Where the Darkness Hides

Editor’s Note: Nicole Cottrell is the writer behind the blog Modern Reject. She is one of our favorite bloggers, so we are honored to feature her writing here today.

I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. I couldn’t explain it. I didn’t have the words. I didn’t have the energy to try. What I did have was a constant ache, a swelling emotion that everything wasn’t going to be okay. What I had was the overwhelming feeling that I was drowning, desperately trying to keep my head above water.

I wonder what my husband must have been thinking. Here was his wife, who went from being an energetic, vivacious, passionate young woman to being a quiet, sad, exhausted shell of her former self. Why was I sleeping all day? Why had I quit showering, quit eating, quit taking care of our home? He must have thought I had morphed into the world’s laziest person.

But I hadn’t. Something else had taken a hold of me.

This wasn’t an unwillingness to work. This wasn’t me giving in to idle behavior. This was something more. This was something far darker than I had ever confronted before. This was depression.

In many Christian circles, “depression” is a dirty word. I rarely, if ever, heard people talk about depression. If they did, it was usually whispered about in quiet circles and behind closed doors. Depression wasn’t really a sickness, so much as a sin, as if people could just pray harder, snap their fingers, and be freed of it.

So that’s what I thought

–if I could just pray harder, read the Bible more, seek forgiveness of my sins, surely God would just wave His magic wand and rid me of this burden. Except that didn’t happen.

It didn’t happen because as anyone who has suffered with depression knows, you can’t pray your way out of it. Part of the reason, is that things like praying, reading a Bible, going to church, being around other people feels almost physically painful. These things are the last things you want to do, not the first.

Instead of finding comfort in the spiritual practices that usually brought me comfort, I was all-consumed in my own head. I was self-loathing, self-destructive, self-obsessed.

That’s what depression does.

It makes everything that once shone brightly turn gray and fade. It makes you shrink away to a place of self-preservation, which isn’t really possible. And this is how I went on for months, until one day, the fog of depression was lifted.

I have no reason. I have no wrapped-in-a-bow explanation as to why, but one day it was simply gone. I sat in the wake of depression’s destruction though and felt frightened for the future. What if it comes back? What if I hurt myself next time? How do I explain this to friends and family?

God spoke to me so clearly.

This isn’t a sin–this depression. This isn’t a flaw in your design or a mistake. Depression is an illness. It is rampant, especially among women and if ever there were something that needs to be brought to the Light, it is this.

I felt convinced that God did not want me to remain silent and act as though none of this had happened. God did not want me to be fearful of the future either, because when we bring things to the Light they cannot hide. They cannot grow in secret shame. They are exposed to His goodness and His grace.

And so that is where I attempt to reside

–in His goodness and grace. If ever I feel the tentacles of depression wrapping themselves around me again, I do not fear because He is with me. It doesn’t make all of the dark parts magically disappear, but in His Light everything shines.

  • http://Www.maryjanesparrow.com Mary Jane

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I too have struggled with depression and you explained it PERFECTLY! I was blessed to have people in my life who understood and when I realized something was very wrong and I couldn’t pull myself out I went for medical attention. It took me a very long time to feel normal again but I’m happy to say that with friends and counsel, medication and God beig gentle with me I feel like I am out of it! You’re right that many Christions say pray more and such by really it’s ok to ask for HELP! We shouldn’t be ashamed. Thanks again for sharing!!! :)

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Mary Jane,
      I’m so glad to hear that with the support of God, your friends, counseling and medication the fog of depression has lifted for you.

      I understand though that it can be a day to day struggle. And yes,the more of us who talk about this darkness, the more we force it into the Light.

      Blessings to you!

  • http://marleeward.com Marlee

    Hey Nicole,

    If there is one thing I love most about your writing it’s your raw transparency. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My best friend has suffered from severe depression for nearly three years now. She’s a believer, and much like you share here, all of the Christian cultural unspeakables about depression have greatly impacted her ability to be open about it.

    I think that is a huge tragedy. I think we should be able to have more compassion for those in the body of Christ who find themselves so desperately needing the hand of God all over them, but also find it so far away from where they stand.

    I know you said your fog “just lifted.” But I definitely think it wasn’t inexplicable. You’re a woman of great faith. You hold fast to God’s goodness and His grace. I think your experience is only greater evidence of that.

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Marlee,
      Thank you for the kind words. My heart so breaks to think of your friend, left feeling so alone in her struggle with depression. You are right, if ever there were a time for the Body to come around someone, it is when they suffer with this illness.

      I’m not sure about the fog being lifted. I’d like to think it’s for the reasons you suggest. I couldn’t help feeling though, as if God had me experience that pain to be able to speak to others about it, as well. He cares enough about others to allow me to suffer so that He might be glorified.

  • ann

    What is scary for me is when the fog lifts and you feel free, but then so suddenly or insidiously it wraps its tendrils around your heart and mind again. But for God’s grace and the love of those around me who have not yet run away, the world would be a much bleaker place.

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Ann,
      I agree. The feeling of depression creeping in again, tightening its grip is almost scarier. I have seasons where I feel it sneaking up on me. I can recognize it for what it is.

      And yes, thank the Lord for His grace, mercy, and kindness–and for friends and family who do not run. It makes all the difference.

      Praying for your continued freedom and hope Ann. Blessings to you.

  • http://hannahshelburne.wordpress.com/ Hannah

    I went through what I call my “two year slump.” Basically, it was two years of my life that I did any and everything to go against the life God had called me to. Through these two years and still many times after, I found myself in a deep state of depression. It’s hard, especially when people are encouraging you to read your bible, and pray more, but just as you said Nicole, “these things are the last things you want to do, not the first.” It’s true.
    Thank you for your beautiful transparency, you have truly blessed my heart, and you remind me that I am not alone, and that this sickness is not solely mine to bare as a Christian. God has a mighty plan, and He is revealing just how beautiful this dark story will be in others lives.

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Hannah,
      Bless you friend and thank you for sharing here. God does indeed have a plan and often He uses our darkest hours to bring the most hope to others.

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Thank you, Nicole. I’m currently going through a pretty bad depression spell, so it’s good to know that I’m not alone (although I feel like it sometimes).

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Travis,
      You are so not alone. Be encouraged in that at the very least. God does not desire for us to be alone in this either and we must fight the lie that would tell us otherwise.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony J. Alicea

    “Part of the reason, is that things like praying, reading a Bible, going to church, being around other people feels almost physically painful.”

    I can relate to that sentiment. I think it’s because you’re trying to pull yourself out of something that you don’t have the power to accomplish. It really just makes it worse.

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Tony,
      Exactly. It is as if you are trying to “will yourself” to be better, which is impossible and almost laughable.

      We need His power and His people.

    • http://ramblingbarba.com Ken Hagerman(The Barba)

      I’ll just second this rather than comment. Bulls eye Nicole.

  • http://beinghappygirl.blogspot.com/ happygirl

    Yes. It is an illness. And there is medication for it. And there is talk therapy. And there are things you can do for yourself, like blog or journal to monitor progress or regression. I’m on Tamoxifen and depression is one of the side effects of this drug. My blog helps me take my psychological temperature and see where I am on the depression scale. If I find my blog getting too mean or sad, I need help. I like this much better than asking my husband’s opinion. There’s too much riding on that. It gets personal. :)

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      I’m so encouraged to read about people like you who have a healthy gauge of their symptoms and who can actively address them whether through medication, therapy, friends, or writing.

      I think it encourages others to do the same and for that, I thank you.

  • http://www.OurStoriesGodsGlory.blogspot.com Elise Daly Parker

    Thank you Nicole for sharing and for shedding Light in the darkness where shame and self-loathing grow. I very much appreciate your honesty and courage. He is with us no matter what our state is…and He is constant now matter how unstable we are. So thankful for Him.
    I am wondering when you do feel the depression coming, do you seek counsel? Or consider medications? Just wondering how you get through the dark times.
    I do pray the Lord would lift your depression permanently. Yet I can sure see how He is using you to bless others and expose the truth of a taboo subject among Christians. He surely wastes nothing. Bless you!

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Elsie,
      Thank you for the encouragement and the questions. I commented to another reader that I did seek counseling when it was at its worst, but that failed me–at least that counselor failed me.

      I never sought medication because, well, I was pregnant during much of the time. It wasn’t something I was willing to do.

      Now, however, when I feel it creep on me it is only for a day or two. I find that exercising regularly and eating well actually makes a big difference for me. Also rest, time with the Lord, and forcing myself to be around people when I might otherwise stay home alone.

      God really is good…all of the time. Thanks for being a part of this discussion. Blessings to you.

  • http://parkerandwiley.com Wiley

    I love the transparency of this post. Because you are so right, the “tentacles of depression” do latch on with a vengence. And though God is with us in our dark hours, our feelings of despair and inadequacy are so very real. But He brings good and light from our darkness, which I believe He does through people like you who find the courage to write and speak out!

    Thanks, Nicole, for this beautiful post!

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Thank you for the encouragement Wiley.

  • Andrew P

    I’ve battled with depression on and off for many years. For some reason I can’t let myself go to a specialist and get a full diagnosis and the proper treatment. Pride? Fear of being “one of those people”? Apathy? maybe

    Have I been told its “wrong” for a christian to be depressed? Yep. So I ask those people — is it wrong to have a medical condition? The reply is usually “You must have hidden sin. This is just guilt and God’s trying to draw you towards him”. I think… hmmm, really? so what about Diabetes? Isn’t that a chemical imbalance too? But somehow that’s different. Its ok to be a christian and diabetic. Its not ok to be christian and depressed. Because God just wants us happy and rich — or so I’ve been told.

    But guess what. I’m a christian. I struggle with depression. Thank goodness Moses had a fear of failure and stuttered. And he’s probably not the only “Bible Hero” who had struggles with mood disorders.

    So here we sit. Chastized for not being “blessed” and yet chastized for not seeking help.

    Sorry if I come off as a touch angry or bitter. Because I am. I guess part of my battle with whatever screws are loose in my head comes out as anger…

    Thanks Nicole for shedding some light. Its like a candle in a dark room. its not a lot of light, but more warm and comforting somehow then if someone had just turned on all the lights.

    • Lucie

      Andrew, I also resisted seeing a specialist and getting diagnosis/treatment for a while, though it has been many years now and I don’t recall exactly why – but I suspsect plain old pride had something to do with it in my case, or even the strong suspicion that no one could really help me.

      I’m sorry you’ve received such BS answers – and that is exactly what they are! – from other Christians. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how so many Christians believe and teach and think that “God just wants us happy and rich” when so few Biblical characters of note – including Jesus Himself! – were either of those things.

      I understand your anger. At least some of it is justified and you do not need to apologize for it. But I pray you will seek help. Apathy and isolation are the toxic twins of depression and incredibly hard to overcome – but they can be.

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Andrew,
      I understand your anger. Truly. Here’s one piece of my story I didn’t share in the article:

      I went to a counselor. She was a “Christian,” so her brochure said. As I was discussing my history, my past pain and hurts, she seemed to turn from warm and friendly to haughty and prideful. She said ‘Well it seems like you’ve got it all figured out.”

      I was stunned. I was shocked by her response. I left and never went back and limped along for as long as I could on my own.

      It is no way to respond to depression. I think there is stigma on both sides, as you stated. I think it comes down to continuing to seek and find help. I wish I hadn’t given up then because things spiraled out of control following that day.

      I wish I had sought the Lord on where to go. I didn’t. I think counseling is and can be, a powerful source of healing. We, as believers, must tell others that it is okay to need counseling and it is okay to ask for help.

  • http://www.blog.lauranoelle.com Laura Noelle

    Nicole, thank you for sharing this candid, chilling picture of what depression is. I have had chronic depression since 8th grade (I’m now 23), so for almost half my life I have lived in the fog that rarely lifts for long. Few people in my life have understood that “praying more, reading my Bible more” isn’t the answer to my depression. I wish people understood that it is far deeper than that.

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Laura Noelle,
      Honestly, I didn’t know there was much more to depression before I experienced it. I think I was bordering on thinking it was nothing more than people having a bad day and not being able to shake it off.

      How wrong I was…but I am grateful to have had the experience so I can share with others. Blessings to you. May God provide continued grace, freedom, and kindness to you in this area.

  • Lucie

    I am a big fan of Nicole’s writing and I also applaud her regularly-delivered transparency. As a sufferer of depressive spells for most of my life (on anti-depressant medication for two decades), I agree that this is a matter requiring delicate and skilled handling. Consequently, my one beef with this column is the brevity of its ending – something I would not expect from Nicole. While she says “I have no wrapped-in-a-bow explanation as to why, but one day it was simply gone,” the close of this story strikes me as “wrapped in a bow” – and I don’t think that’s what the author intended. Where is the advice to get help, whether through counseling or medication, and the suggestions on where to find such help? Probably the most insidious aspect of depression is the tendency towards isolation. The condition must indeed be brought to the light, but that is usually the last thing a depressive is likely to do. Friends and family need to learn to recognize the warning signs (which can be more subtle than those described here) and to learn to ask the necessary questions and follow up on them.

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Lucie,
      Thank you for expressing your critique of this post. I will just say,that in all honesty, as I was writing it, I didn’t feel I had a conclusion to settle upon.

      I sort of felt like “Well, it can come back at any time. This is reality. But God is good. This is also reality.”

      And too, this article was not a how-to type of post. I suppose I could have talked about counseling or medication or other treatments, but again that wasn’t my focus. I apologize if it seems a little short-sided of me.

      And this is not an excuse, but this is the first time I have written about having depression and I wasn’t even sure of what I was wanting to share. I think I simply wanted to share a bit of my story so others felt they could do the same.

      All that to say, I appreciate your suggestions so very much. I’m thankful you are here commenting and engaging with others, offering your wisdom and resources. Thank you Lucie.

      • Lucie

        Thank YOU, Nicole, for your gracious reply. I hope it is clear that I was not writing with a critical spirit, but as one who “has been there” and is genuinely concerned for others who suffer from this condition. It also occurred to me that you might have had a pre-determined word limit to stick to.

        I check your blog on an almost daily basis and enjoy it thoroughly, BTW.

        • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

          Lucie,
          Absolutely clear. I know your heart was (and is) to bring about healing and help.

          I thank you for being a part of the Modern Reject community too. I appreciate you.

  • Kellie

    Excellent post. Thank you for sharing!

    Depression is so tricky, so personal, and so frustrating. It comes and goes. I’ve found a few triggers, but not enough to always fend it off ahead of time. And thankfully I have not had to go the medicine route, although I probably had a period where I should have.

    For those who don’t suffer from it, just understand that those who do are highly skilled at hiding it… I mean Academy Award-level skilled — unless it gets too bad to hide. Makes it even harder to get help or offer help.

    I know God pulls me out of it. Sometimes it’s a distraction, or a person sent my way, or a new client, or dumping an old client… it’s always a surprise.

    • Lucie

      “For those who don’t suffer from it, just understand that those who do are highly skilled at hiding it… I mean Academy Award-level skilled — unless it gets too bad to hide. Makes it even harder to get help or offer help.”

      YES, Kellie! Chalk it up to pride and/or a fear of showing weakness…in the latter case, I compare depressives to wounded or sick animals that hide themselves to avoid revealing themselves as weaker prey.

    • http://modernreject.com Nicole Cottrell

      Kellie,
      Yes, we become excellent at hiding it. No one around me knew what was going on. My husband even had little idea until I sat down and told him one night about the depth of the darkness I was sinking into.

      I too am thankful to God for the one time and subsequent other times He has pulled me out of it. Here’s to not hiding though.

  • http://www.parenthoodexperiment.blogspot.com Auntie J

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that I didn’t suffer from depression.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve not admitted to that, because the stigma attached is too much to bear if I’m in a more delicate emotional state at that time.

    I finally got to the point that I no longer care what the stigma is; I have no problem admitting I got help. I needed it. Counseling saved my marriage and my sanity. Medication helps me maintain an even emotional keel.

    There have been times when the meds have stopped working. I know that happens. In some ways, it’s a crapshoot. You test ‘em out until you find one that works, and stick with it until you find that you need something new. I’m on my fourth med, and I like it (and it likes me). I like me a lot better when I’m on it.

    I’ve had some truly horrible spells, including a three-year stretch when I thought I would never seen the emotional sun again. (I went through the devastating loss of a very deep, close friendship. “Awful” is not strong enough of an adjective.) I clawed my way back out from that one, but like I said, it took three years–at least–from the loss to getting out of what felt like a deep, dark well. It was about halfway through that time that I got as close to doing something truly stupid as I ever care to get.

    I’ve learned the warning signs for when it might be time to change meds or increase dosage.

    If I could choose to be rid of this, I would. I once had the well-meaning mother of a friend tell me that I just needed to adjust my diet and my vitamins to fix the chemical imbalance in my brain that caused the depression, because there was no such thing as a “[medication] shortage” in the body. How depressing was that thought? I should be able to adjust my diet, and pull myself up by my own bootstraps…. I wanted to quote Hawkeye Pierce when he told Frank Burns, “Why don’t you pull yourself up by your own jockstrap?”

    When I’ve had people question my decision to remain on medication, I offer this simple conclusion:

    If depression isn’t an illness, and I can fix all my problems with vitamins and diet, why is it that the drugs actually *work*?

    I wish the stigma towards depression didn’t exist. I wish people in the church as a whole would be more understanding of what their attitudes do to those who suffer from depression and anxiety (I have both).

    I know I am blessed that I have friends who don’t care that I’m on drugs and laugh with me over better living through pharmacology.

    • Lucie

      Auntie J, my heart goes out to you. I am delighted to hear that you no longer worry about the stigma of taking meds. I had a couple of friends years ago who were very concerned over my use of them – one due to the bad publicity surrounding them at the time, while the other was simply convinced that I did not have “a chemical imbalance.” I do not know how she arrived at this conclusion, by the way.

      In later years I went to a Christian chiropractor who is adamantly anti-medication of all sorts, with a special emphasis on psychotropic drugs. In an effort to begin weaning myself off them (something I had wanted to do even before meeting him), I began trying to research the subject in more detail than I ever had, and without going into details, found that’s a tricky subject. In a nutshell, I was on Prozac for about 17 years, then Lexapro, then Prozac again. As you say, they were either not as effective or stopped working after a while.

      Today is the 20-month anniversary of my being off anti-depressants, and I am happy about that. I do believe that diet and excercise have a distinct role to play in aiding this condition, but I do not believe that they are a cure in and of themselves. What’s important is that, at least for now, you have found an aid that works for you. And that, frankly, is between you, your family and God.

      • http://www.parenthoodexperiment.blogspot.com Auntie J

        I also make sure that I have regular checkups with my doc to make sure the meds are doing what they’re supposed to.

        I have tried being off them; I didn’t like myself. I had both my husband and my best friend monitoring me during that time. We all decided I was much more fun to be around when I was on my happy drugs!

        • Lucie

          Yes, I have been there also! It was a pretty scary prospect to go off them for good, as I had tried several times before with poor results. As I told a friend, the psychological dependence was, at least in my case, greater than the physical dependence. It took about five months before I began to breathe a sigh of relief that I would actually be okay. But that’s only MY story. I don’t even really know why I was successful in discontinuing medication, and I don’t worry about it too much. Everyone’s body chemistry and path to healing will be different.

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com Renee Fisher

    I struggle with depression/anxiety too. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://afragmentoffiction.blogspot.com/ Ashlee Pryor

    Your words brought such a warmth to my heart. I’ve been in a constant struggle with depression since mid-2011. It only got worse as the year came to an end, but after allowing God’s light into my life like you explained, my life has never been better. Your words have been confirmation that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you.

    Also, how appropriate that my photo is featured with your story that I can relate to so, so much :-)

  • http://lorileighharding.blogspot.com/ Lori Harding

    Thank you for your honesty.

    It is very subtle and can be so confusing! I appreciate how you’ve articulated just how confused you were about what was happening and also how completely exhaustive you were. I am not sure if I would have been diagnosed with clinical depression, but I experienced similar symptoms. I remember being unable to make even the smallest decision! It was scary like you said…I thought “is this what it feels like to be losing my mind and losing control”?

    I am convinced this happens more than we know to people sitting right next to us!

  • Shalom

    Great article, Nicole! I, too, have suffered from depression and like what you said, depression remains a taboo among Christian circles and in society as a whole. As I have struggled with it, there’s one sentence that helps me with all the pain that came with it and that is “God Loves You, no matter what.” It’s such a simple sentence but with a powerful message. God bless you!

  • http://www.thisguysgirl.blogspot.com April

    Oh my goodness! I’m so thankful for this. I was just thinking earlier today, how I’m so grateful for honest Christians. I myself has suffered under the hands of depression. While I had a particular episode, in my teenage years, I didn’t understand it, my parents didn’t understand it, my grandmother didn’t understand. My dad went as far as to ask me if I had some sin in my life. I wracked my brain and I couldn’t think of any sin that I was deliberately doing. I was ashamed of my depression. But God in His awesome grace brought a youth pastor to our youth group, just in time and even before I went through this horrible depression episode. My youth pastor was like a second father to me. He encouraged me and with the example of his love, my youth group friends also came around me during this time. Finally at the end of my senior year of high school, the cloud lifted. I was still alive. The devil didn’t win! God did! Not to long after that, my youth pastor and his family were called to another church.
    Yes, I still experience depression every now and then and I’m grateful to know a few friends on one hand that will do their best to support me. Plus, I have a wonderful husband too.

  • Alex Sanchez

    Great post. I wrestle w/ mild depression every now & again. Most ppl don’t know how to help friends going through this. Here’s a prayer I found helpful – http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2012/04/26/a-prayer-for-serving-our-friends-who-struggle-with-depressoin/

  • http://prayergifts.net Lee Merrill (@LeeBirdFree)

    I went for my annual physical today where I confirmed to my doctor that I’m still taking my anti-depressants.

    It’s so weird how waves of shame wash over me at times…as if I’m weak for needing my meds. I wonder if my elderly mother feels shame over her blood pressure meds? (I don’t think so!)

    Making peace with my meds and grateful for your insight, Lee

    • Lucie

      Lee, I think the shame that many feel about taking anti-depressants stems simply from the fact that it’s a mental condition that is being battled. I remember having some of the same feelings of stigma, even though the relatively few people who knew I was on medication did not stigmatize me themselves.

      Weak? Everyone is weak in some way. And brain chemistry is an amazingly tricky matter. One thing that probably helped me to “make peace with my meds” back when I was still taking them was reminding myself of how fortunate I was to live in a time when they were available. At one point I would say they literally helped save my life, and I have wondered more than once how many other lives in previous decades or centuries might have been saved, or at the least, how much suffering might have been relieved. While I suspect it is true that anti-depressants are largely over-prescribed in this country, and I am thankful that I was eventually able to transition off them, I do believe there’s a time and place for them.

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  • Ellen

    Thanks for sharing, Nicole! That takes a lot of courage. I can relate to depression being a Christian taboo. I had depression both as a Christian and a non-Christian, and the guilt of having it as a Christian was way worse. I think I was anxious/depressed for much of my childhood but didn’t know what it was until I had and eating disorder and overwhelming feelings at age 18. I became a Christian in the midst of getting treatment and thought I would never be depressed again because it couldn’t happen to a Christian.

    A year or so later the overwhelming feelings came up even though I was eating properly. I was going to a church at the time where the pastor regularly preached (regardless of what the passage was about) that people who have depression have it because they are too inwardly focused. He said the way to get rid of depression was to focus on other people and help them. I tried this and became more depressed. I couldn’t hide my symptoms from my church community, and my pastor seemed confused that I could love Jesus and be depressed.

    I felt like God was forcing me to be alive. I spent some years in counseling and taking meds, which helped tremendously. I discovered that I had some significant trauma in my life and that understanding it wasn’t enough to lift the depression. I had nightmares every night for a year and am not sure how I graduated college. I did some trauma therapies, prayed a LOT (had others pray for me, too), reached out to friends, and gained the strength to leave my unhealthy church for one that had more balanced views.

    Eventually as I pursued what I believe is God’s purpose for me, the depression slowly lifted and I no longer felt like I was being forced to be alive. I no longer take meds (I realized one day that I hadn’t cried in a year and that bothered me), but I have a relationship with a counselor who specializes in a trauma therapy that works for me. When I get really stressed I go see her, and the therapy calms my brain. It was worth the investment.

    I’d like to say that I’ll never experience depression again, that my traumas are “resolved” completely, but I really don’t know. Life is so much better, and God gave me a purpose through it that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. In Joel, God says that he will restore the years that the locust has eaten. Some people will not experience restoration until the next life, and I feel blessed to have experienced it in this life.

    I am grateful that I found something that worked for me. It took a long time, and being on meds was very humbling. I recognize the need to be open to taking them in the future if needed. I believe that getting effective treatment is one of the biggest gifts you can give to the people who love you now and who will love you in the future. God gives beauty for ashes, and even if there is not physical healing, God will bring purpose in the pain.

  • http://theblessingsofachallengingmarriage.blogspot.ca/ Christain

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Nicole. My wife seems to struggle with depression. Just as you said, it suddenly comes and then suddenly lifts for no apparent reason. Growing with my wife through her struggles has been the greatest challenge and yet a great blessing in my life. It has forced me to grow in ways that I never even knew a person could grow. You can follow my blog at: http://theblessingsofachallengingmarriage.blogspot.ca/
    God bless you!
    Christian

  • http://joycannis.wordpress.com/ Joy

    “Instead of finding comfort in the spiritual practices that usually
    brought me comfort, I was all-consumed in my own head. I was
    self-loathing, self-destructive, self-obsessed.” Chills ran up my spine when I read this. I know this feeling all too well. I am grateful for finally seeking help. God is good…all the time…even when it doesn’t feel like it…even to a girl like me.
    I look forward to exploring your blog.
    Love and Light to you, friend.
    Joy

  • Esther

    Thank you so much for this post. Its always comforting to know that you are not alone and that someone else understands exactly what is going on with you. I am wondering…did you ever seek professional help? Did you try medication? I am contemplating this since my sheer will has failed me…but I still have many reservations

  • Fatima

    Thanks so much! I’m a 16 year old and lately I don’t know if its depression or hormones but i have been feeling weird part of this whole year sad at times and confused with myself. I was wondering if you took medication and what would you recommend. I do take counseling, but in all true honesty I want to deal with it naturally maybe through God. Thoughts on that?