Tale of Courage; Overcoming Trauma and Depression

If God loves us why do we suffer? This must have been the question ringing over and over in Mary’s mind when she lost the people she cared about one after another.

Mary was living a normal life. She had a home, a husband and best of all she was expecting a child. What more could she ask for? She was doing well in life.

One dreadful night

One night however, her life took a turn, and for the worst. Mary and her husband had come home in the evening. As the norm, they had supper, watched a bit of news and said their evening prayers before going to bed. This however, was not meant to be a normal night. Something woke them from their sleep in the middle of the night. They heard some commotion. Judging from the proximity of the movement they could tell that whatever was moving was inside the house and not outside.

Her husband, being the protector, offered to go and see what was happening. Before he could leave the room, a group of thugs barged in and shot him several times. Mary was left in a state of shock and confusion.

She recounts how her first loss happened.

“We were invaded by thugs in our bedroom as we slept. It was about 2:00 am and I was expectant and due in two weeks. My husband awoke in shock when he heard movements in our bedroom and he was sprayed with bullets. I was so afraid and shocked I couldn’t even utter a word. I was rushed to hospital because I went into labor where I gave birth to our first born son.” Said Mary.

After being discharged from Hospital, Mary had to come to terms with the fact that she no longer had her husband by her side. She also realized that she would have to raise her son as a single mother. So she made the effort to provide for her son.

“I had to fend for my son and I relocated from Nairobi to Kisumu where I worked for some time.”

At this point she had started getting used to being a single mother. She finally had things under control and was confident that she could face life. Then, without warning, another dreaded event occurred in her life –her only son developed health complications and passed on when he was only 14 months old.

Sank into Depression

Going through all these things as a human being would leave you dejected. That is exactly how Mary felt at this point. All the excitement she once had about having her own family was cut off by her son’s last breath. She could not understand why this was happening to her. Guilt and anger clouded her mind because she thought that all this might have been her fault. That if she had done things differently then she would still have her husband and child with her, together, as one happy family. The more she thought about this the more she sank into depression.

Journey with depression

Mary’s life became unbearable for her. Sometimes she had flashes of memory, seeing what had happened that night and 14 months after. She often wished she could travel back in time and undo what had happened. If only she had locked the door and let the thieves get away with anything but the life of her beloved husband. Maybe, just maybe her child would also still be alive.

Other times she struggled to remember things. What her life was like, the recipe to her favorite dish and even her phone’s password. To her, staying alive had become a burden. She wanted to die.

‘My life changed, I felt alone and I felt suicidal.’

Overcoming depression

Her salvation came just at the right moment. One weekend when Mary was listening to the radio, she heard about the Trauma Healing programme run by Bible Society of Kenya. At first she was skeptical. She did not understand how speaking to someone would help her get over the pain and emptiness she felt. To her, there was only one way to get over her situation. Death

She thought about it over and over again until one day she decided to join the programme which was held in Nairobi in March for a week. Here she received a handbook and was taken through the 10 topics in the hand book which are if God loves us why do we suffer? How can the wounds of our hearts be healed? What happens when someone is grieving? Rape, HIV/ADS, domestic abuse, suicide, addictions, taking the pain to the Cross and forgiveness.

She also met people who had gone through equally or more traumatizing events in their lives during a Trauma Healing session held in Nairobi. She realized that she was not alone after all. That there were people who actually knew and understood what she was going through.

The more she talked about what happened, the less burdened she felt. After interacting with the trainers and participants of the programme, she finally had hope for the future

Mary learnt that it was better to find an outlet for the thoughts she had. She realized that during times like these it is best to seek counselling and talk about what you are going through. 

 “Through the programme I have been able to understand why I have been the way I have been. I realize it is as a result of the trauma and the complicated grief that I never understood and addressed. I am now in touch with myself and I will seek further psychological services so that the journey of healing that has begun will be completed successfully.”

Mary is now on the road to full recovery and happy to have taken part in the program.

If Mary could overcome the traumatizing events in her life then you too are capable of overcoming any tough thing you might be going through.

This post was published on Friday 26 July 2019