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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.

This article is from the Spring 2019 edition of Breaking Barriers which has the theme, Mental Health and Spiritual Practice. 

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