It has been a hot topic in the community that I work, serve, and live in.
I suffer from situational depression.
Excuse me while I give a raw look at my self and maybe someone out there knows the feeling…
I was 14 when I made friends with an older woman. She saw something in me. She gave of her time and would go walking with me almost every Saturday. Through the years, we became busy and the walks became infrequent and when I was around 18 I started therapy.
When I was in my early 20’s we started something new in therapy called EMDR. The best way my counselor described EMDR is like this:
EMDR is like looking at a train station. In the station, people get on and off the train and the the train continues on. When we have trauma in our lives it’s like the people or thoughts can’t “get off the train.” We are stuck at how we looked at things like we did at the time when the trauma happened. With EMDR it allows you to reprocess the thoughts, and allow those thoughts to get off the train and allow new ones on. You can then process them as an adult, and not as the child when the trauma happened to you. (I was a child when my trauma happened.)
I learned to think & talk to myself about truth. My therapist and I prayed before every session and if we started and forgot to pray, quickly one of us would realize it and would begin to pray. She often asked me if I was sure I was ready to face the past. I always said yes, with a lump in my throat.
Someone told me “You’re stronger than you think you are.” She was right. I have forgotten that girl that had to look into the depths of her past. I’m blessed that I only remember images and not who it was. I know that sounds weird. My therapist didn’t tell me until I was 25 (11 years of therapy basically) that I had responded to men the same way children who are molested respond. I was terrified of men. I never thought I would marry. I could not be alone with a man. It still to this day causes me to be awkward with men sometimes. But I had such healing by the time I was 25 that I have gotten married and have children and am completely in love with my sweet-heart, my gift of a husband God gave me.
I need to backtrack though, back to 18 when I had just graduated college. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t know that I was shutting down. I had no plan. I only knew I wanted to be involved in theatre. I live in a small town and there weren’t a lot of opportunities. It wasn’t until one of my friends (from when I was 14) and I began to talk that she pointed out I had all the symptoms of depression.
Now my temperament is melancholy. I come from a long line of meloncholies. But it didn’t help that I was molested at 4 years of age. My oldest daughter is turning 4 at the end of this year and I keep praying, “Jesus, please don’t let her experience the things I faced.”
For a long time I was scared of the “man in the dark.” I remember going on vacation and I would be in my cousin’s bed or at my grandmothers and I would think, “He can’t get me. When he finds the trail, I will be gone.” I remember being 9 years old and still saying those words while laying wide awake in my cousin’s bed. It was during the years of 18 to 25 that I discovered these facts.
I also discovered the sorrow of losing a close friend. October 2008. I can tell you where I was standing when I got the news. I can tell you about the phone call I made and begging to the voicemail that the news wasn’t true and pleading with my friend to call me. I can tell you I spent 3 days in bed. I can also tell you how I gasped with disbelief when I saw her casket or how I let out a very loud audible gasp and the entire congregation looked at me. I can tell you of the countless tears I shed. Around this same time I also learned I didn’t have a high view of myself and that my heart had been torn to shreds by lies and loss. There was a demon (so to speak) encased around my heart with his nails digging in deep. I remember the two-edged sword coming between this thing and my heart. Then Jesus used his sword to rip the demon off. He told me, “In time, this too shall heal.” He was right. I have had healing in that part of my life. Even now I think of my friend. Sometimes, at random moments, I think I see her or I’ll hear someone laugh like her. It’s the same with my mother-in-law who passed away December 2013 from cancer. I had gotten incredibly close to her. I think these are gifts (the laughs, the glimpses,mother memories) that Jesus uses to heal us and make us remember the good times.
I tell this whole story because yes, I have experienced healing in my life, but for me depression is the thorn in my flesh. I have to continually fight thoughts of people hating me, of hating myself, combatting things said in innocence when I was a child but effected me in dramatically crazy ways, putting unrealistic expectations on myself, etc.
As a mom now I deal with so much comparison, so much anger, so much INSECURITY. God’s word is my two-edged sword. Sometimes I allow God’s Word to heal those dark places and sometimes I fight against it and allow the darkness to envelop me. It’s a daily battle. I’m a tired mother of three little ones. My husband is in chronic pain almost every moment of his life and fighting depression as well. My mother-in-law who I became very close to two died December 2013. We have family issues with relatives. We serve at church. We have a lot going on!
I am not always able to get into the Word of God like I want. I feel convicted all the time. I try to remember this is only a season. Half the time I just cry out, “Jesus help!” because that’s the only thing I know to do. Everything we touch seems to turn to ash. It is really depressing when I start looking at where I’m at. There are so many issues and it seems my sins are ever before me. I know Jesus died for me. I believe in my head every word of scripture, but it’s getting it lodged in my heart. If I could for a moment just understand the true depth of my sin for and what I was saved from, I could see the realness of eternity.
To my sisters and brothers who are ever fighting as I am, you are not alone. Please remember to have someone you trust who you can share your heart with. We are called to lift one another up. I fight the most when I’m alone. We do not have a second vehicle right now and so the kids and I are stuck at home almost every day except Sunday. Sometimes I’m able to get out for an hour or two but it’s not often. We can not transport our entire family of five. I relish the times when friends say,”Hey, can I come over?” I grab on to that and I am probably more excited than I should be and say ,”Yes! please come!” I have found out that in serving and sharing life with others, it gets me out of my own problems. Sometimes I talk about my problems but I always appreciate when a gentle friend kindly leads me back to reality and what I have to be thankful for.
When I was pregnant with Anastasia, I had to start taking anti-depressants. I am chemically imbalanced and the anti-depressants allow me to get my head back in the game. It allows me to absorb the hormones I need instead of the depression absorbing the hormones into my body before I can use it. The medicine helps me fight against the depression. I have tried to get off of them but currently I cannot. That’s just where I am for now. I don’t think that they fix any problems but they take the edge off the drowning. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you look around and you can not get one thought straight. You can not even figure out how to clean. There are times when you can’t breathe because it’s almost like you are continually drowning. You are so exhausted that it’s hard to keep your eyes open.
I believe one day I will get this under control with the help of Jesus. Within the last couple of months I have started EMDR again and uncovering other things. I believe therapy is healing and it’s allowing me to get my thoughts straight. To see things like an adult instead of the trauma I faced. I highly recommend finding a good Christian therapist who is Bible-based. Until that day I believe that Jesus gave me the medicine to fight the good fight and the anti-depressants don’t make me any less of a Christian. Sometimes I think as Christians we feel like meds are the devil and we should be able to fight it with just Jesus. Yes, I believe that He is the one that heals but some of us need the help hormonally. We live in a fallen world. There are illnesses and there are problems we will face. Jesus never promised us prosperity or a flower garden (even if he did promise that, roses come with thorns). He promised pain and suffering just as He faced. My pain and suffering are nothing compared to the Son of God. If I could grasp that what a difference that would make.
Fellow sufferer, know that there can still be peace and love at the end of the road. That there are people who care. One such ministry is called Violent Hope. They also have a podcast up. I have thought of suicide before in my darkest moments. Just know that there is someone who wants to talk to you. Also, feel free to reach out to me. I know I didn’t cover a lot. There is so much to tell. I want you understand that it doesn’t make you less of person to call out for help. Please know reader that people do care. There is someone depending on you even though you don’t think so. You do matter. #alllivesmatter
Jesus is our greatest hope. He promised to never leave us or forsake us.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Recently, I was a guest on the Violent Hope podcast and I talked more about this subject. You can listen to the episode here.