With the most recent celebrities’ suicides I have felt compelled to share my life journey with depression. This is my story and experience, so please accept it as that and not as coming from a qualified and certified professional. Although, I am certifiable, just saying.
The early years
I have always been a melancholy individual. Even as a child I remember being introspective and a bit of a loner. I remember at one of my parent/teacher conferences the teacher told my mom that I had the ability to tune everything out and escape into my own little world. I feel like this is pretty common for creative, artistic people. I’m very much like my father and grandmother. Let’s just say that creativity and depression run in the family.
Realizing the need for help
In my mid to late twenties, after my kids were born, was when the more serious depression started setting in. There were times when I felt like crying for no reason. I would go through long periods with a sense of complete hopelessness for the future. The thought of making it through another day felt completely overwhelming. It wasn’t events that caused these feelings. Our family went through good times and very hard times, but these events were never linked to these feelings. This was the point that I decided to go to my doctor to get medical help. I didn’t want to go… who wants to admit that they have a mental illness, but I didn’t want to go on like I was either.
My doctor gave me an evaluation/ survey that I went through and answered. It was very insightful and somehow comforting to have my depression quantified. He was very surprised to find out how depressed I was. We are friends with him and his wife. We did a lot of social things with them, even holidays and vacations. He had no idea! He mentioned that people with scores like mine were sometimes put on a suicide watch. I have been taking an anti-depressant for a long time now. It helps, but it doesn’t take it away. It does give me more good days than bad, which is nice.
If you just had Jesus
I think that it’s important to state that depression is a medical sickness like all the other medical conditions our bodies can have.
I would read things like, “Do you feel sad and hopeless?”, I would think, ” Yes, sweet, maybe this is something that will help me feel better!”, then the article would go on to say that I needed Jesus. You see, the thing is, I have Jesus! I accepted Christ as my savior when I was about ten years old. He is always with me and gives me strength. But, just as you can be a christian and have heart problems, diabetes or cancer, you can be a christian and have depression. Can God cure me of this sickness? Yes, of course He can, will He? He hasn’t to this point, but I believe He has used it to shape me into the woman I am today.
Learning to live with depression
I have come to terms with depression. It is part of who I am. I have the choice to let it make me better or bitter.
On the bad days I say to myself that this will pass, I will make it to the other side of this darkness. Even when I feel like I can’t face another day, I still feel suicide is not an option. There are too many people who I love that would be hurt. I don’t even contemplate suicide. I feel like if you think about it and dwell on it, it makes it easier to eventually do it!
Besides, there are always good days to come and I don’t want to miss out on those. They are a gift. I do have more good days than bad and for that I am grateful.
Depression and relationships
Ron and I have been on this journey together for a long time. We have been married 37 years. I know that my depression is frustrating for him… I mean who wants to be around a person who is sad all the time? I know if he was sad all the time I would take it personally… Why can”t I make you happy?!?! I think the most frustrating thing for him is that he can’t “fix” it.
He doesn’t baby me and always encourages me to push forward. He is just what I need. I remember one time when I felt especially hopeless he told me to go buy some rose bushes for my garden. That was just what I needed. Gardening is good depression therapy. I love this quote by Audrey Hepburn, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Do you need help?
If you are reading this and are suffering from depression, Please don’t suffer alone. Seek the medical help that you need, there is no shame in that! Also, talking to someone who is qualified to help is very beneficial.
Finally, I will say, I wouldn’t want to live with depression without Jesus.