Monday, June 14, 2010

Trying To Understand Depression

SPIRITImage by Marianone via Flickr

Welcome friends! I am glad you found my blog and I pray that my writings will guide you to finding peace in the presence of God and thankfulness in your trials so that you can live an abundantly free life in Christ.

It is very humbling for me to share my story with you.  I have been through much and God has taught me much.  I never set out to blog about my trials, but God has called me to share.  I know there are many people out there, even those in the Body of Christ, who are struggling with depression, disappointment, unfulfilled dreams and devastating loss.  It is my heart's desire that as I share the intimate thoughts of my heart that you will  find encouragement in the words of Scripture as God has revealed them to me. 

And so my story goes:
My life hit an all-time low in 2002. My husband lost his job in financial services the year before and he was still unemployed. Not only was he still unemployed, he had never even done a thorough job search. No resume was written, very few applications filled out, he was depressed. I was pregnant with our third child and we were living on our savings which was quickly being depleted. I couldn't understand why my husband stayed in bed until noon, got up for a few hours and went back to bed again. He was moody and irritable. When we tried to communicate, we just ended up yelling at each other. I knew he was bummed out about our situation, but I couldn't understand why he didn't just snap-out-of-it!!! We no longer got together with other couples or enjoyed socializing as a couple. Every once in a while there was a good day and I thought I had him back, but then he would slip back into his sleepiness, moodiness, pain and isolation.

This went on for several years. It was obvious to people around us that something was wrong. For those who didn't know the details, there was just a stigma of dysfunction that made people uncomfortable around us. We had eaten through our savings, David's 401K, my 401K and we were now living on credit. We had our third child and then our fourth. After many attempts to create income, and many failures, David said I had to go back to work after 12 years of being a stay-at-home mom... WHAT? He didn't have a job and I was supposed to support the family? I was angry. In fact, I was more than angry, I was bitter and hateful.  Alas, I went back to work. God provided a wonderful job with good pay and the flexibility that my family needed, but I still didn't understand David. His behavior was so irrational. Oh, I knew the symptoms, but I had no compassion.

After My husband's depression diagnosis in 2006, he started on medication and I could see some improvement, but things were FAR from good. I thought there must be something else wrong with him so I set out on a quest to figure out his "problem". I knew this was not just a "blue" feeling, but rather a paralyzing oppression that rendered him completely disabled. I was feeling like a single mother. I had lost my friend, my spouse, my helper to a paralysis of the mind. I was working, raising four children, doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and household chores while David gave me every excuse in the book as to why he couldn't get out of bed. Our marriage was on it's last leg. The "D" word was part of our daily vocabulary. I had not only hit the bottom, I was falling so fast I crashed right through the bottom, but something kept telling me to hang on, that all was not lost, that there was hope.

There is a God. The problem was, I didn't know what I thought of God at that point. I knew the verse in Jeremiah that says, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you." but I didn't know if I believed that or not. If God wants me to prosper, why is my life in shambles? I felt like a I was being held captive, in bondage, to fear, bitterness, poverty and exhaustion. Maybe you feel that way too...

In the days and weeks to follow, this blog will chronicle the road I have traveled to understanding and healing. As a disclaimer, I am not a physician nor a counselor, but I know I have found the answers I was looking for. Answers that I couldn't find in counseling sessions, classes, diagnosis or medication. If you or your loved one is on medication, do not stop taking it. Medication can be helpful, but most people reading this blog know that medication doesn't "heal" depression, anxiety, hurts, hang-ups and irrational behaviors, it simply helps one deal with these behaviors. So, if I were to give this blog a second name, it would be Beyond Meds - this is where the healing takes place.

Let me go back to that verse in Jeremiah that I quoted earlier and let me finish the whole thought.

Jeremiah 29: 11-14
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity."

This is where the journey begins - with God. Is he there? Does he hear our prayers? Will he answer?

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~
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Sarah said...

I am anxious to hear about your journey. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Nena said...

Thanks for taking the time to read and give me your feedback. Your mom has been such an anchor for me over the past many years - I love her so much! I'm sure she misses you terribly!

Anonymous said...

Nena... you say "In the days and weeks to follow, this blog will chronicle the road I have traveled to understanding and healing."

I would love to hear the continuation/end of this story. Where do you continue with how you dealt with your ongoing trial?... Is it just with the "newer" post... is that where I click to keep reading?

Nena said...

Thank you for your question. Yes, the newer posts do chronicle the path I've walked, the change of heart and perspective I've had as I've gain more and more understanding about the "mind battle" that depression is. In my newer posts (starting in January) I have been laying out "Key steps" to healing and deliverance. Each one of these Keys is a step I've found vital to walking a free and victorious life in Christ. You will notice that somewhere along the road I traveled, the focus shifts from my husband to ME. As I changed, went throught the process of forgiveness and submission, I was released from my own bondage and am now held securely by God. God is still in the process of changing the direction of the watercourse which is my husband, but the transformation I have seen in both of us has been miraculous. God works in logic-defying ways - as I changed, it released my husband from the heavy load I placed on him and he has been able to walk more freely that he has in years.
Feel free to comment on any post and I will try to answer as best I can.

Melissa Nesdahl said...

Nena, I saw your note on my blog. My new book with Pam Stenzel "Nobody Told Me" would be a great resource for teens on purity of heart, mind, and body. It can be ordered at, amazon, B&N, your local bookstore, whereever. We set it up in a fun facebook like format that teens are loving! Thanks for the question!