I don’t usually talk about the depression that I’ve suffered from long before I started having panic attacks. In fact, the reason I had medicine for my panic attacks was because I was already on medicine for my depression.
It’s not an easy thing to talk about because it’s not an easy thing to understand. I think that there is more compassion from society as more people admit to struggling with depression… But it is still a hard thing to admit.
Back when I was realizing that I was dealing with something bigger than I could handle on my own, I went to a Women of Faith conference. It was the one that my 90 year old grandmother had her wallet stolen from her purse as we walked over to the arena from the hotel. It was the one that I had looked so forward to because I attended with my mom, sister-in-law and grandmother, but didn’t get to sit with my mom because they had to sit W.A.Y. up where they could wheel my grandmother’s wheel chair. It was the one that Bug attended because he was 5 months old and I was still nursing him.
But it was also the one where the Lord spoke so clearly to me.
I knew, from attending other WoF conferences, that Shelia Walsh suffered from depression. But she spoke something at that conference, in 2003, that cut right to my heart. I still didn’t want to admit what I knew was true: that I was in the midst of depression and had been for years. I wanted God to heal me from it. I wanted it to just go away. I didn’t want to take medicine for something that would stop if I just prayed hard enough.
What I didn’t count on was God’s answer.
Sheila was discussing her depression and how she wanted to be free of her medicines. She felt that she had to have been healed from her depression and that if she stopped taking her medicines, everyone would be amazed by the amazing changes.
By dinner, her husband asked her if she had forgotten to take her medicine that day.
Distraught, she went to her bedroom and sobbed and cried out to the Lord. Why hadn’t He healed her? Why hadn’t He taken away her thorn?
As she quieted herself, she heard God’s answer. “I did heal you, through your medicine.”
I knew then and there, that God could certainly completely remove my depression in an instant. But I also realized, that sometimes God chooses to keep things there and walk with us through them.
And that is what He has done with me. My depression keeps me closer to Him, because it makes me aware of the fact that I am broken and need Him. It reminds me that He is there at all times. Some people might think that by taking medicine I don’t have enough faith that the Lord can heal me. And that the meds are my crutch. But I have no crutch other than the Lord.
I don’t always understand the Lord’s ways. But I DO trust Him.
for you have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
“I discovered that our brokenness is a far greater bridge to other people than our pretend wholeness ever is. I still take medication for depression. I probably will all my life. I know God could heal me like that, but so far He hasn’t. But I remember that the Good News is not me. The Good News is Jesus.”
~ Shelia Walsh
(for more information on depression, please check out Shelia’s book: The Heartache No One Sees)