Yesterday in a life group at college, we were encouraged to seek the Lord about something we need to be vulnerable in and tell our roommates what the Lord laid on our hearts. For the first few minutes of praying and seeking, I was genuinely unsure. I’m already a pretty vulnerable person and it’s easy to share about my struggles so nothing stood out to me right away. I felt the Lord moving so strongly in my heart in that moment so I knew there had to be something He was trying to speak to me. I began seeking below the surface since there was nothing obviously on top and that’s when I so clearly heard the word depression. “Oh, not this again, Lord…” I thought, utterly disappointed and even scared to bring it up again.
Depression is a darkness that I’ve been at war with for many years. It’s completely overtaken me at times. It’s won too many times in my life, which is why I become fearful to even speak the word out loud. It’s been the cause of years of self harm and two suicide attempts. Depression was my identity. It was all I knew to be true.
When I started getting heavily involved at my home church is when I felt my depression shrinking. I had a glimpse of healing and will never forget one of my beloved friends saying “Nadia, you have been freed from this. You are healed.” I walked in this. I stood by this. It was the hardest thing for me to believe because of the fact that it was my sole identity and I was prepared to suffer from depression my entire life, but I chose to embrace those words anyway.
This has been the absolute most discouraging aspect of my life because there are times I fully believed I’m healed from depression, then I become severely depressed again to the point where I cannot physically get out of bed. It brings such a heaviness throughout my entire body. It’s a vicious cycle. The smallest things in the world can trigger it which is extremely frustrating because it automatically makes me much more sensitive than the average person. One of the hardest parts is having to explain to people (and an entire new school with entirely new faces) why you’re so joyful and giddy one day and the next look like all life has been stripped from me the next. It leaves me feeling so abnormal. Like an outcast. Like I’m alone in a room full of people.
A few days ago when I was feeling depression heavily, I entered the throne room of God with so much hurt in my heart and potentially disappointment in the Lord because I felt lied to about my healing. He responded with “I haven’t taken your healing away from you.” Wow. That was such a beautiful reminder that if the Lord has healed you, He has healed you. He doesn’t remove healing. He doesn’t reverse it. He doesn’t break His promises. Being healed doesn’t mean you’ll never battle with it again, it simply means it’s no longer your burden, it’s the Lord’s. My friend reminded me that through this time of reoccurring depression, deeper healing will come.
In just a short month from tomorrow, I’ll be three years self harm free. I vividly remember not believing that self harm will ever be something I’ll be fully free from, even when I’m old and gray. This is something that controlled my life for years on end. It was a war. An addiction. It was a coping mechanism to the darkness that depression brought me. It got to the point where I would still self harm solely because it was habitual, not because I was hurting or needed to cope with my depression. Today, three years later, I can proudly say I wear the scars self harm gave me because I am not self harm’s victim, I’m a warrior who defeated it.
Sometimes when depression sneaks back into my life, it’s hard to remember that I’ve even defeated it at all but then I’m reminded that I didn’t; that was all Jesus. He defeated my depression the very moment He defeated death and the grave and if you battle with depression also, as you’re reading this, I pray that you find so much comfort in the fact that you don’t have to fight alone. You’re being fought for every single day by the same King who robbed the grave.
Depression, you tried to take my life but I took it back.
Depression, you tried to tell me I’m unworthy, but I serve a King who knows and embraces my worth.
Depression, you tried to grasp onto me but my God’s grasp was tighter.
Depression, you stole my happiness but you could never touch my joy.
Depression, you lost the fight to a victorious God who fights for me daily.
Depression, you have been defeated and you will remain defeated.
Depression, you may sneak back into my life at the most undesirable times, but I will always be ready to put up a fight. You will never win. My God already did that. The pangs of depression are loosened. The chains have been broken. You have been defeated.
I’m proclaiming this over myself, you and any loved one you know that suffers from depression. If you know anyone who battles with this, please be patient with them and ask them how you can care for them during their bad days. If you personally battle with depression, be vulnerable and let people know when you’re having a bad day. It’s okay. People are here to love on you! You can’t expect people to know what you need when you need it.
Remember: depression is a liar. Depression is coward. Depression comes to steal, kill and destroy but the Lord came to bring life and bring it to the full! Embrace your warrior status rather than dwelling on your victim-hood.
“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” / Psalm 3:3