Broken: Journeying through Depression
Originally posted on March 15, 2012
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16
The past few weeks, I have been struggling with knowledge of my worth.
This isn’t something new to me. It’s been around for a long time — some times more than others, but always there in the background: this little voice saying, “You’re not enough. Not beautiful enough. Not talented enough. Not smart enough. You’re never going to be enough. You are unworthy.”
And yet… there comes a moment when you have to stand up and say “Yes, I am worthy.” A moment when you don’t let that little voice order you around anymore… when you acknowledge that God created something unique — something beautiful — when he created you.
Warning: this is about to go into some brutally honest stuff. It is with some trepidation that I tell this story, but my hope is that God will use it to his glory. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring.
My senior year of high school, I fell into a deep depression. I almost failed a class, gained quite a bit of weight, stopped taking care of my diabetes, and essentially lost touch with the world, to name a few. I was suddenly, unexpectedly, inexplicably lost in a black hole from which I could not find the way out. I slept all the time, was physically exhausted (I can recall having to stop halfway up my staircase because I was too tired to make it to the top without sitting down), and found myself preferring sleep to almost everything else — because when I was asleep, I could escape being the girl I hated.
And this lasted for three years.
THREE YEARS of my life, I was stuck in this black hole. Three years of my life, I hated myself. Three years of my life, I would look in the mirror and see only the flaws and imperfections marring God’s creation. And for those three years, I was struggling to get away from this lonely, sad place… and I had no idea how.
At this same time, I was so good at putting on a front and pretending I was okay — even excellent! My theatrical training stood me in good stead, and I managed to keep all but those closest to me from noticing that anything was wrong. There were two different Megans — the smiling, happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic Megan that the world saw, and the broken, hurting, lost Megan who came home every day to hide in her room and cry. That was the real Megan. That was the girl I kept hidden from the world.
Throughout my childhood, I sought to always see beauty in every person, and I was good at it… except when it came to myself. Life was a constant competition, and everyone else was winning. “Her hair is so much prettier than mine. She’s skinnier than I am. Why can’t I be as good an actress as she is? I wish I could sing like that.” On and on and on it would go, till even on rare days when I woke up feeling almost-confident, it would take just ten minutes to remember how inferior I truly was.
My friendships began to be affected. I was surrounded by talented, beautiful, strong young women who sought to glorify God with their every breath, and I was so jealous. I couldn’t understand why God would give them so much and give me so little. One of my best friends was a singer who also acted and was involved at church — plus, she had beautiful blue eyes, a big smile, a petite, adorable frame, and long, wavy brown hair that looked perfect no matter what she did… and I felt that I could never compare. Now, she was just one girl — but I was surrounded by dozens of them. My social circle consisted almost entirely of girls just like this best friend. It was a living hell for a girl who hated herself as much as I did.
And it wasn’t just that. There was the loss of my grandfather to deal with. The diagnosis of my grandmother with cancer. A summer of nannying that left my heart absolutely aching every day. The death of my grandmother three months after her diagnosis. Friends who didn’t have time for me. And this was a time of huge transition in my life… senior year of high school, freshman year of college, moving away from Mums and Rikki, trying to grow up and still be a kid at the same time… A million little things — and they piled up and piled up and did everything they could to bring me under.
Fast forward two self-loathing years and wander into the basement of the Wesley Foundation, where I was sitting on a chair talking to two of my dear friends about how I just didn’t know why I was so down… ALL THE TIME. And then, for the first time, I admitted it. “Liz? Becca? I think I’m depressed.”
Admitting it, to me, was half the battle. It meant that I was no longer powerless to feel sad and broken all the time. It meant that I knew what to pray for. It meant I could seek help. It meant that I could beat this.
I began to do everything in my power to kick my depression. I journaled, and wrote songs, and talked to my friends, and talked to my mom, and talked to a counselor, and cried and laughed and dealt with things I had locked up years ago. I pulled out all the hurt I had pushed aside when Grandaddy died and let myself grieve. I slowly began going through the pain I felt when I lost Mimi. I forgave people who had hurt me. I rebuilt friendships. I learned to give myself TIME — something that I had never done before. I prayed… and prayed, and prayed, and cried, and prayed some more… And slowly, slowly, I began to heal.
It’s been a year and a half since I admitted that I was depressed, and for the past six months, that pesky depression has been kept under lock and key. I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t still occasionally rear its ugly head and get a good knock in, but for the most part, I am depression-free.
I still struggle with my worth. All the time. ALL THE TIME. I am learning to love myself the way that God wants me to love myself, and I’m striving to see the beauty that he sees. There are a lot of bumps in the road: for instance, it’s been pointed out to me recently that it doesn’t matter what someone says… but I always, always take it in a negative way. It’s a work in progress, and I can’t say that I see beauty in myself all the time… but I’m getting there.
Friends. I beg of you — I BEG of you — don’t let yourself get to the place where I was. You are a beautiful, beautiful creation. God makes no mistakes… you are not a mistake. If you take absolutely nothing else from my story, please know this. And if you are in that place… please, talk to someone. There is so much more to life than that lonely, broken spot.
I realize this is a long post. Thanks for bearing with me, friends. Some stories just need to be told.