My first recognized experience with depression happened when my first child was born. I felt like a black curtain suddenly descended over my whole life.
A year later I was still fighting mild depression. My husband, still wanting to understand, asked if I could put into words what I felt during the most intense weeks of my depression. Even that far removed in time I couldn’t answer him without crying, and all I could say was “absolute desperation.” But I’ll try again, now that it’s 13 years later…
…I was overcome with intense feelings of loneliness even though I wasn’t alone.
…I felt like I was grieving the loss of one or more loved ones.
…I was terrified, even convinced, that my husband or my baby was going to die. I tortured myself with questions of “Who would I rather lose?” and equally tortured by the guilt that came with either answer.
…I felt emotionally disconnected from my newborn baby, amplifying feelings of guilt. No mother wants to feel this way; the early days with our babies are supposed to be precious, the most magical of all days.
Other episodes of depression brought intense feelings of discouragement, defeat, and isolation. I felt guilty over things that normally wouldn’t cause guilt, and I felt weighed down with a sense of doom. I was convinced that everyone in the world was unhappy. I even asked a friend at church, through tears, “Is everybody hurting? Is anyone happy?” She wisely discerned that I desperately needed to hear that not everyone is hurting, and yes, lots of people are happy. She added that I would be happy again, too.
At that time I was also desperate to really believe that I was cherished, not just saved, by God. I needed to get back into His Word and find evidence that I am loved by God Himself. When you’re depressed you can’t do that. But I prayed and God brought me to Himself in little ways until I was ready to seek Him more intentionally.
When I was hit with depression after confronting my own foolishness in a spiritual battle, I was terrified that I would never be well again. I fully believed that I had arrived at a place from which there was no escape. Ordinary life made me want to curl up on the couch and never get up again. I felt completely defeated.
Looking back at each of the four major depressive episodes I’ve had, I can see different expressions of the depression in each. But there were some recurring themes including:
* Illogical thinking
* Intense loneliness
* Feelings of defeat and despair
* Feelings of guilt and unworthiness
* Irrational fear
Depression isn’t logical. Your body doesn’t operate the way it should. Nothing makes sense.
But there is hope: Depression is treatable.
Those of us who fight depression can be victorious if we choose to do the hard work, to fight, to seek and secure help, and to depend on God.
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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for our current FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart.
Beth Cranford believes every Christian has been equipped and empowered to do specific and effective work in the kingdom of God. It is her heart’s desire to see women live in the freedom that is theirs through Christ by helping them break free from depression and other strongholds. She encourages women to experience God’s power in their lives by understanding their identity and position in Christ and their unique design.
Beth has a passion for helping Christian parents design and implement an education that honors and nurtures their children’s individual design, equipping them for a life of freedom and power.
Beth has been married to her best friend for 21 years. Together they raise and educate their two children in middle TN. You can find her at http://www.bethcranford.com