Last week, I was reading a post on Paul Soares Jr.’s website. The writer was thanking Paul for saving his life. The young man was suffering from depression. Would you have thought that an entertaining storyteller could help someone? How about a YouTube video centering on a game, with same storyteller? Here is the young man’s story, if interested.
While reading his story and the helpful comments, I felt a need to share my story of overcoming depression. I would love to say, “A magic wand was waved over me and presto!” Alas, this is not the case. Nevertheless, God, the Father was faithful in seeing me through it.
As I studied the issue of depression, I am constantly reminded of a simple fact. My experience with depression will be different from someone else. Yet, there is common ground. I am not a doctor and I’ve only done some cursory study on depression. I am simply sharing my story, with the hope of it being helpful.
I was born with very poor eyesight and had severe hearing loss in both ears. The doctors originally thought I was deaf and thankfully this is not the case. In the 60s, disabled children were not given much hope.
My parents chose to raise me to be very self-reliant and independent. I was raised with the view of “I was no different than anyone else.” Sounds great? It is, until reality hits you in the face. Truth is, I am different and it’s okay to ask and receive help. Today, I can say this; however, it was years before I could do so.
For years, I felt angry and frustrated about my physical limitations.Why could I not read, as fast as everyone else in class? Why do I have trouble keeping up, when it comes to tests? Why couldn’t I play sports, like everyone else? Yes, I was determined to succeed and yet frustrated.
Since 1971, I attended public school and took regular classes. Though I did have the benefit of speech therapy and a special ed class, I took my classes like everyone else. Back then, things were quite different.
Back then, teachers didn’t receive any special training for dealing with children with disabilities. They just dealt with it. I, for one, greatly appreciate what my various teachers did for me. It was not easy and yet they deserve a great deal of respect. I would also like to add my classmates. Sadly, I was too blind to see I was accepted.
Aside from an uneasy tension, I was experiencing an underlying fear of rejection. Funny thing is, my fears were based on very false premises. Where did they come from? Some came from my dad.
He believed people wouldn’t accept me; unless I put my foot down. Dad had difficulty in believing others would be willing to help. They just need some guidance, from me. He, once said “The Commission for the Blind would talk Ray Charles out of singing.” This comment took place in the 80s, before the computer revolution.
As depression can stem from a negative view of self, a false belief system and negative experiences, it’s no surprise that I’d be a candidate. I’ve already covered the first two categories. The third stems from an ugly experience in the summer of ’83. I wrote about it in “A Summer Of Hell“, parents’ divorce in ’85 and exposure to some negative environments in that same year.
Okay, it’s time to talk about overcoming depression. How did God, the Father rescue me, from this mess? Here is a fun thought. Until 2002, I had no idea that I was experiencing depression. It just appear normal to me. There is just one problem, it is not normal. Thankfully, depression can be overcome.
First, I have actually been a Christian for a long time. I was raised as a nominal Catholic and read Scriptures, when I was a kid. It was in the autumn of ’90 that I accepted Jesus, as Lord. I would love to say, “a wand was waved and no more depression.” Alas, this is not so. I would continue to experience depression, for years. In truth, I needed help in debunking the lies causing my depression.
In 2001, some friends suggested I read about my identity in Christ. This was the first time, I’ve heard of it. I was told to keep reading those Scriptures and they’ll begin to help you. This is true. the right Scripture can prove helpful. Yet, I needed to do more then just read it.
In prayer, I asked God, the Father to help me in believing what’s said in the Word. This was just a starting point. In time, God directed me, to Joyce Meyers and Charles Stanley. Their teachings about depression proved quite helpful.
As much as I love talking with the Father, through prayer; it does help to talk with some good friends and family. It also help to get counseling from a pastor or a counselor. For me, this combination has proven quite helpful. God can do the supernatural; however, it seems that my Father likes through people.
In 2002, I was given an interesting message by Mark Aulson. “You need to plant yourself in a church. You need to let them nourish you and you nourish them.” This message would prove helpful in my overcoming depression.
It’s hard to be depressed when your eyes are on someone else, who needs you. In doing so, your needs get met and lies get debunked. It also helps to begin forgiving those, who hurt you. This is precisely what I had to do. As I choose to forgive and let go, I found it easier to move forward.
Did you notice a curious pattern emerging? God, the Father brought the right people, good teachings and the correct Scriptures to me. I could not have overcome depression, by myself. Yet, I needed to put forth an effort in debunking the lies I believed. All the while, I am never alone for the Holy Spirit is with me.
When it comes to depression, you’re not alone. There is hope and there is help. As God is Light and there is no darkness in God, I would urge you to ask God to invade your darkness. Just ask and Jesus will come. Jesus came to set the captive free. He did it, for me. It took a while but I’m free.
Jesus can do the same, for you.