I’ve been having a difficult time writing this month. I haven’t been able to write about what I wanted to write about because it’s really been hard to do anything right now! And just to be straight up: I’ve been struggling with depression and spiritual attacks. The thoughts and feelings are very similar to what I experienced during my postpartum period. I’m having to go back to my previous blog posts to remind myself of what biblical truths I clung to so that I can cling to them again. One of the biggest lessons I learned from my PPD season is that it is necessary to tell others about my dark thoughts and to get it all out instead of keeping it hidden to myself. So, that’s what I’m going to do here!
I can’t keep anything hidden anyway because God is omnipotent. A friend quoted Psalm 139 to remind me of God’s unending presence in my life. I was especially encouraged by verses 11 and 12.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.”
God descends down into my darkness because He is not afraid of it. Because He is light, no darkness can withstand Him. And since He already knows every single one of my thoughts and isn’t discouraged or repelled by them, I can be truthful about what I’m experiencing. My prayers have recently been more confession and asking the Lord for His protection and strength.
This time around, I’ve been quicker at sharing my dark thoughts with other people, especially my husband. Don’t get me wrong, it has been very tempting to keep it all inside, occasionally reverting back to my tendency to withdraw and crumble inward. There have been times this month that my husband has had to pick me up off the floor and make me talk with him. However, I know his care for me is good and I have listened to him even though I really just don’t want to. It has been a battle to tell him the thoughts I’ve had, but I had to remind myself of Ephesians 5:11 which says “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” I have learned that I need to expose my dark thoughts and bring them to the light by telling them to a trusted person. Only then, with another believer helping me to combat lies with truth and prayer, will the dark thoughts have the chance to dissipate.
I’ve have been in communication with my doctor about my concerns and contacted him the day I was overwhelmed with self-destructive thoughts. Even this was extremely difficult and I had to wage war against the lies in my mind: “it is late and he wouldn’t answer anyways,” “maybe he wouldn’t be able to talk because it’s Sunday,” or “he’s going to be frustrated with me.” However, I knew from experience that I needed to call anyway and he responded immediately. Thankfully, he is a fellow believer in the Lord and knows that there is a medical aspect and a spiritual aspect to my recent struggle. We are working together to find the best medical route for me.
With gentle urging from my husband, I have also talked with and received care from my pastor and his wife. The day that my husband caught me trying to follow through on a self-harm plan, they met with us and patiently listened to our situation. There was no condemnation, but a modeling of the same love that Christ has shown to all of us.
It has taken me a lot of fighting, but most importantly, I have been able to apply this verse to my struggle, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set [me] free from the law of sin and of death,” (Romans 8:1-2). He is not standing over me and pointing angrily at my sin and cyclical despair. He stands with wide-open arms and a loving heart towards me. I asked God for forgiveness for succumbing to sinful self-pity, yet AGAIN. And just to clarify, I know that the thoughts of depression and giving up were not generated by me; they were from the father of lies. But I do take full ownership of marinating in those thoughts, beginning to let them form into a plan, and following through with action. And though I am doing exactly what I did three years ago and naively thought I’d never deal with depression again, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” (Romans 5:20). Praise God that there is grace and mercy at the foot of the cross and I am lifted by grace, not shamefully beaten down.
Another friend reminded me that I have been in seasons of depression and anxiety before and the Lord brought me through every valley as He will do for me now. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)