A year and a half ago, I experienced something so dark that I wondered if God could ever reach me. The accuser whispered to me, “You’re a fake, a phony, a liar. You call yourself a Christian. You’re an imposter. You’re worthless and have hate in your heart. You have no friends.”
Several months earlier, I had told my doctor that I no longer needed the medication I had taken for 10 years to treat depression and generalized anxiety. I was retired and under less stress. She agreed, and we worked out a plan to reduce the medication over time. By mid-July, I was completely off the medication, but in September, several life-altering events happened. The accuser began reminding me of my inadequacies. I became angry, argued with anyone, and had no patience. I pushed away those closest to me. I slept a lot and avoided others. I prayed that God would take away my pain. I even prayed that I would lie down and not wake up.
By November, I realized, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that I needed to start taking my medication again. I asked the doctor for a half-dosage, but she prescribed the full amount. On my own, I cut each pill in half and started to feel a little better.
Long before the depression hit, a friend had asked me to speak about the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) during a women’s retreat. How ironic that I was going to teach about love when I was so full of doubt about my own ability to love and felt completely unlovable.
In January 2018, as I was leaving church one Sunday, I sensed that I was breaking through the surface of water—a sign to me that the depression was lifting. I began taking the full dosage of the medication and admitted I have a mental illness that requires not only medication, but also reliance on God.
The Holy Spirit nudged me to share my story of depression at the women’s retreat. I was unprepared for the response. So many women thanked me for my transparency and shared their own experiences with mental illness—anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder. For my wellbeing, I’ve learned I must be in fellowship with God’s people and studying God’s Word regularly.