There are things you begin to notice.
Your voice quietens, just a little.
Noise seems louder, scratching at your eardrums.
You’re more easily irritated, patience worn thin.
You are tired, the tiredness spreads through your body like slowly freezing water. It is cold, painful and slows your thoughts and movement.
The feelings are dully familiar, and yet they catch you by surprise because the reprieve has been so long, so welcome.
Thoughts and feelings you have written about many times in the past tense have crept back into your present and they are as fresh and frightening as they were the first time.
Depression is an unwelcome returning guest. And yet you welcome you must, for fighting delay and worsens the inevitable tide which may or may not knock you off your feet.
You know how it goes, it’s a tide you’ve chased many times before and yet it feels new.
The newness is the baby, your delight, who gives no heed to your falling mood or slowing movements. He still needs to be fed, entertained, cherished.
Being a Mum made me reach out sooner than I might have done in the past; because there is not just me and my husband to consider, but a tiny boy who depends on us for everything (whether or not he cares to agree with this.)
And so I fell into my community, I allowed them to care for my family. We accepted help from all sides and I tried to push away the guilt and shame.
I realised, this time, that pride had crept in over the months and years of relative wellness. I speak of struggle in the past tense, I am a “new me” now.
Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten that I still need the grace I encourage others to share.
That I experience more freedom is no small amount of work – but it is also the way of the waves – that they have been ridden and not overwhelmed me.
So I write because I believe in honesty, in fighting the stigma (even if today it exists only in my own mind) and in a God who does His most beautiful work in our weakness.