It was only a few years ago, that I first found myself in in the strange place the doctor labeled depression. My family and I had been in some long term, wearing circumstances, that eventually overwhelmed me mentally and emotionally. Up until then, I had been a fairly upbeat, people loving, extroverted, person. I had experienced “down days”, but they were nothing compared to the place I found myself in. I had shut down! I was in tears most of the time, unable to parent or be a wife, and could not walk out the front door without overwhelming anxiety. Eating became something I did to survive, as I had no appetite.
Depression is complicated, and the way it is experienced can vary from one person to another. God is continuing to guide and teach me, while he reminds me of truths that never change.
6 Things God Is Teaching Me Through Depression:
- Because sin entered the world, all of creation is under a curse–all creation groans. (Romans 8:22) We all will struggle physically, emotionally and spiritually. Because of the way God made my body, it sends me warning signals to tell me that something needs to change, or that I need help. When a person experiences depression or anxiety, it is their brain and emotions way of telling them that something isn’t right.
- When I began my journey with depression, a godly counselor encouraged me to evaluate the big picture of who I am (mental/emotional, physical, and spiritual). He helped me sift through my circumstances to see if there is a need for change in some way, suggested that I visit a doctor to find out if there is something physical that is causing the depression, and reminded me of the reality of the spiritual battle we face.
- God regularly reminds me that He understands what I am going through (Hebrews 4:12). His Word tells me that His Son went through hard times emotionally. There were times that He was distressed, grieved, faced loneliness, experienced deep sorrow, and after the death of John, He went into isolation (Matthew 14:13). He cried in prayer (Hebrews 5:7-9), and at times he was overwhelmingly sad (Isaiah 53:3). There was even a time that he was afraid his body would not survive the anguish he felt. (Matthew 26:38)
- There are some very good doctors who understand depression. At the beginning of my journey with depression and anxiety, I began praying that God would lead me to the right source for help, and am under the care of a good doctor who was able to evaluate my situation and offer suggestions as to what might be helpful. God has also provided a few people who walk with me, and help bear my burden. (Galatians 6:2 ; Ecclesiastes 4:9)
- God reminds me that He never changes, even when everything around me is changing. (Hebrews 13:8) He is my stability. (Isaiah 33:6) When it feels like Satan is whipping me around, He has led me to the help I have needed, has sustained me, protected me, and enabled me to stand. (1 John 4:4; Psalm 28:7)
- God provides the grace that I need to get through all forms of suffering. (Hebrews 4:16) He uses physical and emotional suffering to cause me to go deeper in my relationship with Himself. He has allowed my weakness to manifest itself in the form of depression and anxiety, so that He can work more of His image into my life. (Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:19) God has enlarged my heart that I might love and obey Him, and love others more deeply. (Psalm 119:32; Galatians 6:2; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
What began only a few years ago is still a mystery to me. Since that time, depression and anxiety have been my off and on companions. It is not something I would have chosen, but God has used it to transform my life, and I am learning to embrace my weakness as something that was gifted to me by a loving Savior, for His glory and my good. I am so grateful for all He is doing through my experience with depression.