Swallowing Poison

It’s like a poison- just not a deadly one- well, at least not most of the time. It crosses all kinds of boundary lines- social, economic, cultural, racial. It has been responsible for countless divorces, suicides and many ruined lives. It can go down, deep down into the inner core of the soul and barb its way in, never to be removed. Sometimes it goes in, then comes out quickly, passing through like the change of a season, hardly noticed. Most often it steadily bears down on the human heart and mind leaving scars in its path.

I am talking about depression.

A couple weeks back, I read this story and was heart broken. It is not often you hear of a highly successful woman jumping 8 stories to her death- with her precious baby in her arms. It nauseated me to think of but when I read the circumstances surrounding her decision, I immediately thought of postpartum depression. (This was before I even read the article that further examined the possible reasons she chose this.) It just seemed to fit. How very sad that she saw no other way out.

I have experienced depression firsthand to an intense degree. I have felt the poison go down deep into my soul, tainting all emotion and thoughts. Far from understanding all the psychological issues that bring someone to this terrible place, one thing is certain- it is hard to get rid of. It begins like a bad (cancerous) cell, undetected at first. Then it grows and turns other cells bad and gathers more momentum inside the heart and mind. One day you wake up and realize that something is not right- you are not quite yourself and yet, you can’t tell why.

Often it can grow to the point that one’s life seems somewhat unrecognizable. Thoughts and feelings have morphed, like a black cloud that looms surreptitiously. Sometimes the manifestation is physical- your body can begin breaking down or perhaps you just start to feel like you are going cuckoo. For real.

Help must be found. If you ingested poison, would you not go to the hospital and have your stomach pumped? So, why do we hesitate to get help when this poison is inside of us?

Depression is a serious problem that has plagued not only myself, but many, many people I know and love. If you are reading and you’ve never felt this way or don’t really “get” depression, take note and don’t ever forget to love someone who might be going through it. Thankfully, I found hope and help (and clung to God’s grace). I didn’t jump out of a window with my baby. I didn’t leave my husband. It took an admission of my own failure and inability to “fix” myself to begin the healing process. It hurt my pride- but that was what I needed. It was a painstaking process of sifting through the “junk” that got me to where I was emotionally and spiritually. God was gracious to me. He loved me through the dark days and so did a lot of friends and my husband.

How I wish that someone would have recognized the signs in the New York City woman that left her husband without a wife and her son without a mother. If only someone would have reached out to her in her pain. Maybe things would have turned out different.