May 30, 2015
Depression is a war. A lifelong war. Defeat it one day, one moment at a time. Memorize a verse that speaks to you and say it in the morning as a mantra, read it before you go to bed, and anytime sadness and gloom begin to overwhelm you remind yourself of His promises. God is with you and wants to comfort you.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8
O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. Isaiah 33:2
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. Isaiah 12:2
This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b
But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Nehemiah 9:17b
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. Psalm 62:1
The LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. Psalm 94:22
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live… on what God said he would do. Romans 4:18
Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart. Isaiah 7:4
The LORD sets prisoners free. Psalm 146:7
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God! Psalm 42:11
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
“The LORD will not abandon His people.” 1 Samuel 12:22
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21
Depression is something I have struggled with practically all my life.
The first time I remember feeling sad and alone all the time was when I was in high school. It was shortly after my best friend (since birth) decided she didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. This was probably the trigger for my depression.
Two things led me to know that I was depressed. One was knowing that I have a family history that included depression. The second thing was when she came into my room one evening, on a school night. She was frustrated with my behavior. (I was laying on the floor of my room in the dark.) She sat on my bed, looking down on me and told me she didn’t know what she was supposed to do but that she thought I was depressed or something. Unfortunately this wasn’t said in a loving tone but more of an accusation and plea to “snap out of it.” I was ashamed and embarrassed. But, that night, as I lay there crying, I put the remark together with the information on my family history and I thought “she’s right. That’s what this is: I’m depressed.”
I knew in my heart and head that I was depressed but that didn’t help me to know what to do. How do you pull yourself out of depression? How do you get help when you are only a child. An adolescent going through enough changes that admitting to a mental problem would bring more shame, embarrassment, and not to mention attention. So, I did nothing. I told no one and I lived with my depression for over 2 years.
Despite living with depression for over two years, there were times when I was happy. I had friends that I had good times with. Sports and working out were huge outlets. But my depression did not go away until I went away to college.
College took me away from home. Away from all the people in my childhood. Away from heartache. It would take me to new friends, new places, new adventures, and of course new boys. I believe that with the excitement of college and the physical and mental change in my life my depression went away.
For the first time in years I was happy and looked forward to things. I enjoyed spending time with people and they enjoyed me. But the thing about depression is that it is always there, lingering. Waiting for a way back in. Mine found a way back in during my senior year when I had roommate issues. Long story short: I was again pulled out of my depression when I moved to Charlotte with my boyfriend. The change of scenery, it seems, once again saved me.
In Charlotte I became engaged and began a new life. Within a year we were married. In another year I began a 3.5 year masters program. The next year I had my first child, a daughter. I was living my dream: husband, house, dog, baby, pursuing a career as a therapist. I could hardly remember being depressed. Then, I got pregnant again.
When I found out the news my daughter wasn’t even a year old. I was still breast feeding. I was about to enter my final and most challenging year of grad school. Also, after my husband and I decided having another baby right now wasn’t something we wanted I had been on birth control. So this was more than a surprise, it was shocking and stressful.
Another long story short: after giving birth to my son I had a mix of feeling from wanting company to needing isolation to bring so frustrated with my children. There were times I loved cuddling my son to times when I had to put him in safely in his crib and sit outside alone for 15 minutes. After talking to a friend I finally realized that I was probably suffering from postpartum.
My experience with postpartum may not have been as severe as others and again, I had been through these dark cloudy times before so I knew they would end eventually. That being said, the first three months of my sons life I spent at least part of every day crying, eating too much or too little, staying isolated, and hiding my pain. I was already in counseling and decided to get on medicine as well. This helped leaps and bounds but there was one part of the day still giving me trouble: the morning. That is when I first memorized a scripture and would say it again and again, either in my head or out loud until I had enough strength to get out of bed. I used “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust on you. Show me the way I should go for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8
I wrote it down and got a nice screenshot to use as my background on my phone. Now no matter where I was I could look at my phone and beg the Lord for help.
I was on medicine for one year and have now been off for about 9 months and am doing well. I do have some down days but for now it isn’t depression, it is just a moment. I continually refer back to scripture to pull me through these moments. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” I trust what the word says and I trust that the word will be there for you too.
The Lord will not abandon you. He is abounding in love and will comfort you. Put your hope in Him.
Grace be with you.