DEPRESSION AND SELF HARM
Hi, I’m Bethany, and I want to tell you a story. I first started struggling with depression when I was 13, but I didn’t know that was what it was called. I just remember life got a little duller, and nothing seemed as exciting anymore. Depression isn’t something that you can pin point a day when it starts. It kind of creeps up on you, and makes life gradually duller and greyer. And my life just kept getting greyer and I kept putting on my “I’m fine” face, because I thought it was something to be ashamed of.
I was finally diagnosed with depression when I was 19. It got so unbearable for me that I wanted to kill myself, but I chose instead to tell someone what was going on and they were able to encourage me to get the help I needed. A few months later, I cut myself for the first time. I was so angry and sad that it seemed like the only thing I could do. There was so much pain inside my heart that I couldn’t deal with, but a small cut on my arm, that I could deal with.
The thing about cutting that I didn’t know at the time, is that cutting is such an effective way to deal with pain that it only takes one cut to open the door to addiction. And addictions are hard to break.
But that’s not where my story ends. Through counselling I was able to talk out the pain inside me, and deal with the events in my past that were driving my depression and desire to cut.
I’ve learned that depression is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have our weaknesses and many of us have past addictions. The Bible says in Psalm 34 that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. When I was depressed, I was brokenhearted. Even though I couldn’t always feel the Lord with me, I knew that He was close and that gave me hope that one day life wouldn’t be so dark and dull anymore.
I want to say this: If you are depressed or caught in an addictive cycle, know that there is hope and freedom in Jesus. It is my Lord Jesus alone who has brought me out of the dullness of depression and continues to set me free from the desire to cut.
I have found these websites helpful:
These are not a subsitute for seeking professional help.
These Bible verses have helped me over the years.
Feeling: I need to be punished.
Truth: When Jesus allowed Himself to be beaten, mocked and nailed to a cross to die, he paid the price for any wrongs. He bled (so that I don't have to) and gave me grace, love and forgiveness (1 Peter 2:24). I have been made righteous because of a faith in Jesus, and he has freely given me His grace in spite of my sin (Romans 3:21-26).
Feeling: God has abandoned me.
Truth: Because God loves me, He promises to never leave me or forsake me. His love for me is everlasting; it will never stop, disappear or grow cold. Nothing can separate me from His love—not even myself. He won't ever leave me but will provide mercy and grace when I am in need (Hebrews 13:5, Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 8:35-39 and Hebrews 4:16).
Feeling: Things are never going to get better.
Truth: God promises me of a future and a hope. I can't see it right now, and I don't know how He is working it out. Still, I choose to trust Him, and while He is working out my problems, I will wait on Him (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 27:14).
Feeling: I'll never be able to change.
Truth: When I came to Christ, He made me a new creation. It will take time to renew my mind, body and spirit, but He has promised to change me, no matter how I feel (John 15:15, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Colossians 2:7, Philippians 1:6).
Feeling: I'm unlovable.
Truth: When Jesus died on the cross, He demonstrated the ultimate act of love for me. He did this because I am chosen and dearly loved (Romans 5:6-11, Colossians 3:12).
Feeling: I'm unacceptable.
Truth: Because God created me, and Christ died for me, I am acceptable to Him; before the world was created, He made the choice to adopt me as His own (Ephesians 2:13, I Peter 2:9, Ephesians 1:5).
Feeling: I feel like God won't forgive me.
Truth: Despite how I see myself, God sees me as blameless and holy because of what Christ did on the cross. It's hard to imagine, but God has completely forgiven me. When I confess anything that I have done wrong, He is more than willing to forgive and cleanse me from sin, no matter how many mistakes I make (Colossians 1:22, Colossians 1:13-14, 1 John 1:9).