I Am Not My Depression

Anonymous asked a question:

Hi J.S., as someone who has been diagnosed with depression, GAD, and PTSD, your writing has been a huge comfort. I wanted to ask this – have you come to accept your battle with depression? I still struggle to accept that my mood is out of my control. My faith has been rocked after the past few years of intense battling. I still get discouraged when I think that I have to work so hard to feel “normal” and even then, normalcy isn’t guaranteed. How do you continue to trust God and fight through?

Hey dear friend, first I want to encourage you: You are loved, you are incredible, you’re doing great.

My answer to your question, “Have you come to accept your battle with depression?” is both Yes and No.

Yes, I recognize that my brain is broken. Something essential to my well-being will always be missing. I will, out of nowhere, seemingly at random, fall into the abyss for long seasons. One day, my depression might win. I have accepted it as much as any person can accept they are mortally wounded. I have accepted the hand I’ve been dealt.

But no, I do not accept my depression. I am angry. I am livid. I am insulted by it. I hate what it does to my friends and family. And I have to fight. It’s exhausting. But I have to scream no. And I think part of my non-acceptance is what keeps me alive. I do not accept that God wanted this for me. I am open to therapy, to medicine, to every treatment available. I have to fight.

I trust that God will heal me one day, which probably means I’ll have to wait until I’ve gone on to glory. I trust that God did not “give me depression,” but that part of the world’s brokenness entered me somehow, and that God is not the cause, but the one to whom I can cling. I also trust that my depression is not an indicator of my value as a person. When something bad happens to someone, they themselves are not bad. It will feel awful, but it doesn’t mean they are awful. It’s a distinction I’ve had to fight to understand.

I’m not saying it’s easy to trust any of this. It’s not. I don’t understand all of it. I’m still pretty mad about it some days. There’s no way around that.

You mentioned that you have to work hard to feel “normal,” and even then, it’s never guaranteed. I’m with you. It’s unfair. The only thing I can say for that is everyone, to some degree, is working to be normal. Some of us harder than others. I suppose the normal is that there will never be one. That’s both bad news and good news. It’s a harsh reality, but a bit of a relief.

In the end, a lot of “fighting depression” is mostly just waiting it out, hoping the medicine will work this time, hoping the morning will be different, hoping the right words or right person or right combination of events will get me through for one more breath. It’s so discouraging, and there’s so much misinformation, and so many places have handled mental health very poorly.

But if there’s anything I’ve come to accept, it’s to accept myself in light of God’s acceptance. My brain is broken, but He still loves that broken brain and all the rest of me. The rest of you, too. You are not your condition. You are more.

— J.S.

Photo from Unsplash

4 thoughts on “I Am Not My Depression

  1. I am drawn to the key you mention for any personal struggle – God didn’t do this, God is the One I hold onto. Only a couple of days ago my search to grasp the deep truth about Job finally came. Job was not being tested; Satan was. God KNEW that Job was faithful. Satan believed faith is always rooted in the material and the mortal. Satan beat up Job, not God. God never let Job be “tested beyond what ” he was able to overcome through faith.
    God never lies, and saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” is a real promise.
    May the light of Christ give you and me and all of us the hope to go on, even when the tears in our eyes make it look like that Light is flickering.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read and I just know I am there with you feeling and believing with you. I, too, am right now on the crossroads and wondering and waiting where God would lead next. Just that am sure our God knows best and He always have His best purposes. Keeping your company and in many prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

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