I started journaling while in the psych ward of a two week stay in hospital being treated for post-natal depression. One of the ex-patients who was there on the evening I was admitted, returned to visit me on my birthday and gave me the journal. That was 18 years ago. I now have a box of journals gathering dust. One day I will get around to transcribing them and doing my memoir.
I have always been a quiet and over-sensitive person, and as a middle child I preferred not to be noticed, but at the same time I felt jealous of my younger sister’s exuberance and attention she received. Having a childhood stammer did not help and I preferred not to speak up at school for fear of being ridiculed. I had a lonely school life, but it dawned on me by college that I had to make an effort to go up and speak to people, make the initial effort, or I would end up very lonely. My college years would become some of my best memories.
Still, my nervousness, sensitivity and low self-esteem lingered into my marriage and motherhood. By the birth of my second child and the stress of a job I hated, I got to the point of no return. Depression. What is it? For me, it started with lack of sleep, being constantly tired, worrying about everything and imagining the worst. Yet it was an invisible illness, and to me it sounded so insignificant and I found it hard to accept that it was just depression. I had a cancer scare some years before, and this was far worse.
I was still breast-feeding my daughter and the thought of taking medication was unacceptable to me. I eventually reached breaking point and left home, walking without looking back. I reached an empty church and went in to plead with God to make me feel better. Exhausted, I lay on one of the pews. A man approached me and tried to talk to me. Much later I realised that he was an angel sent to protect me during my darkest hour.
Within the first few days of my stay in the hospital I met God. He showed up and told me that everything would be alright, to trust him and get to know him. It was so simple yet impossible to explain unless it has happened to you. I asked my husband to find my Bible and bring it to the hospital. It had well worn pages, not by my fingers, but by my grandmother and great grandmother, passed on to me. My eyes could not make out the words on the pages as the medication had caused my vision to blur. I kept that Bible close to me during the time I was in that public hospital ward. One thing was certain, God had given me a desire to know him that would not go away.