With all the posts about suicide because of Robin Williams and other celebrities that have recently committed suicide, I am stepping up on my soap box again. I’m going to step on a few toes here but I believe people need to know depression is NOT something you have to just accept.
My husband committed suicide. He was depressed when I met him and lived most of his life depressed although most people didn’t know this. I lived with him for 18 years before he finally took his own life.
Now, that in and of itself makes me qualified to speak as someone who’s lived with a depressed person.
BUT…I also suffered my own depression for years. There were many times that I reached the same crossroads that my husband and Robin Williams both reached. They, however, took the quick and easy way out. I chose instead to fight.
What I want people to know first and foremost is you do not have to suffer from depression. I am not a doctor, but I have studied a lot over the years about this topic and tried many different approaches to overcoming depression. One thing my late husband did was enter a research study. The study was for depression. He didn’t know that at the time. He only knew he had sleep apnea and night terrors and didn’t sleep well most nights. He found out about a study that would test him for sleep apnea. He signed up. The study was interesting. They knew depression and sleep disorders are related, but they did not know which came first. Did depression cause sleep disorders or did sleep disorders cause depression? The study decided to treat the depression and see if that resolved the sleep disorders. They then put my husband on Prozac. It helped him. He was less depressed, although I wouldn’t say he was cured, and he was sleeping better. Still, no answer to which comes first but they are linked. Great.
Sadly my husband depended solely on drugs, and when he decided he wanted to get a pilots license he quit taking the Prozac, and he found a doctor that didn’t know he was ever on Prozac to do his medical exam so he wouldn’t be ineligible for flight training. He obtained his pilot’s license and many other things, but he was never happy. He chased every “thing” possible, jobs, status, education, other women, alcohol, etc. But he was never happy. He never overcame his depression. Then he bailed on life completely.
I took a different course of action. My body suffered from the stress causing me to develop intestinal disorders. Doctors who couldn’t find any reason for my intestinal pain, so they deemed it IBS and medicated me. What I didn’t know at first was the medications they chose were anti-depressants. I did that for 2 years. It did make my symptoms less severe but didn’t cure me, and although I had periods of being happier, it didn’t elevate my moods much either.
Traveling down that path living with a depressed person and becoming depressed myself wasn’t what I wanted out of life and I don’t think anyone wants that life. I didn’t set out to cure my depression. I didn’t set out to cure my IBS. I just knew there was more to life than what I was living and I began reading my Bible, listening to sermons, etc. I began learning about our spirit, the spirit that is inside of us that makes us alive.
I wish I could say do this ONE thing, listen to this ONE sermon, accept Christ, etc. and that will remove your depression, but it isn’t that easy. This next statement is going to cause some controversy, but just like I cannot avoid the effects of gravity just because I choose not to believe in it, you can choose not to believe in spiritual truths, but that doesn’t keep them from happening to you. Depression is caused by spirits. Yes, you can have a chemical imbalance in your brain but just like the sleep disorder…which came first? I believe that the spirits responsible for the lies planted in your heart cause the chemical imbalances by how they get you to think.
Now, I am not saying that you are demon possessed. I am saying that there are two forces in this world. God and Satan. You are either controlled by one or the other. Neither controls you outright but give you choices to make and your response to these choices plants seeds that grow and the crops that they grow determine your outlook on life and how you live it.
I speak as one that didn’t just observe depression from the outside but lived and suffered through that internal hell in my own mind. It snuck up on me gradually, and it took over. And if I were to choose to listen to those evil thoughts again I know it could move back in.
I wish I knew how long it took me to overcome my depression. I wish I had some magic formula to share to alleviate your depression. What I can say is when I started looking into myself it was not an easy thing to do. I spent a year analyzing myself finding the roots to the lies I believed and pulling them out one by one. Each time I would have a bad, sad, guilty, mean, angry thought I would stop and ask myself why. Where did that come from? At first, it was very difficult to do, but now it is second nature. I no longer just let a thought come into my head without asking where it’s coming from. When I start hearing the negatives, I’m not good enough; I did ____ wrong, no one likes me, etc. I look at why I would think that. What does the evidence support, what does the Bible say, etc? Then I choose to reject that thought and everything that goes with it.
It takes a willingness to live, to overcome, to FIGHT. It is so much easier just to crawl into bed, pull the covers up over your head, dig into that chocolate ice cream, isolate yourself from others than to FIGHT, but if you choose to fight you can win. No, it won’t be an air strike where you just drop all your bombs at once, kick it out and move on. It will be a lifelong fight. At first, it will be intense, and you may see some large battles won. Don’t deceive yourself, winning one battle is not victory. But as one who has been fighting that battle for a long time, I can tell you that the battles get easier to win. I can also tell you not ever to feel you have arrived and stop capturing your thoughts. And there are times when the enemy will throw even more at you to try to get you back down into the pit again. But if you have learned how to deal with him then you just keep fighting with the same weapons you’ve been fighting with, and even his worst can’t bring you down.
I HATE suicide. It leaves a mess behind for your loved ones to deal with and it sets others up to repeat the same mistake. People hate talking about suicide, and it puts shame on those who are left behind. It makes them believe they were responsible or if they could have done ___ then the other person might still be here. There are no winners in suicide. Only pain, death, and destruction.
I walk each and every day with God, following Christ as my example and I know that without Him I wouldn’t still be here. Only with God have I found the strength to fight the evil that tried for years to consume me. Without God I know I’m not strong enough to overcome…but WITH GOD…ALL things are possible, yes, even overcoming depression.
If you are suffering from depression seek God first, then find spiritual methods to dispel the lies that are at the root of your depression. I haven’t met a depressed person yet who didn’t have at the core of their being a deeply rooted lie about who they are that affects how they live. When you can find the lies and replace them with TRUTH, you can change your thoughts, your emotions, and your chemical imbalances.
I am NOT saying if you are on medication stop taking it. That is extremely dangerous. I am saying, begin to seek the root causes and work on them until you no longer need the medication. And antidepressants are very harmful especially if you try to stop them cold turkey without being supervised. I went through that several times with my husband when he would stop his meds without warning or medical supervision.
And if you believe antidepressants are the only thing preventing you from committing suicide, take a look at the side effects of your medication. I’d bet you that one side effect of that medication IS suicide. If that was what I was trying to overcome, I wouldn’t want to be taking drugs with that as a possible side effect.
If you are chasing things to make you happy, you will never find it. Robin Williams had fame, fortune a kind heart, and the ability to make people laugh. That wasn’t enough. How many beautiful models have committed suicide? Beauty isn’t enough to make you happy. Cheating on your spouse won’t make you happy. A bigger car, house, boat, more kids, less kids, a new puppy…none of those things will make you happy. Happiness comes from the inside. Until you find it within yourself, until you CHOOSE to take control over your thoughts, happiness will be but a far off destiny that you never reach.
BUT…it doesn’t have to be that way. You do not have to suffer from depression. My prayer for anyone who has read this far is that they take hold of God’s truths and they begin the journey deep inside themselves to find out who they are and that they are LOVED and that they have a purpose in this life.
First and foremost do not isolate yourself if you are feeling depressed. That is the WORST thing you can do. Reach out to someone if you’re feeling that way. Find a friend you can confide in that is willing to support you. Do not take this journey alone.