Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Things that help.

As we move farther into Lent, I continue to battle the postpartum junk. We adjust prescription dosages, continue on the physical therapy, find friends, and deal with the curve-balls (insurance terror! job searches! the car died! Ana ate a penny!). I have almost no emotional reserves, but nevertheless, as Matis Yahu says, "We got life!"

Speaking of Jewish rappers, I've been compiling a list of things that help with the depression, pain, and irritability. At times, I want a cure (yes, a pill would be great), but I can also accept "daily bread," as in, "give us this day our daily bread."

1. St. Simon the Cyrene. He carried Christ's cross:

"Simon wondered, as he took those beams upon his shoulders, why he was chosen for such a heavy burden, and now he knows. Help me, Jesus, to trust Your loving Providence as you permit suffering to weave itself in and out of my life. Make me understand that You looked at it and held it fondly before You passed it on to me. You watch me and give me strength, just as You did Simon. When I enter Your Kingdom, I shall know, as he knows, what marvels Your Cross has wrought in my soul." ~Mother Angelica.

This quote came in our EWTN monthly flyer. I have no idea where she wrote it or when, but yes. Thank you, Simon.

2. Finding more Simons. How many people I have carrying my cross with me! My husband, my parents, his parents, and my children. At first, I was sick with fear that my cross would crush them. But God has made them Simons (now, if I could just be more like the fallen Christ...).

3. Arise from Darkness, by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. My mom sent this book as a gift, and what a gift. This is a book for those in the dark, those caring for those in the dark, those afraid of the coming dark. He's real, he's a straight talker: "This book is not an answer but a guide to those in darkness. It is about going on in spite of darkness, about survival, and about using the unavoidable dark times of life to grow."

4. The wicked thief. You know, not Dismas. Yes, I've been feeling a lot like the wicked thief next to Christ on the Cross, "If you were really the Son of God, save me!" I love him, because now I have been him. And his words point right to Dismas's words, "Lord Jesus, remember me." During the day, it's always a toss-up which thief I'll be echoing. I'm just praying that my last prayer is Dismas's.

5. Company. I have been amazed at the company I keep: Thank you to everyone who has shared his or her own story of depression and/or chronic pain. This has been by far the greatest blessing--we are not alone.

6. Forgiveness. I've had to ask a lot of forgiveness lately. And dear friends have readily granted it.

7. Hot beverage break! Tea. Coffee. Hot milk. This is a physical ailment, and I thank God for physical consolations!

There are so many little things and thoughts that come during the day. Good things. Promises of Easter.


Mom2Seven said...

Continued prayers, sweet Erika! +JMJ+

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

Prayers and thoughts are with you!

Melanie B said...

Still praying for you every day, dear Erika.

When I battled depression in college one thing that helped was keeping a gratitude diary. Every night I made myself write one good thing that had happened that day, one thing I was grateful for. Of course often it would become more than one. I still have that little notebook in a box somewhere. I can't bring myself to throw away the reminder of that struggle.

Lizann said...

Erika, I had no idea you were going through all this. It's hard for me to see you as anything but joyful! But I know we all go through seasons, and it has been quite a few since I have seen you. I confess that I haven't had post-partum problems yet, but something in me is really afraid about this 3rd child. Dan won't be there for the birth. We will have to wait 6 months before he can meet the baby. And my mom had depression and emotional problems after the 3rd child. But your words and experience do encourage me that IF such pain and suffering comes, then it is for some reason, and there are ways through it-- physical, spiritual, and emotional help. I will pray for you, and I hope that you continue to be uplifted and cared for as much as you need it.

lydiapurpuraria said...

Praying for you, Erika. Though I haven't been through PPD, I've dealt with depression and the stress of unemployment and uncertainty. It's so very, very hard. The gratitude journal was helpful for me, too.

Your mention of St. Simon reminded me of something that happened to me during the hardest part of labor. The suffering at that moment was so intense, and I was trying so hard to pray and offer it up, when I realized I couldn't offer it. I felt I had no strength left. Suddenly, an image of Simon the Cyrene was imprinted in my mind so strongly, I knew he was helping me carry my cross, and that Jesus was there, too, and had, as you wrote, carried it first.