I would like to tell you a little about the victories I’ve had in my life with my battle against depression. You see, I am a 37-year-old man who has a wonderful wife and three beautiful kids, but I didn’t think I would get there when I was 21. There I was, an impressionable young man in college with my whole life ahead of me, and then one day I suffered a brain aneurysm that caused a massive stroke. Whack! Just like that my life was pretty much over, and in the first year of my recovery I never understood why God didn’t kill me right then and there. As I relearned how to read, write, walk, eat, and go to the bathroom like a big boy, I developed a depression that became a pit for my existence. I wanted to die, all the time. Really, for the first few years, that was all I thought about, even after I met the love of my life. I never fully recovered from the stroke and have had to slow down my thinking and talking because, as the doctors say, my neurons don’t fire as fast as they once did. I suppose that’s what happens when you stop breathing for nearly 5 minutes.
I blamed everyone for my problems. I blamed God, my parents, my wife, and yes, myself. I was depressed, and I was bound and determined to dig that hole as deep as I could because I was sure there would be no way out. But standing at the bottom of that pit I could always see light. Even when it was dim, it was still there.
It was my faith. I never lost it even though I spent most days being mad at God for what happened to me. I held onto it very loosely, but my faith never gave up on me. Some people told me to just feel better or get over it, but others would wrap their arms around me and cry with me. These people also had faith, and their light added to the very little I had in my life. It took years, but through plenty of prayer and tons of support by the church and other loving people, I finally can say I am about out of that pit. You see, God was there all along, giving me love through the care of others, and I know He won’t give up on you either. It might not feel like it sometimes, but it is as the Bible says, “we have entertained angels without knowing.” I’m sure there were quite a few angels that got me through this over the years.
YES - I believe this to be true. And I also know sometimes I can look back and realize I have entertained those which I know now HAD to have been angels. <3
Very encouraging! Keep moving and don’t forget God has great things planned for you. I understand Pastors tend to deal with depression often. Keep your faith and continue surrounding yourself with encouraging frienda and continue to help those in need
Its was really encouraging to read this! Thank you! I think that you should take credit for your recovery as well. God helped and cared for you, but it was you who used your strength to get out of your situation and recover Very happy for you and your family!
Interestingly enough, my church had a neuropsychologist talk about this concept this weekend. She said the chronic disease model of mental health is flawed because it implies no hope. She kept going back to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, feeling all the depression and anxiety of the whole human race. He didn’t hide, and he didn’t ask for Prozac. What he did do was ask his disciples to stay awake with him (keep people close), specifically identify his worries, and pray furiously.
If we view depression and anxiety more like a fever than cancer or diabetes, then it’s a physiological alert rather than a disease ranging somewhere between manageable and deadly. Depression and anxiety are alerts that something is wrong in your life, whether or not you know what it is. Don’t skip the meds if you need them, but don’t rely entirely on the meds, don’t give up, and don’t isolate. Lean on people (friends, family, therapists, mentors), journal, find the root of your unhappiness, and either change your circumstances or change your perspective. After all, Jesus BEGGED God to not put him through the crucifixion. It’s still a hell of a fight, and it could take years, but this idea gives way to hope rather than resignation.
To be clear, I’m going to need more perspective before I start discounting everything I’ve figured out in the last 8 years, but it was an interesting talking point.
Thank you so much for sharing your story and your progress, @JRSommerfeldt. There is so much vulnerability, strength and resilience in your words. It brings hope. You are inspiring. Thank you.