My Story of Depression: From Broken to Beautiful, From Hopeless to Worth It!
It all started five years ago, when a twelve-year-old girl entered 7th grade. Little did she know that her whole life would drastically change over the span of four short months.
6th grade was a terrible year for me. I went to a school for homeschoolers called Veritas. It was bad; I hated it so much. The kids were mean to me, I felt alone and unwanted. I became the person who had no friends that no one wanted to talk to. I was that girl who was left out of the group and excluded from the club. Even my best friend excluded me! It got so bad that I started bringing a book to school so that I would have something to do at recess. This exclusion paired with being ignored and disliked took a toll on my self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence. They all came plummeting down. I felt ugly and worthless; I lost all faith in myself. I started to see what I thought those other kids saw every time they looked at me. I didn’t think I was pretty, loved, or worth anything! I thought for sure I was ugly, unloved and stupid. I carried these scars and my skewed self-image not only into my middle-school years but also into my first two years of high school.
My 7th grade year was not much better! Why? Because everything changed! My whole life felt like it was being picked up and thrown out.
A week before school started my mom told me that we were switching schools! What? And worse yet, my new school started that Monday! But that wasn’t all. My new school schedule interfered with dance classes and I had to change dance studios!
My mom and dad were asking me to change dance schools?
Seriously! My dance school had become a home to me, the girls had become my sisters. My parents were asking me to leave all that?? If that wasn’t bad enough, my youth group also changed! I had been with the same group for 4 years, and we were so close. My friends in the group had helped me through some hard times. They had prayed with me and loved me, but because I turned a year older I had youth group on Sunday nights instead of Sunday mornings. I was put in a group where I literally knew no one! It was hard and I often wondered how I was going to get through it.
I’m a very bubbly person, I love to smile and laugh all the time. At the start of 7th grade, I found myself completely void of all these emotions.
In all of this change and newness, my identity was nowhere to be found! I hated who I was even more. I grew into an unrecognizable girl. I turned my back on God and eventually stopped reading the Bible.
I stopped smiling and laughing. I was no longer happy, joyful and encouraging! I was completely empty of everything that made me who I am! I now describe it as walking to the side of a big black hole. You don’t know how far down it goes, but you don’t care. However, something was stopping me and holding me back. That something was God. It was everything I believed in and everything I knew to be true. I couldn’t jump with that stuff! So I left it behind. I stopped caring. I stopped believing it! God felt so far away at that time. I thought, “He doesn’t care, I’m just going to jump.” I let myself fall into that deep, dark hole. I didn’t care what happened next.
I went my own way, I didn’t care about the Lord anymore. I fell into a state of depression. I was lonely, hopeless and friendless. I felt unworthy and unloved. I started to cry out for God again, but to no avail. I thought He had turned His back on me and stopped loving me! My depression worsened to the point where I wore masks constantly. Everywhere that I went, I was no longer being true to myself. I was not myself unless I was in my bed at night crying to sleep. I wasn’t even myself with my family! I didn’t want them to see how far gone I was. I fell deeper and deeper into the dark hole!
It got so bad that I started thinking of ways to kill myself! Having no viable options to do that, I turned to God and pleaded with him to take my life. I was done with the cold shoulder treatment. If He wasn’t going to acknowledge me, then by golly I would make Him! I thought the only way to do that would be to kill myself. God lives in heaven and if I go there He’d have no excuse to ignore me! These thoughts and prayers went on and on. Whenever I asked The Lord to take my life or I thought about taking it, there was a voice at the back of my head urging me not to. The voice said, “Hey, there’s still hope! don’t do this!” But I refused to listen.
It got so bad that my mom noticed. She sat me down and asked what was going on, I told her everything. “Mom, I’m not happy anymore. I feel like crying all the time, and I’m in a dark place,” I said through tears. Her response was, “Have you been reading your Bible?” My answer, “No!” She encouraged me to read my Bible and also told me something her Bible study teacher told her. “Those who read the Bible act according to it, and you can see it in their lives. But those who don’t read it start acting of the world and the evidence is not in their lives.” The following Sunday my small group leader took notice of my mood as well. She asked me the same questions as my mom and gave me the same advice, “Read your Bible!” After much stubbornness I decided to read my Bible. I thought, “Okay God, If you are real then prove it to me in Your Word.” And He sure did!
I started reading in Matthew and the words came alive to me! I understood it like I’d never understood it before! In that moment, I realized that God did love me and that He was there. I had pushed Him away, not the other way around! I got my life back. I was happy and joyful again. I smiled and laughed! I was my ordinary self again, those four months changed me completely. In that time the scars that I left 6th grade with disappeared and I got my self-esteem back. I could look myself in the mirror again and honestly say, “You’re pretty, Madeleine.” Everything I had once lost I regained!
I thought I was unloved, worthless, and shameful. Then God turned that around and told me that I was worth it and loved. He let me know that my past didn’t define me! I started to find my identity in Him and Him alone. Thanks to His constant love and faithfulness, I know I am depression free. Now I can speak up about depression to help others who struggle with depression find their healing.
For those of you who struggle with depression, you know how hard it is. When you hit rock bottom it seems like there’s no way out. Remember this! God doesn’t destroy at rock bottom, God creates at rock bottom! Don’t ever give up hope. Don’t ever say you’re not worth it. Don’t ever think it’s too hard to go on. With God, all things are possible. He gives you hope! You are never unworthy. You are worth it, Christian! Don’t ever forget that!