They say ‘write about what you know’.

What I know is that for quite a large chunk of time recently, all I knew was that I was existing but dormant.  Alive but not really living. 

Everything had deadened except my emotions which either led me to rage or cry.  My world was getting dark despite me trusting that Christ was my light and my salvation. 

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety….

It’s been a difficult time.  Not least realising that I inadvertently had held some pretty hidden preconceptions about those suffering with depression.

I felt weak, but generally didn’t see myself as a ‘weak’ person.  I didn’t have any great needs that weren’t being met.  I had everything I could possibly want materially.  I had a wonderfully supportive, funny family and I felt God’s presence very closely.  I realised that that had nothing to do with anything.  My emotional stability was not at all related to the ‘facts.’  There was more going on.  There was no ‘fault’ to be found.  Yes, there were reasons that had exacerbated how I felt.  It had been beyond a challenging year what with one thing and another and physical and emotional exhaustion was definitely a factor but I’d experienced challenging times before and been OK.  This time though, I definitely hit the wall and hard. 

Time off, medication and counselling have all helped me to come out of the other side.  I realise how fortunate I am.  For many - perhaps you - depression and anxiety is something you have lived with for a long time.  I am hoping and praying I never experience such a dark time again.  It was so lonely, isolating and scary.  It’s scary enough writing about this now and admitting the fact that it happened!  So why am I?  Perhaps because it’s the thing I really feel I have to talk about in this post.  Perhaps it’s because it’s something you need to read today.  Perhaps it’s a perspective you need to understand for a friend or family member who is going through a similar thing. 

Sometimes something is just the way it is. 

So what have I learnt?

  • Not being as strong and capable as I thought I was feels disabling, disorientating and embarrassing.
  • Being depressed doesn’t mean your relationship with God is shot! If anything, God’s presence was the enjoyable bit of feeling so low.  I wanted to remain in the pit with Him alone and not be bothered with anything or anyone else.
  • Asking for / admitting you need help or can’t keep going is HARD.
  • Having one or two friends or family members you can talk to about things is a gift from God. It’s hard enough to want to be around anyone at all let alone talk to them…..those who understand this and allow you to need them in the way you need them when you need them and just occasionally contact you to say they love you and are thinking about you is wonderfully supportive.
  • Feeling better is possible.
  • CHANGE HAS TO HAPPEN if things are going to get better.

So, here I am, just coming out the other side with the hope and prayer that if you are in the same situation, you find encouragement in these few words. 

It’s not your fault and you’re not a failure.  Sometimes things just are the way they are. 

(In the vein of all scripture is God breathed and useful…..I found the Psalms incredibly comforting.  David’s words of despair, rage and disappointment but ultimate trust in God became my prayer at times too).

Kate Strand works for The Greenhouse part-time. She's part of the Leadership Team, heads up The Greenhouse Friends network, and oversees marketing.