Delivered from Major Depressive Disorder
It was March 3, 2019, when I stepped into the waters of the North Georgia Revival. I had no idea what was coming but I knew just one week earlier on my first visit I had to get into the water, it was my only way out, the only way I would live. Since I had my elderly mother with me the first night, I did not stay but returned the following Sunday night. The place was overflowing with. Those in need of God’s hand and my letter for baptism was J, which would mean staying until the next morning, but I didn’t care. Had I known what I was about to be delivered from I would have camped out for days. Thankfully someone gave me their letter F, which meant I would get in round 0200.
As soon as my foot hit the water a refreshing cry came over me, all the grief, pain, anger, and disappointment in God came flooding to the surface and out of me. He delivered me from it all and immediately I was restored to Him. I cannot explain the way I felt except to say Free, I was free. I could not get free myself, I had tried many times to pray my way free, to “do good” my way free, I had tried to exercise my way free, if it was out there, I had tried it.
I was so free that I did not even realize that the MDD was gone, until over a year later. When I tell you He wiped it from my mind completely, I am not kidding, I had even forgotten I ever had thoughts like those. It wasn’t until 2021 when I was sitting in another service and realized I had not had one single thought of death or feeling of depression since I got in the water that day. I had a shouting party right there! I also realized that I could not even call up those feelings if I tried, not that I wanted to either, but they were completely gone. God had not only delivered me from all the pain, anger, grief, and disappointment that came with the loss of my son and husband, but He also healed me of MDD, I was finally Free!
Medication can get you to that place where you’re not sad, but typically not happy either, I called it the “flatline” area. The peaks and valleys stop, but without peaks, the flatline seemed so blah. Therapy can help and it did help me through many years of difficulty. There are alternatives out there that can help also, but only God can set you Free. Free from all the thoughts and feelings that go against His love for you. That mental torture does not come from Him. I know there are many people out here suffering from this horrible disease.
I had lived with it for 30 years before even knowing I had a problem. I know that sounds strange to many people, but what you don’t realize with MDD or many psychological illnesses is that you have no idea that everyone doesn’t think just like you. Even from my childhood, I had thoughts of dying, not daily but usually at least weekly. At the age of 13, I took a whole bottle of aspirin to numb the pain. Now, I know I could have died, that wasn’t my goal.
My whole life, I had regular dreams of being the only person left alive in my family, that everyone else was gone, needless to say, being alone was not a good thing for me. These dreams and thoughts were so pronounced that when I had my first son, I would leave bread and water on the edge of the kitchen table so If I died, he could reach it and survive until his daddy returned from work.
Now I did realize later that postpartum depression was a real thing, but I still told no one, thinking this was normal after a baby. I had no idea everyone did not think of driving into a bridge on their way somewhere, these were my thoughts regularly, even on my way to church. I loved God, I loved worshipping God, and during those times on Sundays and Wednesdays, those thoughts would temporarily leave me, only to return.
Ironically, I was sitting in a lecture at Emory School of Nursing, when I finally understood that people did not think like me. We were discussing the signs of depression when I realized I had 23 of 24 signs. Suddenly I was concerned and amazed I was still alive, but I would not get professional help for another 3 years. Until that time, I prayed and would ask God for help, and He did help me, but He would also set me up with a therapist who would become my life jacket. Actually, I did not search for help at all, but God provided the lifeline for me in an unusual way.
In 2005 while I was seeking clearance for bariatric surgery, in which you have to be approved by a psychologist to determine your percentage for success post-surgery. The psychologist I chose was an amazing man who saw he could help me within thirty minutes of talking. He wanted to see me each week for a while, so I agreed. He did not usually see patients my age, though he was certified in my age group, I was not in his preferred patient population. However, he knew he could help me and took me on as a patient. What I did not know was that my life was about to blow up and mentally I was going to become seriously unstable, but I think he saw that in me during that first meeting. Suddenly, and unexpectedly (to me), all the years of mental health issues came crashing down around me.
I was placing my beloved husband in a nursing home with a terminal disease and now had three children to raise while working the night shift as a nurse seeing things I was not prepared for mentally. But Dr. W was there to keep me on track and alive, which he did well. We met weekly, biweekly, and multiple times a week, depending on my mental health, for the next 5 years. He also sent me to a psychiatrist for medication. We had tried to manage with therapy alone, but then the line was crossed that required additional help and medication was the only answer now. As a nurse, I had fought this as long as I could, but the time came that I would either go on medication or be committed and placed on medication. Thankfully for me, being Naïve to medication, it worked rapidly within a few days and I began to come up out of the deep pit I had been pulled into. I remained on medication, with adjustments over the next few years, but wasn’t a fan of how it made me feel.
In 2009 I found other things to stabilize my mental health without medication and was able to be off for the next 3 years, safely and still well-functioning. I had spent time in therapy and am very introspective and could now catch the signs, what food caused me issues, and how to get out before it was too late. I would return to medication a couple more times and was actually on it when God healed me completely.
My disclaimer here is that there is zero shame in treatment! Some people can manage alternatively and others cannot and need medication. Each person responds differently to different treatments. There are also times in our lives when we may need a boost to get us through, and that is okay as well. But I can say that once God delivers you from your sickness, disease, or pain, you are Free.
Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” John 8:36