This is easily the most important blog post I’ll ever write. I know that to be a fact because my heart was pounding as I was writing this in my journal. Initially, I was hesitant to speak on this because it’s so personal. But I truly believe that someone will read this and it’ll help them with whatever they’re going through. I want to talk about how I got out of depression by surrendering my life to Jesus Christ.
Now some of you may be shocked to hear that I was depressed. I’ve actually battled with it since my sophomore year in high school. I just learned to hide it whenever I had to interact with others. For about 5 years there was always a darkness that felt like it was consuming me.
If you’ve never experienced depression...I’ll explain it (the best I can.) Depression is when you feel alone even when you’re in a room crowded with people. Depression takes away the joy you experience from doing things you once loved doing. For me, that joy was basketball and exercising. But that quickly transformed to an undesirable task that I withdrew from.
Depression tricks and controls you. It makes you believe that no one cares despite being surrounded by people who love you. You don’t want to live, but you don’t want to die either. So it leaves you in this constant state of misery of not knowing what to do or what’s to come. You want to get out, but it keeps you shackled. You just feel hopeless.
There were so many days where I didn’t want to get out of my bed. Sleeping became my favorite activity and my only escape. It was the only way to make time pass without feeling any pain inside. But when it was time to wake up, I was forced to go in my closet a pick out a new face that I had to present to the world.
But putting on a mask only gets you so far. I began to intentionally destroy friendships and relationships with people. I wasn’t someone people wanted to be around. I lashed out to people who didn’t deserve it. And I became destructive and toxic.
Last October, I remember telling myself that I will get out of this. So I began to shift my focus on my goals and success. I figured that I can experience happiness and joy again if I achieve my goals...right?
When I found out that I was going to Washington DC to do an internship on Capitol Hill...I remember jumping in my room and screaming, “Finally! This is what’s going to bring me happiness that I've been searching for!” And don’t get me wrong—it did bring me happiness...but it was short-lived. That happiness slowly deteriorated as the days went by. And that’s not to say I wouldn’t do the internship again. It was a great experience. But that joy just didn’t last.
So in my mind, I thought I needed to achieve another goal. I wanted to have that same burst of joy again. I said, “Okay obviously I need to do something else. What’s the next thing I can do?” After I left the Hill, David Litt—President Obama’s former speech writer—offered me an internship over the summer. And again, I jumped up and said “YES! Finally! This is what’s going to bring me happiness!” And it did. But once again, it was short-lived. And it’s not to say that I didn’t love working with David—I did. But it didn’t bring that lasting happiness I was still searching for.
So yet again...I asked myself, “Okay what’s the next goal? What do I need to do next?” By the way, Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I decided to apply for a scholarship in DC. When I found out I won, I had the same joyful episode. The scholarship awards dinner was held at the Embassy of France. I had fun. But I’ll never forget this...The very second I left the Embassy, I felt this intense, overwhelming sadness.
When I got to my apartment, I became so angry. But my anger quickly turned into this uncontrollable emotional breakdown. To me—nothing I did mattered. My internships that once brought me happiness didn’t matter. And nor did I care about the scholarship dinner anymore. It all seemed so shallow and superficial to what I was striving for—internal joy and happiness.
One early Sunday morning, I laid in my bed in complete darkness. It was about 3:00AM and I began to uncontrollably cry. I felt like I was at my lowest point. And honestly...I just wanted out of this world. But suddenly I remembered my mom. My mom always told me that her faith helped her get through rough times. That same morning around 10:00AM, I got dressed and I decided to go to church.
It changed my life.
By the end of the service that morning, I was on my knees begging and pleading for God to save me. I didn’t want to feel alone anymore. I wanted Him to fill the emptiness in my heart with his love and grace. I didn’t want to be depressed anymore. I wanted Him to be the light in my darkness. I wanted to feel worthy. I wanted to be happy. I knew I couldn’t do life without Christ.
Not to my depression or negative thoughts, but to my Lord and and Savior Jesus Christ. I surrendered my pride. I surrendered my ego. I surrendered my pain. And I surrendered my depression. I started to learn how to trust God.
Ever since then, things began to change for me. Because I shifted my focus again. Instead of focusing on my circumstances, I focused on Christ. What we choose to focus on determines our attitude. And how can we not just feel grateful when we have a God that loves us so much?
But don’t get it confused. It’s not to say that my life is all sunshine and rainbows now. I don’t live in this fantasy utopia where Christmas music is playing on repeat as I’m eating Lucky Charms with Oprah. No...None of that has happened (although I am praying for it.) There are still hard moments and bad times. But the difference is--because of God--now the bad times are short-lived and the good times are everlasting.
I now experience this inexplicable inner peace that I never had before. I feel worthy because I know that I am a child of God. His love is the very thing I was looking for this whole time. I’ve come to realize that God’s love was the only thing that could save me.
I’m writing this because maybe you’re reading this and going through a rough time yourself. Maybe you feel like you can never catch a break...Or maybe you just want to end it all.
Don’t give up!
God did not and will not give up on us. He will not leave us. He will not forsake us. But we must trust Him. He is greater than any circumstance we go through. He is taller than any mountain we may climb. God will never put you through anything you can’t handle. You can. But not because of our own doing, but who Christ is within us. He is our strength when we feel weak. And he is the crutch when we can’t stand.
Trust me…I know. I wasn’t always a believer and follower of Christ. But I now know that I cannot live without Him. Surrender your life to Him. He’s waiting for you. Let Go and Let God.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”