My name is Lissette. I do not grow weary of sharing my testimony with people because it not only helps those in need but it continues to teach me many things about life and points me straight to my God. It’s been 5 years since my major depression and since then I’ve had one more. During those times I went through what I though would never end. I was always tired, wanted to sleep all the time and couldn't wait for the night to come. I was irritable, constantly crying, anxiety and fear filled my very core, I felt like a burden to others, I felt ashamed, I isolated myself, couldn’t enjoy anything, felt hopeless, had thoughts of suicide, couldn't concentrate, I lost too much weight, couldn't eat, bathe, or do anything around the house. I felt like a failure. I felt like a walking zombie devoid of any feelings. Now I know these are all signs of major depression. It was beyond my understanding. I grew up in a lovely home with everything I needed so it didn't stem from any trauma. In my case it is more of genetics as depression and anxiety does run in my family and I've experienced varying levels of depression and pervasive social anxiety growing up.
Before my major depression, about 10 years ago, at the age of 21 I had tried so hard to work on my social anxiety by going to doctors, therapists, self-help books, finding a new church/community group, trying to work on my social skills and of course praying. I did have times when I felt better but the social anxiety was pervasive (always there from a very young age) and prevented me from forming friendships, going places and enjoying life. It was hard but I somehow finished graduate school. I didn't know much about depression and anxiety then but I now know I dealt with that from a very young age. Since the age of 11 I remember being prayed for and praying to God to “make me bold”. God didn't heal me then. Thankfully, after I was able to get out of the major depression God was able to restore what I had and much more.
Losing myself in the storm
Depression even tried robbing me of my faith. I grew up learning God has plans for me but at this time I couldn't see it nor believe it anymore. There were only a few people that knew what was going on, yet they didn't truly understand because they had never gone through it. During this time I had to quit my job, I lost touch with the whole world except my immediate family, one friend and occasional people who came to pray for me. I lost everything I had worked for. I stopped going to my new church/community group, all the muscle I had once religiously built at the gym was gone, I lost any social skills I had gained. I thought I’d never be able to recover what I fought so hard for. I truly identified with Job from the Bible at this time but didn't yet have his unwavering faith.
What kept me from taking my own life 5 years ago were the prayers of people around me specially my mother, the thought of leaving my mother and family suffering, or ending up on life support if my attempt went wrong.
God reaching out
My mom would drag me to Tuesday prayers. I was in so much emotional pain that I would sit on the bench and look up ways on my phone on how I could go home and end it all. I’m glad my mom didn't give up on me as God sustained her. On a Tuesday Prayer night I started speaking to God and I said, “God I cant live anymore, I don’t want to, I can’t see why I should,”and as a worship song started the words I repeated were, “to worship you I live, to worship you I live, I live to worship you”. And, in that very moment there was small amount of hope ignited back into my heart. I realized that nothing else really mattered more than living for God. That I could hold on to that. The pain was still there but I was determined to live and feel again.
Shortly after, I was able to find a good therapy place (always praying that God use the doctors, therapists and medications to help me get better). With the help of my family, few friends I confided in, professionals and above all God and for his Glory he pulled me out from my anxiety, fear and depression. In less than a week I woke up, looked out the window and could again see in color. I started to enjoy life like I never had before.
Finding myself and healing in the Lord
The things I had prayed for growing up like being able to love myself and people, not being full of fear and enjoying life were all things God finally gave me. At the age of 31 I now live a life that is fullfiling. It doesn't mean that I don’t have my lows at times but I have learned to manage it, I have learned to communicate what I am going through to those I trust and trust that God will is with me through it all.
It is important to surround ourselves with our bothers and sisters. To rest when we have to. To not be so hard on ourselves. Each of us have our own battles, what may be big for me may be small for you and vice versa. We all have different stories but one God. God wants us to live for him. If we ever feel like there is nothing to live for, like things are not going as we want them to or as they should we have to remember that our sole purpose is to worship him and be more like him. God never shuts one door without opening another in due time. God readies us and in the perfect moment the fog will lift and God will carry us to where we should be.
We need God. We chase things in life and God permits it. But I’ve learned that these are not the things that truly matter. The one thing that matters most to God is that we become more like God. That our character is more like God’s wherever we are in life. But things like depression and anxiety hinder our ability to be more like Him.
If we take care of our mental health and/or if God grants us with healing then we will be able to love, be kind, have faith, be like Him and reveal God in us to others. Always examine yourself. Listen to counsel. You don’t get better unless you find out what is wrong with you. After you find out you must work to get better. Find those resources that will help you. And one day God may heal you entirely but that is not up to us.
I leave a few verses that synthesize what God does with our pain and that his promises are true:
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.