A Season of Black
I studied the name etched on the door’s plaque. Richard Edson, M.D. Christian Psychiatrist. I slouched in shame as I entered his office. “Whatever led me to this, seeing a psychiatrist?” I thought.
My heart sank and tears filled my eyes as recalled the devastating reason - hospitalization at Kingswood Psychiatric Hospital for post-partem depression. The joy of giving birth to my cherished son was destroyed by the tragedy of my breakdown.
Jacob was only four months old when the incident occurred. My spirits were sky high at his birth, but afterwards I began sinking. My mood changed; I was bitter and angry all the time. My energy was depleted, and I had to push myself to cook and clean. The care of my newborn son and six year-old daughter overwhelmed me.
Everything bored me. I’d surf television channels constantly and never found a program to my satisfaction. Ennui was my calling card.
My habits changed. I hardly slept at night and little in the daytime. Although I normally had a voracious appetite, I just nibbled on crackers throughout the day. I picked up my old smoking habit and smoked and drank coffee instead of eating. I lost weight, but even that didn’t please me.
My favorite hobbies, reading and writing, didn’t interest me either. I’d read a few pages and put the book down. As for writing, my concentration was like a five-year-old schoolboy’s. I could barely write one sentence.
Hormones, stress, and fatigue altered my brain’s chemistry, which caused me to cry all the time. The world was closing in on me, and everything was black.
Mom, Dad, and my husband, Bill, noticed the change in my behavior but denied it. After I made a certain phone call to Mom, she realized I was very sick. I was incoherent and ranting about the Lord’s return. Grief-stricken, they admitted me to Kingswood.
I raved and screamed, yet they forced me to enter. I was so confused that I signed myself in as Annie Elvis Easton. After a few days of medication, sleep, and food I began to feel alive. I awoke from my black coffin of despair.
I missed my family and children so desperately that tears soaked my pillow at night. Finally, after two weeks of “incarceration” I was released on the terms that I would see
a psychiatrist for medication and therapy.
“Annie Easton,” the receptionist called as she work me from my reverie. Trembling, I walked into Dr. Edson’s room. He sat at a big intimidating mahogany desk. Confidence swaddled him like an expensive silk suit. His blue eyes sparkled through dark rimmed glasses, and his smile displayed perfectly aligned white teeth. With sparse white hair and a ruddy complexion, he looked more like an aging movie star than a psychiatrist.
“Relax, Annie, relax,” were his welcoming words. “I’m here to help not harm you. And, I’m not going to send you to the hospital again.”
“Okay,” I said as I muffled a sob.
“Let’s see. You’re on several medications for a mood disorder. How have you been sleeping and eating?”
“Good,” I said reluctantly.
“Well, let’s get down to business. You confess to being a Christian, and you know the Lord loves you. He also has a plan for your life. What do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?”
“I like to read and write.”
He opened his desk drawer and searched. His smile beamed as he presented a book, his own self-published novel, The Divine Designer.
While I studied the book, he said, “I love to write, too. Besides medicine, it’s my passion. What do you write?”
“Mostly poems. Some short stories.”
“Have you ever had any work published?”
“Yeah!” I said. He was slowly gaining my trust. “I’ve had two romance stories published.”
“That’s wonderful! Do you get satisfaction from writing? I do. It’s the only thing that keeps me from going crazy.” And, we both laughed.
“I’m certain God has given you a beautiful gift. Using it will bring you peace and pleasure.”
“I see. I’ll just have to make time for writing, and that’s hard to do with two kids.”
“Well, don’t wait for inspiration; it takes perspiration, too.” We laughed again.
“What a beautiful smile,” he said as he wrote my prescription. You have a wonderful life ahead of you.”
And, I smiled.
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