Dealing With Depression:
How I went from hurting to healing
by: Lesa Wilson
As I sit and drink some tea, I am recalling where I was last year, where I am now, and how I got here. There’s a warm bubbling feeling I have thinking back (and it isn’t just from the tea!) It’s a profound joy, deep contentment, and a reverence for God in His merciful healing of my life over the last year. I haven’t shared this with many people, but for the past few years I’ve battled depression. I won’t go deep into how it started, but a couple years ago a few overwhelming events happened that triggered a spiral of confusion, feelings of loss, devastation, which ultimately led to a daily struggle of suffering emotionally, either by heightened negative feelings, or by having no sense of emotions at all. Getting out of bed was harder than running the laps I used to hate in high school. Trying to do the smallest task was like entering a mental war zone… The list goes on. It affected every area of my life. Waves of feeling tired, sad, overwhelmed, and stressed repeated. Some days were better than others, but a cloud of every negative thing hung above me constantly. As a Christian, this was disturbing to me. I didn’t know what to think because I always believed with the Holy Spirit came healing, guidance, and the fruit of the spirit--including joy and peace--if we continue to seek God and trust Him in our daily life. It made me question if I was really a Christian. I went through many stages of deep searching in God’s word, praying constantly, and fasting. I did everything I was taught to do but yet those bad days still came. After a long wrestling period I came to see that depression and other mental struggles as a whole aren’t always cured instantly by God if we ask, the same way cancer or other physical diseases aren’t always cured instantly. God is sovereign and He is good, but He doesn’t operate on the same level as us. His ways are higher, and in these hard situations, trusting in Him is all we can do. Understanding that gave me peace to begin healing.
Talk to Someone
My first step was seeing a counselor, and making that call was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Admitting things were not okay, and that I needed help to get better was devastating. After about four weeks of sessions the cloud of confusion cleared and I found hope again. I can’t tell you how glad I am now that I took the plunge. I know for a fact recovery would have been unbelievably harder, (if not impossible) had I not gone.
After a few months of implementing the tactics I learned from counseling I knew I needed an outlet for regular maintenance. In most things my first go-to person is my husband. Through everything he has been my most valuable aid and coach whenever I need him. He has consciously dedicated time and effort towards helping me create strategies and coping methods. Without him I would never have gotten counseling, because he was the one who sat me down and said "you need to call someone." It was really hard for me to hear, but he provided me a number and held me accountable to call and set up my first appointment. Sometimes the firm assertive advice is exactly what's needed. Now our marriage is incredibly strong. Going to him for advice first and foremost, no matter the topic has brought us closer and allowed him to lead me lovingly by empowering and encouraging me to become self sufficient again. If you're interested in a great free marriage resource that I can say has helped me immensely check out Dale & Veronica Partridge online and you can watch or listen to their weekly podcast!
However if the time comes (which it is rare for me now) where I need someone else for additional support, I go to a wise Godly older woman for help. Having someone who is able to listen and guide with the power of the Spirit, able to pray for you, and also encourage with grounded knowledge of the Bible is truly an amazing treasure to find.
Keep Growing and Learning
I poured myself into the Word and prayer, and I read a number of books that started to give me a framework to function and that would in time build a healthier life! One book I read that helped immensely was How to be an Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise. In his book he lays out the mental processes so many of us go through that stop us up from doing the things we want to do, and in turn has incredibly valuable and practical steps to overcome them.
Another book is Hinds Feet on High Places By Hannah Hurnard. I read this after I had already covered a bit of ground in recovering. At this point I was much more stable but still had bouts every so often. The book is a literary journey of a girl who is a cripple, but who was promised to be made new by a loving Shepherd who leads her through near unbearable obstacles to reach the high places. He gives her companions, Sorrow and Suffering, who help her overcome the challenges of the terrain, and her own limitations, in pursuit and trust of her Shepard. This helped me when I would be so absorbed in how I was doing, what I wished my life could be, and ultimately self focused that I didn’t see the big picture and the suffering that others endure around the world every day.
Just this last week one of my elderly relatives passed away. She was such an inspiration to me, at 97 she lived alone and in constant unrelenting pain. Somehow that didn't stop her from trying to do everything she could to take care of herself and keep going. Every time I talked on the phone if I asked her how she was doing, she would say in her thick German accent “It’s hard, being in pain always, not being able to do the things I once enjoyed.” She would say, “I’m just waiting for death.” Yet even so, she had such a cheerful and always joyful tone. She had an amazing memory of everything I would tell her about my life. She truly cared about others, and she lived well, despite her circumstances.
I was endlessly curious how could I learn to live well? I watched a video of a sermon that really changed a lot for me. It’s titled Pushing Through The Inbetween, and it’s all about what we can do to live well between the time we are saved and the rest of our lives until death.
A quote from the video that really spoke to me and still does is this:
“Be careful when you challenge people to investigate at the end of a year the health of their Christian life, it can quickly make a person feel overwhelmed and guilty. You will never sustain any discipline upon guilt, the only thing that sustains discipline is affection.”
And since first watching the video I’ve actually gone back to listen more then once. I truly recommend it for every believer.
Over the years I’ve found new ways to cope, tried what people suggested and found things that work for me. I’ve also discovered some things may work one day then not help at all the next. After a few years of striving to get better I can honestly say I’ve found healing thanks to Jesus. Some processes are not quick and this is definitely one of them. A passage in scripture that’s stayed with me during this time is Isaiah 40:31
“but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”
Initially I wanted to know exactly what it meant to trust God here. This video from The Bible Project has a great explanation!
I’m celebrating this January because I’ve reached a new milestone in my recovery, and not just something I had in my previous life before depression, but something I’ve always wanted and could never really accomplish. I finished a personal painting. This may seem like nothing, however I’ve been an aspiring artist since I was 7 years old and I have maybe a handful of finished pieces of art of my hundreds of started attempts. I was a perfectionist, and I FEARED creating something that wasn’t good enough. Turns out this is a terrible phobia to have as an artist, because guess what happens? You don’t create anything!
This December and January I actually finished two paintings. One: a gift to my parents; a portrait of our family including my oldest brother who passed away from cancer 9 years ago next month. Second: A painting of bread and butter for my kitchen. This is special because my husband and I have started baking bread together, and it’s the first painting I created just for myself that I’ve finished in... Well actually ever I think!
We also couldn't be more overjoyed at the miracle and gift of another child come this April. One of the triggers for the last couple years has been my inability to get pregnant. I've always hoped and prayed for more children and after roughly 3 years of trying, I fell deeply into mourning the child I may never have. It was an amazing growing and stretching time for me. In itself, it became a time of blessing where God taught me daily how to trust and hope in Him above all else. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing. Today we are 29 weeks along and can't WAIT to meet this blessed little girl.
If you are struggling give yourself the chance to heal and seek help if you haven’t yet. PLEASE pick up the phone right now and call a helpline that can get you connected with someone in your area. You deserve better than what you’re going through, and healing IS POSSIBLE. I want you to know it’s been done, people do recover, and you're not alone. Seek help today by calling a local resource or Christian counselor.
Local Mental Health Resources
The Lantern in Pineville: (304)-732-0071
PAT Pantry Party
As the event was about to start so did the snow! Our Parent Educators quickly contacted the families that were planning on coming, letting them know that we were canceling the event. There were a couple of families that did not respond. That's right, two mothers braved the cold and came to help anyway. Now that is what we call dedication! We plan to reschedule with enrolled families in the near future.
Welch Tabletop Gaming Club
Since starting the Welch Tabletop Gaming Club back in September, we have had 7 people stop by to share in our enthusiasm for this competitive and cooperative pastime!
Young lions lack food and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.
Encouraged in Spite of the Struggle
Codie "Cambry' is the daughter of Cody Wyckoff and Chelsea Stone and is the sibling to older brother, Rylin, and sister, Harper.
Codie has been diagnosed with Ocular Albinism, Nystagmus, & Fovea Hypoplasia. This diagnosis is quite a mouthful and it has been a journey for this family to understand what this actually means for Codie now and in the future.
“Due to her condition she has been behind on milestones since birth. Codie is considered legally blind because of the diagnosis alone, but she doesn’t let that stop her”, Mom states. Chelsea goes on to say,
“Because of her own will power, lots of early intervention & lots of prayer she has exceeded all expectations so far and is starting to become her own sweet little person. Her eyesight will never get better, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.”
They are participating in The Community Crossing's Parents as Teachers program, WV Birth to Three in their home and are in close contact with the Blind, Mute and Deaf School in Romney, WV. This family is determined to give their little girl everything possible to thrive in life despite the challenges she faces.
Caitlyn Hardy and Codie
Caitlyn Hardy is her Parent Educator, providing support through The Community Crossing’s Parents as Teachers program.
“As Chelsea's Parent Educator, I am proud of the monumental strides they have taken to ensure Codie has the best care and treatment possible. Codie has endured many surgeries, tests, and hospital stays, all the while wearing a beautiful smile. I have given resources and researched based information to the family, and have received so much from them as well. Chelsea is dedicated to being a stay at home mother to ensure Codie is receiving the best care, her father is working as a CNA to provide a better life for the family and help guide Codie in each new obstacle she faces.They face each day with their eyes wide open, and live their life to the fullest. During my time in the home, we have set many goals for Codie, Chelsea and the entire family and they have hit every one, including planning for her upcoming wedding! Chelsea's newest goal is to take all of the children to Disney World while Codie can still see. This family embraces what it takes to be part of a team, within themselves, and with their extended family and the professionals around them.”
PAT Kids Finish Strong
Graduating out of Parents as Teachers is something to be proud of.
Congratulations Nicholas, Savannah, and Alaric! We are so excited for you and your proactive parents.
The Community Crossing not only is a faith-based ministry but a faith dependent ministry. We are very fortunate to have the Parents As Teachers grant through WV Department of Health and Human Services, however that does not cover the cost of the supportive ministry. There are many needs that families have that the grant does not cover such as diapers, wipes and even home repairs. Creating a safe environment for their family is important. Black Diamond boxing is starting its third year by hosting a boxing event next month. Black Diamond boxing’s only support comes from The Community Crossing donors. Our gym hosts various sports for members of the community. One of the greatest needs we have in our community is to reach out to those with drug and alcohol addictions, and we are developing an effective ministry to address this need. Would you prayerfully consider giving $30, $50 or $100 per month in support of these ministries?