Because I’ve Been There {Depressed}

Because Ive been there by Dr Michelle Bengtson

.

hope prevails There are some folks you simply want to un-busy your life long enough to sit with, to make memories with, and my dear friend, Dr. Michelle Bengtson has long been one of those people for me. I love her enthusiasm for life and her desire to make a difference in the lives of hurting women. Today, as we celebrate the release of her book, Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression, we’re inviting her to share a slice of her heart with you. My hope is that you’ll come to love her as much as I do. {Be sure to give us a shout-out in the comments section below as we are giving away a FREE copy of Michelle’s book this week!}

 

Guest post: Michelle Bengtson

She looked at me briefly then diverted her gaze.

“I’m afraid if I allow myself to start crying, I won’t ever stop.

I reached across the table, softly set my hand atop hers, and responded. “I know. I’ve said those very words before. With healing, comes an end to the tears. But you have to feel it to heal it.”

She hung her head low, taking in what I had said, not sure she liked the truth it contained. And very certain she didn’t want to feel the pain.

“Can I tell you something I’ve never told anyone else before?” she asked, seeking permission before fully disclosing her pain.

“Of course. You can share anything you’d like. You’re safe with me. Remember, I keep confidences for a living,” I said with a smile.

“I’m not sure I want to go on. I don’t think I can take anymore, or that I see the point.” She stared up at my eyes waiting for my reaction, expecting me to be shocked. But I wasn’t. I rarely am. “And the strangest thing is that I’m not sure how I got here or what to do about it. All I want is to feel better…maybe a little joy, but maybe that’s not possible for me.”

Fortunately, I knew. “The first thing you need to know is that I understand. I’ve been there, and it sounds like you are telling my story. The only difference is that I’m on the other side now. And the next thing you need to know is that those thoughts are not your thoughts. Those thoughts are being fed to you by the enemy of your soul.”

“What do you mean?”

Scripture says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that they might have life and have it to the full!” You have an enemy whose goal is to steal your joy, kill your peace, and destroy your identity through this beast of depression.

But I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Because Jesus came to give you life to the full. He did it for me, and He wants to do it for you!”

~~~

We went on to discuss the spiritual side of depression… that the Bible talks about the fact that we wrestle not with flesh and blood but against evil powers and principalities of the unseen world (Ephesians 6:12).

Depression affects people today in epidemic proportions. Maybe you’ve never suffered with it yourself (and if not, consider yourself blessed!), but I can guarantee that you have a friend or family member who has.

As a neuropsychologist who has treated medical and mental health disorders for over 20 years, I can tell you that the most common treatments for depression are medication and therapy, and both of those help, but as long as we neglect the spiritual aspect of depression, we are in essence using only a band aid. And the enemy of our soul counts on that. God said, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” We must arm ourselves with God’s truth in order to effectively eliminate depression.

The first place the enemy attacks is in our mind, and scripture tells us he is the Father of Lies, incapable of telling the truth. He will quickly feed us thoughts that say “No one understands,” “You’re the only one to go through this,” “If you tell anyone, they’ll treat you differently or leave you alone,” “You’ll be embarrassed if anyone finds out,” “Everyone would be better off if you weren’t here,” “You’ll probably always feel this way,” or “Maybe you’re just joy-immune.”

That’s why Scripture is so clear that we should first 1) guard our heart and mind, but also 2) take captive every thought. We have to fight him by standing on God’s truth, countering his lies with the truth of God’s word.

For example, when you think, “No one understands,” remember that scripture tells us that “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

When you think, “Everyone would be better off if you weren’t here,” remember that scripture tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a future and a hope!” (Jeremiah 29:11)

When you think, “You’ll probably always feel this way” or “You’re just joy-immune,” remember that God promises, “weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

~~~

“Do you really think there’s hope for me?” she asked as a single tear rolled down her cheek.

“I know there is!”

“How do you know?”

“Because, God is no respecter of persons, and what He has done for me, He longs to do for you as well. But there is a reason Jesus asked the lame man if he wanted to get well…it often requires work on our part. It did for me and it will for you too.

You’ve got to actively pick up your sword and fight the enemy with the truth of God’s word. Now you know how. It won’t necessarily be easy, but it’ll be worth it. I can promise you, Because of Him, Hope Prevails!”

(Do you have a friend who suffers with depression? Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Michelle’s book, Hope Prevails.  Also be sure to share this post for an extra entry!)

 

Dr. Michelle Bengtson (PhD, Nova Southeastern University) has been a neuropsychologist for more than twenty years. She is author of the book “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” (http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/) published by Baker/Revell August 2016. She lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her husband, their two sons, and three dogs. Connect with Michelle on her website or Facebook or Twitter.

 

18 thoughts on “Because I’ve Been There {Depressed}

  1. Years ago I went to lunch with five ladies. During our conversations I learned I was the only one who wasn’t on some type of anti-anxiety or depression medication. The odd thing about that is I too, have dealt with, & still deal with these issues. I’ve struggled most of my life the highs and lows of emotions. I’ve attributed it to PMS all the way to menopause. At age 60, having faced a very difficult time of brokenness ten years ago, I know my heavenly Father wants His best life for me. And yet, many times over I succumb to the lies of the enemy. I’m not sure what, or where God is calling/leading me to do. I thought my Lord placed a vision on my heart for a women’s health resource center as a rest of my prayer years ago, “Please Lord, don’t let everything I’ve been through be for nothing. Please use it for the good to help other women.” It’s been a challenging & sometimes lonely journey, not going the way I’d thought. I’m the founder/director of a nonprofit for women in development. We’ve had several events, but now I’m at a standstill, not having a clue where to go for here. The enemy of course is whispering all kinds of negative thoughts in my ears. I just completed a 10-week Bible study, & yet here I am today, wondering & doubting. And wondering why I so easily let joy slip through my fingers. I’ve shared Dr. Michelle’s posts on our FB page in the past, & will share this one too, as I know there are a lot of hurting women in this world. Thank you for reaching out to all of us.

    • Joyce, I’m so glad that you recognize the enemy voice as the once who is whispering the lies in your ears. May you also remember that your good Father’s timing is perfect, as is His love for you. He KNOWS the plans He has for you and they are Good and they include a future and a HOPE! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!

    • Shelly, so sorry you are going through this now. What I know is that God doesn’t play favorites–what He did for me He will do for you. Hold tight to Him, His promises and what He says about you. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!

  2. How precious to hear the voice of a friend when the road seems so long an lonely. Thank you Dr. B. for giving us hope when the burden seems too heavy to bear. Thank you for giving us a tool to place in the hand of someone we love, a tangible bit of hope to lead them through.

    • Lisa,
      What the enemy intended for harm, God will use for good. If I can use my past experiences for others’ good, then the enemy is defeated, and that is beauty for ashes! May others be helped and God receive glory! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!

  3. I don’t know about anyone else, but much of my life I was under the belief that Christians don’t get depressed. Perhaps it was because from Sunday School at a young age and then through youth team and on I kept hearing the songs like “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…” or “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands…”. I didn’t think depression was supposed to affect Christians and if it did the culprit was me and something I did wrong. Thanks to the beautiful transparency of Michelle Bengston and other wonderful friends I have learned the truth. Christians do deal with depression, the difference is we have a VERY REAL, EXTREMELY LOVING STRONG GOD who will fight for us and with us in this battle! Please don’t miss the chance to know this first-hand through Michelle’s new book #HopePrevails. I promise it will open your eyes and heart to the true healer! And I, for one, am looking forward to joining her on the other side of this battle!

    • And I, for one, am looking forward to welcoming you on the other side of this battle sweet Kayla! Then you too will comfort others with the comfort you have been given, and on and on it will spread! And together we will defeat the enemy by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!

  4. God saves and heals. Had my breakthrough in 2015 and continues. His love is like an ocean it does not stop. Thank you Dr. Bengtson for writing on this subject. I look forward to reading your book and my journey to helping others heal.

    • Emily,
      So glad to hear you’ve experienced some breakthrough in this area! Keep looking to Him and His truth as your source of all hope. I pray you will find nuggets of blessing on each page. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!

  5. This sounds like a wonderful book. I’ve been there–I developed depression after my MS started causing more pain, plus I have strong genetics toward depression. I was able to finally (mainly) conquer the depression w/ counseling, meds, lots of spiritual growth and especially decreasing my stress, but it took several yrs. I’ll be passing this info on. Thanks!

  6. Thank you. I just spoke with a sweet young lady today and she whispered to me that she may be at the place “again” depressed. She recently has asked Christ to be her Lord and Savior. I would love that she read your book to gain more knowledge

  7. This sounds like a book that will be very encouraging. I have battled depression for many years. I’ve been on medication for over 20 years. I have a number of health issues and a severe weight problem (even after a few significant weight losses, only to regain the weight). Feelings of failure and guilt are constant companions. My dear mom has dementia/alz. which is also stressful.
    I so often am angry with myself for how I have not taken care of the body God gave me. Most days I shed tears due to emotional and/or physical pain. I believe in God and that He has saved me thru his son Jesus and his death on the cross. However it is still a constant struggle

    • Just wanted to reply to Sally. We all have times where we struggle. Though you get angry at yourself for not taking care of your body, every day is a chance to start over. Be kind to yourself and take one small step at a time. Filter your thoughts to what is good, true, and positive. Use your story to help others. God bless you.

  8. I live with depression on a daily basis…This book is so very timely and very needed …Thankyou Sweet Lady for sharing from your heart…

  9. I never thought it would happen to me . I’m a PK! I love doing for others . I’m a mom . I love to sing ! Out of nowhere -I was hit head on after the birth of my 3rd child. I’ve battled with it ever since. God is good to me . I’ve had my ups and downs but through it all – He is faithful . I’ve been able to help others through their depression as well .

  10. Depression is a demon which kept me in bed for three and a half years, Today I am victorious in Jesus Christ. Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. As I read this I said to myself “Is this written about me?” Then I looked up and saw that there are so many people going down this path at different speeds but, I just keep getting pushed on another path and fall back and sometimes into a deeper place. I honestly think that with your words I just might find my way out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *