It has been more than four years in my struggle with depression.
In the first three years I thought to myself: “I just need to find someone to be there for me, to save me out of my misery.” So I went searching for love, hoping someone would come along and eventually get me out of the well.
However, my plan harmed me more than it helped. I did meet someone who was initially concerned and willing to be there for me. However, my pessimism did not fade even though his encouragement kept pouring in. It got tiring for the both of us as we realised I wasn’t getting “more positive” and that I was “not enthusiastic” in my replies to him.
Eventually, we stopped being friends, and I was worse off than I was before. I kept thinking to myself: “No one would be able to accept me for who I am. I am not deserving of any love. I will forever live with this darkness inside of me.”
That was the point where I became hesitant to share my problems with close friends and slowly distanced myself from them.
But by the grace of God, I was blessed with a Christian classmate who became my really close friend.
She acknowledged the struggles I was facing. She also invited me to church. I went with an open mind and, with every service I attended, I desired to know God more.
That said, the journey to faith still wasn’t easy. Even though I wanted to develop a personal relationship with God, I sometimes felt distant from God during worship and would wonder why I was feeling that way.
“What is stopping me?” The answer did not come until I learnt to surrender all the struggles I was facing to God.
Although I now believe in God, there are still times when I forget that I’m not fighting my battles all on my own. I would find myself thinking that I must be mentally strong, I cannot fail and that I must not give in to the demons in my head.
As a result, I didn’t turn to God whenever I began to despair because I thought I was solely responsible for what I’m facing and that no one else would be able to help me. I did not pray about my depression, and I separated my feelings of hopelessness from being a Christian, as if they were mutually exclusive.
All of this took a toll on me until I poured my feelings out to my close friend one day. What she said deeply impacted me: “You may be broken, but being broken is not your identity. Your identity lies in being a child of God.”
Depression may be a giant, but my God is greater.
I hold on to those words she uttered because it reminds that in whatever I’m going through, I’m not alone and never will be alone. I have God who loves, forgives and strengthens me. His promises never fail and His plans are far greater than I can imagine. Depression may be a giant, but my God is greater. He is sovereign over my life.
James 1:2-4 assures me that God has a plan.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”
Though depression is painful and overwhelming, I know that I will be able to overcome it with Christ on my side. I’m not hopeless. I’m not beyond repair. There’s hope, and that hope is living – that hope is God.
There’s a purpose on the other side of this pain.
There are days when the emotions are so powerful and the thoughts so pervasive that it’s an immense battle to turn towards God. But I pray over myself and know that each battle is an opportunity to live out my faith a little more.
I remind myself that there’s a purpose on the other side of this pain. I don’t need to fear what I’m going through now, nor worry about the future because God is with me and I’m wrapped in His embrace.
Every day, I look forward to sunrises and sunsets because they remind me of God’s mercies and how they are new every morning. They remind me that a new day will come and things will be different.
But God remains the same. He is the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night who will guide me.