Hope's Journey where I opened shared my struggle and victory over depression, suicide and self harming. Since that day I have had a couple of mild relapses into my old ways but can honestly say that today I am completely free of any temptation or desire to self harm in any way. Perhaps the darkness became deeper after the book was released because I felt exposed or perhaps it was 'someone' trying to rob me of my testimony. Times were especially difficult in the weeks before I was scheduled to publicly speak on this subject or share my testimony. At times the struggle was intense but I knew that many would be encouraged by my story so I knew I had to stay strong and remain in victory or else too much would be lost.
It had been a battle before Hope's Journey was released and continued to be a different sort of battle afterwards too. At times I wondered if complete freedom would ever be possible but I continue to believe that it is possible. Sadly, many people confided in me about their struggle with depression and it seemed that it is a bit of a taboo subject in churches. This must stop - we must start to open up about this subject and to learn to understand those who suffer with this horrible illness. Part of my struggle has been shame. I felt ashamed that I have this struggled and felt guilty at times too. Questions such as , "Did I cause this?" or "Was I irresponsible by being too busy?" plagued my mind adding even more pressure to my already heavy load.
Let's make an effort to grow in understanding of the things that people face in the world around us. In times when we don't understand, the best thing to do is say little and listen as much as possible. Words spouted in ignorance can be really damaging to someone struggling. So to kick start the conversation let me mention some things that you might not know about depression.
Depression is not sadness so don't tell someone who is depressed to cheer up. If they could cheer themselves up they would. Try be patient with them and if they are very close to you - make an effort to learn about what they are going through so you can better support them.
Depression is not a sign of weakness so don't expect it to go away by itself. It is a medical condition that requires treatment just like any other medical condition. Yes God can heal any medical condition and is bigger than illness but at the same time there is nothing wrong with receiving treatment when you are ill. Hope's Journey contains a lot of non-medical tips that can help manage depression but it is advisable to see a doctor too as there are times when antidepressants will do wonders.
If you have struggled or are struggling with depression, please feel free to share your struggle with us in the comment box below. My aim in writing this post is to encourage others who are suffering alone to speak freely about how they feel. You are not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Find our more about Hope's Journey here
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