Several things happened in my life recently that freed me from captivity, a slave to this thing and the worse prison of all which will leave you paralyzed: depression. To be honest, I'm not going to doubt God by saying, "it may come back" I don’t need to speak those things over my life and doubt what God and I have done together, and neither do you. People battle with different levels of depression and I’ve battled with it for some years now, since middle school. I’ve realized that some of the things I did added to my depression. The way others are or were towards me added to it as well and sometimes I think it was just all in my mind. My confidence in the Lord's words to me, "you’re enough because I am with you" wasn't there and to be honest it wasn't enough for me to know that He valued and loved me. I didn't ever really talk about my depression and I always tried my best to never let it show, in fact I think over time I became an expert, except to my dad... nothing ever seems to get away from him lol.
After some time of my deliverance, I kept wondering... what changed, what’s this new sense in me? It was radical and I could not understand; I prayed a million times about this, what was so different now? As I’m singing and spending time with the Lord, I have come to realize a few things about depression in my life. You might say, "this doesn’t apply to me since I don’t believe in God so how can I even apply what you’re about to say?" but to be honest I think it does. Depression has no partiality and is of no respect to persons, it has a face and always shows itself to be evil or worse, appearing as good deceiving you and leading you into a dark pit. You may think that cutting, depression, drugs, alcohol, sex and so on will heal you but it won’t. Evil wants to kill, steal and destroy your joy. Those things you turn to will never care or fulfill you enough to make you a better person the way Jesus can: Jesus is revolutionary.
Depression can be...
- Lack of reaching out. I hated reaching out about depression so I never did and no one noticed since I was good at hiding it or just simply didn’t reach out to ask me. No one needed to know about my depression right? Because who is depressed and wants to actually talk about it and feel like they're dumping it on others to disturb them? No one. When people tell people like me “I'm here for you if you need me” it goes in one ear and out the other, I can barely breathe let alone reach out to you. In my mind I thought, people have their own problems, I'm not trying to feel like I am about to be the cause of another burden in your life. But guess what? Those feelings we have are all LIES FROM THE PIT OF HELL ITSELF and we HAVE TO FIGHT TO REACH OUT. I finally got the courage and reached out for prayer to some friends and communicated that I was going through this; I explained that I was spiraling down! It’s as if there were no branches for me to grasp onto, to pull myself back up, I needed some serious prayer. I got a lot of encouragement, a lot of powerful prayer and instantly (the next day) for the first time in a while it seemed as if I could get some fresh air, regained some confidence and could start actually reconnecting with God and fixing issues that for so long have tried to keep me and crippled me. REACH OUT! Stop trying to do this your way and by yourself, It’s not going to work. Stop waiting for people to reach out to you, and although it’d be nice for many of us, it's not the reality, at this point your health is on the line. Go throw your pride away in the trash when it comes to this. DON'T BE SILENT, REACH OUT, GET HELP. Of course use discernment and reach out to the right people.
( disclaimer: I am not a doctor) If you believe you have no community to reach out to then please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com for prayer and just to talk it out and I will try my best to help . Or you could go to Women Who Boss and let their network of women know you need prayer and you can even go online HERE to let them know what prayer you need. or there is a community of ladies called "Pinky Promise" who will be of amazing encouragement and prayer, and could possibly get you better connected with what you need from a professional if that's what you’re seeking; If you’re a man reading this, I encourage you to check out Cornelius Lindsey who has a ministry for men called "The man cave society" these communities are exactly that, communities to get plugged in. If you’re in Florida, there may be other communities I can help you connect with.
- Lack of being able to get closure and feeling as if you can’t tell others what they did has hurt you. This is a big one and was the hardest step for me. I have been told, "you talk too much, what your saying comes out too bold, your feelings are trash and what you think has no value" so it made it hard for me to speak later on. However, God has been shaping me to be who He and I need me to be for His Glory.
Just as much as I felt hurt by another I also needed to be ready to accept what I did wrong to them at any point in time and while we are more comfortable sitting on the victim seat it doesn’t work that way. Also, be ready for people to make it about them, verses them being able to see outside the box. We need to be able to handle their reaction with grace, remember how hard it has been for you. Whether depressed or not we have to face that we do things that hurt, whether we know we did or not. But it doesn’t mean stay quiet and say nothing. I know there’s a chance they will point the finger right back at me and I need to have the maturity to handle it. However, what I did to them is not the focus for the moment being, the focus is getting all that garbage out of my mental state and myself out of that numbing box; will it leave me vulnerable? yes, but guess what it also does? it leaves the problem vulnerable to be defeated and conquered. I separated my emotions from getting caught up on the fact that they feel hurt because of whatever I might have done or not done, the parts of myself I had opened up to them or not and so should you. I didn’t go to them for that purpose and I did not get distracted from the ultimate goal, which was defeating this thing. Everything is out there, out of my head and at it can be dealt with. It may be messy, there may be crying, there may be some disagreeing or fighting but these situations are also what God will use to refine not only their hearts but mine. It stretched me but He pulled me back together, and caused me to grow in my perseverance, faith and hope. Although the verses below were hard to hold fast to, and many times I was barely encouraged by them, they are able to help me now, to handle the aftermath without the emotional roller coaster that the victim role brings along. It gives me perspective.
"...And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope."
Romans 5:3-4 NKJV
"Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:3-4 NIV
That's why I don't believe God will always snap depression away. We need to be built, we need character to be strengthened and especially to be able to learn as much as we can from the process, not only for ourselves but to help others. This is when I start fixing what I have done wrong; right after I'm able to let everything out and mentally process, I deal with what I have done, face the pride that covered my guilt and I put my big girl pants on to face whatever hurt I’ve done to others.
- Putting to death those thoughts about what people have not said or not thought about you that linger in your mind, yet still hurt us is important. Sometimes I just went around thinking, this person probably thinks this and that about me. They were not true, yet festered in me; and those thoughts from long ago that sat in the numbing box for too long and turned into mold, had grown into bitterness/ grudges and dislike. This goes along with my first point, actively healing. I prayed about these thoughts, too many times to count. I would be so frustrated as to why my prayers were not being answered. I didn’t want to feel like this towards these people, in fact I would do the opposite and help them as much as I could and prayed for them so that these things would go away. It didn’t.. all along I did not realize that God was trying to get me to speak to individuals so that we could reason together, that the evil may be exposed and brought to its demise. God wasn’t going to hand me a freebie to get rid of depression on this one, He handed me the strength and boldness to do what I had to do. From time to time we have this idea that God is a genie and He will just hand us stuff, but that is not how it works. When you have problems with people He says to go talk to them ( Matt. 18:15-17 & Matt.5:23) What good would we be in developing as His people if He just handed us things all the time. God challenges us, our way of thinking and challenges others through us. Warriors aren’t weak and they didn’t become strong by sitting down and watching others become strong, they had to go get strong themselves.
- Lack of confidence."Stop caring so much about what people know or think about you..." is what I heard Jesus tell me. I always thought of myself as if I didn’t care but in a way I did. So much so, that it was a constant “I feel like I don’t belong because of what I say or how I live”. My good friend told me, “Diamonds are just a shiny rock and the only reason it has value is because people place value on it, focus on the value God has given you” Although I believe the process of the diamond is what makes the diamond valuable that’s not usually what other people may value it for and others might not value me since they’re not in my process and THAT'S OKAY! If someone doesn’t value and approve of the calling on my life, the things I do, say and the personality that God has given me to develop so I can use it for that calling, then it shouldn’t matter because I’m not going to let others dictate my value! God already values me and that’s enough. I cannot stop being who God called me to be and that's who I want to be! Not flourishing into who Jesus wants me to be put me in a whole depression! So if I get 0 likes on F.B from my friends and family for what I speak on or 0 likes on I.G and so forth oh well. I need to do what God is leading me to do, not what people want me to do. We have to believe and be satisfied in the value God gives us and for a long time I was not satisfied with Him telling me, "I say you are enough because I made you enough, my grace is sufficient." Deep down in our hearts I think sometimes we want to be enough without Him, which will only cause us to lose humility and lack of being able to put on our strength and confidence from the main source which is the Godhead we serve. I can no longer run from the voice God gave me to speak with and I can no longer run from what I'm called to do, that's why He made me. I can usually be a straightforward person and it is for such a time as this. The calling God places upon our lives is more important for the sake of others than the moves of the Devil trying to pin us down. This verse below allowed me to see that my depression doesn't only want to keep me but others who are suffering because of me and I won’t allow that to continue. A lot of my family and others I don't know need to see what Jesus is capable of, but what good will I be if I can't show them and tell them of all the testimonies that represent "through Christ we can do all things". My family has been part of the driving force of my salvation since they have not surrendered their lives fully to Christ and through it God saved me and showed me how much He loved me.
"If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?"
Esther: 4:14 NLT
- Lack of good quality community. Most of the times the only family that I really have around to speak to that actually reach out to me and invest in our relationship is my Mom and Dad. Then there's other family from far away who reach out now and then, but other than that it’s like I don’t even really exist to my other family and a thumbs up from them on fb isn’t really enough. Although I may reach out to them or go visit them it is not truly reciprocated. This is where joy and satisfaction in The almighty comes in. knowing that Him and I are enough. Being satisfied with who and what He has given to me in my life. My Mom and my Dad although we are very different are always there and God gave me that and they would never abandon me. I may not have any other close relatives to me but God gave me a group of friends that through thick and thin they have become closer than a brother to me. We’ve gone through much but we have stuck together through it so far and are still growing in ways to love each other. It’s not about the quantity of people or who you think should be there, or even if your bloodline connects you but it’s about the quality of them and who God knows should be there. Let's be satisfied with our portion.
"A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who stays closer than a bother"
Proverbs 18:24 NASB
- All the wrong relationships. Run. When God says no you better close that door faster than the devil can enter through it. Of course God can use all relationships to refine you but what makes us think that He would want us to go from heartbreak to heartbreak? The only reason that happens to begin with is because we can't listen to His sound and gentle advice. He in no way wishes for our heart to break. In Isaiah 66:4 NLT says, "I will send them great trouble— all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen.They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.” or Isaiah 1:18 NKJVsays, "Come now and let us reason together". My observation was that He calls but no one answers, he speaks but we don't listen, He wishes to reason together with us but most times many of us refuse and harshness has to be used to discipline. When God says enough, it's time to leave and if God says don't even enter, you don't enter. Not only are you hurting yourself, your relationship with God but the other person who is being led on. In our hearts we know, we are not supposed to be here. We must remember that this other person was also called and invited to be God's child, we have no business messing with God's plans and be somewhere we were not called to be in or supposed to come out of. We don't need to be in a relationship for the purpose of changing or saving them, or because we don't want to be alone; it's exhausting, and we will go through purposeless hurt. Now, God may use you for something to reach him or her but this is not ‘save a boyfriend ministries’.
Here are some red flags the Lord has taught me to check for. If this person refuses to serve the Lord over the years and you are trying to learn how: get out. I have been there and sometimes you need to leave in order for them to understand the necessity of having Jesus in their lives (do this with discernment and prayer). If he/she continues to persist and there's nothing in common as far as God between y'all and never will be but that doesn't matter because everything else "feels" right and maybe it will happen who knows: get out. If the person shows you enough to keep you around but there's no actual fruit, get out. I learned what I'm telling you the hard way, ridiculously hard. Our first relationship should be learning the Lord and getting to know Him and who He is in our lives and most importantly hearing the guidance of his Holy spirit, learning our gifts, prayer, getting into the word to know our purpose and be firm in the Lord preferably before meeting someone. This will not always be the case but it will help you with not being unequally yoked, avoid unnecessary heartbreak that feeds our depression and then when people start coming along it's easier to identify whether God wants this person or not for us in our lives. You will waver less or not at all and you will stand firm in the truth of God. I promise you that you won't regret submitting this part of your life to Jehovah!
- Lack of accountability with myself. I don’t mind knowing what I’ve done wrong but there are things I’ve done that I needed forgiveness for, things I did against people and the Lord himself. I had to ask God and people to forgive me, the fact that I was not doing that didn’t allow me to move forward rather It seemed I took 200 steps back and sucked me deeper into depression. Thinking that you can go claim a wrongdoing from another without your own heart and choices that you've made being on display is very silly so be ready to say, I'm sorry. Allow Jesus to hold you accountable, let humily set in, hold yourself accountable and make actual changes within yourself and around you that will propel you forward. Also, I've had to recognize things I’ve done wrong that have created guilt which contributed to my depression. I didn’t listen to the sound advice of Jesus, I just did my own thing and dug some of my own holes. No one likes to admit it but it’s true.
- Be vulnerable with your help. As much as this could hurt, it will hurt worse when you aren’t. The moment I put it out there I was going through depression I felt naked lol. But it was so freeing!! I wore chains under my clothes and preferred it this way so people wouldn’t know I was in them. But once the clothes where off people could see and they could use it to hurt me, but if you choose your friends wisely according to the Lord and you seek wise counsel it won't be a problem and they will not hurt you. So now that they saw, I gave them a chance to help me take these chains off.
- Eat clean, exercise in some way, sleep on time,get your vitamins and go outside!!! I thought these things didn't play a part but they do. Hormones and testosterone thrive on the food you eat, the company you are around, good sleep exercise, the sun, water and oxygen. When these hormones are out of whack so are you. When I eat like trash my mind and body feels like trash and it DOES contribute to depression, especially the delicious donuts and everything else with processed sugars. Eventually it will catch up, your mental state starts not processing things correctly because of lack of sleep all the time or all that sugar which by the way it is scientifically proven to contribute to depression. I had to stop staying inside so much as well and start exercising because I felt like I was suffocating in my own air. There’s endorphins that are released while you get activity into your life, it decreases stress and it's as if you have a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Soaking up the sun actually resets your sleeping pattern for better sleep, releasing proper levels of melatonin at the right time. Healing properties are released in your body as well from 10 pm to 2 am while sleeping but if you’re fighting it all the time your body is going to start getting confused and lack of sleep will contribute to depression if everything else seems to be falling apart. I definitely encourage you to do your own research on this.
- Lastly stop being afraid."God has given you a spirit not of fear but of power and sound mind" 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV. What He has told you to do, go and do it. He will finish the work He starts in you. He hasn’t failed me once and He won’t fail you either. If you have allowed Him to be in your life He will surely carry you though. Remember all the times he has kept you and still does. All the times you have betrayed Him yet He refuses to leave you. If you haven’t allowed Him in your life, give it a chance with an open mind, I promise you that if you think you will lose something it will only be replaced by something better, you never lose anything it is always replaced with better and nothing goes to waste. I'm not talking about you looking at people and what they do because people are not perfect and many others have made Him look like an awful God. But I'm talking about you having your own personal encounter with Jesus. Go and see, He is good. Your reward will be greater than what you could have ever had here in this world. He will love you relentlessly, He will never give up on you and He still hasn't. He will keep you and provide for you. His love knows no boundaries as far as loving you.
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you.
Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV
Depression, goodbye! I’ve been enslaved by you for over 15 years. I’m ecstatic and in tears of joy as I’m finally walking free and away from you, leaving you behind. The war with you is finally over. I hope that this article will have encouraged you not to give up and to fight for your lives and loved ones. If you know anyone going through depression reach out to them, they can barely breathe let alone reach out to you. And if you are going through depression know that the key to winning is not giving up, reaching out, healing and believing that Jesus can carry you through. Do everything possible and even if it means it’s outside of your comfort zone, to get out of captivity.
With love , Jenn
I.G j3sus.can F.B Jennifer Gobello Gmail firstname.lastname@example.org -J3suscan.com