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I am thankful for depression and anxiety.

Yes! I just said that, and here’s why: after Hallie was born I got severe postpartum depression. One day my friends took me for a walk and told me that someday I would be grateful for this trial. They also told me that maybe I had to experience this depression so that if my kids ever went through it, I would understand and be able to help them. I didn’t want to believe that because I hoped my kids would never have to feel like this–to feel like you are in a black hole. Since then, some of my kids have been at that point, and I am grateful that to some degree I do know how they feel. Sometimes you just need to know that someone understands. I am grateful for the empathy that I now have when I hear others talk about their struggle with depression, because I could never have gained that empathy if I hadn’t gone through it myself.

I have learned that CHOICE is a powerful word. When the counselor told me that I had a choice, I wanted to punch her! I told her I didn’t have a choice; I didn’t CHOOSE depression. She said, no, you didn’t, but you do have a choice to act or be acted upon. I could choose to not do anything and let depression kick my butt, or I could choose to act, to fight, and to do what was necessary to heal. I learned that the word “perfect” is a swear word. None of us will be perfect in this lifetime. I had to learn to let some things go. I had to learn to let life be imperfect. I had to quit beating myself up for all the things I wasn’t perfect at and give myself permission to be human. I had to learn to do the best I could do and let it be enough. I learned that we all need to be less judgmental of others because we don’t know the battles others are fighting or what is truly in their hearts. That is why God is the only one who can judge. He is the only one who knows every second of our life experiences.

So, for today, I am who I am because of postpartum depression. I am an imperfect human doing the best I can with the life experiences I have had, and I am enough.
If you are fighting this battle . . . HOLD ON! I know sometimes you can’t see it, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep moving forward, even one baby step at a time, and you will see and feel the light again. There really are better days ahead!

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