I first realized in my 400 level. It was pharmacology class and the lecturer had come in to teach on the topic antidepressants. He briefly listed symptoms of depression and looking at the board I was amazed because it appeared someone had told him about me: for about 2years I had seemingly lost my drive for competition and my grades were on the decline, I was often unhappy without any cause, I had distorted opinion about my colleagues I studied with, I had low self esteem and often thought of how the world would be without me?
MY CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE
I had grown up in a home environment where as far as I could remember I would see my parents fighting and as a little boy (less than 6years) I would coil up in a corner and cry. Then my parents separated when I was about 6years old. My dad had warned us to always run away from our mum whenever we saw her coming and we got seriously beaten whenever he found out we had talked with her. Leaving without a mother’s influence affected my personal hygiene since I wasn’t being properly supervised. I would go to school with dirty clothes primarily because I was too lazy to wash my clothes and I often forgot to brush my teeth, (which I almost overdo now, I guess I’m trying to make up for the past) apologies to those who I tortured with my bad breath back then.
Though my siblings were and still are wonderful and my dad did the best he could, I often silently prayed that one day someone would show up at the door and say “I’m your real father and I have come to take you home”. One particular day in my memory, my dad said to me;“ I have given you education, food, covering and clothes”…. And immediately, something in me quickly responded... “But something is missing” and, even though I was barely an adolescent, I knew within me he did not show me “love”.
AFTER I GOT MARRIED
My wife had prayed that she wanted someone who loved God and had been active serving Him but who wasn’t really happy so she could bring joy into that someone’s life because she knew she had so much love to give. After we got married she became disturbed and frustrated when I got depressed and start making remarks about her lack of love and submissiveness towards me. These were false accusations and largely arose from my distorted thinking. Whenever we had disagreements, I would sulk for hours and even think of ending my life… you will agree, that’s just being stupid. The best way I like to describe depression is that, it is like a dark “cloud” that comes over you and sort of envelopes you, weighing you down and compelling you to think pessimistically until it wears of f and this could take weeks to months. The feeling is uncomfortable and very distressing not just for the one who feels that way but also for others around him. At a point my wife wrote in a diary “I knew he was damaged but I never knew the level of the damage his early childhood experiences had on him”.
I received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour at an early age of about eleven so for me the church became my haven. Even though I didn’t start feeling depressed until I was about twenty-one, the words I heard in church and the scriptures I read in the Bible constantly kept me going. I later discovered when I started my specialty training in psychiatry that mild to moderate conditions of depression could be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with or without medications. CBT entails restructuring the mindset from the usual “automatic” negative thoughts that come with depression. I realized that all this while why I never broke down and had need to take medication was because I was receiving CBT via the WORD of GOD.
A STEP FURTHER
Even though I was saved I still struggled with depression and with my “new” knowledge of psychiatry from my medical training I sought for answers. My knowledge kept robbing me in, helping me with reasons to justify my actions. Then I realized that regardless of my background and my past experiences, the Bible says “…If any man is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have PASSED away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of GOD”…II cor. 5vs17&18. I stopped giving excuses for my actions; trying to explain the psychiatry theory and dimension to my struggles with these “automatic” negative thoughts rather I started confessing those words. Any time the cloud of depression came I would speak those words to myself. Rather than trying to understand myself and settling with knowing why I acted the way I did, I started seeing myself in the light that Jesus saw me as revealed in the WORD of GOD (the Bible). I received that picture into my heart and I now walk in it. The truth is, I can actually say, the Word of GOD did not only buffer me from the effect of depression, it actually made me free (cured me) from it. I believe He would do same for you or your loved ones who struggle with the “cloud”. God bless you.