I have struggled on and off with depression for more than 25 years. However, God always brings people and certain things in my life that help me through these tough times and give me much hope. The three main things that God brings into my life to help me through a depressive episode are the strength to persevere, support, and hope.
Growing up, I found it extremely difficult to make and maintain friendships because of the problems I had understanding how to socialize with others. I felt like the odd ball out. I felt lonely and that if people really knew the true me inside, they would completely avoid even talking to me, let alone be my friend! This made me feel extremely lonely and even suicidal at times. However, about ten years ago, about the time my mentor J came into my life, I found a good, bible believing church to attend. I started to have the hope that maybe people would like me for who I was. I started opening up about the pain and the struggles I had in my life, and I discovered something that I had never really known before—acceptance and love—from my peers. Not only that, I discovered that when I shared who I really was, warts and all, in this blog and with those who were close to me, that I freed them to share their struggles and forged a deeper connection with those around me.
One of the darkest periods of my life thus far was when I was in my early teens. My parents were struggling with paying for two houses.—One they still owned and wanted to sell, the other was the one they just bought. I really struggled with making lasting friendships because of my problems with socializing and the fact that my peer groups were starting to form cliques, and I didn’t belong to any of them. I also struggled with severe OCD and an eating disorder. They were like clouds hovering over every part of my life.
However, God did not let me give up. He sustained me and loved me, even though I did not yet know Him or acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. During that time, God gave me strength to get through each day. Though I wasn’t happy or in good spirits, I was still alive.
Yet another difficult period in my life was when struggled to find a job that suited my skill set. Towards the end of that period, God brought my mentor J into my life. She did not see a person void of hope and skill, as some others did. She saw a person that had potential. J believed in me so much, she persisted in pushing me to find work and did not let me delve into despair. Finally, in June 2013, I found, what was going to be, my first steady job outside my home, for a long time. I learned so much there. My depression really began to lift, and I began to see my potential to positively impact the world around me for the first time.
Not only has J helped me in my job searching, but she has also helped me learn new things and conquer my fears. For instance, I had a fear of driving because I believed the lie that I would never learn to drive and that I would not amount to much in this life. This lie was first told to me by someone in authority that I was taught should be respected and trusted. What I didn’t know at the time was that authority figures were sinful humans like me and sometimes made mistakes too.
J had great influence on me too, but she believed that if I just had enough practice, I would be able to drive myself. About a year later, J’s prediction came true and I got my first car! The reason why I had not been able to find a good job earlier and was depressed and down on myself was because I really feared driving. Thus, I never drove, and this fear kept me for applying for jobs that required driving for more than 5 to 10 minutes, which really narrowed the jobs that I could get that matched my skill set. God brought J into my life not only as a support, but also to give me hope in my life.
God has always given me the strength to persevere though my trials, has given me support in the midst of it, or has given me hope that things would be better in the future if I continued persevering through it. God has used these trials to make me a stronger, more compassionate person, conformed to the image of His Son. If you or someone you know is going through a trial right now, let me encourage you to trust that God will also give you the strength to persevere, supportive people in your life, and/or the hope that things will get better soon.