My Depression Journey Part 3: God Sends Help

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{Today Janna shares Part 3 of her story…how three years ago she began her journey with depression, and experienced God’s faithfulness in the midst of it all.}

So I sent the email out on Sept. 6…a Thursday afternoon. And then waited. But not for long. “Where does my help come from?” (Psalm 121) My help came from the Lord. The Body of Christ–his believers, those who love him–immediately flooded me with help and care in the most practical ways. I cannot even give the names of all those who came to my aid and in all the ways, but I’m gonna hit some highlights to show you how God delivered!

  • I was given recommendations of Christian counselors and psychiatrist.
  • Friends took kids for afternoon playdates so I could just be “off duty.”
  • Friends brought meals.
  • One friend made Anne’s lunch for her for a week so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting it done. It may have seemed small, but it was a relief at a time when everything seemed “too much of an effort.”
  • I felt the Lord tell me to call an acquaintance–Leslie– whom had shared with me about her depression. She came the next morning (Friday) to pray with me and gave me the name of her Christian counselor. I put in a call immediately.
  • Friends over and over again gave me “permission” to bow out of obligations, in fact telling me, “Don’t worry about it this time, we have it covered. Just rest–this is a time you need to focus on you for once.”
  • One friend made an appointment with her kinesiologist for me.
  • I had an upcoming appointment set with my midwife.

I headed into the weekend. I had made calls to all the recommended counselors and psychiatrists, but I knew wouldn’t hear back till Monday at least. So I was in the “waiting period.” I was also overwhelmed with different options: natural (kinesiologist), emotional (counselor), mental (psychiatrist), physical/blood/hormones (midwife). How would I know which treatment path to choose? And if I chose more than one, how would I know which was working or not working? So I just prayed, “Lord just open the right doors for me to walk through.”

Upon calling several psychiatrists, I discovered that none were taking new patients and there was some sort of “freeze” in the field of psychiatry in Denver. I was disheartened.

The Christian counselor got back to me on Monday, but didn’t have an opening until 4 weeks out–so I made the appointment.

A family friend recommended a Christian psychiatrist and told me to tell him that she referred me. I left a message and waited for a call back.

Tuesday morning I went to Bible study. My friend Leslie (whom had given me the counselor recommendation) said, “Call the counselor and get on the cancellation list. If she has a cancellation and calls you, I can watch your kids, even if it’s on short notice.” While we sat in Bible study, she texted the counselor.

Two hours later while standing in the grocery store, the counselor called with a cancellation. An hour later, I was sitting in her office!  Then, I discovered that she also recommended the same Christian psychiatrist whom I was waiting to hear back from. (Another confirmation, I felt, that I should pursue this doctor.)

Driving home from the counseling appointment, the psychiatry office called said they could see me at 10 am the next morning. (Even without the “freeze” on, I knew getting an appointment next day to see a psychiatrist was miraculous.)

Leslie said she would watch the kids in the morning again so I could make the appointment (about 30 mins away).

When I got home I called the HR/benefits coordinator for my husband’s work. I wanted to find out if benefits and services would be covered? She was completely compassionate and understanding and took an immediate personal interest in me. Then she said, “This is my cell and I didn’t know whose number this was so I almost didn’t answer, I’m so glad that I did. God knew that I needed to talk to you.”

She knows our family and she offered to watch the kids if I ever needed someone–even just for a few minutes–because I needed to get to appointments. Her specific words were, “If you need someone to watch them, even for 20 minutes, until someone else can come to watch them longer, call me.”

A half-hour later, the psychiatrist called and said that he would have to cancel our appointment at 10, but could I meet him at his office at 8 a.m.? I knew Leslie couldn’t watch them until 8:30 am. I took the earlier appointment, hung up and called the HR coordinator back and took her up on her offer to watch the kids for 30 minutes until Leslie could arrive.

At this point, I’m seeing the pattern. God was specifically meeting my need for help down to the minutes that I needed childcare. No sooner would I put down the phone and a call would come in–the next door would open and I knew I should walk through.

Wednesday morning, I went to the psychiatry appointment and he pretty immediately pinpointed what he felt was going on with the chemicals in my brain.

Then on Thursday, I get a call out of the blue from a family friend (the wife of a couple that took special interest in Matt and I when we were first married). Her older kids are now in high school. She said that she had really been thinking of me over the last couple of weeks and had been meaning to call. Then she began to share how she really struggled after her third child. She proceeded to offer that her teenage daughter come and help me once a week (unpaid, as a ministry) so that I could have some time to myself. I burst into tears and told her what was going on and how timely her call was.

I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me, Lord? You are just too good. Help with my kids and I don’t even have to feel guilty about spending money on babysitting!?”

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So we are now at Thursday–one week from the day I sent the email asking for help. God’s provision had been miraculous, immediate, and met needs I didn’t even think of. Within one week I had:

  • An appointment with a Christian psychiatrist (even in a psychiatry “freeze”) who knew and worked with the
  • Christian counselor with whom I wasn’t going to be able to see for four weeks and got in me into a cancellation appointment
  • The following Monday I would see a kinesiologist (natural approach)
  • An upcoming appointment with my midwife to get some tests done
  • Prescriptions for new medication that I could begin to take
  • A wonderful Christian teenager with a heart to serve would be coming to help me weekly at no cost

Looking back now, I see how I just needed to mutter the word “help.” Sometimes God doesn’t wait for us to call for help. He ushers in deliverance sometimes when we don’t even know we need it. But other times, he’s waiting–just a parent watching their toddler trying to “do-it-by-myself.” He knows he could whoosh in and fix it, but he waits to be asked. And as soon as I did, an avalanche of help fell in my lap.

His help was immediate and it was detailed.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He DELIGHTS in every detail of this lives. Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

While none of the appointments offered a quick fix–I was still depressed–but my hope was renewed. God had provided the path of treatment in a very real and apparent way. There was now no doubt in my mind which appointments to make. I knew that I was supposed to pursue treatment for depression on all the fronts: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual. God had made it clear that he had all the bases covered.

Psalm 121 A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 

He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 

The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 

the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.


To continue reading more about Janna’s journey with depression, including her treatment choices and the moment “the fog” lifted, visit her blog. 


JannaWiddJanna Widdifield is a writer by trade, a crafter by choice, and a mother by God’s plan. Creating things has always been a part of her life–whether it was growing zinnias in her dad’s garden or creating her own stationary line as a 5th grader. She is the creator of a class for girls called Vessels, designed to help young women find their identity, self-worth and purpose according to God. Check out the Vessels blog here. Visit Janna’s blog, MustardSeeds, here.


Depression Series

{Navigating Depression: What Every Woman Needs to Know} is a month-long blog series devoted to the disorder. Read stories of women who have traversed its stormy seas. Receive encouragement and be equipped for your own battle against the darkness. Garner understanding, bleeding empathy for afflicted loved ones.

 


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