I'm Going to be Very Honest

November 11, 2013

Hope in Depression
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).
My Story of 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. 

                                 Source

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.
My Depression Story
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 

  • i am so very glad you wrote this post! i feel like our stories are very similar in some ways. i can relate so much to feeling as if you've beat it for a while, then feeling like it's come back with a vengeance.

    i always thought that it was just me being a teenager…until it continued through college…and even now through marriage and adulthood. i was also on medication for a few months, then weaned off of it. and it still ebbs and flows through everything.

    i've found that when one of those seasons comes, if i allow myself to be lazy about prayer & reading Scripture, it makes it worse. but if i continually reflect on God's truth during those times, it makes it more manageable.

    thank you for this post 🙂 it really is an encouragement, just knowing someone else has a story similar to mine.

  • Thank you for such a brave and honest post!! It takes courage to stand up and speak out on those hard struggles in our lives – I so admire you for your willingness to do just that. Also, I think that counseling is terrific – I did it for some life issues in my own life and it made a world of a difference!

    What a great example of how God can use our struggles to encourage, relate to and support others. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jen

    This post means a lot to me because I have suffered with depression as well. It is not easy to talk about but it is very real. I thank you for sharing!

  • Thank you for having the courage to write this post and to share it with this wonderful community. You are such a beautiful girl with a strong spirit. Know that I and many others will continue to lift you up in prayer!

  • I love that you wrote about this. The raw honesty of this post is so real. I haven't suffered with depression yet in my life, but I know it's a very real thing and that you are going to inspire so many with your words 🙂

    XOXO
    Chelsea
    http://www.anchorsaweighblog.com/

  • I'm so glad you shared your story. You are such a strong woman and I bet you are an inspiration to those going through similar situations.

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  • that was a very brave post. thanks for sharing.

  • Wow so glad you shared this. Thank you!! I don't deal with depression but I do have OCD, seriously diagnosed. I was in treatment for it several years ago…took medicines, had a little counseling too. I am med free now thanks to God and dealing with my issues one day at a time. I will pray that God continues to give you power to overcome!! I knew I admire your spunk but now there is a whole other dimension to you!! XO

  • Reading a post that is so honest really means a lot to me. I have struggled with finding a way to deal with depression since my early teens. Like you I sometimes go through periods where I finally feel like everything is going to be okay and I feel happy and good with life but depression always seems to creep back up on me.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

  • Amy

    I love your honesty and I know this had to have been difficult to hit "publish" on.
    but i'm glad you did.
    depression is real and it takes its toll on individuals.
    I am so sorry for your loss – it just goes to show that God can use all things to bring Him glory – and you're bring Him glory by sharing your story with us.
    <3
    ::hugs friend::

  • Oh girl, thank you for your honesty in sharing this!! I'm so glad that you're aware of this, and willing to acknowledge it, and get help when you need it. So many people struggle with the stigma of needing help, and I'm glad that people like you tear down that stigma. Praying for you, friend!

  • thanks so much for sharing this with us… you are so sunny and cheerful I would never have guessed! i'm doing counseling now too, so your post really encouraged me <3 I'm thankful that God walks with us through everything we go through in this life!

  • Thanks for sharing! I truly feel that this is a topic that is not talked about enough!

  • It's so wonderful for you to open up about this. Your message is clear, with God, all things are possible, even in the midst of a season of depression. Your honesty will be an encouragement to many!

  • this was so brave of you Susannah. Depression is such a scary thing, it can take almost everything away from you. i love your heart though in sharing to encourage someone who may be battling with it.

  • Oh Susannah, there are so many things I want to say about this post I don't know where to start. First of all, I'm so sorry about the loss of your sister. Of course I can't begin to imagine what that was like for you, but my heart does hurt for you and your family. Secondly, I think you and I are a lot alike. I am also a perfectionist (and I wouldn't even say I am recovering!) and I've struggled with depression ever since I was about 14. Mine was also at it's worst around sophomore/junior year of college. I've learned how to manage it, but it's hard sometimes because it's something that others often can't understand… they have a "why can't you just snap out of it?" attitude, you know? Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write this about a very important issue. 🙂

    Sarah @ Life As Always

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. It is so brave of you to share your story and to encourage others with it. Many prayers for you during this season, my friend.

  • I love how transparent you always are! I also went through a season of my life that I was very depressed, and also struggled with admitting it for what it was. It's so hard to be vulnerable and your story is an a great encouragement!

  • I do think Christians have a little bit of extra trouble with being able to admit problems such as depression for what they are–because like you mentioned, we can start to view it as "sin" when we aren't responding to life the way we know we should. But there's no shame in recognizing a problem for what it is and making the necessary choice to get counseling or medication, whatever is necessary.

  • Thank you so much for sharing, Susannah! As "depression" season starts, I am being proactive and started to take natural remedies. I have suffered from depression for so many years myself, both mental and physical. It sucks, but I also hate medication, so in between the medication to manage the underlying condition for my physical depression, natural solutions, and sheer will power, I'm at a sensitive balance right now, and hope it stays like that for a while.

  • Thank you for being so brave and for sharing this. It means a lot to me. I have struggled with this too and I am so sorry to hear about it! You are a strong and wonderful woman!

  • Thank you so much for sharing, Susannah. I too have struggled with depression and have been put on antidepressants. Thank you for reminding us that there's nothing "wrong" with us if we have depression… so many times I've heard that you must have unconfessed sin if you're depressed.

  • I love you for this post. You are so honest and real and very very beautiful! Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing this part of your life. So many people can relate, including myself! Amen that God is with us in these journeys, but that we should not feel ashamed of them!! You are so so amazing!!

  • I recall very clearly my mom saying one day when I was in high school that depressed people should just "get over it and be happy." She wasn't being malicious, she just didn't understand at the time. She certainly had no idea that I'd been in and out of depression already for years. So I am always so thankful when people open up about it. Talking about it and getting rid of the stigma isn't just going to help people feel like they're not alone, but help educate people who don't understand how depression works.

  • I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts on this post to words… I guess the easiest thing to say is, it's nice to know I'm not alone.

  • I'm so sport to hear you're going through tough times right now. I'll spend some time praying for you and always remember "be still. And know I am God."

  • Great post! I have severe depression and I wish I could get off medication for it. I've tried, but then I always end up with a depressive episode that leaves me reeling! Thanks for sharing your story with so many people. A lot of people get the wrong idea about depression and think it is just people not wanting to deal with normal feelings, but it is a lot more complicated than that!

  • It's wonderful that you are able to share this! It's not easy to open up about depression, but it is wonderful to know that one doesn't have to go through it alone.

  • Anonymous

    Only on a blog can women who don't know each other gather around for a cyber group hug.

  • Thank you for sharing your heart girl!!

  • Thank you for writing such a truthful and inspiring post. I believe that speaking out about our struggles brings us all closer together because we need to know we're not alone — everyone is experiencing hardship (if not depression, then something else) and our stories can help one another overcome our challenges. you have a beautiful heart <3

  • Anonymous

    I love you, Susannah! You are a wonderful sister and I'm so proud to be your brother.

    Peter

  • Oh friend, I feel like I could have written this very post. Thank you for being brave and sharing, and I'm so happy that you're in a place where you feel free to do that. Your story sounds like mine, almost to a T (although I did not deal with loss), although I didn't ask for help when I needed it the most, and I look back and wish I would have, or that someone would have noticed and done it for me. God's mercy has somehow brought me to the other side, although I still have seasons, as well. I'm praying for you, that this season would go as fast as it came. It is so encouraging to hear someone speak out about getting the help they need. I only hope that your words have encouraged someone else struggling to open up and not be scared to ask for help.

  • Thank you for your raw honesty. It's a huge slap in the face of the Enemy when we lay aside our pride and desire for perfectionism and become transparent with our sisters in Christ. For so long, the Enemy struggled to keep you, me, and so many of women silent of the loneliness and aching of real issues like depression and anxiety. And sadly, the Church does not have a healthy grip on how to discuss it. A plethora of feel-good messages and out-of-context Bible verses are thrown out haphazardly and sometimes we are even made to feel guilty or shameful for feeling low. But what about King David? There are SO many raw psalms that were written from angst, anxiety, and a depressed heart because his life was pretty crappy (father-in-law AND your own son trying to kill you? UM HELLO! That's messed up). Jesus was not afraid of raw honesty and Himself was under so much anxiety in the Garden, that He shed tears of blood. Medically speaking, that is an incredibly anxiety-ridden condition. The Bible doesn't teach of a happy-go-lucky-Jesus. He is real and He shares all our emotions. If He didn't, Heb. 4:15 would be null ("This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.").
    I really recommend the book "My Name Is Hope" by the Pastor of Portland's Solid Rock Church, John Mark Comer. It helped me see anxiety and depression from a Christian standpoint because he himself has lived a life of anxiety.

  • Thanks for sharing, yıu're so brave

  • Beautiful post! Love you lots!

  • Thank you for sharing this! It is not something that I share about myself as I don't really like talking about my past diagnosis. But I applaud people who do.

  • Depression is a part of who I am, in this fallen world. Without meds, I would be dead. Simple as that. Even with meds, depression rears its ugly head. This time of year is the worst…But God, being rich in mercy, gave me a precious husband who loves me and supports me during those dark times. He reminds me that I am never alone, even though I feel alone…The biggest lesson I have learned is that feelings can lie and I need to get them to line up with God's Word.

    Thank you for sharing your story…You will help more people than you will ever know….

  • Thank you so much for this honest post. The stigma around depression and mental health disorders in general is not warranted. Personally I think we could all use some counseling every now and then. Depression is real and it hurts. But as you have illustrated, it's not the end of the world. Help is out there and it doesn't mean you are broken if you take it!

  • Thank you so much for sharing. I have had bouts of depression throughout my life too. However, when I became a Christian I had an enormous amount of shame about the depression and anxiety in my life. I felt lesser of a Christian and started to believe I was a woman of little faith. However, Christ came for ALL of us… I remind myself of this truth and recognize that I am nothing without Him.

    Bless you for sharing such a vulnerable part of yourself.

    Wishing you a blessed day.
    xoxo

  • Thanks for sharing this. I so appreciate your honesty!

  • I love your honesty and courage for sharing this. This story hit home with me as well, and apparently so many others too. It is humbling to finally admit and lay things out there. It is like you lift a burden off of you when you are willing to say it out loud. At least that is how I felt about it at times. Your words are beautiful and thank you for sharing!

  • i LOVE that quote by stephen fry. it's perfect. and i'm sorry to know that you deal with this. i wouldn't wish it on a soul. it's wicked, wicked stuff.

  • Pingback: Strong Women Don't Have to Be Ok! - Simple Moments Stick()

Prev Post Next Post