I’ve struggled and been in horrible, depressing bondage most of my life because I had no concept of self-worth and somehow that became tied to my appearance. I’ve struggled since a young teen with BDD, “body dysmorphic disorder”, a totally disabling disorder where the person sees themselves as so ugly and hideously deformed, they feel they have no right to even be alive and fear to be around others. I eventually turned to drink as my ‘coping mechanism” because that was the only way I could be around others and feel somewhat human. I’d been in and out of the hospital 7 times and had seen more Dr’s and taken more meds (often while still drinking) than I can remember. I even had shock therapy to try and overcome the overwhelming depression and hatred for myself. I saw no hope, no chance for any joy in life. I always felt, even while smiling to the world in pretense, that there was an invisible wall between me an others and I could never ‘belong’ anywhere.
I too had horrible, demonic nightmares since childhood that left me sleepless and in despair. But Please Know This; There IS HOPE!There IS FREEDOM! There IS LOVE!and YOU ARE WORTHY! YOU ARE LOVED!
I became a christian 9 years ago, but still battled within so much! We can be Christians living in defeat, but we DON’T HAVE TO BE!
I was on anti-depressants for 6 years until just over a year ago I felt led to get off them for several reasons. It was hard and I had a horrific time going through withdrawal after being on them so long, but God brought me through it. I started praying each day. . . and faithfully reading my bible, never forgetting a day. I was doing OK, until a few months back when I got slammed by the depression again. It was so horrible and I began having suicidal thoghts; something I hadn’t had in years. I was an emotional wreck again; I couldn’t sleep, or would sleep too much trying to escape from the pain.
Here’s the thing, in all this I continued to faithfully pray and cry out to God, and to seek Him through His Word. I didn’t feel like doing this but I did because I knew in my heart of hearts, that no doctor… no medication… no anything could give me lasting help but GOD. I kept praying for Him to give me the desire and strength to stay in His Word every single day and He did.
I was still severely depressed for several weeks and thinking, as much as I did not want to, that maybe I SHOULD be on meds again; several people I respect counseled me that perhaps I should. But deep inside I still knew this was not what God wanted for me. So one day, crying out in despair to my husband Steven, he told me I needed to humble myself before God and literally get my on my face and cry out to Him and LISTEN for His voice.
Well I did just that. I went into the bedroom and cried out to God all the things I was hurt and angry about; I cried out too in repentance for my sins; I really felt like David in there, crying out as he did in the psalms. Then I listened for God. This was hard because I never before SOUGHT to listen to Him and He answered me. He told me to water fast for 3 days. This was new to me as I had never done this except for to lose weight.
But I said “OK Lord, I will do that. I know You will give me the strength. ”
Then my doubt jumped in and I told myself “Maybe this is just your own voice telling you this, not God”. . .
So I asked, “God how do I know Your voice from mine? Please teach me. ”
He said “LISTEN. . . and you will know by seeking Me through My Word, because then you will come to KNOW Me. ”
I said “OK Lord, but what if others say. . . ”
He said “LISTEN!”You LISTEN to ME. . . no one else no matter WHO it is. YOU LISTEN TO ME FIRST!”
So I accepted that and thanked and praised Him.
I was able to fast over the next 3 days and tho I was hungry at times, God gave me the strength and desire to do it. Also I did not want to not follow through on something I knew God told me to do.
Well, 3 days passed and no fireworks etc. , but on the morning of the 4th day, I realized I was no longer depressed and wonder of wonders, I felt JOY!I felt PEACE!It was wonderful!
Did it last? This joy? This peace?
The following week I went through such a struggle! Satan was telling me “This won’t last!Nothing good ever lasts!YOU WILL FAIL!”
Even tho I was upset, I knew this would happen and as difficult as it was that week, I still faithfully, every morning, First thing since I wanted God 1st in my life. . . I prayed and read my bible and sought God with all my mind. . . all my heart . . . my soul and all my strength. I actually started practicing Philippians 4:8
“Finally brothers, let your minds be filled with everything that is TRUE, “. . . (Gods Word)
“everything that is honourable, “. . . ( am I thinking and doing things that honour God, others or myself?am I being honest with God, myself and others?)
“everything that is just/righteous, “. . . ( am I thinking on things that are morally right, fair or proper?)
“everything that is pure, “. . . ( am I thinking on things that are clear? or thinking on things that bring chaos to my thinking?)
“everything that is lovely, “. . . ( am I thinking on things that are lovable or admirable according to God?)
” everything that is good and praiseworthy, “. . . ( am I thinking on things that are beneficial or kind; things that glorify God?). . .
“think on these things. Those things which you have learned and recieved and THEN the God of Peace will be with you. ”
No wonder I wasn’t having any lasting peace or victory in my struggles; even tho I read the bible & prayed now and again, I never had truly gave God a chance to help me, I never sought, really sought Him out. I always expected a pill or doctor to ‘fix’ me; I wanted a pill ‘fix’ me or a a Dr. to say something that would click and then ‘fix’ me. Am I against meds or Dr. s? No! They have their place and God will use them to help us at times, but I finally learned that ‘their place’ was never to be in front of God’s place. Without God 1st, no Dr. or no medication, no matter how wise or wonderful will bring lasting peace or freedom. I finally KNOW that!
I finally understood that I had to put into practice “being transformed by the renewing of your mind. . . “; not just do it now and then. . . or talk about doing it. . . but do it. I asked myself how could I ever hope to change and know God’s love and peace even in the midst of problems, if I wasn’t daily seeking Him through Word and prayer, always striving to put Him 1st.
I pray. . . ” Teach me, Yaweh, Your ways, that I may not stray from them, Teach me Your Loyalty;
Let my hearts one aim be, to fear Your name. ” ps. 86:11
My point of telling you all this is that I no longer am depressed; haven’t been since this all happened and I KNOW!. . . without a doubt. . . for the 1st time in my life. . .
I will NEVER. . . EVER. . . be depressed like that again. I know brief times of sorrow will come, but that horrible despairing God has totally removed from because of the promises in His Word that ” He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ” And He is! HE has rewarded me with hope. . . with no more fear of despair. . . . and a greater knowledge and love for Him. I now look forward to my times with Him when it used to be a struggle. I LOVE His Word now!I learn daily from it and tho I have No wisdom of MY own, He has faithfully given me wisdom, understanding and discernment in my daily life because I ASKED Him for it. EVERYONE who asks WILL receive and this means YOU TOO!
I STRONGLY encourage you to commit to meeting with God daily. . 1st thing in the morning; talk to Him. . . if You’re not sure how to pray (as I was) ask Him to teach you, He will!
If you have doubt (as I did and still do in some things) ask Him to help your unbelief. He Will!
Read your bible daily; ask God to give you the desire to know Him like David had; I did this and He HAS given me this desire. Keep doing this daily no matter what!I’ve finally learned that God cannot be put second if I wish for peace, hope and His blessings; He MUST be put 1st daily if we really want to overcome. He bless you when you do this; I finally KNOW this for myself 1st hand!and it’s exciting and wonderful in spite of any circumstances that may arise. Now I know what “surrendering to God” is; because He has shown me. God will give you this & more too.
I pray 1st, and talk with God, then read a psalm, part of the old testament and then part of the new testament; underlining things that jump out at me. I write down any promises of God I come across on index cards I use for bookmarks or tape around the house. I listen to praise and worship music while doing housework or walking somewhere alone.
I’ve also learned the last couple of months that God doesn’t make things complicated; we do. The things we can do to be free from our pain & struggles are simple and but it takes commitment and choice but the rewards and blessings are beyond describing!
~ Delores, a member of CIR