Lord, I know you have promised good things, and I’ve seen you deliver on those promises, but I’m just not seeing it this time.

I Have Not Walked in Faith

In the midst of this season of postpartum depression, I have not walked in faith — I’ve been walking by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). And what I have seen has been bleak indeed. I’ve been confronted by my own weaknesses — my own fears — my own shortcomings. My walk has been more of a stumble, fall, and crawl, and my crawl is more often angled towards myself than towards the cross.

I’ve been a little less Psalm 26 and a bit more Psalm 42. My tears are often like a flood (Psalm 42:3), my soul is often cast down (Psalm 42:6), and I have felt forgotten by the very God I love (Psalm 42:9). I have begged to be heard, pleaded for respite, asked for healing, yet it’s been slow in coming.

Your Faithfulness

As I shared all of this with my husband, he stared at me, a bit skeptical, because he knows that I know better. But I thank God he was there to remind me: “God doesn’t condition his willingness to rescue us based on our righteousness, but on the righteousness of another.”

Postpartum depression has been the darkest valley I have ever walked. And though I fully recognize that what I’m going through is clinical, I must also acknowledge that this fight is spiritual as well.

The Bible is full of men and women who walked through dark valleys, and many are listed in the hall of faith. How? The only possible answer could be that their faith did not sprout from their weak hearts, but, rather, from the heart of their Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is because of God’s matchless grace that they were able to be faithful in their callings. And it is because of that same grace that I trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel in my own calling.

If you’re where I am, seek help. Tell someone what is going on. And if necessary, see a counselor or doctor. But none of these things can supplement or replace communing with your father. God hears. He knows. He understands.

Pray the Psalms. Even when your heart is fainting in your chest, pray that the Lord will lift up your head — he’s done it before. Even when you have failed time and time again, pray with the knowledge that Christ’s righteousness covers you — it is more than enough.

As you wait for the clouds to lift, please know that you’re not alone. I’m also waiting in confidence that our God will act.

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18 Responses

  1. Sara
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 7:05 am

    Hi Jasmine

    I hope you are feeling better. My sister and my best friend went through serious postpartum depression and I would like to say in reaction to your words please ask for help. Medication and therapy and biblical counselling can help but sleep and rest are also central. As a single woman who helps out her friends a lot please ask me to help, babysit and even clean your place. PPT stress is real and biological and your family and friends want to help. Ask your community.

  2. Mwape
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 7:21 am

    ❤❤❤

  3. Lauren
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 8:41 am

    PPD is a hard road. I’m not sure if mine was mostly PPD, mostly prednisone/’roid rage/disease-related, or some mix of the above. But it was the darkest time in my life, too. The fight for joy (or for feeling anything at all) is real. But God’s grace is sufficient, as you said. Hold tight.

  4. Melanie Camirand Landry
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 8:53 am

    Thanks for your honesty Jasmine! I believe we are to open to our brothers and sisters when things like that happen. A thing I learn in life is that God, by love and for discipline, will bring us to places where we don’t control anything because he wants to makes us grow in those place and to learn more how to rely on him. And I know those are painful moments in our life and I’m sorry for what you are going through as I know how post-partum depression is hard. But one thing I learn about depression, is that it’s a similar battle in the mind as it is with sin. Now, at 38 years old, I feel the first signs when depression calls my name and want me to follow it. When it happens, because I know how hard it is to go out of it, I battle right away and most of the time I escape, by the grace of God. I like the song “Sovereign over us” of Aaron Keyes when it says : “There is strength within the sorrow, There is beauty in our tears. You meet us in our mourning, With a love that casts out fear. You are working in our waiting, Sanctifying us. When beyond our understanding, You’re teaching us to trust. / Youʼre the Lifter of the lowly, Compassionate and kind. You surround and You uphold me, Your promises are my delight” I know how hard it is to go to God in those situations, but still it’s there that we find the strenght to goes us, to rise again. Yesterday, our family watched a great sermon of Tim Conway and I give you the link because I think it could encourage you as it encourages us. It’s “the weak and drooping christian” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfrcPZd-PZ8https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfrcPZd-PZ8 May God lift your head again and strenghten you! I’ll pray for you.

  5. Angelika
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 10:42 am

    Jasmine, this was so good to read for multiple reasons…been there done that after my first child. The colourless world, the feeling of disconnect from God…I will be praying for you as I know what it is like to not recognize yourself and wonder when you will feel normal again, and start to ask hard questions. It was also good to read this happens to someone like you…I know, you never want to be seen this way, but people like me still think that growing up under Voddie and Bridget must somehow make you immune to weakness and messiness and brokenness. Silly,right? But we like to think so of people we admire. How much more precious though to read about your struggle and yet, in the midst of disconnected feelings, your willingness to go to your knees, knowing you have nothing to offer, and trustingly obey and turn to Christ with a waiting, expectant heart. Inspiring. It was also a joy to see your husband step up and do this blog for you. He knows the world needs to hear what you have to say, God has gifted you as an author, and it would be a shame not to use that. I know this blog is just the start. God bless you and your new exciting journey! Greetings from Munich Germany, Angelika

  6. Esther
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks you so much for your transparency! You have no idea how many people struggle with this and how encouraging it is to know they are not alone. Thanks for pointing them to seek counseling or medical help if needed but above all to run, walk, or crawl to the Lord. I’ve been through a dark season like you described although I wasn’t postpartum. I can testify that God heals!!! Your sharing gives me and other brothers/sisters in Christ the privilege to take you before our father, like the friends did with the paralytic in Mark 2.

  7. tammy
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you for this Jasmine. So good to know and hear this from a Godly woman. Thank you. May the bless you and bring healing quickly!

  8. Shellie Lohmeier
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 3:40 pm

    From someone else in a small Mississippi town, I have walked this road as well. Your words touched my heart. I have grown to see my times of PPD as a gift from the Father, the Giver of all good things. Anything that keeps me tethered and depending on Him alone I count a gift.
    Thanks for sharing your heart.

  9. Kyleigh
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 3:43 pm

    While I wouldn’t wish PPD on anyone, it is good to read someone else’s words that echo my feelings in the first 5 months of our 2nd daughter’s life so well, to know that someone else understands, and to be encouraged by how others articulate those feelings I so often couldn’t. Thank you.

  10. Leanna Shepard
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing with us, Jasmine. I really appreciate the fact that this word of hope and encouragement comes from someone still walking through the dark valley. Somehow it’s more meaningful to have the light at the end of the tunnel pointed out by someone down in the trenches with you, not from a bystander cheering you on. So thank you for your honesty. Now I’m off to read the Psalms . . .

  11. Christina
    Reply
    27 March 2017 at 10:26 pm

    This is so so so good. I wrestled with PPD again after having my second son, and it STILL took me by surprise. Thanks for sharing openly and honestly. Our community needs more of this. Hugs!

  12. stephanie
    Reply
    28 March 2017 at 10:05 am

    beautifully expressed! I pray that God shows you joy again, in the land of the living. I can attest that there is freedom. as a mom of eight, who’s struggled with this a few times, there are a few things that I have found to help: having friends pray for me. taking my vitamins to replenish, especially massive doses of the B vitamin inositol. placentaphagy. hey, desperate times, desperate measures. but yes, don’t doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.

  13. April Mosher
    Reply
    28 March 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Wow ❤

  14. Tarissa
    Reply
    29 March 2017 at 12:49 am

    This is beautiful. <3 Thanks for sharing your experience!

  15. Leslie
    Reply
    30 March 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Wow. While I don’t love what you have been walking through, I love your spirit and your words. Thank you for your willingness to share. ❤ I have been walking through low-thyroid induced depression and then a new thing of panic attacks induced by the same for the last couple of years (my child is almost three and we have been dealing with secondary infertility as well as a miscarriage after eighteen months of trying to conceive).

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