01 02 03 Real Talk: My Journey Through Clinical Depression 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

My Journey Through Clinical Depression

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So here it is: The raw, unedited version of my story—the story of my journey through clinical depression. This is the story that inspired the creation of this entire blog. This is the story of the struggles I endured, and the triumph that God has had over my life. Ultimately, this is not a story of defeat, but a story of faith, courage, and victory.

The following entries are from my actual journal. I couldn’t think of a better way to express my story in a way that was authentic and complete than by using words I had written in the actual moment. I hope that by the end of it, you see the strength—not of me, the main character—but of the Author who wrote my story.

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THE STRUGGLE …

March 26, 2012
Jesus if you’re my Prince, why don’t you save me? If I’m your princess, why do I feel like anything but one?

April 10, 2012
I look in the mirror and I’m staring at this cowering, fearful, diffused girl. One who is timid, afraid and empty. One who is hiding.

April 12, 2012
I feel so absent wherever I go and I want to go home crying. I don’t understand why this is happening to me. My tendency is to run away and hide. I just feel ugly all the time. My tenseness and insecurity shove people further away. I am no longer pleasant to be around because of my own discomfort. God, what is preventing me from fully coming alive again? It’s like I’m sleep walking through life.

April 15, 2012
Shame engulfs me. I don’t want to turn to God because I feel like I’ve disappointed him. I don’t want to look at myself because I’ve disappointed myself. I can’t turn to others because I feel like I’ve disappointed them too.
… But it takes brokenness to prove that brokenness can be repaired. Whatever the reason, God has let me suffer the things I do. Let my life be the proof that God conquers all. Let me be proof that it’s possible to overcome this. One can never be victorious without the risk of defeat. Believe that good can come out of this.
"Christ will be exalted in my body."

April 16, 2012
God, I’m at the end of the line. I’ve crashed. I don’t know what to do. You know I’m not the type to give up my fight. You know I’ve been trying to seek you. But God, I genuinely don’t know what to do. I need help. I am emotionally unstable. I’ve tried everything to combat this, but a part of me is so empty. There’s a cloud over my head.
… So I told my mom about my depression. I am officially scheduling a doctor’s appointment to get checked up on Monday regarding this issue. I feel some hope with the prospect that I might actually be treated – that this cloud might actually leave me and stop rendering me paralyzed and immobile.

THE HOPE …

April 17, 2012
God is going to free me. This will not be my forever. I stated that this would not be my forever when I prayed to God. I stated that this would not be my forever when I reached out for help regarding my depression and finally scheduled a doctor’s appointment. I stated that this would not be my forever every time I cried and still chose to wipe my eyes.

April 18, 2012
God, I’m sorry that I’m not flowing with joy. You know more than anything that I want to be, because that’s what a Christian girl is called to be. I wish that when people looked into my eyes they witnessed the joy of Jesus’ resurrection, not this vacant look of deadness. I want to tell a different story than this. I’m crying now, not because I feel sorry for myself, but because I want it so badly –to tell a different story. Lord, help me tell a different story.
               But this difficulty that I’m going through … this is part of it. This is part of that story I must tell. The greatest heroes have the greatest adversity. Jesus had to die on the cross before he was resurrected.
I read a quote that said: “Faith is not a non-stop flight above reality; it’s a fight. What distinguishes people of faith is not how rarely they hit the dirt, but how often they get up again.”

April 19, 2012
God will make a way for me. He will make my paths straight.

THE LESSON …

April 23, 2012
The priest said that we all suffer, but there is a reason for suffering. Even Jesus had his wounds – and so I also have mine. The priest said that it is through our wounds that we come to know the risen Jesus.
               I began to realize that it is both a calling and a privilege to endure the wounds I have. I began to realize that I must get through this because there is a greater purpose for it. I must get better. I am determined to. Jesus taught me how to embrace my crosses because there is life after this.
               It took Jesus to die on the cross to show the magnitude of his love. And so I must do the same with mine. The priest said: “Especially in our weakness, God will be glorified.”
… I just know that God hears me. I thought this pain would prevent me from coming to know him, but it is in my pain that I found him. He showed me that he is truly present everywhere, in everything – including the places that feel so empty and impossible. He is so powerful that he can even use pain to show me his love.
As I read about saints who suffered depression, I realized that this is my calling too. This is the way God calls me to know him. I don’t know why. Everyone is different. He didn’t call everyone to endure the same thing as me – but this is my calling, unique to me. It is a blessing. I feel so amazed that I have the same privilege to testify what they know about the Lord. God gave me this destiny because I can handle it.
… Lord, thank you. I really am beautiful like a rose: beautiful even despite my thorns, beautiful because of my thorns. Thorns like the ones that crowned the Lord’s head when He endured the greatest suffering to show the Greatest Love.

April 24, 2012
Today I finally told Abby about visiting the doctor for my depression. She looked at me and said, “It’s interesting. When I see that you’ve lost everything about yourself, I see more clearly the One who is holding you up.” She meant God.
               She could see that I was like a puppet; God was literally the only one holding me up. I’m hanging by a string. Yet somehow it’s beautiful. If I want to be with him, I must take up my cross and follow him. He said that “whoever loses his life for me will find it.” I have lost my life and all sense of myself. But I believe that I will somehow find it. I will find life again in him.

FINAL EPIPHANIES AFTER MISSION TRIP …

July 15, 2012
I’m beginning to realize now why God allowed me to go through clinical depression, especially right before mission trip. Mother Theresa said it in her book—that the greatest type of poverty is poverty of the soul. Unhappiness. Loneliness, feeling unwanted. 
And suddenly it all came to me. I have been privileged to take up the worst kind of poverty there is. God let me plunge into it so that I might understand more deeply those that I serve. God has granted me a deeper understanding through this deep pain. And I am now thankful to God for allowing me to go through this deep poverty and for still using me to serve – not only in spite of it, but because of it. Thank you, Lord. I serve the poor, not because I’m better than them, but because I am one of them.

November 30, 2012
I read yesterday that the place you find your passion is actually where you’ve suffered. Passion and suffering are inseparable in meaning—they originated from Jesus’ passion on the cross. I have found my new passion, my new purpose.

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CONCLUSION ... 

So that is it. That is the story that has made me who I am today, that has driven me to create this blog. After returning home from mission trip, I never had to go back to the doctor’s again—I was healed. Through all of my experiences, I realized that the greatest poverty is feeling like you don’t matter – and I have committed myself to making sure that no one else has to feel this way.

If there’s anything I want you to get out of this, it’s that suffering is inevitable—but there is always a greater reason why we suffer. Perhaps suffering isn’t evidence that God doesn’t exist; perhaps it is the opposite. Perhaps it is in our suffering that we come to encounter God’s existence in a very real, intimate, and vulnerable way.

"God uses nothingness to show His Greatness." - Mother Theresa

Psalm 22 // Matthew 5:1-12 // Psalms 40:1-3 // Psalms 34:17 

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