There have been a few significant seasons in my life when I have struggled with depression, which I have shared about before as we have chatted about mental illness.
Things can be depressing because of a bleak outlook, where hope seems not to be found anywhere in your sight line.
But things can become heavy and weighted down because of a medical diagnosis of depression.
These two may overlap, but they are not necessarily linked together.
One can leave much easier than the other, for one may be temporary due to a situation you find yourself in at the time, and the other may take months or years to battle and tame.
I have had two such episodes, one of which I now know would actually be called Post Partum Depression after the sudden miscarriage of our honeymoon baby just past the three month mark after my wedding. The second was deeper, bluer, starker and quite honestly scarier after my father-in-law passed away over a decade ago.
I wasn’t sure if it was just grief from the loss, as I adored my father-in-law, who always treated me well, or if it was more. So I listed what I was feeling stressed and “blue” about, and headed in to my doctor two weeks after the funeral.
My doctor patiently heard me out, asked for my list, and made two comments to me I will never forget.
He commented that I must be a very strong person to have carried so much as well as I had for as long as I did before coming to see Him, and that I was right in coming in to see him. He immediately put me on a protocol of medication, encouraged me to get counseling and prayer, and saw me every two weeks until we both felt that things were stable enough to wean off the meds.
Friend, that kind doctor helped me through with kindness and no placement of guilt or shame. God used him to teach me that asking for help should never be a hardship. Especially if we are coming to the God who loves us so.
I drew comfort from many verses at that time, but one has become a guidepost from that moment, and is especially dear to me because of the truth He revealed to me through that season of medical depression.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
With one verse, He reminded me that:
- Not to dwell on fear or depression, hard times, grief (being dismayed)
- He is with me. In every circumstance.
- He is MY God. Personally, intimately, permanently mine.
- He will strengthen me.
- He will help me.
- He will hold me up when I can hardly stand.
The use of the words “I am” and “will” are interesting to me in their choice by God, for “I AM” is actually one of His names, so it is a part of Him. When He says “I am” He is putting Himself smack dab there in the words which follow. And “will” as we know is not only an action but a choice. He chooses to do the action which follows when He uses the word “will.”
If you too have or are in the middle of a season of depression, I encourage you to bring yourself just as you are to Him, friend. He is more than capable of handling anything you invite Him to move or speak into.
More tomorrow as I share some more lessons learned through dealing with depression.