Alessandra Ferguson: Overcoming PPD and PTSD
I would like to introduce you Alessandra Ferguson or Ally! She is a ministry wife, momma to 3 babies, and a true Encourager! She is a beautiful example of building community and walking in grace. This week, she shares her story of overcoming adversity in a way that many face. Her answer, trust Jesus!
I distinctly remember the day I suffered one of my first panic attacks. I was out shopping for our outfits for our fall family photos that weekend. I was kid free! This should have been the most relaxing day I had in a while, no kids, that’s huge right? Except it wasn’t. I remember walking through the mall feeling very overwhelmed, I felt dizzy, nauseated, and completely on edge.
I thought as a nursing mom, maybe I just needed to eat, so I went across the street to grab some food. As I sat down to eat it I felt like I was going to pass out. All I could think about was passing out, right there, alone. Would anyone notice? What would they do? What if I fell over right here? Should I tell someone to call the ambulance? Should I tell someone I felt like my heart was going to stop beating? I grabbed my food and ran out the door to sit in my car and try to gather myself. I called my husband crying. What was wrong with me? I felt so helpless.
Little did I know, I was suffering my first panic attack, and it wasn’t the last. Over the course of the next few months I began to face many more. I had no idea what was going on with my body. I felt so helpless. Six months later, nothing had changed. I thought a year after having my daughter, a little help from medicine, and things would be okay. I would get over it. I would be better. But it didn’t happen. So I picked up the phone and sent a text to a friend I knew who was a counselor and set up an appointment.
I needed help.
I was so anxious for my first appointment, I had no idea what to expect. I felt like something was wrong with me and I needed to be fixed, then everything would be okay. I walked in and laid out everything that was going on. I shared a bit about my past, I shared a bit about my present, and I answered a lot of questions. It’s there, that day that I walked in thinking I was suffering from Postpartum Anxiety and left discovering that not only was I suffering PPA, but that PPA was brought on by PTSD from childhood trauma and abuse.
Now, I’m a girl who loves explanations. Just knowing why something is happening, understanding the reason, makes me feel better. But this time, hearing this hurt. This felt crippling. This felt overwhelming. This felt heavy. This felt like something I couldn’t carry. This felt like something I would never get out of.
This was just the beginning of a journey that I would find myself fighting for the next year and a half.
Over the next year and a half I spent countless hours, days, months, digging into my past and realizing the way circumstances and events effected the way I viewed life today. I shed more tears than I ever shed before. I prayed harder than I ever have before. I’ve questioned why more than I ever have before. There have been many days where I felt like I couldn’t fight any longer. Many days that I felt like it hurt too much to fight through this. Many days I wished I had never started the fight and rather just ignored it.
It was so, so, so hard. There was a time I thought I would never get out of that present moment.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Phil 1:6
My story didn’t end there. My story didn’t begin there either. Every day, God has been working in my life to mold me and create in me the person that He has destined me to be. This messy part, this experience that impacted my life and changed me forever, is all a part of my story of God’s grace and hand in my life. It’s all a part of my life pointing back to Jesus. But even more than it being a testimony, it’s what took me deeper into an understanding of who God is. God didn’t want to leave me where I was. God wanted to take me deeper. God wanted me to experience Him more. God knew that there were things in my life, in my past, effecting the way I viewed Him. God cared so much about me that He didn’t want to leave me there. God wanted to break down the walls that restricted the way I viewed Him and take me deeper. He wanted to bring truth where there once were lies. He wanted to bring freedom where there once was bondage.
This journey hasn’t been just about growing me, this journey has been about changing the way I looked at God. I didn’t even know what in my life was keeping me from really experiencing God for who He was. I didn’t even know what in my life was holding be back from truly experiencing freedom. I had no idea that the way I grew up effected the way I looked at so much before me. God wanted me to know how deep His love really is for me. God wanted me to know how much His freedom could impact my life. God wanted me to know He was not finished with me. He never will be.
I am so thankful that God desires to take me deeper into knowing Him. That He doesn’t want to leave me in the middle of bondage, but that He truly wants me to experience freedom. He wants me to experience His vast love for me.
It’s just the beginning, my journey isn’t over yet....
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