Mr Depression raided and settled in my life, disrupting everything. I would sometimes stay up into the night, listen in the silence, and the most I could do was 2-3 hours of sleep. Other days, I would wish to be alone with no noise, cringe myself in bed and cry myself to sleep. I would weep in bitterness and feel so helpless and hopeless. I would reach out to my phone, scroll through my contacts and think, “aaaaagggghhh, I will bother them,” then switch off my phone and deal with the loneliness that oh so heavily pierced my soul. In my crying moments, I would try to be as silent as possible, yet I felt so bitter and would often crave to scream my pain away. Sometimes I would just run to a supermarket and stock junk, then lock myself in the room and eat my feelings away. Other days, I would look at food, and my appetite would disappear.
Depression can be daunting and disorienting. If you are suffering depression or anxiety, I share this part of my story to remind you that there is no shame in suffering from this.
Separate feelings and truth.
A friend of mine loves to say, “Feelings are far from the truth.” This is a very brutal, comforting and liberating truth you can live to remember. With depression, most of what we believe is nothing close to the truth. Depression will never tell the entire story; it blinds us from the truth. It claims that we are lonely, alone, helpless and hopeless. This distorts us from living out the truth and keeps us from prayer and fellowship with fellow brethren. So, remember truth; that we have a God who sympathizes with us and calls us to approach Him in confidence (Hebrews 4:15-16) because He hears us and offers mercy.
Count it all Joy and Pray
Take this cup of suffering with joy (James 1:2, 1 Peter 1:6). This type of Joy does not discourage us from mourning or lamenting over our pain. We are not joyful because we enjoy the pain we are going through but because we know it is working a good thing in us, patience (Romans 8:28, James 1:3). God reminds us through Paul that in our anxious moments, we ought to pray (Philippians 4:4-6). He calls us to cast all our burdens on Him (Psalm 50:15, 55:22, Mathew 11:28-30), draw near to Him (James 4:8) and place our hope in Him (2 Corinthians 1:10). God offers hope to the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
Turn to Scripture
Depression weakens our hope, but God’s word renews our hope. In the pages of scripture, God speaks to all people; even those that are depressed. Psalms, Job and Lamentations are among the books in the Bible where we can turn to and draw our lamentations. Our natural response during suffering is to murmur, curse or assume that God has left us. However, James gives a different perspective to how we should respond when faced with trials, to seek wisdom (1:5) even in our lamentations. You can turn to Psalms, which will help you in prayer and comfort you. Some of the Psalms you could turn to are Psalm 23, 30, 40, 77, 88; to mention a few.
Depression is very overwhelming and may lead us to think that we need to isolate ourselves. Being surrounded with people who intentionally prayed with me, friends who repeatedly shared with me the gospel was everything I needed. My heart was exposed, but I also have to experience God’s gracious love through love from brethren. Surround yourself with people who will not only be empathetic but also share the gospel and pray with you. God calls us to keep ourselves in the body (Hebrews 10:24-25) of Christ. It is where we draw strength (Ecclesiastes 4:10-12, encouragement from and are reminded of truth.
Truth is, I cannot say that I am entirely out of this struggle. Cling to God, who comforts us in our weakness. Draw lessons, encouragement, lamentations and hope from God’s word and fellowship. Though the suffering is long or short, find comfort in knowing that though we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, HE IS THERE (Psalm 23:4). Though trials should come, Let this blessed assurance remain, He will hold you fast.