I have heard a few people mention that they knew they were healed from an event when they were able to talk about it without crying anymore. I believe that it is possible for the absence of tears to serve as an indicator of healing that has taken place. However, if this is the only sign that we use to determine our healing, we'll seriously undermine the healing that take place on the pathway to get to where we ultimately want to be.
I've teared up quite a bit at the thought of sharing my struggles (or my main struggle anyway) with a large audience, even though major healing has taken place. I'm believing that I'll receive even more evidence of healing through writing about some of the issues that I've had with depression as well as writing about how God has helped me.
I truly hope that those who read this and are able to relate are able to believe for healing as well, as I don't think this is an area everyone struggles with...not to this extent anyway. I also hope that these stories encourage compassion, as you never really know what a person is going through.
I remember the first time that I knew that something was "off" with my feelings. I wasn't any older than 11 years old. That's soo young, looking back now. It's also around the same time that I accepted Christ into my heart.
We had just re-arranged the furniture in my bedroom, including my bed. So instead of the backboard of my bed being pushed to the wall so that I had space on either side of me, now one whole side of my bed was smashed up alongside of the wall of my bedroom, leaving me with free space only on one side of my bed. I remember going to bed that night with such a heaviness because my bed was alongside my wall. I believe that's what I had wanted in the first place, but that night I couldn't help but feel like that wall was suffocating me. Yes, a literal wall! I couldn't help but feel like I was somehow trapped. How could something that was inanimate have this much of a hold over me? It felt like a presence came upon me, a saddening presence that I couldn't shake. And I felt quite panicky because of this.
Maybe about a week later, I remember hanging out with my neighbors who were a few doors down and I "blew up" at them. I put that phrase in quotations because I'm not sure if this incident was as big of a deal to them as it was to me. In my mind, I blew up. To them, it was probably just a normal irritation that tends to happen in all friendships at some point. We still hung out afterwards and nothing about it was ever mentioned, but still, I knew that something was wrong. I remember thinking about the incident afterwards and I absolutely didn't know how I could go from being calm to feeling out of control of my emotions within a matter of moments. I've always been self-aware and so acting out of character for seemingly no reason at all really scared me.
This all occurred right before entering middle school, which is where (like most others), it seemed like everything became much worse. The cool part though is that throughout this whole time, I knew that I could talk to God. And not in the way that some people refer to praying as some activity to just check off of a list, although showing up when you don't want to has it's benefits too. But I was able to completely be myself before God and I felt absolute joy and peace and awe when I would run to Him. The good news is that because I was so introverted in school, the first thing I would do when I got home is run to my room so that I could talk to God. And so God Himself taught me how to dependent on Him from an early age. The bad news is that I was unaware that God was with me when I went to school and when I went about my day. And so I suffered pretty greatly because of that lack of knowledge. But the instant that I got home and was "able" to talk to God freely, it was as if any issues with depression didn't matter any more. At all!
It seems as though everyone has their own definition of depression based on their experiences. I've seen ads and posts where people will say depression isn't just sadness, it's...and then they'll go down a long list of stressors that accompany it. And so many people would agree, and say "Yes! Depression isn't just sadness." Well for me, it always has been just that. I wasn't sad all the time. But when I was, it felt unbearable. And for a long time, the worst part of it was that I didn't have a reason for this aching heaviness of heart. And on the days that I wasn't sad, I felt as though I were on top of the world. Those good days gave me so much hope for so long, but eventually I recognized those days to be false hope, which then served as a reason for continued hopelessness. It wasn't until years later, at just the perfect time, that my life was literally changed upon hearing a message about "calling things that be not as though they were."
In the meantime, the beginning of my time at middle school wasn't nearly as bad as the end of it. Sixth grade was difficult because it was the first time I didn't automatically have friends in my class. Seventh grade was alright and even though I had pretty strict teachers that year, it was the same year that I developed a love for reading and an even greater love for science.
I remember one day, everyone was asking each other if they had read the assigned reading for that day, and then commenting that it was so eerie and creepy. Me, being the faithful procrastinator that I am, had not read it yet, but I was really intrigued by the way that so many other students were talking about "The Yellow Wallpaper." After I read it, I remember thinking that it really wasn't all that eerie. Instead, I was interested to know whether or not the main person was using a metaphor throughout the story or whether she was seriously trapped. I decided to read it recently again just to see if I could uncover more details and see if I felt the same way about it as when I read it so long ago.
After reading it again, I am even more amazed by how God has protected me. I'm not sure how I didn't find it eerie when I was younger, but I'm glad that I didn't. Essentially the story is about a woman with a mental disorder who is consumed with her thoughts and makes things to be there that really aren't and feels as though no one believes her when she tells them that something is wrong. There are many details of that story that I can relate to and I believe that if I would've related to them at a young age, it would've reinforced this idea that I once had that I was never going to get any better.
Looking back, I've had so many instances where things could have been so much worse, but they weren't. I have always known that God is good and that He exists, but when I take time to look back on prior events in my life, He always shows me that He was looking out for me even more than I thought possible!