I really never wanted to write about this topic because I had so many thoughts about how it would be perceived. I do find that I can talk about this in person with people all the time...but this is different. It entails me writing down my thoughts, my experiences. I am taking a step of faith here by writing my own story. Believe it or not that takes lot to be vulnerable with words on a page for people to read but here it goes. It doesn’t come easy to write about personal struggles. A part of you can feel like you're opening up something that can’t be closed again. However, I do feel this is necessary at this time and season. It is interesting to know how often this topic of depression gets ignored. I have had many conversations with people who struggle deeply with depression but the question is, WHY is this not talked about?
Do not allow your struggles to take you out.
Perhaps it was the same reason I haven’t written about it. Depression brings shame along with it and it makes you feel awful. We deserve to have a conversation about this right now. I remember being in a place where I have felt suicidal and it is a very dark place. You would only know if you’ve been there. Do not allow your struggles to take you out. The last thing I would want is for that depression to get so deep that it is so difficult to come back from.
So, here I am talking about my own struggles….
Growing up I experienced the struggle of depression first hand. I was so rejected as a child and I was under constant comparison with people around me. I was called Golda (fat/chunky). I was called the devil child. I knew I was different but I didn't think I was that different. I remember actually praying to the devil as a teenager because I thought he would accept me if everyone rejected me.It is the lowest I had ever felt. I was learning to accept this identity of constant rejection. I was heartbroken that the people who said they “loved” me would be treat this way.
Depression ran in my family and it is something I encountered a lot. I have a lot of memories of broken promises because of depression. A lot of darkness in many homes and a lot of tears to accompany them. That cloud in the commercial is nothing compared to a home filled with such a heaviness. It feels more like a hurricane!
I recently had a bad day! At some point, I was convinced “this is life”. Yes, life hurts and I can’t do anything about it. That feeling of hopelessness overwhelmed me. I could have chosen to waste the day and stay home and just sit in my mood. Instead, I chose to cry it out, pray it out and then I left the house. I purposed to do something outside of my home. I often have to remind myself that my bad days are a temporary moment and they don’t define me. Remember, even if you have a bad day you can grow to a place where those moments won’t be as frequent as they used to be.
See, I came into my own battle of depression as an adult. It was then when I realized it was always there waiting for me. It seem as a teenager many disappointments really changed my outlook in life. All it took was a series of events and there it was, depression full grown! My intitial thought was “ it is what it is “ & “ this is who I am” and I can’t change “it”.
I realized that this curse was mine and I just had to accept it. Crying in my bedroom & bathroom floor, the shower, in the car, and in the bathroom at work. It didn’t end. I was depressed. I was dark. I was broken. How could this be life? Is this Normal? I knew I needed help when I couldn't get up for work. I knew I needed help when I didn’t want to eat. I knew I needed help when I wanted to drive my car into a wall. I was suicidal and I knew I needed to reach out for help or else I wouldn’t come back from it.
I was suicidal and I knew I needed to reach out for help or else I wouldn’t come back from it.
I reached out to a doctor friend that I knew and he helped me right away. He wanted to admit me into Phil Haven (Mental Hospital) if I didn’t do as he instructed. That afternoon he prayed with me. I told him I don’t want to go, so he said it was fine as long as I went to a doctor visit the next day. So I did.
At that doctor's office I sat ashamed but I needed to just feel better. I started a long process of healing that very day. I chose to do something about it but it was a scary thing to do alone. See, I knew this was my battle to fight, no one else could do it for me. Some people say just snap out of it, but in my case something broke in me - I was considered “Clinically Depressed”. If you think this about people who struggle with depression - please don’t. It is a struggle to reframe your thinking and to work through hurts in life. The reality is once you do that’s where you find true healing. The work is necessary.
As I started to go to my doctor and counselings visits I realized so many things that built up over the years. All the hurt and pain from rejection. It really did affect me! To think about this when raising a child is super important and I truly can't say this enough. Be watchful with how you claim things over your kids, the names you call them and how you associate them with things. It can hinder them. Make sure your tongue is covered with nothing but love for them.
James 3:4-5 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
I began to really dig deep with the people around me. I began to realize recent events triggered all of this. I felt so off and its like I knew deep down this was bound to happen to me. I remember one afternoon I was just so sad at what was happening to me that I cried out to Jesus. In my little bedroom I pleaded with The Holy Spirit. I then received a vision, and I saw myself floating in what seemed to be a doctors office and I saw that I was getting a blood transfusion. I was not scared at all I was at peace. I was being cleaned out and refreshed at the same time. I knew this is where I was spiritually and emotionally speaking. I was being cared for by a community - in a spiritual Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and I was right where I needed to be.
Unfortunately, friends that I thought would be around left but my church family was the most supportive ever. I had key people I talked to that helped me from week to week. Slowly, as each month passed I literally felt stronger and more courageous. I felt more appreciative for everything in life. I spent 9 months taking medication to help me overcome this dark place. I myself, refused to take medicine for the rest of my life. Yes, Jesus can use medicine too but I knew it would help me for the moment. It was only for that time in my life. Remember, do what is necessary for you, just know depression can be conquered and medicine is just a temporary fix. There is no shame in medicine unless you are using it as a permanent crutch to not face reality. Please, if you remember anything from today - HEAL. My healing came from Jesus and my relationship with Him is what changed my life.
I met Him in a different way!
See, as a christian I found I was missing something essential. My identity was not found in Jesus Christ. I found my identity in what I did and I believed in turn people would love me then. The truth is I didn’t need to sing one more song for God to love me more. I didn't NEED to do ministry. Any ministry I did do would only came out of my LOVE FOR HIM. I learned people pleasing was a great IDOL in my life. I had to take a long time to think about WHY and WHO I was doing things for. I realized then I no longer needed to be accepted by man. I needed to just REST IN MY ACCEPTANCE (that's a word).
I am perfectly loved and I don’t have to do anything to be loved any more than I already am. I feel like I could write so much about this area!
I started to really rest in His promises and I was slowly being set free by THE TRUTH!
At each session I would repent, confess and pray. One of the things I was trained to do was to pray using the WORD OF GOD. As I began to read in each session The WORD became so alive to me! The words leaped off the pages as I clung to them. I started to really rest in His promises and I was slowly being set free by THE TRUTH! God met me at each visit. My relationship with God changed after this season of my life. It became stronger than ever before.
Here are a few verses that helped me in my journey.
25 Anxiety weighs down the heart of a man, but a good word cheers it up.
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the LORD your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.12 Do not let sin control the way you live; a do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
Ephesians 2:8-10 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
At this time in my life, I am not going to lie to you to tell old feelings don’t come up. In fact, when they do I know where to run. I will cling to God and His Word. I will Worship my heart out. Do I have really dark days? I do but they are very infrequent. It has to be a really heavy trial I'm facing to get me to that place. Overall, I have begun seeing the things that can lead me "there" so I know when I need to get with God. I have to be real with myself and others around me. I will tell on myself and I know the safe people to go to in those moments. Sometimes I know when I just need to forgive someone. It takes work buy one thing is true and I tell people this all the time-You gotta know you. Know what you can handle and what you can't. I know nothing will take me to a place I don't want to go to, OK! The only person you can control is you.
Remember if things are not dealt with they continually come up so it’s our job to deal with them. What are you going to do today to move from your hurt? I encourage you today to make a step towards your healing, make a step towards emotional growth so that you can have true peace. We can all dwell, but why waste time.... GO LIVE YOUR LIFE!
My Top 7 Tips to Deal with Depression:
1) Accountability: It is important to have support from loved ones so that they can hold you accountable in this area. Tell them to check in on you every now and again. In addition, they can cheer you on when you reach you goals.
2) Safe Place: Make sure to find safe places where you can share things emotionally. Talking with someone you trust is significant .
3) Counseling: It is so important! I can’t stress this enough! Yes, you have friends and your spouses you can talk to but, you need a neutral view on things if you want to WORK ON YOU! I recommend biblical counselors/therapists.
4) Be Intentional: Do things that make you happy on purpose! Take the walk, go to the beach, read that book and watch that movie! Make sure to stay actively pursing these moments to enjoy your life! It will keep you grateful in life!
5) Community: Get with friends! Have good quality time with people who mean a lot to you! Cherish the people in your life and take advantage of them while they are still on this earth!
6) Be Creative: Play an instrument, Draw, Paint, Write, Sing, Journal. All of these things have helped me in my battle with depression. We have to do things on PURPOSE!
7) Be Vigilante: Be aware of those "things" that can really do a number on you. Be aware of your weaknesses. Remember you can only control YOU. Do not put yourself in a place to be compromised.
And I end with this..... YOU CAN DO THIS!!! YOU GOT THIS!!! Will it be hard, ofcourse but so what! What's not hard in life? GO and CONQUER! You WILL OVERCOME. YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT! I can’t wait for you to share your story with me. You will live to talk about how you made it through! HEAL, PEOPLE! AND NEVER STOP GROWING!!!
Joshua 1:7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Share with people to encourage them today!
- Shanyse Nicole