I had another post all typed out to share this week. But it felt a little forced. And then this video popped up on timehop Sunday morning and I knew this was what I was supposed to share this week instead.
I’m for sure taking my own advice about getting real and honest. It feels a little risky and a little scary for sure. But it also somehow feels good because I know my story was never just about me. And I have complete confidence that the Lord is asking me to share it.
Before you watch, a few things you should know. This was two years ago (January 21st 2016). At the time my church was going through a Daniel Fast together. I think because of that and because this brand new year was in front of me, I was finally ready to be done with the darkness I had been walking around with. So each day of the fast I was trying to share my thoughts, what the Lord was teaching me and how the fast was going. It was basically a digital journal for me to look back on. It wasn’t the first time I have made videos like this, but it is the first time I am publicly sharing one.
Even though so many of them are really hard to watch back, I am glad I have them so I can see the reality of the situations I was in and not just what my mind has decided was true over time. Plus it’s amazing to have a tangible reminder of how far I have come.
Anyway, here is that video:
Even from the other side that is still hard for me to watch. But I think the realness is worth sharing because I know I’m not the only one who has been there. So here are a few of my thoughts after watching:
1. This was actually a good day.
I know that may sound a little crazy. How was that a good day? But it was. This day I was actually able to cry and feel my emotions, which compared to most days was a huge win. And I was actually able to put some words to what I was feeling, which wasn’t always the case. I come from a long line of criers so I am a crier by nature but there were some days I was beyond tears. Actually feeling my emotions felt too hard on those days, so I mostly walked around numb and tried not to feel anything at all.
2. This did not last.
You should also know, that I did not keep fighting. A little later that same year, actually dealing with the pain became too much and I started going in the other direction. It was exhausting to keep “trying” to bring all the pain to the Lord and over time when things didn’t seem to be changing I started to get more and more frustrated and confused.
I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t healing me and helping me feel better. And the disappointments started to feel like too much and at that point it felt way easier to just stop trying. So I did and took matters into my own hands. I decided that there was no point in trying to run to Jesus if He wasn’t going to help me anyway. I decided to just let go of that disappointment and start living what I thought was “freely”. I think that will have to be another post but what I found was what I thought was living free, actually lead to even more darkness and more pain. I taught myself how to appear more “together” on the outside but the inside was as dark and sad as ever.
I guess I wanted to share all that to let you know that if you have stopped fighting at any point that is totally ok. And maybe even a little normal given the circumstances. But please hear me when I say: that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. The devil doesn’t want you to believe this, but the truth is you can start fighting again at any point. And believe me when I say, you are never too far gone.
Also feel like it’s important to say, fighting doesn’t mean you have to be super strong or do it all on your own. Really all we have ever had to do is run to Jesus, but trust me I understand that does take work. It’s not easy to sit there in front of the Father with all your broken pieces out on the table. But I believe He’s the only one that is actually capable of healing those broken places. He does all the heavy lifting and we just have to keep showing up.
3. I had to learn to take one day at a time.
The truth about depression is that it is full of ups and downs. There are good days that feel so good because it actually feels like things might be changing and turning around. But then the next day may be the hardest day yet. That feels really confusing and like maybe you are doing something wrong but just know that is all part of the journey. You really do have to take it one day at a time and sometimes that’s even too much so break it down to one moment at a time.
4. I know it’s hard, believe me I know, but you have to be honest with at least one person.
I’m guessing I might have some friends or family members watch this and think to themselves that they had no idea that it had gotten this bad. It’s really sad to me that I let it get this bad without telling the people who truly love me. But I know what I felt in those moments, so I understand why I kept quiet. There was just so much shame involved. I have been a Christian almost my entire life and so I believed I shouldn’t be dealing with something like this. I should have it all together and I should be able to stand strong and say “God is good” no matter what I am going through. But that wasn’t the case at the time. I didn’t have it all together and I didn’t even know if I believed He was good anymore. So I just carried around the shame on top of the depression and kept quiet.
Looking back, I realize that I was never supposed to fight this alone and by staying quiet I didn’t allow those people around me to love or encourage me through it. We were never meant to be an island and you never have to walk this road alone. So please, please, please tell someone. If there is no pastor you feel safe with, tell a friend, tell your family, go to a counselor, tell me even but please just tell someone who will speak truth to you. I know that feels so hard but letting people into those dark places we feel shame about is so helpful and I’d say even vital to your healing.
5. There is another side.
I feel really strongly about this so please stick with me. This is not your forever and there is another side. I came so close to resolving that I was just always meant to be “the sad girl”. So many days my toughts centered around: maybe this is all He has for me? Maybe this is the best that it gets? Maybe I am meant to be the “sad girl”. But I believe the Word of God is true and in His word He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made and never once does He call you depressed or without hope. Even if you can’t see it at all right now just know that a girl who once stood right where you are is believing it for you. There is hope and there is another side. I’m there now. And I know God has that for you too.
6. His promises are still true, even in the darkness.
The verse I talked about in the video is this:
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consumer you.
Unfortunately this verse doesn’t say “if” you go through the deep waters, it says “when”. The truth is God never promised us that we wouldn’t go through the hard seasons. I think sometimes we like to blame Him and it’s really hard for our human minds to understand why He would allow such things. But when you do go through the hard, just know He isn’t breaking any of Him promises. The promise was always “when” the hard comes, I will be with you always. And if you let Him, He would love nothing more than to carry you through this season.
It just starts with coming before Him and being honest with your brokenness and then asking Him for help. I can’t promise that it will happen that instant and I can’t promise the road won’t feel hard and long after that. But I can promise, if you keep walking and keep asking Jesus for help, He will be with you and He will lead you to the other side of whatever hard time you are going through.
I know that was a lot but thanks for coming on this journey with me! Feel free to share with anyone who has ever struggled with any form of depression. Let’s start talking about it more openly so we can throw off the shame and the thoughts that we are all alone. And let’s start fighting together!