Updated: Sep 7
In the past, I wrote a four-part blog series on my journey through the darkest portions of the depression I experienced. My hope in writing this post is to shed some light on my journey of coming through the other side of depression.
As I reflect back on the time, I now realize that it wasn’t two years of depression, but close to, at least, three and a half years. For me, it started in late 2006, with the symptoms completely diminished by the summer of 2009. I finally started feeling most of the positive signs of recovery starting in the summer of 2008. While still having mild to moderate depression during this time, I was convinced that not only were the medications working, but the additional weapons I was using to fight depression, was weakening this terrible opponent.
One memory that sticks out the most was in 2008 when the Giants beat the Patriots in the Superbowl. I can remember being so happy that the Giant’s won in such a stunning fashion while also cheering for the Giants as if they were my beloved Buffalo Bills. I hadn’t felt joy like that in a while and it came after some of my most darkest moments. Maybe there was hope of recovering from this after all. So, what was helping me feel better?
I think first and foremost, it was the medications that was most effective in dealing with the depression. However, there were some additional things that I continued to do as well. I continued reading the Bible daily while meditating on my favorite scripture passages on index cards when I went for walks. I spent time in nature for about 2 months working for the DEC at a summer education camp. It was here I had the privilege of teaching teens ecology and exercising a ton (hiking, playing capture the flag, swimming, basically one of depression’s worst nightmare-exercise). I continued to journal what I was thankful for, my prayers, and confessions to God. I also had some down time between teaching at camp to read about 50 of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons (Most of them related to spiritual darkness and Dark night of the soul). I continued to take my medications as prescribed, while eating healthier meals, listening to music, and creating an extensive list of what I enjoy (so I can make sure I am doing them as often as possible).
I can’t tell you how much being in nature helped me in dealing with depression. Being out in the wilderness is nothing short of seeing the handiwork of God on display. With this, and the many things I listed above, over time, I felt better and better.
After all was said and done, could I proclaim that Jesus was, and is, good to me? In a word, absolutely. Digging deeper, I’d be hard pressed to find anything to point to the contrary. What came from such an awful time period for me?
1. I became more open and honest about my feelings, sin, and suffering
2. I was able to help many people with similar struggles, over time, and presently
3. I became more of a people seeker and lover.
4. I was able to get on a medication that worked really well without having multiple attempts and side effects.
5. I loved Christ more and cherished deeply the cost of His suffering as a Man.
I would never want to go through depression again. However, I do know that if I do, the faithful creator will make the fruit of my manifold affliction great in His eyes, and when I am weak, I will be made strong for Christ’s sake and in Christ's timing.
To conclude, I hope this was encouraging to someone out there. Keep up the fight. Keep trusting Christ. Thank you for reading.