I actually didn’t want to write this post. Mostly because I didn’t want to remind myself about the time in my life where I officially declared myself to be “depressed”. But I got out of it, by the grace of God, and after chatting with a friend today, I figured this needed to be shared. So you know that you’re not alone.
To many, my problem appears miniscule compared to people struggling with survival, strained relationships or any type of abuse. Nonetheless, it was a struggle. My struggle. An inner battle even, and I took a long time to get out of it. Actually, I still contend with it, but I’m handling it.
I never thought I’d ever reach that stage where I’d get so jaded, so incredibly put off by work that I would dig myself a great big crater and wallow in weeks of self-pity. Yes, weeks. Everything about work was miserable. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t believe in anything that I was doing. And the worst part was, I just kept digging and refused to get out. I was convinced that Escape was my only solution. I was incredibly tempted to just drop everything and leave. I was tired of constantly caring for so many students and being so responsible for their grades. It didn’t help that so many of them always switched off during lessons. I was starting to believe that I had failed as a teacher.
I was at such a low point that I had a complete meltdown at work last Tuesday. It was the smallest of triggers, yet it caused me so much anguish that crying was my only option. Yet, I didn’t cry. Because the rational part of me told myself that work needed to be done immediately, so I had to put off crying until a more convenient time.
I didn’t cry in the end. That moment was lost. Later, when a friend asked how I was, without thinking, I blurted out “I’m depressed”. It was my first time admitting I had a problem and that I needed help. Saying it out loud made me realise how badly I wanted to get out of it.
That night, I kneeled at my bed for the first time in many years.
Throughout my years as a Christian, I never quite saw the need to kneel. I figured my prayer would be heard whether I was sitting, standing or even lying in bed. I didn’t know that kneeling would allow me to experience such vulnerability that the only proper thing left to do was to really humble myself before the Lord and submit to Him.
That night, I said the most heartfelt prayer I’ve said in years.
God works this way: When you’re at your lowest, He swoops in, picks you up, and gives you the warmest embrace, because He is so happy to see that you’ve fully surrendered your problems to Him and are finally willing to let Him do His job. Needless to say, I experienced a peace like no other as soon as I said “Amen”. My Lord’s comfort was that instantaneous.
It was a complete turnaround the next few days. Rather than focusing on the issues, I started focusing on His grace. My eyes were no longer fixed on pleasing my students. I was now only concerned about making sure my Lord would be proud of me.
About a week on, I’m proud to announce that I no longer feel depressed. I still struggle, but I am not miserable. My spirits have lifted and I’m able to find joy again. And there is now a certain peace within me that can only be attributed to the grace of God.
I don’t believe that our problems are ever too small. Writing them off as insignificant makes your life seem trivial. They are problems because we have difficulties handling them. So go ahead and acknowledge your problem today. Then feel free to pray. God is waiting to hear your voice.