Dealing with Depression
- Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I went through a period of serious anxiety and depression that I attribute to my singleness. I won't discredit physical factors, but I believe this struggle was largely fueled by the emotional stress of wondering What's wrong with me? During that dark time I dreaded public settings, even though I'd always loved being around people. I withdrew so much I had to get someone to pick up takeout meals for me.
I'd never dated a lot, which I attributed to the fact I was overweight and somewhat shy around guys. I believed things would change when I got to college, when I graduated, when I started working. But none of these milestones helped. I eventually lost an enormous amount of weight, and in some ways I thought it would "cure" my singleness. At the age of 25, when I was within mere pounds from my goal weight, my anxiety grew stronger because my life wasn't changing the way I thought it would. I was still single, and not even one man was showing interest in me.
I started withdrawing from everything and everyone and absolutely drowned in all my insecurities. Now that I couldn't fall back on the fat excuse, I started accusing myself of a whole new set of faults. I was terrified of my future, that I was going to be alone forever. It seemed as if my dream of a husband and kids was shattered. I even questioned my sexuality, which brought on a whole new set of anxieties.
Despite my reservations, I decided to seek help from a Christian counselor. I felt a huge relief after the first visit. Through counseling I started to deal with things in my past that had contributed to my anxieties and insecurities. Taking prescribed medication and talking to a counselor have felt somewhat humiliating at times, but they're absolutely the best things I've ever done in my life.
I can look back now and see how God was ready to do some work in me. Not long before this tough season, I'd prayed that God would reveal to me the things that were holding me back from moving forward in life. Boy, did he! After all of this, I experienced a freedom I've never known before. I came to realize a very important truth that needed to sink deep down into my bones: Singleness isn't my fault. It's not about my flaws, my looks, my eccentricities. It's all about the right time and right place. I'm OK with that now. God is in control.
Through prayer, God's Word, and the wisdom of other believers, I've experienced a transformation like nothing I could have imagined. I'm now more fearless and hopeful than ever. It seems so fitting (and a testament to God's humor) that my last counseling session was the week of Easter—the season of renewal.
I went through a three–year season of depression about ten years ago when I was in my mid–twenties. At the time, I'd been a Christian about seven years. I was raised in a Christian family, so I knew in my mind that God's always with me. When the depression set in, I constantly prayed, "Please God, hold me close to you because I don't have the strength to cling to you." I wanted to keep my mind clear, so I didn't go on any medication. It was a difficult struggle.
It felt as though Satan was whispering in my ear lies about how God sees me, telling me I'm not important and that prayer and Bible reading don't help. He tried to convince me my singleness is a sign I'm not worthy, that nobody loves me so what kind of future do I have.
I sought Christian counseling. In our sessions, I discovered I needed to learn to be honest in my prayers. Instead of telling God what I was really feeling, I'd often told him what I thought I was supposed to pray. So I started being honest with God about what was really going on with me. At first I felt anxious. What would God do? How would he respond to my honest words, questions, feelings? But over time I learned I can talk to God about everything that's on my mind; he listens, cares, and helps.
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