There was a young girl whose world suddenly fell apart when she was a teenager. Her dad, whom she was very close to growing up, decided to leave the family. He didn’t want to be married to her mother any longer. Because her mom couldn’t afford the mortgage, they had no choice but to move out of the house and sell it before they lost it. It was the only house she had ever really known. She was only four years old when they first moved in. They scrambled to find a place to live close by so that she could finish out her last couple of years of high school with her class. People they didn’t know were helping them move, so things got lost (probably stolen) and some things that had no value to the strangers who were helping (like family and childhood memories), probably got trashed. It was one of the scariest and saddest moments of her life. She already had low self-esteem from being an overweight kid. We all know how cruel kids can be to each other. But after her dad left her, she felt abandoned and unloved. Things gradually went downhill from there. Sure her mom loved her dearly, she was thankful for that, but her daddy just up and left like she was nothing. Of course as an adult she knows now that it wasn’t as simple as that, but that’s sure what it felt like for her at the time.
Soon after they were all moved into a small rented condo, she’ll never forget the day a relative had said to her: “Take care of your mother.” She didn’t say it, but she thought to herself: “Take care of Mom? But I’m just a kid, what about me? I’m scared. Why doesn’t my dad love me anymore? Why did he leave us like this? Why is this happening?” She always felt scared in her new surroundings. The condo units were all upstairs and the bottom portions were carports. There was one evening that someone lit one of the vehicles on fire across the way. It wasn’t a large complex so it was pretty close. It was completely engulfed in flames and there was a young couple with a small child who lived directly above it. It was horrifying to see. She’ll never forget the fear she felt for that family as well as for herself and her mom in such a strange and unsecured place. She was helpless. She felt hopeless. There were many sleepless nights in that place. She had to grow up very quickly to help pay rent and bills. That was the beginning of a lifetime of depression for this girl which eventually turned into heavy drinking as an adult to help ease her emotional pain.
I guess from previous posts anybody can figure out that this story is about me. Not sure why I’m sharing it in this manner, I just had it on my heart for some reason. Depression can sure be difficult to understand. As someone who was severely depressed for a very long time, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to fully understand it myself. I’m sure not having the Lord in my life at that time was a big reason for it. But there are people who do have the Lord in their life and still suffer from it. If it’s hard for someone like me to understand, then it must be impossible for people who have never experienced it first-hand to understand it. Maybe something I share in this post will help someone cope better with it. Maybe it’ll give someone out there some hope.
I can only speak from my own experience of course, but I think when people don’t know what to say in difficult life-changing situations, I believe those are the times that it is best not to say anything at all. I think it’s a good time to try to share God with them if they don’t know Him, but most times it’s a good idea to just be there quietly for them. Sometimes being there quietly means more than any words anyone can think of saying.
Some people might suggest counseling. I attempted to get counseling one time in my twenties and it was a horrible experience. I never went back. I never thought of looking for a Christian counselor…I think that would have helped. Looking back now, I wish I would have had ANY godly person in my life teaching me to reach out to God for help during such a scary time. It was years before I ever heard the words “God loves you, you are the apple of His eye” or “There is hope in Jesus.” Maybe what might have helped me back then would have been having someone to talk to about how I was truly feeling inside without worrying that I’ll be judged, or worrying about the person trying to give advice I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t have anybody at all that I felt I could open up to and I definitely didn’t have God because I didn’t ever get to know Him when I was young. I didn’t know anybody who knew Him.
What I experienced in my darkest days of depression was that sometimes people felt they needed to say something to try to make me feel better. Their hearts were in the right place, but just coming up with something to say doesn’t help. Most times, we don’t want someone to give advice or to say anything, we just want someone to listen with a sincere heart and just be there making it a safe place to share our troubles. It’s good to get things out so we’re not letting negative things build up inside of us. That’s what happened to me and that is a dangerous place to be. I grew tired of living and was tormented by thoughts of suicide. Sometimes we just need a hug, maybe even a shoulder to cry on. For me, I know it would have helped to have someone to just listen and love me anyway–I didn’t want feedback. When we are deeply depressed and walking in darkness, having people tell us things about why we shouldn’t be depressed is not going to be helpful, it’s especially not helpful to hear about it from people who don’t know what the depression is like. It just makes the person feel worse and even more worthless so they end up keeping it all inside. What we need is God and only God. If someone could have pointed me in that direction, that would have been a good start for me. Well, it was a good start for me, but it took two decades before it happened–better late than never. I am extremely thankful. We need to also remember that sometimes God uses doctors and medication to help us. We need to remember that He heals different people in different ways. Bottom line is we can’t get through this without the Lord’s help.
I’ll be honest and say that I occasionally still feel like I’m battling with sadness. Thankfully, it’s nothing like before. When I feel it coming on, I reach for the Lord to help me. I reach out in gratitude. I pray and I praise Him even when it seems hard to do, but I do it. I trust Him to carry me through and He does. I am blessed with so many godly people in my life now who help me stay connected to Him. God does His part, but I’ve got to make sure that I keep doing my part. He’s not a genie in the sky. I don’t sit here doing nothing expecting Him to make it all better. I am determined to never go back to the devil’s pit and I do everything I can to make sure that never happens again.
Well, I can’t go back in time and change my story. Honestly, after everything that God has done, I wouldn’t want to. He is now using it all for His good purpose. My life is challenging, but very exciting. I am honored and super blessed by what He is doing in and through me to help others.
I’m praying for those who suffer from depression as well as for those who are watching loved ones suffer from it. All I can say is to keep reaching out to God for help. Trust Him to carry you through and NEVER give up. Remember that it is His will, His way, His time. Be encouraged. If I can overcome depression and drinking with Jesus’ help, then so can you. Imagine the great things He will do in and through you! Keep seeking Him friends, He’ll meet you right where you are. If you follow my lead and keep on keeping on no matter what, you will be absolutely amazed at what He does in your life and I hope you will share it with others!
God bless. ♥