I have been doing well for a while now, but some depression symptoms have been creeping in, mostly physical symptoms like excessive sleeping, headaches, tummy problems, irritated, social withdrawal, anxiety once in a while the blues every now and then (not for longer than a few hours though) and of course no motivation to work at all. I was slightly suspicious about all these signs but I was not entertaining the thought that I might be depressed. I had my 3 month follow-up appointment with my psychiatrist last week and she immediately picked up that I wasn’t okay and called me on it. Someone said it out loud; you are depressed (moderate to severe to be exact).
I didn’t want to hear it! Inside me I was screaming “no no no, this can’t be, no I don’t want to be, I can’t be depressed!” I walked away crying and I cried for a good few hours after I got the news.
The days after I went through multiple scenarios in my head; is my psychiatrist wrong? I mean, I could explain away most of the symptoms she highlighted. Is she right? I did have a sneaky suspicion something was not quite right. Then the other question; what do I do now? Do I go on as if nothing happened? Do I take more meds? (She upped my meds, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to comply) I was very confused. I felt the pressure to figure this thing out and it was taking over my thoughts. Suddenly I became aware of every possible thing that can be interpreted as a depression symptom, I actually started feeling really depressed. I didn’t know much but I knew this couldn’t go on, this monster, if I couldn’t kill it, I had to atleast put a leash on it.
Something I have to include in this story of my past week is that only briefly did I feel alone, it wasn’t long before I remembered that God was with me. I held on to the belief that He was in control and that I was safe in His hands. I knew that I was loved and accepted regardless of what my situation was.
One thought, the one that hurt, confused and upset me the most, was that if I’m depressed, does that mean all the work that God had done in my life in the past year amount to nothing? Did it not really happen as I thought? See the problem was I was focusing on the fact that I was depressed. I was blind to how I was handling the news and how I had been handling the depression. A good friend of mine reminded me that feeling depressed is probably due to my brain chemistry going wack as it randomly does when you’re bipolar, sounds obvious I know, but up to that point I for some reason thought it was happening because of something that I did wrong or failed to do right. I doubted God’s work in me.
This realization that the depression might just be the natural course of the illness opened my eyes to change my focus from the depression to me. To how I was handling it. I realized that despite of the depression, I was functioning, I was going to the laboratory, and I was mostly emotionally in control. I was much less negative than in the old days and I wasn’t even thinking of suicide or cutting. I wasn’t questioning God’s love for me or His presence in my life. I may well have been in the midst of a storm but I was anchored in truth and I wasn’t drowning, all without realizing it until someone made me aware of my depression.
This encouraged me a lot and I knew that I must just press on, but that I should also be grateful for being made aware of the depression and actively apply all the skills and knowledge I have gained to minimize this depression even more. So I have started spending more time in the word, in prayer and meditation. I realized my body needed some tender loving care, especially my back and I’ve scheduled an appointment with my physiotherapist. I went for a haircut and did my nails. I’ve also started paying more attention to my thoughts and I’m addressing those that aren’t in line with the Truth. Most of all, as much as I’m doing things for myself, I have moved my focus from myself to God. I am continually praising Him and thinking about how amazing and holy He is.
I believe all these changes will improve my mental health and help lift the depression. To be honest I am still confused, but I am at peace.
The message I am trying to convey here is that I have realized that I am not in a dark depression but that I am shining a bright light in spite of being thrown into this darkness. My response, even if only the heavens see it, is shining bright! The arrival of a depressive spell does not disprove God’s work in me, but quite the opposite! The way I’m handling this is testifying to the work He has done in me! I am doing what my heart desires to do, I’m glorifying God through my pain. I will wait patiently at God’s feet, if an explanation of why I became depressed is revealed I will be glad, but I do not need it to go on living a beautiful, God-pleasing life. Depression or not, I still have Joy, Truth and Security, what more could a girl want?