I want to tell you about my experience with depression, why I think God allows some of us to experience it in our lives, and how we can have hope in the midst of it.
I am not a doctor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. I am simply one who has experienced depression first-hand. I am, in fact, one, who, with God’s help, has learned from the experience.
Symptoms and Causes
To some people depression is a time of feeling low and discouraged. While this is an accurate description, it doesn’t necessarily describe all the other feelings that can be part of depression. I will share with you what my experience was:
- You feel desperate and that you are losing control of your life.
- It is a space filled with darkness, fear, despair and panic.
- Your thought world profoundly impacts your physical life.
- You feel as if time is racing or you are moving in slow motion.
- Your world and activities appear insurmountable and life can feel like a pit.
- There are overwhelming feelings of isolation and you feel disconnected from others.
- You feel trapped with no way to escape.
- You hate yourself for feeling like this and feel tremendous shame and guilt.
What causes depression?
Medical practitioners could give you reasons why this occurs, but I will share from my own experience and from the experiences of those who have shared their struggles with me. It seems that depression is often triggered by trauma in our lives. It could be emotional, mental, social, physical or a combination of any of these factors. Continue…
My story begins with lost memories. There is a period of approximately three years between the ages of five and eight that I have no recollection of my life as a child. I associate tremendous shame with this period of time. I know there were many significant events that occurred during this period, but I can’t remember starting school, welcoming my baby brother or moving from Saskatchewan to British Columbia.
I was an outgoing child and the object of much attention from family, friends and even strangers. What I experienced as a young girl was having my hair shaved off my head just before starting school. This was done to me in the hope that my hair would grow back thicker. It had a traumatic and lasting effect on me. I immediately changed from being the center of positive attention to being the object of scorn and ridicule. This was the beginning of my entrance into a world of darkness.
I can remember my mother talking to a doctor about giving me “nerve pills” when I was a pre teen. As a teenager, I experienced the repeated rejection of a close friend and soon began to experience the torment that depression can bring.
As a young mother, I fell into a deep post-partum depression. This experience was the most painful. Attacks of depression continued over the next seven years. They would vary in length with the longest period lasting for nine months. I lived in a very isolated area of north-central British Columbia and rarely visited a doctor or talked with other people. One thing I continued to do though, was talk to God and cry out in my despair.
Need for God
You see, I am a Christian. I had recognized at a very early age my need for God and His deep love for me. Now, years later, I was in the pit of despair, crying out to a God that I felt had abandoned me. I thought Christians shouldn’t be depressed and my husband and friends couldn’t understand what was wrong with me.
Their comments pushed me to a place of deeper despair. Again, I called out to God for help. Where was He? Had I so disappointed Him that He would not hear me? When I felt most tormented I would read my Bible looking for relief and comfort.
In the following passages of the Bible God spoke to me: Continue…