It was my 31st birthday. My head was high. I felt strong, flanked in the armour of Ephesians 6:10-17. I remember thinking “you lost this battle, devil” with a smile on my face. You see, the preceding year was one I almost didn’t make it through. On the outside it looked like nothing much was going on – I was blessed with two little babies, a great job, and a wonderful husband. Life was good – apart from the fact that every morning I looked death in the face.
What is depression? Let me tell you…. it’s an overwhelming feeling of being covered in a heavy, wet, blanket. You don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to talk. You don’t want to move. You just want to die.
I didn’t cry out for attention. I researched suicides and see how they did it. I saw how long it would take me to drive to ‘The Gap.’ Would I definitely die if I jumped, and not end up severely handicapped? Were all our accounts in joint names so that my husband could access all our money?
This battle was silent. That’s how depression works. It’s a silent killer.
I was working a lot at the time and it was at this workplace, on my computer, that I’m sure God launched “Operation Gmail-Chat lifeline”.
Before my second child was born, I’d been serving as the vocal director in my church. I noticed one of the singers from the team, Tamara, on Gmail chat a lot. She would pop up on chat: “how are you today?” It was nice to reconnect. As the months went on, my answers became more honest. It felt safer talking to a chat icon, rather than face to face. Tamara is a bold, God fearing woman.
Without realising it, I had been set up with an accountability partner. What started as “I’m good”, eventually became “I want to die. I just keep thinking how it will affect my children.”
Having lost my mum to cancer when I was young, I was very aware of how my death would impact my children. I knew what it was like to have that maternal connection amputated prematurely.
One night, I was driving home from work on a busy highway. Things were really bad. While driving, I often had to fight the urge to jerk the steering wheel into the path of an oncoming truck. This was it. I was ready. “Ok let’s do this. Just do it. It’s like skydiving. You just have to jump”. I remembered skydiving. I felt the fear, then pushing through the fear and just doing it. “Ok Emma, just do it……3, 2, 1….” and then it happened.
An involuntary shout rose up from the pit of my stomach.
It was like my spirit took over my body and was crying out with one last fight to save me. I had no control. I was yelling at the top of my lungs, “I will not die, devil! I will live! I am a child of God! No weapon formed against me shall prosper. I will NOT die. I will live! Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world!” I started to sing at the top of my lungs! I could hear darkness growling at me, then slowly fade away, as I continued to sing.
Something changed that night. My body and my mind had called it a day. But my spirit still had a little fight left.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Things slowly started to get better. Thanks to a combination of exercise, medication, natural remedies, daily scriptures and my wonderful “Gmail chat friend”.
Through constant prayer, God showed me my triggers, and what had triggered that particular episode of depression. He showed me how to put boundaries in my world. He showed me what real freedom is. Freedom from man, and the weight of life. Healthy Freedom. Galatians 5:1 It’s for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free.
What walks in the parent, often runs in the child. The fights we refuse to fight, our children will have to fight. I’d heard that my mother had to fight depression, and I truly know how she felt. I can confidently say; this battle ends with me. God always wins in the end.
This battle affects thousands of people across Australia. Every day, there are six reported suicides in Australia, that’s one every four hours.
So why am I writing this? Because if you are reading this and you can identify with it, I want you to know there is hope. There IS a way out, and it’s not death. You can get better. You can overcome and enjoy life again. Depression is real and it’s a killer, BUT God is real – and HE is the LIFE GIVER!
Make a call to one of the below numbers. Go and see your doctor. Make changes. Schedule outdoor exercise every day – even for 10 minutes. Write down positive affirmations and scriptures, put them on your walls. Read them out each morning as you’re getting ready for your day. Words are powerful. Speak positivity into your world. When the negative thoughts come, make a conscious choice to over-ride them and speak out a positive thought. When light enters, darkness has no choice but to flee. Keep fighting with everything you have. You will overcome.
Take time to read Psalm 119:25-32 from David… he was feeling suicidal… his cry was that God would keep him alive…. it’s profound, honest and victorious.
If you are going through depression, don’t do it alone. Here are some numbers you can call (within Australia) to work through it:
Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
You can read my full story in the latest edition of Christian Woman Magazine