I know what it’s like. I might not have experienced every single detail that you have, but I know what the circumstances are like. You wake up in the morning just like every other person, except you don’t feel like a person. You feel like it’s your duty to get out of bed because if you don’t you’ll get in trouble and just add to the chaos that is your life. Or the other peoples lives that you’re apart of, and you would hate to feel more like a burden than you already do. For me, my depression was hardest when I was in high school and the period after I had just graduated. I went to school, I went through my classes, and nobody knew I was depressed or anxious or constantly sick to my stomach. However, to me, I felt like I was wearing a shirt with bold print, “I don’t want to be here anymore.” I thought it was obvious, that’s why I never just came out and said anything. I had been dealing with it for so long, I thought everybody knew. I thought the paid professionals at my school would know when a student was having issues. I never blamed them though because I knew I was the core of my own problems. The overthinking and the isolation that I forced myself into. Nobody did that to me. I just never wanted to come to terms with it though. Then I go to church every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. I put on my happy face and I blended in with the rest of the crowd, but my mind raced at a million miles a minute. “What are they thinking about me? Did she just look at me? I hope I look okay.” Tonight, the Youth Pastor is speaking about anxiety and depression. Philippians 4:6 NIV, “Do not be anxious about anything…” My thoughts start racing again, “Is he talking about me? Do they know about me and is this their subtle way of addressing the situation?”
This was my life at every moment. Sometimes it was better though. Sometimes I would wake up and realize I was human and still had a life to live. Sometimes though, especially during the colder months, I simply gave up on myself and life itself. I saw no point in it or where I was or who I was. I had my mom call into the office every available sick day I could afford and then I stayed in my bed the majority of the day. That was my life in high school and it only got worse the more I tried to help myself. It’s like I was in a dark hole trying to pull my way back by scaling on the side of the dirt walls. But the more I tried to claw at the walls, the more the dirt gave way and making it impossible to ever be back in the sunlight. This was my life.
Depression Facts and Statistics
Have you ever felt depressed or anxious? The answer is probably yes. According to healthline.com, 6.7 percent of American adults have at least one major, not minor, episode of depression in a given year. That’s 16.2 million people in America. 16.2 MILLION people.
There are six major types of depression.
- Major Depressive Disorder.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder.
- Bipolar Disorder.
- Seasonal Depression.
- Postpartum Depression.
- Psychotic Depression.
One in seven women develop major postpartum depression. 5 percent of the U.S. population struggles with seasonal depression. Depression is most common in ages 18 to 25 year old persons, which is 10.9 percent of the U.S. population. Women are twice as likely to have a depressive episode.
However, while statistics are all fine and dandy, I want you to know that you are not just a statistic or a fact. That is why I started this post off with my own experience dealing with depression, I am not a statistic or another woman included in a poll, and neither are you.
You Are Not Alone
I hope though, by seeing the number of individuals that struggle with depression like you and I have, you will understand you are not alone in feeling this way. They may not have experienced every detail you have or had the same life events that led you to this point, but they know what it is like right now. They know what the struggle is like, the pain, the loneliness, and the feeling of hopelessness. They understand and I understand. I know it may seem like you are fighting an uphill battle on your own but in Jesus, depression has no control over you or any other person in this world. You are not the only person that wakes up in the morning to just go through the motions all over again. I know that there is some part of you that doesn’t want to feel like this, that hates always feeling insecure and doubting yourself. The desire to not feel this way is enough to start the process of gaining your life back. It isn’t easy, or quick. Yes, it is a process, a long and tiring one. However, no matter how hard the road to recovery might seem, your life is too valuable to not start.
If you still doubt that you aren’t alone, remember time and time again Jesus tells us He is with us.
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Psalm 55:22 ESV, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Isaiah 41:10 ESV, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
There are lots of instances where the Lord directly tells us He is with us. He is our calm and peace in the storm, He is the one who cares for us when we don’t. He loves us beyond our flaws and imperfections that weigh us down. He is the one that always has a home for us and is always welcoming even when we don’t deserve it. He is your rest and your faith in having a life again, to be able to breathe and have conversations normally again. I want you to know that He loves you and He wants to have a relationship with you personally. He died on the cross for you because He saw that you were worth every bit of pain that He endured that day. If He had to come back to do it all over again just for you, He would because that is how much He loves you.
You might think, “That’s not true. I am too far gone for Him to love me.” That was me though, always thinking and feeling that I was too far gone for redemption or any hope. God wants you, He is always reaching out to you and He has created you for something greater than your doubts will allow you to recognize. I may not know you personally, but I know the struggle, I know the feeling of emptiness and lack of self-worth.
So Here’s The Facts
What was really interesting about this post is that God placed it on my heart during Suicide Prevention Week. I had two people just this week approach me and tell me they were struggling and needed somebody to pray with them. I had no idea it was Suicide Prevention Week. Once I realized it, I knew God was trying to tell me something. That there were more people that needed to hear about their worth and how much God loves them too. I hope you will be encouraged to keep going, to find people to surround yourself with that care for you, and to seek Jesus above all else, above the circumstances of your depression. I don’t think it was just a coincidence that this topic was placed on my heart.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
So here’s the facts:
JESUS LOVES YOU.
You are worthy of His love.
You have depression but depression does not have you.
With Jesus, you can overcome depression.
So stop listening to the lies, the doubts, the insecurities and all the thoughts that say you will never get out of that dark dirt hole. You will see sunshine, you will have a life again.
There Is Always Help For You
If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, I encourage you to seek professional help if you haven’t yet. Find a great Christian counselor and let them share their wisdom with you. It’s also good to share with close friends and family that you trust that you have these thoughts. They might not be able to fix your problems, but they still love you and want to be there for you. There is no easy answer as to how you’ll overcome depression, but it can certainly be done. If you are thinking about suicide, please do not hesitate to call 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or go to their website, http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Of course, my email is always open for prayer requests and conversations. Though I may not be a licensed psychologist, I can certainly be a friend and a listener.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org