I have depression.
Yes – sassy, crazy, centre of attention Hannah has depression.
We all have our secrets and that has been mine for the last 21 years.
But I also have something else in my life. I have Jesus.
For as long as I can remember I have been riddled with an emotion I came to call ‘It’. A lot of the time ‘it’ looks like a thick mist whist in a maze which is never ending, no matter how many more steps forward you take you can never see a clearing. It engulfs you, inhibits you, it takes away your characteristics creating a zombie. Sometimes it causes you to become a recluse never wanting to face another person again and at other times you do not want anyone to ever leave your side. It ruins relationships with family, friends and boyfriends, it stops you reaching achievements all because you cannot love or believe in yourself. It is something you can never fully explain to anyone because you cannot even explain it to yourself.
I know so many of you will be sceptical as you continue to read this but at least hear me out. I have grown up all my life hearing who this guy God was, understanding what it entailed to be that ‘perfect’ Christian. I heard the stories of all the great things he had done for other people, how others had been made completely better. Lucky them, right? How fortunate are they God is healing them so why not me? I’m not good enough for anyone, not even God. God loves everyone but me, I am yet to see any proof that he loves me. I battled with these thoughts and believed I couldn’t be healed because I could never be this ‘perfect’ Christian I had to be which eventually lead me to run away from my faith to seek assurance in anything but God.
I tried various different techniques and used numerous people over the years to try and heal it. I became a gym fanatic (which I still am but not for the same reasons), I became dependent on my appearance, I watched endlessly to see if the number of likes would increase on my latest post, I had to be the most popular and loved girl in school, and constantly relied on having a boy. Each of these, one at a time began to overrule my life all because in my head each one I tried MUST BE the solution.
I could not have been more wrong.
The day I was healed was the day I realised I needed nothing more than simply Jesus.
Knowing Jesus was the solution.
I had been on anti-depressants for 4 months after finally 20 years later I found the courage to admit I was not well. These drugs were continually upped until I was almost at the maximum dose possible – it still wasn’t working, I couldn’t see any future where happiness existed, at 20 years old I didn’t even understand what happiness felt like. However, finally one Saturday night this January (which I will never forget) I was healed. I sat in the snow with non-stop tears listening to the depressing playlist I had on repeat for weeks thinking of ways to make sure I wouldn’t see the next day or the one after that (you get the picture). Yet, for some unknown reason after 9 months of refusing to acknowledge Jesus I played the song ‘One thing remains’- Hillsong.
When I was younger I imagined the day I was healed to be a big wondrous miracle, like a musical on Broadway. It was nothing like that. It was quiet and dark with only me sat in the snow freezing my ass off, listening to the reminder that even when I fail his love never fails and he simply healed me. Somehow that night – I am yet to understand how – he reminded me he never asked me to be the ‘perfect’ Christian and I didn’t have to be to be healed he asked me to accept him as my saviour, he was all I needed. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.
Don’t get me wrong ‘it’ is part of me, it will never leave and every day I still have to take those tablets, without them I feel myself slipping back into the self-deprecating person I was. Healing has not come in the way humans expect it whereby it leaves and will never exists again such as when someone is healed of a physical illness. One thing I am certain of is that ‘it’ is still very much in my life but Jesus healed me by giving me the opportunity not to let ‘it’ rule my life but to let him rule my life.
Those who know me are very aware I am nowhere near this ‘perfect’ Christian and mess up every single day and will continue to do so (I am human). I still long for that relationship with a boy and to feel beautiful but when this happens I remind myself of the love I felt that night. Even when I hate myself and feel others hate me – he loves me, even when I cannot accept myself and it feels as if no one else accepts me – he accepts me. This is difficult to come to grips with and for some people it takes a lot longer than 21 years but it is possible for everyone. He wants to show you the love he has for you if you let him.
Clearly, I have grown up with Christianity surrounding me and so I don’t blame any of you for thinking it is all well and good for you having Jesus but he isn’t for me, he won’t change my life. Erm, negative. Jesus is for everyone and he wants you to accept the relationship he offers. In acts 10:34-35 it says “Truly I understand that God shows no particularity, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” There is no one God will not accept if you accept him. As I said I am the furthest thing from perfect which many of you will have seen multiple times (prominent example, nights out), I have messed up as much if not more than many of you reading this (if you want to know just ask) and will continue to do so. I am a sinner. But you know what Jesus himself said,
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
It was never that God was not healing me it was that I wasn’t letting him.
There is always healing and there is always hope.
Never give up.