Feb. 15, 2006
During class prayer, Prof. Abbley said there’s a woman in the class, & God has been wanting to put His finger on something in her life, & if she doesn’t [repent or something like that] she’s going down a road she’ll regret (or something like that; & she already is but she’ll be worse off). At that time, I don’t think it’s me, but I don’t know. I feel like I’m so caloused that I’ve forgotten how to feel. I don’t know anymore.
Lord, if You can read this, my name is Angela, and I don’t want to be in a really bad situation. Things are hard now only because I don’t pray or read the Bible. And I am scared & doubtful of where my life is going. And I’m lonely and want somebody to love me – as in the one, You know? I can’t get a handle on my life, but I was hoping You can. I don’t expect a lightning to strike forcing me to straighten up, but when my life is held up into the sun, I know I’d have cracks & I’m covered in wax right now. Will You change me? And will You make sense of my feelings? Please help me out because I’m a mess.
There’s a bit of a time jump from the Hester Prynne entry to this one, and there’s really only one reason. I can’t find my journals from 2002-2005. I found random ramblings I wrote during class about how boring class was. They pretty much repeat the words bored, tired, and hungry. I won’t bore you with those. But I must have had diaries and journals. I’m sure I wrote something somewhere. I’m always writing something somewhere. Now I feel like I have a mission or a treasure hunt, a kind of important one.
I just revisited my junior year in high school where I was happy and just being a teenager, and then plopped myself in the middle of college and the start of my battle with depression. That’s a big part of my story that I haven’t quite figured out how to tell.
You can see from the entry above that I felt calloused and unsure. I felt the need to tell God my name because I was going through a crisis of faith. Though I called myself a Christian, went to church regularly, and was a ministry leader, most days, I struggled in my relationship with God. I thought He was silent. I blamed myself for not praying enough or reading the Bible enough. I thought a romantic relationship would solve my loneliness problems. I knew I was messed up, but I didn’t know how to get out of it.
Like a lot of people, I didn’t recognize depression for what it is and I went untreated. I randomly took an Abnormal Psychology class in a community college one semester and there I realized I had been presenting all of the symptoms for Major Depressive Disorder for years. And still I didn’t get help because I didn’t know how to, where to, and because I thought I could handle it.
Like I said, I’m still figuring out how to tell my story. But I can tell you that depression is real. I still hear Christians sweep it under the rug by saying things like, “You wouldn’t be depressed if you were praying” or “Christians shouldn’t be depressed” or “Spend more time with God and you won’t depressed.”
But I was that Christian who did the right Christian things. I was in a Christian college pursuing a Bible/church degree so trust me when I say I couldn’t escape God and Christian things. I had to pray, study the Bible, attend chapel, and practice a lot of spiritual disciplines. But I didn’t just do them because I had to, because it was homework. I did them because I wanted to, because I love God, because I was so desperate for Him and so desperate to make sense of what I was going through.
But I was still so very messed up. I kept reminding God my name. I blamed myself, thinking I should be praying more or reading the Bible more. I was scared all the time, like bone-deep frozen in place afraid.
The truth is, something was broken inside. And it was something I couldn’t fix.
And this post is getting long (sorry).
Depression is real. I believe God could have immediately pulled me out of it if that was His will, but it seems that messy part of my life was my cross to bear for a while so I could have a message about it one day. It’s part of my story that I really still am figuring out how to tell. But let me end this long post (again, sorry) by saying that God never forgot my name, I know that now. He never left my side and He was never silent. And the people around me have never stopped loving me either.
If you’re going through depression or what seems like never-ending confusion and darkness, I want you to know that you are not alone. God is with you and loves you. People are with you. People love and care for you, but maybe they don’t know how to reach you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone else. This is a nationwide crisis hotline (in America): 1-800-273-TALK (8255).