In 2003 I delivered a beautiful still born baby boy. His name is Michael and he would be 13 today. After Michael’s birth I found myself in a pretty deep postpartum depression that lasted a couple of years. I couldn’t sleep and I basically stopped breathing and felt fearful most of the time. All of this fed into my depression and anxiety. Luckily for me, I had an intuitive doctor who diagnosed me and was able to prescribe some medicine that helped me to feel begin to feel normal again, enough to start me on a path to get me out of the depression and sleep again.
However, I didn’t like how the medicine made me feel. I felt numb to not only the sad feelings but also to all the happy feelings. I also woke up with headaches from the Ambien I was taking and I just didn’t feel like myself. I realize that this is not the case for everyone. Medicine is beneficial and necessary for some, but for me, I felt like it was not the right fit forever. I wanted another way. I had a friend who referred me to an amazing counselor. Lynn had been the director over a drug and alcohol abuse hospital in Ogden for many years. She had retired from that career and now, being in her 80’s was just counseling friends and friends of friends for free. It was one of the best gifts I have ever been given. Lynn was honestly the most peaceful person I had ever met. At the first of our sessions she told me her story of working through anger issues and wanting to find peace in her life. She also told me at the beginning of our sessions that I needed to get off all of the medication I was taking, if I wanted to continue working with her. I was so scared. I didn’t know if I could do it. I had come to rely on the medicine, in particular, the Ambien that I was taking every night to sleep. She believed in me and eventually I learned to believe in myself. I went off of all of the medication that first week.
She taught me how to meditate, but of course, just like physical exercise with a trainer, meditation is ultimately about what I choose to do. Will I use the knowledge that I have and continue building on it or will I just let it fall to the wayside, just like the elliptical in the corner of my bedroom that I love to put my clothes all over? So often we don’t recognize the gifts that we are given and we just keep asking over and over “Please God help me to…” It reminds me of that story of the man who was stranded in a flood.
“A man was trapped in his house during a flood. He began praying to God to rescue him. He had a vision in his head of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety. The water started to rise in his house. His neighbor urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety. The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me.” The neighbor drove off in his pick-up truck.
The man continued to pray and hold on to his vision. As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof. A boat came by with some people heading for safe ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They shook their heads and moved on.
The man continued to pray, believing with all his heart that God would save him. The floodwaters continued to rise. A helicopter flew by and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him off the roof. The man waved the helicopter away, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter left. The flooding water came over the roof and caught him up and swept him away. He drowned.
When he reached heaven and asked, “God, why did you not save me? I believed in you with all my heart. Why did you let me drown?” God replied, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat and a helicopter and you refused all of them. What else could I possibly do for you?”
God was offering a solution to me and it was imperative that I recognize it and receive the answer.
This was a real solution for me. But I wasn’t great at it at first. I didn’t recognize that it was the way that God would save me. I would meditate for a few days and then stop, because it was a pain to find time and a place to be alone. But I kept being led back to it again and again. Finally what really got my habit becoming daily was a realization that I basically had stopped breathing again. I was at the gym with my son and he asked me while we were exercising together, “Why are you not breathing mom? You know that if you breathed you would be able to workout better.” For some reason this made me question why I wasn’t breathing. It’s hard to believe but I came to the conclusion that I honestly believed that there was not enough oxygen for me! I needed to save it for my kids, my husband, for everyone else. I know it sounds so stupid but when I really thought about it and the unconscious reason why I wasn’t breathing, that was the answer. I also realized that I stopped breathing when I was scared, when I was in pain, when I was nervous, just about any reaction to any emotion made me stop my breathing. Why in the world did I not feel worthy of oxygen?! This was a life changing moment for me. And right there in that gym I began to breathe again. I took deep breaths in and big exhales out and with that I changed my life.
When I started to breath again, I started to meditate. It just naturally flowed into that.