God Knows We’re Lost

It’s coming up on two years since Magoo was born and I still struggle with anxiety and depression issues originally triggered by his birth. My brain hurts from thinking about my brain. I’m tired of wondering what constitutes chemical deficiency and what is just normal for a stay-home mother of 2.

I go off medications. I struggle. I get back on a dose so small I could swear it was a placebo amount and suddenly the people around me are a little less annoying, I’m slightly more likely to do the dishes and less likely to wake up in a panic with no idea why.

When things were really bad at the beginning, I came to a point where I said I would be willing to do whatever was medically necessary to function and take care of my family, to alter my brain back to the way it was before the crash. I said I would take medication for the rest of my life if necessary. Now that the post-partum period is almost up, I want to be DONE with brain meds. I want my old brain back. It wasn’t always sharp and sometimes it was a tad twisted, but I could trust it.

I recently told my therapist that I didn’t want to go on anything at this point because that would mean I was “depressed”. She asked the logical question, “Do you think taking medication will make you depressed?”

“No,” I bawled, “It will make me NOT depressed.”

There you have it. And what’s so bad about that? The dependence, the fallibility, the HUMANITY, the admission that yet again God doesn’t chose to heal me instantly but provides a humbling way for me to be healed by relying on other people and medical advancements.

The other day Laylee and I were on the way to the therapist’s office and I got lost in a construction detour. I said a few faux naughty words and Laylee asked what was wrong. When I told her we were lost, she said calmly, “It’s okay. God knows we’re lost. We’ll find it.”

I believe he knows I’m lost. I believe he cares I’m lost. I believe he will help me untangle my steaming pile of grey matter. I’m not at a point yet where I always understand his methods or even pretend to know what they are.

For the next 2 weeks I’m going to do everything I physically can to stave off the next round of brain science. The sleeping. The exercising. The meditation. The prayer. The water. The breathing. Then we’ll see. We’ll try and then we’ll see.

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59 Responses to God Knows We’re Lost

  1. heather says:

    virtual hugs from the desert.

  2. Pam in Utah says:

    We love you and wish you well in a big way!

  3. Liz says:

    I had a really long comment but I deleted it, and know that God does know when we are lost. 🙂 many heart hugs from here

  4. Eve says:

    Okay, you need to call me please! This is exactly what i’m thinking, (although I haven’t been on meds yet.
    Why am I so tired lately? I mean the kind of tired that you can fall asleep any where anytime no matter how early you go to bed. So that was my resolution.
    1.) bed at a decent hour
    2.) eat better!
    3.) excercise
    if it doesn’t help, do I have some weird new kind of mono?

  5. Kage says:

    DYM, I struggled with some depression for the better half of last year. I am one who likes to avoid brain meds as well, and so far so good…

    I don’t pretend to know exactly what you have been going through the past two years…but a phrase in your post resonated with me: “I’m tired of wondering what constitutes chemical deficiency and what is just normal for a stay-home mother of 2”

    The normal mother of 2 stuff is so challenging. I read a book that helped:
    How We Choose to be Happy

    It is an easy read. It really helped me wrangle my brain out of it’s sad/numb place, and change my intentions in any given really sucky/crappy/I hate this/how did I get here MOTHER OF 2 situation, from anger and edge to happiness, joy and adventure.

    It doesn’t work all the time, but it has really changed my outlook, and changed the dynamic of my mothering.

    I have also started dancing with my children. Usually once the dinner is on it’s way to being cooked without my help, we dance until it’s done. That has helped too.

  6. Heather says:

    UH, Yeah, me too. But it comes down to this (for me) I don’t want my kids to live with the woman I am when NOT on Zoloft (although we are talking about another child – so here’s to hopin the preganacy hormones work like Zoloft when the time come!)

    And it’s not PPD for me – I wnted it to be, really I did, because that meant to me that it would be “temporary” and I would go back to “normal” – somwhere along the way – I realized depression IS normal for me — I have been on and off depressed for YEARS before I had my kids – I just didn’t recognize it.

    So I rely on my God and my Zoloft – i belive that medical advancments like these are gifts form Him.

    Zoloft – the other little blue pill ~

  7. Mir says:

    Hugs coming at you from the opposite coast, my friend.

    I’ve dealt with depression my entire life. It’s gotten a little easier, but not as much as you’d think that 30+ years of experience with it would. Even now, I know this resistance to the medication you speak of, even though I know (as you know) that sometimes it’s the very best thing.

    He not only knows you’re lost, He knows that you have lessons to learn on your way to being found. (If only growing didn’t hurt so much, sometimes, huh?)

  8. Farm Wife says:

    I grew up with a depressed mother. It wasn’t easy, but I can’t say I’m scarred for life either. You do what you can, and let medical science do the rest. God gave us resources and I think we should use them when the need arises.

    Know that prayers are being sent up for you from a little farm in the mid-west this week!

  9. grammyelin says:

    I think you are so wise to try all of the things you can do naturally and then see how you are doing before making a decision on the meds. If the exercise, water, sleep, prayer and scripture route work, that’s great. But there is nothing wrong with taking the medication your body may require.

    You know that if you had diabetes, high blood pressure; or any number of other medical conditions, that is exactly what you would do. And there is nothing wrong in doing so.

    In fact, it’s exactly what doctors and spiritual advisors would reccommend (and Moms. Don’t forget Mom. That woman, who loves you and is invested in your health and happiness, wants you to take it a little easier on yourself.)

    This anxiety disorder is not who you are. It is not something you brought on yourself. It’s a medical condition. It happened. Hopefully you will get over it and never have to deal with it again.

    But even if you don’t – there are alot of us who love you and will help you all that we can – there are physical and mental health professionals who are knowledgeable and will all so help
    – there are medicines that will make things better

    But most important, the Lord loves you (just as you are). He knows what you are going through — and Cares! He has suffered all things for us and will put his arms around you and share your burden. We are all praying for you and have faith that you will be all right.

    Love, Love, Love you!!!

  10. Jeana says:

    I don’t have a brilliant response for you so I’ll just say I understand and I love you.

  11. Mary C says:

    Hugs to you. What a wise girl you have!

  12. Jessica says:

    I’ve been lurking here for a few months. This post hits my situation exactly. My baby is two in two days. Thanks for your views, it is what I needed to hear.

  13. God knows what you need before you even ask. I will be praying that He will clearly point you where you need to be. I had never read your earlier story, but I have similar ones of my own. Many HUGS!

  14. Melessa says:

    I think a lot of what I was going to say has been covered here. I also tried the sleeping, the exercise (I can’t say enough good about yoga and I never pictured myself the yoga type), the water, but in the end-from time to time-I also needed the pills. (Celexa was the drug of choice here) However, I don’t need them now and haven’t in quite awhile. So yes, there’s hope. An Laylee is absolutely right. God always knows where we are and what we need. (And I’m jealous of your ability to use faux swear words, I’m still working on the real ones.)

  15. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    Hugs and prayers for you!

  16. Jan says:

    Grammyelin said what I was going to say. I have struggled with depression all my life, and while I would prefer not to take meds, I also prefer to be (semi) sane, so I take them, and probably will for the rest of my life. So do what you can, and then if you need it, take it. Don’t let depression hold you hostage, or rob you of joy.

  17. slawebb says:

    I too have struggled with depression for a very long time. I know how it feels to be on drugs and to need them. I was on the max dose of Prozac for 4 years of college. It was tough. After callege I went on Celexa (all the positives of Prozac, but youactually get to have emotions.) I have since gone off of all meds. It isn’t always easy. I still get depressed. I am aware of my signs and communicate them to my husband to help me. After babies is always rough for me. After my last one my mom recommended Bach Flower Remedies. It may sound weird, or too alturnative, but they really do work for me. My brother was also on antidepressents for awhile and is now off of them and takes the Flower Remodies instead. They work great for him too. It is just an alturnative to look into. Being a mother of 2 is tough. there are days I wonder if I can emotionally have more, even tough we really do want to have more. Yoga does help too. I have a 10 minute yoga video that is quick and allows me to recenter and stretch, now if only I’d do it. go to http://www.bachflower.com and look at the 38 Essences or you can go to Wild Oats of Whole Foods and they carry the full line. Hugs to you.

  18. Suzi says:

    God bless you.

    The one thing I can say from family history is that you may have to stay on the medicine for life. But do it. Don’t think you’re better and get off. We’ve had some very scary times because my family members think they are better because the medicine makes them better. Then they’ll quit taking it. They’ll get sick again, they’ll have to go back on, but it gives them about a month of being very depressed. Which is scary for the rest of us.

    I pray God heals you himself permanently and quickly. If he doesn’t, medicine is another way he heals.

  19. I agree with your mom – for some of us, there are things about our bodies (and your brain is part of your body) that require medical intervention. It’s your body, Kathryn, it’s not you. There is no part of you that CHOOSES this. If exercise, enough sleep, etc., are enough to take care of this, great. If not, it’s no failure of yours.

    If I were there I’d give you a big hug. Bless you.

  20. andrea says:

    I’m not post-partum but the rest of this post sounds eerily familiar to me right now…

  21. smcarney says:

    I’ve had PPD since the birth of my third daughter – nearly 6 years now. I missed the first three months of my baby’s life before I got help. I’m still on the meds and probably will continue to be for a long time.

    Don’t look at taking the meds as a bad thing, a problem. You have a chemical imbalance in your brain that the meds fix. If you had a low thyroid or diabetes would you expect to “go it alone” without medication? I didn’t think so.

    Some of what you experience is just the day to day of being mom of 2 little ones. The rest isn’t. Don’t turn your back on the help available to you! Suffering doesn’t make it better for the kids.

    I’ve had lots of depression experience and I just can’t emphanize enough to take care of youserlf!!! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  22. Leslie says:

    Right there with you. I understand. I’ll pray for you, too, if you don’t mind my doing so.

  23. yuka says:


    I originally came to your blog today because I needed some cheering up, I have a case of the ‘mean reds’ today, and I was cheered up. I feel bad that you’re not feeling too hot, and yet better because someone else is going through it too. Your honesty and writing inspire me. Thank you for you.

  24. Sare says:

    Hey, Katherine. I’m not going to give you any advice, because I bet you’ve had a ton already, from people much more talented than I. I’m just gonna say, I might know just a tad what you’re feeling right now. And you know what? It’s OK. I think that the cool thing is that you’re taking care of yourself, while some people don’t. Some moms just stay annoyed at people and yell at their kids and respond grumpily to their husbands and don’t even try to figure out why they feel the way that they do. Heck, I’m in that boat. A lot.

    Meds, Exercise, Sleep, Diet, Hobbies, Prayer– we all do what it takes. And eventually, we hope to get the hang of it, right?

    New mom-hood. What a trip. LOL.

  25. Carrie says:

    This is one of my biggest fears about having a baby. My mom had PPD, and I have had small struggles with depression in the past. The thought of falling into that dark place again terrifies me.
    Kudos to you for being honest about it and for being willing to do whatever it takes to get better.

  26. Jen says:

    If you can put Pigs Feet in your panty, I say you are weil on your way! Take Care!

  27. Natalie says:

    My heart goes out to you. I have 3 children 3 and under and I am pregnant with #4.
    After #3 was born I had my wisdom teeth out and the pain meds sent me into panic and anxiety attacks.
    I didn’t sleep and I could hardly function when it began to get dark outside.
    I began to think I was going crazy. If God had not been the reality in my life, I don’t know what would have happened.
    Through SOOOO much prayer and using herbal panic remedies, I have been able to feel almost normal.
    My midwife said my hormones were way off. So when I am hormonal I have attacks easier.
    But God is doing awesome things in me and as I read in your blog, also in you.
    I will be praying for you and this journey you are on. The one thing that helped me the most was knowing that I was not alone in my suffering. So here I am, a fellow sufferer.
    Oh yeah, and my first 2 babies were 10.8 lbs. maybe it has something to do with enormous babies? 😉
    Romans 8:18
    Be blessed

  28. I am always grateful for people like you who are willing to open up their lives for others to see that we all have trials we are dealing with in life. I hope your situation improves soon, and even if it doesn’t, it sounds like you have an amazing husband and other family members and friends to help see you through this. Above all, though, you have God and right now He is holding you in the palm of His hand directing and guiding you to accomplish your mission here on this earth!

  29. mother of the wild boys says:

    Add my name to the list of lifetime depression-sufferers. I have dealt with it on and off of meds, all the while struggling with your same feelings. I also started having anxiety attacks after the birth of my 3rd son, which have lessend over the past 33 months, but they haven’t gone away. I definately can identify with your feelings.

    Something that makes this illness hard is that we are taught from Primary through Relief Society to be self-sufficient, independant, and capable. We misinterpret this to mean that we should never need outside help. What a mistake! We are given trials to help us recognize our need to rely on our Savior. To quote Prez. Kimball in yesterday’s RS lesson, “The (wo)man who leans heavily upon the Lord becomes the master of self and can accomplish anything (s)he sets out to do.”

    As people have said before, sometimes taking the meds is what will help us the most. You know that you are not taking them for a bad reason, you are motivated to take them out of the love you have for your husband and children, and your desire to be the best you possible. It is so hard to know when we actually need them, and when we should wean ourselves off. I pray that you will be inspired to know which course is best for you. —Shauntae

    PS-Remember, taking meds for depression is NOT a weakness! You are humble enough to admit you need help, that takes strength. 🙂

  30. Michelle says:

    I’m not a mom, but I went through a period of depression and some anxiety a year and a half ago of which I still notice the aftereffects. Sometimes they bother me and I wish I could go back to that time when I don’t remember wanting to hide. I avoided going to counseling for awhile because in my mind that made me officially disordered… but I went eventually and it helped some.

    It’s hard, no easy answers, and for the record, I think you’re a tough lady, and you are that whether you take medication or not. I wish you goodness.

  31. Terra says:

    I’m a displaced Canuck in Texas, originally from Ontario (Toronto area). I have lived here for 11 years, I have 2 kids under 10, and I was recently diagnosed with a mood disorder. I blog about it. It’s tough. I always wonder who I am without medication, but the thought of going off them fills me with terror (but not the kind of terror I was experiencing BEFORE medication). Thanks for sharing your life with us. I hope you can share mine, now that I’ve said hello.

  32. Rachel H says:

    I think it is amazing to hear so many stories that are similar here. I could repeat the same for myself. But I wonder, have that many people always been depressed or is it something that is more prevalent in society today? I wonder if being a SAHM makes one especially succeptible to the difficulties of depression.

    But with knowledge that we can overcome our difficulties comes an inner strength. Zoloft did that for me. Once I was on it I saw clearly that my world was beautiful, and nothing was any different than before, when I was depressed. I then learned that nothing around me was “making” me depressed, it was all in my head. That knowledge helped me to control the downward spiral into the dark abyss of depression. Ever since I got off the meds, I have learned to look at my world “outside” of my emotions, and I KNOW that everything is good (despite how I might be FEELING), and it allows my depression to diminish.

  33. Wendy says:

    There is WAY too much of a stigma with depression medications. I say if you take it and it works, there’s a reason, and hallelujah that there are medications out there that work. So don’t let yourself feel bad for needing it. It’s ABSOLUTELY a medical thing (a chemical imbalance), don’t let it be less than that.

  34. Trivial Mom says:

    I know that you can make it through this, which ever way you have to. If you need medicine I say more power to you for humblig yourself and taking it.

    And if you can manage without it then don’t take it. But being able to be happy through life is more important than whatever power it is that’s enabling you. You can be healed. I truly believe that medicines are inspired by God, and that is the way that He chooses to heal some of us.

  35. Emily says:

    Oh, hang in there. I haven’t had PPD, but I was on meds for depression during high school. I know the frustration of having to depend on drugs to make your brain work right. I hope that you’ll succeed in finding a non-drug option that works for you!

  36. Kimberly says:

    Glancing at the above comments, I know you know that you’re not alone…heck, that’s what your post was about when you get right down to it.

    Still, I can’t help saying hey, me too! Two kids, PPD with the second, undiagnosed for 8 months because, well, I didn’t have it with the first says Dr. Idiot, so no way I had it with the second.

    Yeah, right.

    I’m having trouble with the humility thing too. I may be a sweetly shy gal at heart, but I still have that towering human pride thing going on.

    Anyway, yet another gal who more than sympathizes…who actually -understands-. Thanks for opening up online…it helps. It really does.

  37. Mary says:

    That post just made me want to give you a hug. Your daughter is right, and I’m so glad about that. I hope things go well for you in your non-medication test. But if you need the medicine, there is no shame in it. I think you are courageous for being so honest about your anxiety and how you work to overcome that huge hurdle. Take care.

  38. I love you. Whatever happens, I love you. 🙂

  39. Kathryn, I hear you. I have been on meds on and off and back on. The off times are because I think “Hey, I should be able to do this without meds”. My therapist will then ask “why the “should”?” (you know how they LOVE to ask stuff like that), then I’ll say “Because everybody else does and I should too”.
    Finally she said this “You have a chemical imbalance, that’s all”.

    I don’t want to be depressed that’s all. I don’t want to be taking anything to make me anything else, how come I can’t be just like I used to be…
    As you know, the worst part comes from well meaning people who tell you that perhaps you haven’t prayed enough, or exercised enough or whatever. I have tried all those things. It’s sad, I hate it, and I hate the Zoloft is so darn expensive.

    Bloggy hugs your way, you are doing the right thing, you know you. The best thing you can do is try.

  40. Barb says:

    My bishop gives great talks; I’d be all for him giving us a sermon every Sunday. I thought I’d share what he had to say recently that has really stayed with me. He shared a portion of ‘The Ballad of Sir Andrew Barton’.

    “I am hurt, but I am not slain; I’ll lay me down and bleed a while, And then I’ll rise and fight again.”

    The bishop then encouraged us to adopt those words. To acknowledge our hurts, but also to keep hope. He said we need to give ourselves permission to lay down and bleed awhile, but then we need to rise and fight again.

    Hang in there.

  41. Karen says:

    I’m with you; perhaps not to the same extent, but you’re talking my language.

    You go on; we go on; because we must.

  42. Jenny says:

    O. My. Word. We have so much in common on this one. You are not alone! Thanks so much for sharing so honestly.

  43. chris says:


    I think I probably sufered from anxiety and depression my entire life, loking back now I can see it. But I was able to manage it and keep it under control. After the birth of my last son I suddenly wasn’t able to anymore.

    And now two years later after going on and off of medications I realize that I want my kids to have the mother that they deserve. And so I am trying a new medication.

    I am not a doctor, though I do like to pretend I am, but I’ll throw this out there. If the depression problem were not a chemical issue in your brain would the drugs have an effect? Obviously not.

    Love you, even though you give your kids werd names 😉

  44. dcrmom says:

    Oh girl. I feel your pain. My situation is similar but different. Too much to type out here. I’ve been blogging about it, but trying not to focus too much on it. I am just starting meds. Not for depression, but for IBS. But anxiety is playing into all of my problems. I don’t know what is physical, and what is anxiety. I don’t want to rely on meds, but I want the pain to stop. I don’t know when I’m supposed to rely on God alone and when I’m supposed to take advantage of the medical advances we are privileged to have available to us these days. It’s so HARD.

    Praying that you can go off meds and compensate with diet and exercise and water and prayer and all that jazz. 🙂 I’m just starting down that road, trying to figure out what I need to do to manage my problems with minimal reliance on meds.

    Know you aren’t alone! Hang in there.

  45. bon says:

    Hugs and hugs and hugs! That DYM… she’s a smart cookie and will do what she must, whatever that turns out to be.

    On meds or off, I have discovered this cool, pink shirt that appears to have magical properties. You might know of it? Live it, love it… wear it!

  46. Alissa says:

    there’s not much to be added here, but know that i’m on your side, as is He. I’m pulling for you. And I know you can do it. Whether that means, more meds or no meds… you can do it. Trust Him.


  47. You have NO idea how much I related to this post this morning, Kathryn. Having some quirky med issues that are making me remember how truly dark those “dark places” can be.

    You know where to find me if you want to talk.

  48. Lei says:

    “Just keep swimming…”

    Hang in there, girl! xo

  49. {{hug}} I think most of us moms have been there in one way or another.

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