Hi! I’m A Christian And I Suffered From Depression Too.

I once believed my faith in God would keep me free from depression and all mental illness. I found out that this is a commonly believed myth.  Depression has no common denominator except that one be human.  No matter what you might think, depression affects all people no matter what race, economic class, religion, gender, age, and nationality.  It is now the leading cause for illness and disability worldwide announced by the WHO this week.

Depression is the No. 1 Cause of Illness and Disability Worldwide

The year was 2014 and I was experiencing the best year of my life.  My family was happy.  My children were healthy and my 18 years of marriage seemed to be better than ever.  I was fulfilling my purpose in life helping the sick and poor in Cambodia as I had for years.  But now I was excited to see incredible results from my work.  Lives changed, the curse of poverty lifted, those hopeless filled with hope again.  Being a Christian, it filled my heart with great joy.  I was up before 5 AM spending time in mediation and prayer, taking care of my family, and busily leading the many others in the work we began.  That is why my depression came as such shock to me.  Within a few months, I began to realize that things were not as good as they had seemed.  There was fighting, gossiping, and hate going on around me.  Maybe I just wanted to remain in the bliss of the goodness I saw or maybe I choose to ignore it because I didn’t want the fun to end.  Either way, the problems actually began hurting me physically.  I lost my appetite, couldn’t sleep, my hair was falling out, and I began losing weight quickly.  I went to get a full health check thinking it must be physical.  They even did an endoscopy to check my stomach.  I think the doctor gave me some diagnosis of gastritis or something else but I knew better.  I  had to accept that I was physically okay but mentally I was not.  I didn’t like that answer.  I couldn’t seem to change it as much as I fought and tried, I seemed to get worse and worse.  Guilt came over me as I saw how blessed my life was and I couldn’t understand why “I couldn’t pull myself up by the boot straps” as I had done so many times in my life.  Is God mad at me? I searched and allowed Him to search me but all was quiet. No answers to be found.  Then the panic attacks started and I went through 6 months trying to figure out how to relax with little success.  My work that I loved went on hold. I didn’t even want to think about it.  My family was carried mostly by my husband, and I spent a lot of time alone.

This is when the advice started coming in. Read the Bible more.  This is spiritual warfare.  God is pruning you.  They were friends and they were trying to help. But it only worsened the guilt that I felt.  I picked up the Bible but every word I read turned into guilt and shame.  My perception of myself and God was off.  I couldn’t stop it.  I had loved the Bible before and felt comfort from its words more times than I can tell you but it seemed every word read brought shame.  I closed it feeling more helpless than before.  Everything I thought I knew would heal me did not.  Looking back, I was trying to put a spiritual bandage over physical and emotional problems. I traveled to escape but found no relief.  I had little to no sleep and began living a panic attack nonstop.  I was alone in a country without my closest family and friends.  I reached out to counselors but was told 2 things.   Christians don’t need antidepressants (not true by the way).  Second: “go and try to make a panic attack happen and you will see that you can’t and then you will be fine. Call me next week and lets talk again.”  What?!! Needless to say.  His phone never rang from me.  This is when I learned how lonely depression was and how misunderstood it was by those I thought would be the experts at healing.

About that time, 2 life saving events happened to me.  First, I was given a clear vision from God.  He gave me an image of His strong and mighty hand reaching down from heaven into a dark hole.  I was lying in that dark hole and He was grabbing my wrist and pulling me out slowly.  The key point He showed me was that I was not holding onto his hand but He was grabbing me.  As if to say, “you’re not going to screw this up, I am pulling you out no matter what.”  That seemed to ease me from some of the guilt.  I felt chosen by Him and fear and loneliness began to leave gradually.  This image comforted me many times over the next year.  I could be patient knowing that He would rescue me.

The second life line was friends.  We had 4 friends from the other side of the world who bought their airline tickets to come and be with us.  To love us and to help us fulfill our purpose.  I had stepped back from helping the poor because of my condition.  But, my friends being dentists and medical fortunately encouraged us to go out to an area in need.  We spent 3 days helping pull teeth from many suffering from rotting decay in their mouths.  As we relieved the pain of others, I felt my pain lift bit by bit but the greatest blessing was the night before they left.  We have a piano in our house that is rarely used. ( You know when you buy something hoping that kids would pick it up by osmosis.) Our friends and I sat around the piano while they played old hymns and songs of worship.  My heart gripped me as for the first time I shared the 8 months of pain with friends who actually listened, didn’t judge me, and refused to leave me alone!  It actually hurt worse to share but I knew I was on the right path.

I’d like to say that depression left me that day never to be suffered again but the process is gradual.  He did pull me out.  I am free from it today.  The hard part is knowing that it could creep up on me again.  But, I must accept 3 things.  First, He will be faithful to save me again.  Second, I have learned a lot through this process and I know how to endure well.  Third, I have gone to what I like to call the “school of depression and anxiety” and am a teacher for all people around me.

Every time I share my story with others, healing comes more and more.  We were made to do this journey of life together!

Ann walking with kids in village

Do you want to know how to heal from depression or how to help a friend in depression?  Remember that depression is physical, spiritual, and emotional.  Healing must occur in all areas because we are complicated beings!

5 Don’ts:

  • Don’t believe that there is one answer for everyone.
  • Don’t think there are band aids or medications to magically take it away.  These things can help but they will not remove the feelings in itself.
  • Don’t fall for any quick healing ads.  This is a gradual process.
  • Do not try to put a band-aid on your friend in depression.  In fact, keep advice to a minimum especially if you’ve never been there before.
  • Don’t try to numb the feeling of depression away as much as you may want to.  The feelings must be felt.  The process must take place.

6 Do’s:

  • Accept it for what it is.  It is a feeling and it will come and go.
  • Do rely on God and others.
  • Stay away from hurtful people.
  • Find friends who will listen to you over and over again.
  • Hug people.
  • Encouragement is your best tool.  Receive encouragement from others, podcasts, uplifting verses, songs, friends and family.

One of the ways that I was able to overcome depression, anxiety, and finally come off prescription medicines was through all natural Plexus.  If you would like to know more about that, email or message me.

To read more about how this experience changed me for the better, click here: 46 Ways Depression Made Me A Better Person

To enjoy a laugh about depression, don’t miss this article! What Not To Say To A Person Experiencing Depression!

Lastly, I would love to talk to you if you are experiencing depression now.  I have nothing to sell and any advice is free!  I won’t judge you and will listen quietly.  Please email me at contact@acoffeewithfriends.com if you need a friend.

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42 Comments on “Hi! I’m A Christian And I Suffered From Depression Too.

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey. There have been family members who have suffered (and have reoccurring bouts) with depression. The more we have shared, the more we have sensed the love and acceptance of community. We all need to give each other more empathy and grace!

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  2. Ann – this is beautifully and well written. I too have suffered from both depression and anxiety and gutted my way through my fair share of panic attacks. I have been on meds, gone to counseling, waited, prayed, been encouraged, and listened to well-meaning but not-so-helpful advice. I have several family members who suffer as well. I try to be very honest and open with my experience in hopes that I might help others who find themselves “in the well”. Thank you Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy, thank you for sharing. It’s interesting how many people we know suffer but we never talk about it. This makes us feel alone. Thank you for your honesty. This is church, when the body of Christ heals others with our scars! Blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Ann! Thank you for sharing. Powerful, moving and encouraging all at the same time. Best to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: What Not To Say To A Person Experiencing Depression! – A Coffee with Friends

  5. A touching and lovely story. Could I suggest adding ‘contact a medical professional’ in the list of do’s? Many are open to alternatives, such as taking oils, and can refer the sufferer to therapists and counsellors. Otherwise, very humanely written! Thank you for sharing your story, there is so much stigma out there within the religious spheres about mental illness. Thank you for being a positive voice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Goodness your so right! My personal story was Durant from any medical help here in Cambodia. I reached out to 2 therapists but they didn’t respond. I think me living in Cambodia put too much distance for them to overcome. I do think medical professionals are very helpful. I had a few who were my friends who checked in with me but honestly had a hard time finding one that would help even when money wasn’t an issue?! Thank you for commenting on this. I forget this option for those who live close to healthcare!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, what an interesting point of view. I’m very lucky, here in Canada I keep getting offered therapies and psychologists… Its so interesting how it was so different for you, just because of placement. A great reminder that medication is a privilege! Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • 2 years into the depression, I flew to America and met a doctor friend who convinced me to take an antidepressant and helped me overcome my stupid stigma. Life saver!! It helped me so much. My therapy was delayed! The good about that is well “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stigma is such a huge stumbling point! Even if we agree for others to take it, taking it ourselves is something so different. I’m glad you got the help you needed! Definitely, we come out stronger and more resilient from these lived experiences. All the best for your trips! I will definitely stay tuned for your adventures!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing, Ann. I also suffer from depression and anxiety, along with OCD, and I have experienced panic attacks. It can be completely crippling. But I’m encouraged by your story – especially the part about the vision of God pulling you out of a pit, and how He’s holding onto you and not the other way around. Thanks again for your honesty…God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Crystal. I’m glad you benefited from it. I am confident that this is how God feels about each of us. Choosing to believe in Him each day helps us build the confidence to find the way out. Please continue to share your story as we both know that those who suffer and have suffered need to stick together!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: 46 Ways Depression Made Me A Better Person – A Coffee with Friends

    • Well that’s the greatest compliment you could give. My hope is to help people move forward and through difficult times. Thank you.

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  8. You have quite a testimony to share. It is absolutely true that mental illness is a brain dis-ease that is best treated by faith and medicine, prayers and pills, worship and therapy. These “three-fold strands” give us hope to fight the battle we fight every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing that Ann. I got smashed by depression when we were living out in your neck of the woods and it’s been a slow climb out. I appreciate your practical wisdom, and the hope that your blog carries – of getting back to my old self, or even an improved version of me! Off to read your blog post about depression making you a better person now. 🙂 So true what you say about depression being physical, spiritual and emotional.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adam, thank you so much for choosing to comment here. It’s responses like this that keep me vulnerable. You will be better and your experiences will help many people too! Blessings!

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  10. Thanks for sharing. I have bipolar depression which is managed by medicine, but my faith in God is what sees me through. Like your experience with God’s hand, I’ve had a couple experiences. I was badly depressed over the state of the unsaved world and asked Jesus to reveal the Father to me. I went into a state of the most extreme joy of my life. I felt like God let me search his mind of any sort of ill intent there and there was none. God saves us when we least expect it sometimes. He saved my faith in his goodness. Not just toward me, but toward all people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nicole, thank you for sharing this with me. What an incredible intimacy and relationship you have with God in spite of your struggle with your depression. God bless you and praying that He carries you out of this struggle completely.

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  11. Pingback: The problems with depression – For a Greater Purpose

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  13. Pingback: How Meditation Saved Me From Missions

  14. Pingback: Hi! I’m A Christian And I Suffered From Depression Too. — A Coffee with Friends – DatingDisabled.org

    • Ahh! Thank you so much for reblogging this. It’s one thing to like a blog that touches your heart but another to pass it on in order to help others! Blessings on your healing!

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