Depression has been something I have struggled with in the past, even after I got saved. My earliest memory of experiencing it really badly was when I was 14 years old. I had been kicked out of my house and had been taken to live in Southampton with a relative, I didn’t know anyone there accept for the people I was going to live with. This relative was abusive, mentally, emotionally and even physically.
I just remember being in a really dark place, like a cloud was over me and feeling really alone. It’s such a hard feeling to put into words, all I know is every day I just felt like I wanted to die.
Here I was an orphan, I had lost my mum, I had never known my biological dad and word was he was deceased as well. So, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, or was part of a family.
I felt so alone, I would think about my funeral and wonder if anyone would show up! I didn’t feel like there was a reason for me to live. I would take long walks, I would call ChildLine sometimes just to talk to someone to probably not feel the weight of not only the loneliness but the depth of pain I felt, throughout the whole time I was living there.
I had physical pains in my heart and doctors couldn’t tell me what it was. I didn’t really understand what it was either but maybe it was just a broken heart.
That was such a hard time, I had been through hard things before but this point in my life was different for me it was make or break. I had suppressed a lot of feelings and I knew I was suffering in silence, but I didn’t want to put out my family like that until one day.
I was getting ready to go to school, I was taking GCSEs at the time and this particular relative was going off on one as per usual. I had locked the bathroom door and they were literally trying to knock down the door to get to me.
I came out of the bathroom and one of my male relatives came out and started shouting, then started hitting me in my face from left to right, I managed to get up, threatened to throw the chair in their face, grabbed my bag and ran out. I couldn’t stop crying, literally!
I got to school and I couldn’t contain myself. So, I had to tell all, which resulted in me doing interviews with police and also staying in a foster home until I completed my GCSEs.
In Christ but depressed
Even after I got saved, I was still struggling. I remember going to the doctors and telling him all my symptoms and him telling me I was struggling with depression and I was kind of shocked, thinking to myself like what? No! I’m in Jesus now, I can’t struggle with that. I remember one of my friends from church looking at me and asking, ‘Susan are you depressed?’ and I admitted I was.
She was one of the most honest people and really helped me at the time. I wasn’t at a perfect place but I knew I needed God. I just felt like it was something I couldn’t shake off. Have you ever felt like you could never overcome some things? That was me!
‘Identify the root – Don’t cure the symptoms, deal with the cause.’ – Susan Deborahs
It has been a journey to get to where I am now, it’s only been in the last two years that I can say I have been free from depression. I can say hands down, it has been a work of God.
I realised that depression is a symptom of what is happening on the inside. There were a lot of negative things that I believed about myself and about God that I hadn’t addressed. I had experienced some traumatic things, I had felt abandoned and forgotten by God, I had believed was unworthy of love, that I didn’t belong and that I had no future.Those are just a few things and those beliefs governed me and were the root to my depression.
Yes, it was also spiritual but it was just as much mental. So, for me it has taken a renewal of the mind through the Word of God as well as other factors, to experience freedom from depression. I don’t have all the answers but here are some things I can share that have helped me:
Talk to someone: Cliché but we underestimate just how much talking it through actually helps. Someone else can help identify the blind spots, the entry points and triggers.
I recommend counselling, it is necessary, but if you’re not ready for counselling, speaking to someone who is seasoned, is a good start. Make sure it is someone you trust and can be vulnerable with!
Isolation is not the answer: Isolation does not help. Get around praying friends and a church community, don’t suffer in silence there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Get outside, go for walks, pick up a hobby, be active (exercise), get active. Exercise releases a hormone that helps to trigger a positive feeling in the body, so it is beneficial.
Journaling and prayer: Journaling is a good way to express and release yourself, it also helps you to become more self-aware and to see what is happening within. Through that you can create prayer points out of what you know is happening inside. It can help you to identify roots and triggers, so it can be dealt with.
Don’t overthink what you write, just express what is going on and pray about it. Invite God into that place of brokenness.
Understand that your living is not in vain: I believe that depression is also the absence of hope.
You are not here by accident, God has an intention and purpose for your life. The enemy desires to challenge your existence. Robbing you of the hope of a future!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
It’s in the darkest moments you feel most defeated or without hope, that you must remember the thoughts that God has toward you.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” (Psalm 34:17-18)
3 Key points to make from Psalms 139
- God is aware of your existence – He sees you. (Verse 1-6)
2. He is present – No matter what place you find yourself in, God is present. Your condition does not push God away. Neither does your dark season move Him. God desires to meet you exactly where you are, touch your heart and lead you out. (Verse 7-10)
3. God formed and created you, He was very intentional about you. He has already written your days and the days ahead with Him are greater and brighter.
There is so much power in the word of God, to help revive and restore us. That’s why I wrote my 21 Day Devotional ‘Back To Life’, so that through the word individuals can gain an understanding of their true identity and significance through the word.
I pray that this is the catalyst to you experiencing not only healing but wholeness in your life. I pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit you may be set free. In Jesus name, Amen.
This article is written by Susan Deborahs, a London-based author, speaker and singer. Her book ‘Living Waters’ and the Living Waters devotional on YouVersion give women hope and understanding of what it means to be free.