As I look back on my life and the things that could have led me to my depression I see a few things–sexual abuse, weight gain during college, years of unknown reasons for being sick, a hard first ministry assignment. I don’t know if any one of those things was the culprit, all I know is I have struggled with depression for many years. There was a point in my life (mainly during college) when I denied the fact that I was depressed. When I filled out medical history forms at doctor offices and the question about depression was there I’d always check “no.” However, I knew I was lying, but I don’t think I was ready to admit it to myself and others yet. At some point I finally admitted it to myself, and I had to ask myself, how did I get here? How did I, a happy, cheerful person, get to a point of depression in my life? I mean, I’m a Christian. I live my life for the Lord. I was active in church, led a women’s ministry at church, had daily quiet time with God. How on earth was I finding myself truly and utterly depressed? I remember going to the doctor and talking to her about this and was prescribed an anti-depressant. I’ve been on that ever since. How did I get to this point?
There are days when I’m in the depths of depression when I still wonder why I’m here and how did I get here. There are times when my depression rears it’s ugly head, and I feel I become a different person. When I was going through intense counseling for the abuse I went through my depression hit an all time low.
What have I learned? I’ve learned that depression is real. It’s there. It’s not a matter of just putting on a smile and having a positive outlook. It exists, yes, even in a Christian. I’ve also learned that even in the times when I feel the most depressed God is still there. God is with me and loves me and is there to help me through it. Is it fun? No! Is it easy because God is there? No! But, it is doable. I know with God by my side I will be able to get out of this depressive state and will be able to move on. Sometimes this blows over in a day or two; sometimes it takes much longer.
My friend, know this: God loves you. You do not have to suffer in this alone. God created you, knows everything you’re dealing with and loves you just the same. What an awesome promise that is! Hold on to his hand and don’t let go. I leave you with this verse. It’s from the book of Isaiah and has been a source of comfort to me many, many times. “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand, and who says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’ ” Isaiah 41:13.