When something miraculous happens, I feel like it’s a Christian’s job–and delight–to share that miracle with others. People need to know that miracles do still happen. So I’m going to share mine.
Buckle up, kids!
I have had depression for about six years. Those who read this blog frequently will probably know this, but many of my acquaintances, including those at church, probably don’t.
I have a family history of depression, and I’ve had anxiety since early 2008 (probably as a result of my Lyme disease, though I didn’t know that at the time). My doctor told me that people who have anxiety often develop depression, so when I did so, I wasn’t surprised. I went and asked my doctor for antidepressants, and that was that.
But the antidepressants didn’t work. So I tried a different one. And then another. And then another. I think I’ve been on about six different antidepressants in six years, and NONE of them really made an appreciable difference in the long run. I would think that one would be working a bit for awhile, and then eventually I’d have to admit that it wasn’t.
This lasts year, 2016, was The Worst. I had a big life change–finishing grad school and moving home to my parents’ house–and was searching for jobs and not finding them, with stress building and building. My mood hit rock bottom. There was one day where I even thought about suicide, though I dismissed it almost immediately. It was BAD.
And one of the worst parts was that through it all, it felt like it would never end. Depression wasn’t a thing that could be cured: it was just a condition I was going to have to live with for the rest of my life. And since no antidepressants had really worked, the only way to make it better was for my life to get better–and despite getting my PhD, publishing my first novel, and getting my dissertation accepted for publication, I felt like there was almost no way for my life to get better, except for me to get a job, which didn’t happen.
I felt like God had abandoned me: like He didn’t care. One Sunday I went to church and we sang all these worship songs about how much God loves us, and I literally went and locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed because I didn’t feel like that was true anymore. God didn’t care. I was in hell, and God didn’t care about me, because he wasn’t doing anything to help.
But occasionally, breaking through the clouds of my depression, were little signs to hang on. The fourth (and last) time I went to my first counselor of the year, I felt significantly more depressed leaving than I had going (which is WHY it was the last time: she was AWFUL). I was driving home in the rain just crying and crying and asking God why He wasn’t helping me.
And then I saw a rainbow.
This seems like a Sign enough. But even better, I saw the END of the rainbow: something I had never seen before! I saw where it came down, in a field very close to the road. I even took a picture:
I felt like God was telling me that He DID care, and that I just needed to hold on and trust His timing. That was at the end of September.
After a couple of months, I got a new counselor, and that was better, but I was still super depressed. After a particularly bad couple of days in early December, I was driving home in despair. Things just felt awful, and like they would never get better. It was a cold day, and had been gloomy all day–and then suddenly it rained, just for a few minutes, and a rainbow appeared. A rainbow, on a cold, dark, December day. And then the Christian radio station I’d been listening to in the car played “Overcomer”:
I felt like God was talking directly to me: Don’t quit. Don’t give in. You’re an overcomer. God’s got control of it, and He WILL help. You just gotta trust Him and keep going.
So I did.
I finished my Lyme treatment, realized that I still felt terrible, remembered something I had read about thyroid conditions while I had been doing my original research into the underlying medical conditions that might be causing my problems. Sure enough, it sounded like I had hypothyroidism. I pushed and pushed, got an appointment, and the doctor put me on thyroid medication right away.
And within a week, my depression went away.
Like, genuinely disappeared. I still have a bad day now and then, like anybody, but the depression genuinely went away. My mom said that even she could tell how different I was: like someone had flipped a switch, she said, even though she’s still seeing improvement ever since. She said it was like somebody had taken away this sullen stranger and given her her daughter back. I feel like the meds gave me ME back.
Now, I know some people are gonna read this and be like, Oh, so she got a good diagnosis and the medicine helped. Big whoop: that’s not a miracle. But I can tell you, from having lived it, that it IS. Believing that this was just inherited depression, that I would have to struggle with it every day for the rest of my life, that no medication would help, that my health problems came from my depression, that God didn’t care, that asking for him to just take the depression away was too big a request, was too impossible a miracle… I can tell you that when that depression disappeared, it felt like I’d been given my life back. This was a miracle.
So I want to tell anybody who is struggling with something: Don’t quit. Don’t give in. God DOES love you: He DOES care. Nothing you pray is too big for Him to do. He might do it on His own time, and that might not be our timing. But He’ll answer your prayers if you keep calling out.
Oh, and make sure your depression isn’t being caused by an underlying health condition. 🙂
Edit: May 27, 2017
IT GETS BETTER.
It turns out that I don’t HAVE hypothyroidism. The reason that my depression cleared up with thyroid meds is that thyroid hormones have been found to augment antidepressants in people for whom antidepressants alone didn’t work.
So basically, if my lyme doc had done the NORMAL, recommended thing–and given me thyroid tests before prescribing thyroid hormones–I would have never tried thyroid meds, and I would have never found–BY ACCIDENT–that thyroid hormones cleared up my depression! I would still have been dealing with terrible, debilitating depression five months later! So basically, it was God directing me to think I had hypothyroidism, directing me to try going to my lyme doc after I found out I would have had to wait three months for the endocrinologist, directing my lyme doc prescribe me thyroid meds for subclinical hypothyroidism–for me to discover this depression treatment, which none of my three doctors (gp, lyme, and endocrinologist) even KNEW about. The whole thing was orchestrated by God.