I'm Going to be Very HonestMonday, November 11, 2013
I have depression. It's so easy for me to admit that these days. It wasn't always that easy.
The first time I realized I was truly depressed was after my sister died. Yes, I know that mourning a death is not depression but, for me, it became so much more than simply mourning. For months I was in the deepest, darkest place I had ever been.
Looking back on my life, I know that wasn't the first time I was in a deep depressed state - but, like I said, that's the first time I realized it.
I am a recovering perfectionist (which I'm sure added/adds to my depression) and as a freshman in high school, I didn't want anyone to know what I was going through. I was mortified and embarrassed that I could succumb to depression. I was prideful and didn't want to admit that I needed help. My best friend was the only person who I was willing to tell - and only because she too struggles with depression. Source
Throughout high school I was in and out of depressed seasons - some months I was living life normally and felt as though I had finally "beat" depression while other months I was in a pit and had a hard time even getting out of bed to live life. I always told myself that I would only tell my parents about it if it got to a place I couldn't persevere through the feelings or if I ever felt the desire to harm myself (a desire I've never felt, praise the Lord).
It was so hard feeling so alone in my emotions (once again, I'm sure that added to my depression).
Sophomore year of college I was asked to share my testimony at an event hosted by my school. The people putting together the event wanted me to share about growing up overseas but the Lord really impressed on my heart that I needed to finally open up about my depression. He wanted me to share the story of my sister's death, the depression that followed, and what I learned about Him in that season. I prayed about it and talked it over with the leaders of the event and I knew God was pushing me out of my box in that way.
There was just one big problem - I couldn't get up in front of a significant number of people and share this part of my life with them when my parents didn't know that side of my story.
It was so incredibly hard to get on the phone with my parents and open up such a raw wound to them. I felt ashamed - both about the depression and about the fact that I had hid it from them for so long.
Of course, they were great about it. I mean, they obviously suspected that there was something going on other than normal teenage moodiness when I was living with them. They talked me through it and told me that, if I ever needed it, they would help me get medical/psychological help. At that point, I was doing fine and didn't take them up on the offer.
Junior year of college my depression got the worst it ever was, even worse than it had been when my sister died. I was completely unable to live life in a normal manner. I was skipping classes, didn't want to hang out with friends, and had lost my luster for life. I was perfectly content to lay in bed, staring off into space for hours at a time. I still wasn't contemplating self harm or anything but I also wasn't able to persevere through the depression on my own. I finally admitted I needed outside help. I went into the doctor and asked to get on antidepressants. I also started going to counseling for some life issues that were adding to the depression.
After about six months I was back to a place where I knew I could handle my depression on my own again (I'm not a big fan of medication - Meds are things I take only when necessary) so I weaned off of my antidepressants and began doing life again without them.
Don't get me wrong, since getting off the meds, I've experienced a few seasons of depression. (One of those seasons actually resulted in me starting the blog! I guess they're not all bad. Haha) This weekend I have been feeling myself slipping down into one of those seasons. Hopefully the season won't last long - especially now that I know how to handle it better (counseling's the best!) - but God only knows.
Why am I telling you all this now? I really just want to encourage each of you. If you're dealing with depression, do not live in shame. It's not a sin, you're not a horrible person, and it's not that you lack faith. Chemical imbalances in your body or life events that are tearing you down are nothing to be ashamed of. If you need to, get help! Go to a doctor or a counselor to help heal your body and your mind. Talk to loved ones - friends and family - about what you're going through and ask them to help you through it. Do not go through these feelings alone. I wish with my whole heart that I hadn't spent so many years bottling my emotions up. I could have lived life in a much healthier manner had I not given into the fears and lies that depression made me not good enough and a sinner.
Those are LIES!
Believe the truth - you are wonderfully and beautifully made - and, if needed, get help! Source