Just yesterday I Iearned of the death of a pastor, who took his own life. Obviously it is heartbreaking when any life is lost, but when someone takes their own life it makes it much more painful. It can be hard to understand how one can get to that point, unless you struggle with similar things. Depression and anxiety are nothing to mess around with. It impacts your life to the point of not wanting to get out of bed, or even function. For me, it has been something that I have had to learn how to deal with.
I’m not sure when it all started. I can remember times in college that I struggled with anxiety to the point of making myself feel sick, or getting heartburn. I started following Jesus when I was a freshman in college, but even then it was still present.
Fast forward to having my first child. It was a huge life change in itself, but I remember I struggled with so many emotions. I knew I loved my child, but it didn’t feel like it. I struggled to like him most days. I called my doctor’s office and told them how I was feeling. They made sure I wasn’t going to harm myself or the baby in any way, and prescribed me an anti-depressant. The truth is, I never took it. I couldn’t get myself to do it. I thought it was somehow admitting that I was crazy.
After my first round of post-partum depression, I began to realize it wasn’t just something I struggled with after having kids, but it had been part of my life even earlier. I tried my best to be a good mom, but it was hard to do that with this sense of hopelessness, and not really knowing what was wrong.
When I was pregnant with my 3rd child, I was so fed up that I knew I needed to do something. I was in a class one night with a bunch of other pregnant ladies, and we were listening to a psychologist tell us about what to expect emotionally after having a baby. Raising my hand to ask a question, I wanted to know about anti-depressants. She gave me an explanation about how they work, and how they might help me. I didn’t want to let how I felt control me anymore. I talked to my doctor, and started taking them as soon as I could. I wanted to take care of myself and my emotional rollercoaster so I could parent well. I am so thankful that I did.
Medication can’t fix everything, but I finally felt like I was at a level playing field. Not that my depression completely went away, but I could function on a normal level.
For a long time, I didn’t want to share or admit what I was going on with me. I felt ashamed, and I didn’t want to show my weaknesses. I was afraid of what others might think. Was I a bad Christian? But over time, Jesus began to do a work in me. He began to show me that it was okay that I struggled with depression, and that he loved me unconditionally. I began to understand that I could be real with Jesus, and tell him how I was doing. And that I was not alone, there were others who went through the same thing. Jesus is bigger than my depression, and it doesn’t define me, he does. Medication definitely doesn’t replace Jesus, but it has helped me rise above how I feel and cling even tighter to him. He has met me in some of my darkest times, and given me the strength to get through it. I’ve grown closer to Jesus because I have had to rely on him, and not how I am feeling. I would have never gotten to where I am without him.
I do have times that I still struggle with my depression. It might be something that is with me for the rest of my life. I have mornings that I wake up, and don’t want to get out of bed. My thoughts sometimes might take me places I don’t want to go. I may feel sad and feel like crying, and not even know why. There are times when I don’t want to feel, because feeling anything seems like it will be too painful. But through it all, I have had to learn to cling to Jesus. He is my reason for living, and for everything. He is worth it.
I wanted to share my story because there might be someone that needs to hear it. You are not the only one who struggles. Please don’t try to do it alone. Share with someone else. See a counselor. Cry out to Jesus and ask him to help you. Your life is worth so much more than you even know.
Don’t give up. This world needs you. Get help. Tell someone. You are not alone. ❤️