I am not my depression, but I have walked through that valley many times since April 2008. All along, I asked God to not waste my experience. I have been given chances to share my journey, and I hope my story helps those who are struggling in the battle against depression and those who love someone who is fighting.
In July 2007, I moved from a bustling city back to a small hometown. I had lived here before, for 8 years, so originally I was excited to reconnect. But it didn’t happen that way; I didn’t bounce back from the adjustment of moving, and I found myself in the valley of depression for the first time. Over the next seven years, after 6-10 episodes of Major Depressive Disorder (two of which were caused by the wrong medication), I found myself again on the cusp of moving – this time across the country, away from my college kids and my emotional support team of friends, doctors and my therapist. I wondered if I would adjust quickly this time, or if I would journey into the valley again. So I started blogging, to write down my previous journey, as well as my stories of the current days.
I learned so much about myself in my therapy sessions (yes, I’m his longest-seen client). That things from my past – being bullied in 7th grade, several moves within my school years, experiences of discord in the family because adjustment is hard – these life experiences shape how I think and respond to my current life circumstances. And good things count too – my parents’ example of putting Christ first in their marriage, the unconditional love of my sister, my marriage (in 1987) to an amazing man, my two wonderful college-aged kids and all the growing-up memories of fun and laughs and some of the harder things that come with raising a family.
I am shaped by my circumstances, but I was created by God who loves me completely. And I’m learning that He’s still creating me – and one of the tools He is using is my depression. If I go through it again – and I probably will – it isn’t wasted. It’s growth.
I sometimes write my posts in present tense, as if the experiences to which I refer are happening now. I do this for two reasons:
- I think it makes the post more powerful. And even though it might not be happening at the moment, it was very real and true.
- There may be readers who are currently experiencing what I am sharing from my story. I hope this gives a sense of “you are not alone.”
These are my stories of my journeys through depression (and a few other fun things, I hope!). While I am not licensed nor trained to give depression advice, I do think that we can learn from each other as we share our experiences and what has or hasn’t worked in our lives. I may tag some of my posts with “depression advice” just so that readers can find depression helps that worked for me.