Mental illness is a hard subject to discuss. There is just such a stigma about it. I struggle with depression and anxiety. Both of which, stem from my congenital heart defect. Depression is tricky, because one minute you can be happy and laughing and then, you have a trigger. Thanks to therapy, my therapist and I have been able to identify my depression trigger. My trigger is my inability to have children due to my CHD and the littlest things can trigger my depression. It can be a song, seeing something on social media, an email, or Target’s baby section. Those are just some of them. It has been hard, but I have accepted that it is not in my best interest to have biological children. Adoption is my dream now and waiting for this dream…is hard.
For the past week I have been really struggling with my depression. It was triggered by something someone posted on Instagram. There was absolutely nothing wrong with their post, they were sharing their joy of adopting again. But, it was that “again” that triggered me. They joyfully announced that they were adopting another baby, they would have two children under a year old. They are excited and nervous, understandably so. I would be too. Like I said, it was that “again” that got me.
That’s when the negative thoughts started coming. “How did THEY getting matched again?” “What’s wrong with us/me?” ‘Why haven’t we been match yet?” “What are we doing wrong?” When these negative thoughts start it is hard for me to ignore them or change them into a positive though, which is what my therapist encourages me to do. Sometimes I can snap out of a depression cycle before it really starts. Then, there are times like this past week where it feels like I am spinning out of control.
When i’m starting to spin or feel like I am, I take a bath with lavender essential oils and my bath salts. Normally it lifts my spirits or helps me to relax a little bit more, but on Sunday it did the opposite. I was laying in the tub, listening to my christian playlist, when I felt this enormous cloud of darkness just sit on top of me. I heard a voice say ‘Why don’t you just give up? Come on, throw in the towel. Why keep fighting?”
It freaked me out! At that point I knew my relaxing bath was over, and nothing would be able to calm me down after that! For the next couple days, I just felt like that cloud of darkness was following me around everywhere. Sleep was difficult for a few days and I kept waking up. I was exhausted both mentally and physically.
I finally broke down and told my husband how I had been feeling. He knew I was struggling, but he didn’t know how bad it was. I was scared to tell him. I told him about my bath and how scared I felt. He gently rubbed my leg and said “Baby, I am so sorry, but you know what? I am so proud of you for acknowledging that situation wasn’t good and getting out of it. Don’t listen to Satan. You have such a great life and we will be parents. I don’t know why it’s taking so long, it frustrates me too, but I know it will happen. Just have faith, I love you so much.”
Our talk made me feel better…but I still felt the cloud of depression around me. Our church was having a special worship service and I felt like I just needed a night worshiping Jesus and praying. So I went. By myself. I cannot tell you how much I needed this night.
With my arms raised, worshiping to Jesus I kept feeling that this big weight was building in me; then our worship leader said, “Is there something that you are waiting for a job, financial security, a baby….if you never get the things you pray for….will God be enough for you?” Not gonna lie… at that moment the tears started coming. I stood there thinking, is God enough for me? Is my life without a child enough for me?
With tears streaming down my face I whispered to Jesus “ If I never become a momma to Ava or Eli(Yes, I have already named my hypothetical kids), you are enough for me. You have brought me through so much, Lord. How could you not be enough for me? Forgive me when I lose sight of you.”
At that moment the overwhelming weight and cloud of darkness lifted.
I am a Christian, saved by Jesus. Yet, I still struggle with depression, and that’s okay. Jesus doesn’t love me any less. Growing up, I felt like if you were a Christian and struggled, then you weren’t truly saved or you weren’t living your life right. Or your faith wasn’t strong enough. Because, as Christians we aren’t supposed to struggle with depression, right? Wrong! We can struggle just as much! Life is hard, but having hope in Jesus makes it easier.
Jesus tells us this in John 16:33, he says
“I have told you these things, so in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
How comforting is that? To know that no matter what we are struggling with, Jesus has already overcome it! Its okay to struggle, Jesus will always be there to pick us up. Jesus loves us with an everlasting love. He wants us to come to him with our wants, our hopes and dreams, our failures, our struggles, all of it. He wants to be enough for us.
Romans 8:38-39 says,
38, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God is more than enough to sustain us. We just have to be willing to give it all to him. To lay it down at his feet, which when you are in that cloud of depression, that is easier said than done. Trust me, I know! But, when I am in that dark place, I just remind myself of how God has been so faithful to me. Remind yourself of all the great, wonderful things he has blessed you with. So when my depression feel like it is too much, I cry out to Jesus, literally. Crying helps, listening to my Christian playlist on Spotify helps, reading my bible helps, going to church helps, talking with my husband helps, therapy helps, and blogging help.
Don’t let the fear of what others will think about you or the fear that Jesus won’t love you, deter you from seeking help. Find what helps you! If talking to someone helps, do it! If taking medication helps, do it! You deserve to be happy.
Remember no matter what, Jesus loves you and will always be there to handle whatever life throws at us. He is enough for me. And, I pray he is enough for you.
Verses to remember:
3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:Matthew 17: 20
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”