This is my testimony about how my faith was affected by the illness depression. Another blogger (who also focuses on hope!) asked me if I had any posts about how my depression changed after I met Jesus and so here it is!
The first thing I have to say is that becoming a Christian did not heal my depression, I was a Christian before it happened. In fact, my illness causes me to completely lose my faith.
I suffered from reactional depression caused by watching my dad and sister battle with suicide, my stress levels rocketed and my brain chemicals got out of balance. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I stopped feeling any emotion apart from despair and simple things became impossible to me. Getting out of bed felt like the hardest thing I’d ever done.
Why did I lose my faith? Because I had conditions attached to being a Christian. Life had to make sense, life couldn’t be difficult and Jesus had to answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to.
I walked away because my faith was shallow and I started to play games with God. I put myself in situations I knew would hurt me, surrounded myself with a relationship that I knew was abusive and thought “if I stay here God will have to break in and rescue me”. He didn’t and all that happened was I got hurt really badly.
When Jesus didn’t rescue me I decided He didn’t exist. I turned my back on him and things got worse, oh so much worse. I toyed with suicide and lived a secret but very reckless life.
I lost my faith and religious set of rules to this illness. I got secular help in counselling and medication. I never once mentioned to my counsellor that I used to have a faith.
I was empty; even when the drugs worked and I could function again I was so, very empty.
I am so glad my story doesn’t end there! Jesus found me, not religion or faith or a massive conversion experience but a relationship with Him saved me.
I became so down trodden I was ready to either end my life or try one last thing. I had a feeling deep down that if I read the bible all the way through maybe things would change. So I started, manically, hectically and angryly to read and underline any verse that spoke of suffering and God turning His back on people. I didn’t like the promises and praises but I read the verses none them less.
Slowly, but by bit, chain by chain, lie by lie, my mind got clearer. I had started reading in a place where I wanted to throw my life away; I chose to give it all to Jesus rather than just kill myself. The more I read about Jesus the more I could see He understood the things I was struggling with.
He suffered more than I did and I couldn’t argue with that. He didn’t need to suffer but He chose to so He could trade places with me; so that He could pay the price for my mistakes. It felt like He hadn’t turned His back on me, but that He knew I would go through these things so thousands of years before they actually happened He suffered and died so He could help when I needed Him.
I wanted nothing to do with clichés and religion and the prosperity gospel but I wanted Jesus. I read books and books by missionaries who really knew Jesus and knew that to really know Jesus you had to understand suffering.
Everyday since then it has been a two-step forward one step back type of journey of knowing Jesus. The man who died and came back to life. The man who knows me in and out. The man who rescued me.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/garry61/2921523138/”>Garry – www.visionandimagination.com</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>