On Depression: Everything is Not Okay, by Hannah.
I have been through periods of life where every day has been characterized by some kind of anxiety. Sometimes it could be seen on the surface- and sometimes my anxiety brewed more dangerously beneath the surface. As a predominantly “happy” person, bouts of depression cause a conflict in my soul between the need to be authentic about my struggles and the desire to maintain a cheerful exterior. It can make asking for help all that much more difficult. It is easy to assume that the happy, cheerful, strong person has no need of assistance and suffers no lows–but nothing could be further from the truth.
During one particular low, I felt as if my footing had literally been ripped out from under me. A series of negative events plunged me farther and farther into depression, each event seeming to follow after the other like a train of dominoes. From that place, what I wanted most was for others to recognize that everything is not okay–even if I could not always communicate how badly I felt.
“The Lord will take care of me… the Lord will take care of me… the Lord will take care of me..” Some of my journal entries included God’s promises written over and over, as if their repetition would seal their truth in my soul. Even if their truth sometimes seemed to be undermined by fear, anxiety, and nightmares–I desired God’s Word to conquer the cynicism that had seeped into my soul in the form of depression.
One thing I have learned through depression is that it is important to recognize that sadness and weakness can be justified. There is a myth of the happy Christian who never experiences any misfortune, but it just isn’t true. What is true is that God really and truly would never allow us to experience sadness and misfortune without a greater purpose that can ultimately benefit us if we draw closer to Him. It can seem counter-intuitive, but His love is really that great.
God cannot renege on his faithfulness, even if our circumstances seem to speak otherwise. It is then important not to attribute to God the negative characteristics of those that hurt us or the bad events that we have experienced. If others lie to us, it doesn’t mean God will lie to us. If others injure us, it does not mean God desires to harm us. No matter what the negative voice speaks to our minds during depression, none of it can be from God if it conflicts with His character that desires good for and through us.
Depression is still something that follows at my heels. Yet what I have received in return for the pain is something that I would never want to give up: greater compassion, empathy and understanding toward others, and closeness to God that I might have less of if I had not had to walk beside him through the lows. The thing that has sustained me when nothing else would is the truth of His promises, even if I had to write them over and over before I began to believe them. Are you willing to take Him at His word?
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