By Nancy Virden (c)2013
It is never too late. My life has proven that repeatedly. It often seems as if common sense is a beat behind, that the world has moved on without me, and that everyone else knows what I do not. Mostly that is only a feeling and not factual. Regardless of what we experience, for each of us there is always purpose, always hope.
Major depression has derailed my trajectory at least four times, not counting the childhood situations I now suspect were depression oriented. At ages 9, 16, and 19, no one in my sphere had any idea what was happening except that I must be a bad child. Even though my parents were court-ordered to take me to a psychiatrist at the age of 16 and he recommended treatment, there was no follow-up. This was in the 1970s – mental health was simply not understood.
At 27 I met another therapist who said I needed meds. Stigma and stubborness told me not to go that route. Science now shows us that when a person does not treat major depression it tends to come back more often and more severely. This is what happened periodically until at the ages of 44 and 49 I experienced multiple hospitalizations.
At times it was only God’s hand that prevented me from dying by suicide. I questioned why he was keeping me here. Yet after each major depressive episode there was a significant re-start. Even going back to school and earning a degree in my mid-forties followed an episode.
It was not until the last one – the big one with a full-blown suicide attempt – that the professional help I had needed came around and I accepted their advice. This time my restart was to begin this Always the Fight ministry. On the first anniversary of the day I decided the pain of living was not worth any good I could accomplish or experience, about fifty people heard me give a talk on how to better connect with each other and love people who hurt.
Nearly eleven years have passed. I do not believe major depression will ever come back. For one thing, the sources of severe emotional pain are gone. Also, thinking patterns and false negative beliefs were finally challenged as I learned new coping skills. Using them daily is rewarding.
Most importantly, I am not trying to do life on my own. This is why I promote treatment by professionals in the mental health field. No offense against well-meaning pastors or other people’s experiences, but if we are having trouble functioning it is best to seek help that works. Believe me, if it were not for God and faith in Jesus Christ, I would not be well. There is a difference though between “praying and reading the Bible more” and having core issues directly addressed.
Today’s Helpful Word
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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