This is one of the post that I have put off for quite some time and it’s one of the post I rather not write about. Why? Cos it’s something that I rather not talk about and share with other people. It not only show my weakness and the struggles I have encountered in my life but also the period of sadness I went through that I’ll rather forget. So here it is. A warning it’s going to be pretty long…
Some of the people who are reading this probably going to be really shocked and maybe surprised that the person they’ve known all these years – Happy, strong, bubbly, determined, confident and a child of God could be related to a miserable word known as ‘depression’… that was me. About 8 years ago, I went through a period of darkness and sadness that seemed have plagued me for what seemed like forever. That was during the time that my dad has just passed away I still remember vaguely that time a good friend of my called me on the phone and said “so it’s been a while since we’ve chatted what’s happening in your life” I calmly replied “well, my dad has just passed away…” My friend was so shocked she really didn’t know how to reply she said “I’m sorry to hear that, wow – you still sound ok and calm about it…are you ok?” I replied “I’m ok, life must go on…I must stay strong for the family”
It all happened pretty fast, I organised the funeral and got a job that was the time that I freshly graduated from University. I still remember the day, I was really stressed at my job and had to quit that job from then on I have plunged into this depressive mode. Though it seemed rather odd from people’s perspective, from quitting a job that it could lead you into depression. However, the truth was it wasn’t really the main thing that have led me that way it was the series of events that have happened in my life that have led me to depression. To others I have portrayed my life to be one that is constantly happy and one that’s free from stress or worries. But it’s all falling apart…I’m a very competitive person, since young – I have set high goals for myself and my only aim in life is to be successful in everything I do. I’m always hard on myself since from primary school. I’m so competitive to the point that I’ll tell myself off for getting a ‘B’ grade in my report, nothing was ever good enough for me. I even tried so hard to get an ‘A’ in my report card so that I could be a straight A student. My dream was shattered when I was told I could not get into a med school. Something I have worked so hard for with a letter in my hand it declared I was not successful in passing the UMAT test.
I cried very hard that day, it’s as if someone has handed me a death sentence. Then all I ever did was sit infront of the TV during the whole time of TEE examination, there was no point in studying anymore. I didn’t know what I want to do in my life or what can I be cos in my whole life all I ever wanted was to be a doctor. In the end I got into engineering at UWA – I don’t know how I managed to do that cos all I could remember was going into the hall and sat at my desk and the writings seemed all blurry to me – Physics, chemistry, Calculus… I can’t remember whether I even wrote anything right on those examination papers. These 4 years of engineering has really been a stressful time for me. Not only I found myself struggling in a course that I hate and during that time I struggle to even keep up with my family life. My dad was in overseas most of the time, so I found myself at one point my role was being a dad looking after our family’s needs – trying to fix everything at home when something goes wrong, at one point my role was being a mum trying to lecture my younger sister who was going through a rebellious time by attending to her interviews in schools and then at one point my role was being a student who is struggling to keep up with her full-time uni work and working close to full-time at this waitressing job.
All this while, I was trying to be on top of everything – caring to all needs, but I didn’t realise it was putting a great deal of pressure both physically and mentally on myself. I never shared any of these experiences with anyone, I didn’t need sympathy from others – and I always believe I don’t need help from others and could do it on my own. Now I reflect back, when I come home from Uni there would be something wrong with our rental house as it’s an old place things always go wrong if it’s not the sprinkles broken, fuse, taps, toilets the list just goes on. I’ll have to think of ways to fix things and then go off to work on my restaurant job and get home around 11pm and try to sit infront of my desk to do my assignments or study for an exam and find myself falling asleep at my desk cos I was just too tired. Honestly, there are days I find myself physically exhausted and emotionally drained having to juggle between my family needs, work and Uni. Then having to deal with looking after dad’s cancer treatments – he was diagnosed with liver cancer and this happened during the final year of my uni where it was time that you didn’t get much sleep there was just endless assignments, exams and thesis to do and my grades aint crash hot, I needed to score an average of HD in my final year to get me into honours which seemed merely impossible. But I persisted on, there are days I wonder how come I didn’t become crazy in dealing with all these things???
I was under enormous stress and pressure of trying to survive through all these things that have suddenly piled on me and trying hard to tell myself there’s no room for self-pity, you just have to move on. It all proved to be too much for me, I didn’t realised that I could break anytime – all it takes was for another bad thing to happen to me and that was it. I would have cracked under pressure and just given up. Quitting the job was the final straw for me, I couldn’t handle any more pressure or stress on my own. Though I had come to know about God during that time, I questioned whether I was living a life that was depending on God. I plunged into this depression state. Waking up in the morning was difficult as I couldn’t face the world, I have lost all interests including cooking, meeting up with friends, church ministries. My whole life crumbled infront of me. All I ever did was crying myself to sleep every night, I had this great sense of hopelessness and sadness in my heart. I would have never allowed myself to cry as crying is a sense of weakness and I had no time to cry. But I couldn’t control my tears they just kept on flowing every day. Then it got worst, I find myself not able to sleep at night. Suffering from severe insomnia. I went to my GP and he diagnosed me with a medical term “depression”…I didn’t know what depression was, so I researched on this and found out more on depression all the my symptoms fits entirely on this medical term of “depression” but I couldn’t believe that it could happen to me?? Even a child of God could suffer from this?
Day time, I would find myself locked inside my bedroom as I didn’t want to face anyone even my own family and I would just read read and read what was I reading I was reading Christian books to trying to snap myself out of this situation and to ask God to help me!! I was desperate, one day mum came knocking on my door and said it was time to eat and I replied I’m not hungry. My poor mum didn’t know what was happening to me, she thought I was going to go crazy locking myself in my own bedroom constantly reading all these books. Nothing seemed to have helped, the insomnia got worse – church friends were praying for me, I even had counseling from a close church friend and it didn’t work. It was time to take the medication that was prescribed to be by my GP and even the sleeping tablets didn’t work. I was spiraling down this spiral out of control. Losing the sense of reality, I found myself living in my own world – helplessness, hopeless and that no one could help me out of this. It was terrible. Did it get better? Nope it got worst…
I remember one night, I had enough of all this sadness and insomnia – so I decided to take the whole lot of sleeping tablets that was prescribed to me I think it was around 50 I couldn’t remember and hopefully it’ll just put me into a deep sleep and I could wake up later on and the nightmare would just end. You know, if I have successfully swallowed all these 50 sleeping tablets, it would have ended my life. However, God has saved me – just when I was about to swallow the whole lot of sleeping tablets in my mouth something caught my attention. It was a little plague that was given to me as a gift and it said “Be Still and know that I’m God” and I choked on those sleeping tablets and threw up, might have still swallowed about 5 tablets but the rest of the tablets was threw up. I found myself tremble in fear, was I gonna use these sleeping tablets to put myself to sleep or was I gonna use it to end my life. I felt exhausted and went back to bed..
That time I have just met Pandabear and I really thank God for him. God has used him to help me. He never judged me in any way even though I was so miserable and really I was a burden to everyone including my family. I was feeling sad all the time and really to be around me was just really a torture. I was losing all hope, I have recessed myself from my church ministries how could one serve God when she’s struggling to even live. It got worst and worst, I found myself not wanting to go to Church to face my brothers and sisters in Christ as they were all concerned about me and would ask me how I was doing. I couldn’t say I was fine, infact I wasn’t fine – I was on a brink of suicidal. I was struggling to pray to God as I knew He would have not listened to my prayers – so I thought. That makes matter worse…not having God to help me would have made matters worse…
One day as I was crossing a busy street where there were heaps of trucks and cars, I had a thought that creep into my mind, let’s just end my life and let the cars crash into me. Having suffering from extreme insomnia, my thoughts were crowded – I wasn’t thinking straight and not eating well as I didn’t have any appetite. Just when I was about to step into the busy traffic, a voice came into my head and said “No!!” It suddenly woke me up and I stood back thinking what if the cars or trucks have not successfully ended my life but instead I became disabled and not only I would have hurt myself badly but would have hurt my family even more. It was a selfish thought to think by ending your life your misery would have ended, but your family and loved ones would still live in pain dealing with the grief and sadness you have caused. This was the second time that God has saved me from doing a foolish thing….
God never gave up on me, but I have given up on God – I was so sure that even God would have left me by now with all the stupid things I have tried to do. One night, I tried to pray to God and I just cried and cried – I didn’t have any words to say to God but tears just flowed, I was sobbing in pain and sadness, I knelt down on my knees but I felt a sense of comfort and peace in my heart. I had no energy left in me, I’m just such a miserable creature that needs God to save me from all these things and only him could comfort my crushed spirit. God used many occasions to comfort me, but I was just too stubborn to see or realised and I was overwhelmed in self-pity look there’s people worst in this world who are struggling to live even though they are suffering from hunger – I knew all this but I couldn’t help myself out of this self-pity thought. What I needed was proper sleep and food – God knew that and he brought Pandabear into my life at a time that I needed most. I needed someone to look after me, all my life I have tried my best to look after others all my life who is going to look after me when I’m weak?? When I read about the scripture of how asked God to end his life and God has provided him with food, water and rest and he was restored. I thought to myself, how I needed that right now. People around you will give you advise on how to get better and sometimes it not only makes matters worse as they don’t realise what has happened in your life and what you’re going through. The source of help I need is from God.
There was this struggle about whether to take antidepressants that was prescribed to me as it had it’s many side effects like any other powerful drugs. I had many church friends who told me not to take it and just rely upon God to help me through this. But I wasn’t getting any better, I was still not sleeping and still feeling sad and miserable. I remember very clearly holding on to this powerful drugs in my hand and standing infront of Pandabear and asking him “what should I do??” cos I don’t know what to do… he looked me into my eyes and said to me “just take it”. It’s a huge responsibility on his shoulder if I ended up being hooked on this antidepressant and couldn’t come out of it. I took the medication and it was so powerful that it made me very drowsy, it did however stopped me from crying and feeling really sad and allowed me to finally sleep through the night. Now that my sleep was back, I was starting to eat better and well rested, and through prayers to God He has eventually healed me and I have came off the medication completely. I was on the road to recovery. Now, I’m not recommending taking antidepressants to everyone who are depressed. If you can avoid it, by all means don’t take them as they have serious side effects.
Now that I have overcome this depression by the grace of God, I have faced many people in my walks of life who are suffering from depression. I have come across a christian couple whose husband has suffered from depression for more than 10 years and are constantly on the antidepressant as he could not come off the medication. The true cure to depression is not antidepressants but God. We are faced with all troubles in our life, but God has the power to give you the strength to overcome these things. He will never forsake you or abandon you in times of need, if only you reach out your hands to Him. God will offer you a peace of heart & mind and depression and discouragements will not last forever as He has promised us in His word. With God’s help keep your heart and mind focused on the good things. Philippians 4:8