A Season Of Depression
I struggled with depression from junior year of high school up until half way through sophomore year in college. I never told anyone and I’ve always been bubbly around people so it was easy to hide without even trying.
I want to point out that I have never been clinically diagnosed with depression or have attempted to harm myself. I know everyone goes through rough seasons and so many have suffered much more than me.
I don't want this to be taken as a pity post (honestly, I’m totally fine now!).This is just my experience and perspective on the issue and in no way do I intend to generalize or speak for others who have gone through depression.
My depression started out due to some difficult circumstances. Some of which were completely out of my control, others were a result of my stubbornness. But even when life got better I would still have a constant emotional battle in my head.
There were many nights that I would drive around and cry out loud to God – part of me hoping I’d get into a freak accident so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the emotional pain anymore.
Although I am thrilled to be on the other side, I am thankful that God used my depression to draw me closer to Himself. I think we give satan too much credit sometimes. Whether this was an attack from the devil or an imbalance of chemicals in my brain mixed with a set of circumstances, I don’t really know. However, I do know that God was sovereign over it and allowed it to happen for a reason. We should never assume hardships to be purely satan’s doing because it is often God putting us through the fire to refine our souls.
Now that I’m done with that tangent, let me share with you some of the valuable lessons I learned through being depressed.
Your circumstances are not a result of your performance. Even though I have always believed that salvation is through faith alone in Jesus alone, I began to live a works-based life. I was constantly walking on eggshells, afraid that I would displease God and suffer the consequences. Just because someone is depressed doesn't mean God is punishing them.
It is possible to become addicted to emotional pain like it is to be addicted to physical pain. So much of what I went through towards the end was due to me not knowing how to live not-depressed. I lived as though God would love me more if I were in more pain, so I kept myself in a state of depression without realizing it.
God answers prayers, but not always immediately or in the way we expect. I prayed daily that God would cleanse me of anything in my life that displeased Him and that He would change my desires to match His. I asked that He would take away the mental battle. I didn't understand why my depression wouldn't go away and thought there was something wrong with me. This brings me to probably the most important lesson learned through this season.
IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY. After learning these tough lessons and I had been walking in closer obedience to Christ, there was still some lingering depression. I was still sad and didn't know why. But hear me out, I still had joy. You can be sad and hurting and lonely, yet still have joy and peace in knowing that your identity and eternity are with Christ. What a blessing it was to finally realize that it was okay for me to not feel okay and that I could rest in Christ through my sorrow.
God commands His children to be filled with joy and thanksgiving, not to be happy. Happiness is a feeling and joy is a gift that transcends emotions. It is a choice whether or not we will accept the gift of joy that Jesus paid for on the cross and it is one that can be made no matter our circumstances.
Thankfully, I am no longer in a season of depression and these past 8 months have been some of the most enjoyable months I can remember, but that doesn’t mean that all my struggles are gone.
For every believer, we have a daily battle to put on the armor of God and live for Him no matter our circumstances. God’s love for us is not dependent on how we feel (thank you Jesus!) and the battle for holiness is just as prevalent whether we are happy or sad.
Mental sickness is a result of a fallen and sinful world just like physical sickness. Having a relationship with Christ does not mean all of our physical or mental pain will be healed, and that is okay. This is not our home, God never promised life would be easy, and salvation is not based on how you feel. Rest in knowing that God loves you despite your emotions.