Overcoming deep, dark depression
My anger at God grew into rage. I shook my fist and screamed, “I can’t feel you, I can’t see you, I can’t sense you, I don’t even know if you exist anymore. And if you do exist, why aren’t you helping me?” That’s how I felt after my husband Dave’s cancer returned in May 1990. I was absolutely exhausted and so depressed that I couldn’t leave the house. I looked for strength and comfort in the words of the Bible. But I did so with a heavy heart, as if scavenging for scraps of hope I didn’t really expect to find. I prayed I would soon return to my normal self, but things got worse. When Dave had surgery to remove the tumor in his arm, the doctor found more cancer. It was only a matter of time before Dave would lose his arm. One afternoon our kids came begging me to take them for a swim. I could see how much they wanted me to go with them, but I was numb. I couldn’t move. So Dave, who was suffering the effects of radiation treatments, took the kids to the pool without me. Something inside me snapped: “I can’t even go to the stinkin’ pool with my kids!” I was incapable of carrying one more burden or doing one more task, much less feeling joy in anything.
The Downward Spiral of Clinical Depression
Clinical depression often triggers a downward spiral. In my case, fellow Christians didn’t understand why I couldn’t “snap out of it” by praying or confessing my sin. But there’s no easy answer. God never said there would be. The truth is: suffering isn’t pretty. So how does a person endure through depression? Even though I couldn’t feel God’s presence, I kept turning to the Bible. I was desperate to reconnect with the One who had claimed me as His own and had promised to never let me go. Five years passed before I finally made it through that dark season. Looking back, I’ve learned that it takes time. Even with encouragement from the Bible. Even with counseling and treatment. And even if you have a friend who lets you honestly express your feelings without spiritualizing or sugar-coating them. Those things can eventually bring healing, but the seeds of endurance are buried deep under the surface. And it takes time for tender stems to push their way up out of the darkness—and even more time for joy to reach full bloom. I share my story so that others who struggle with depression will know that they are not alone and that they, too, can find the patience to endure.
God is with you now
But in spite of my bad attitude – in spite of me doing things my way – in spite of my overwhelming depression – God was still at work within me. There were indeed treasures in the darkness and He would be faithful to give them to me. About one year after Dave’s comeback I was in the deepest throes of my depression from my perspective everything was very, very black. I couldn’t make myself do anything, go anywhere or see anyone. The three people I had depended upon most for support were Dave and my parents but Dave was undergoing radiation treatments and nothing left to give and both of my parents had died. Dave’s parents were doing all they could to help us but inside I was losing the battle. I felt totally helpless, hopeless and alone. That is when I discovered the first unexpected treasure God had for me. And I wasn’t even looking for it! In fact, I was ready to give up everything walk away from God. But when I tried to walk away, I couldn’t. Almost to my surprise I realized there was nowhere else I wanted to go. I was just like Peter who when Jesus asked His twelve disciples if they would desert Him and … Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, Confident that you are the Holy One of God.” JOHN 6:68-69 (THE MESSAGE) When I realized that I truly believed those words I was thrilled! My faith was real! What a treasure!. Even when I was at the end of my rope and ready to run away I couldn’t do it Because I truly believe that God is the Only Way to eternal life and there is no hope apart from Him. Learning that my faith was real brought me great joy and gave me hope when nothing else could. That treasure was the turning point in my experience of suffering. Although I had not realized it – suffering had tested, refined and strengthened my faith. I discovered as 1 Peter 1:3-7 says that faith is far more valuable gold. That discovery renewed my hope and inspired me to search the Scriptures to learn His promises. The hope those Truths of Scripture brought to me became my greatest treasure in the darkness – my lifeline – in the midst of pain. I was still in the valley of suffering but I had learned there were rich treasures there also. What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, This Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, We’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all – life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. 1 PETER 1:3-7 (THE MESSAGE)
Am I Depressed?
You are dealing with a lot right now. It is not inconceivable that, along with everything else you are experiencing, somehow, you became depressed without even knowing it. People who are battling a serious illness or loss are especially prone to depression. Caregivers and family members are also at risk.
Chronic Pain and Depression
Many physical, emotional, and spiritual factors can trigger depression. Some of the most common triggers include chemical imbalances (thyroid, hormone), stress, a significant loss (loved one, job, income, etc.), a change in health status (injury, illness, disability, etc.) and emotional or spiritual conflicts.
Below are some articles related to the topic of depression. We do hope you find encouragment, endurance, and ultimately, hope in the pages that follow.
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