The “Sensitive” One: My Lifelong Journey of Depression

I have always been accused of being, “sensitive.”  It’s a labeled I’ve carried well just because it was how I was labeled.  It’s a label I’ve denied, trying to overcome in my own power.  It’s a label I’ve searched deep and high and far and wide for reasons and meaning.  Up and down my whole life, it’s amazing to see how many different things can contribute to my mood.  I can cry at the drop of a hat and not even know why.  I can slump into a stupor, like a vegetable on the outside but one wrongly imprisoned on the inside.

There have been two times in my life that I’ve really fallen so low that I almost didn’t make it out alive.  Both were times when my circumstances seemed to outweigh my tolerance for all the heavy pain, thoughts, and feelings that consumed me.  The stories themselves are for another day.  This day is focused on the victory I’ve had through my Savior, Jesus, and those he sent to surrounded me with his love.

Just one of my dear friends who walked with me into battle during the tough times.  Kjersti and I had the blessing to stand next to each other at our weddings just 9 months apart.
Just one of my dear friends who walked with me into battle during the tough times. Kjersti and I had the blessing to stand next to each other at our weddings just 9 months apart.

The path to rise out of my pattern of depression began somewhere after college.  I was seeking God fully, wanting to serve Him with my life.  I heard a call to go into full-time youth ministry.  It was that process which lead me to where I am today.

When I first began my journey in ministry, I was at a training conference where I saw everyone around me deeply connecting to God and the Bible.  I realized that my heart was hard.  I was prideful.  I had developed this shell around my soul which prevented me from being vulnerable.  I was trying so hard to not be “sensitive” that I erred to the side of being calloused.  I wanted so badly to be a leader, to pour out spiritually, that I stopped allowing God to pour into me through the loving Christians around me.  So, God began to break me down little by little.

When I reported to my first ministry assignment away from home a couple years later, God surrounded me with people who helped me break through my first obstacle; resistance to God’s spiritual healing.  I had put God into a box.  It was the Sunday school box.  I had all the “right” answers to all the right questions.  God was who I learned about in Sunday school and that was it.  I didn’t need to learn anymore, right?  I was so wrong.  I began to break down completely emotionally and spiritually.  I felt so small and insignificant.

The people I was working with saw something within me and surrounded me with prayer.  I began reading books that opened my eyes to spiritual truths I’d been ignoring, even truths I’d been afraid of.  Some of these books were The Search for Significance by, Robert S. McGee, The Bondage Breaker by, Neil Anderson and A Lifetime Guarantee by, Bill Gillham.  It was through these books and conversations with people who loved Jesus and loved me, that I realized that my life was comprised of the Spiritual, the Mental, and the Physical.  While the Mental and Physical healing made sense, I thought spiritual healing was some hokey TV evangelists hoax to get me to buy a book and a CD.  I was vastly wrong, and as I gave into my Spiritual Healing, this group of co-workers came alongside my ugly mess and began praying for my inner healing.  They lead me in prayer and I opened up to God’s healing power and I experienced freedom!

I relished in that freedom for a while and then my circumstances brought me down.  I think sometimes God knocks us down so that he can pull us up closer to him.  This same group of people confronted me and asked me to consider counseling.  This was something I was afraid of, too, I realized.  It had been offered to me another time and I refused.  This time I was so tired of living in my mess that I agreed.  I began taking an anti-depressant and found a therapist.  After a time I also joined a recovery group at my church.  It was an awful, hard, grueling, amazing experience to dig into my past and uncover patterns of living and thinking which were holding me captive.  Now I had this amazing combination of spiritual and mental tools for dealing with challenges in my life which helped me to cope so much better.

After 2 1/2 years, I stopped taking my anti-depressant.  Life was going well.  I met this wonderful man and married him.  I had some amazing opportunities to serve God and really be His hands and feet.

Then, a series of challenging events and big changes in my life nudged me back into my instability.  I didn’t want to just mask the feelings with medication, though they’d helped in the past.  I’d been having some “random” medical issues, so I finally went to the doctor.  We did a thorough blood screening and some answers began to surface.  The vitamins and minerals in my blood were all out of whack.  I stopped taking a supplement containing high doses of iron began taking a B-vitamin complex and was amazed at how much better I felt!

I have known that there was some sort of physical imbalance in me that was causing me to feel so deeply and be “sensitive” but it’s freeing to know specifically what those things are.  I’m still in the process of uncovering some of these imbalances but I have hope that I’m on the right path to experiencing not only Spiritual and Mental healing, but Physical healing as well.

I share the story of my path to healing, not because I think I’ve found any kind of magic formula that all people should follow for their own healing but because in it this journey I’ve found hope.  I have been to some very dark and scary places in my life and yet I’ve also had large doses of hope.

I want you to know that it’s not just one thing that will help you out of your own dark place.  It’s the Spiritual part of your life–knowing that God loves you so much that he sacrificed that which was dearest to Him that you can find hope and healing through that love.

It’s the Mental part of your life–by the grace of God, you can look through your experiences of life to discover the areas where you’ve believed something that wasn’t true, sabotaging your reality and bringing you basis for a new reality.

It’s the Physical part of your life–that medication is ok but also knowing that the medical advances today can help you sort out a better balance for tomorrow.

I want to encourage you to not give up.  Reach out!  If you don’t think you have anyone to reach out to, I want to help you.  Comment on this post or e-mail me.  I’ll help you find a safe place where you can sort through your pain.

My story doesn’t end here.  It will probably be a path I’ll revisit my whole life.  However, each time I walk down this path I find more victory, more hope, and more reason to hang on and keep going, no matter how steep the slope may seem.

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