The call came in to my office on a Monday morning. Her mother, cancelling her appointment. She wouldn’t be coming in for her evaluation for diagnosis and treatment plan…she had attempted suicide over the weekend and was still in the hospital.
We hadn’t met yet, but I wish we had. There was so much I would have told her. My heart breaks for her and the 5400 teenagers who attempt suicide EVERY DAY in the United States. I’m so glad she wasn’t one in 25 who succeeded in her attempt to end her life. Most people who consider suicide don’t want to die—they just want the pain to end. I understand. I wish I could tell her that and so much more. We could talk for hours, days even, but here is just a snippet of what I would say to the patient I didn’t get to meet.
I know your pain is deep, and it feels like it can’t get any worse. Perhaps it even seems like no one understands how it feels to hurt so bad. You wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just not be. But I do understand. I’ve felt the pain, and I’ve asked the questions.
We may never get the chance to meet face to face, but I wanted to reach out to you today from the other side of depression’s valley. To encourage you to hang on. I don’t know what gives you hope, but for me, it’s my faith.
Because of God, I now know that Hope Prevails. I can assure you that God’s word is true and His promises can be trusted. He promises that you won’t always feel this way.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
As dark as it feels now, there are brighter days to look forward to!
“Your life will be brighter than noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning.” (Job 11:17)
1. You are not alone
During the time I spent in my own valley of depression, the loneliness practically engulfed me. It taunted and lied to me, trying to convince me I was alone. But I have shared with many patients that we can face any difficulty as long as we know we are not alone. And the good news is that while your feelings may attempt to convince you otherwise, you are NOT alone.
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5b);
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2);
“I will not fail you or abandon you.” (Joshua 1:5)
2. God is your companion
Although it may be difficult to see through the searing tears that burn your eyes and the dark cloud that seems to be your companion by day, God has been your companion through every painful moment of your anguish.
“I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”
3. God causes good to come from pain
While I don’t pretend to understand the reason for your pain, any more than I can explain my own, I can say with complete confidence on the other side of depression’s valley, that good really can come from your pain (“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28).
While I would never wish depression on anyone, I can tell you on this side of the valley that God has brought sweet treasures I wouldn’t have received any other way than having walked with Him through the darkest of nights.
Happiness is fleeting and it comes and goes with our circumstances, but real joy offers more than intermittent happiness. Peace can permeate where worry and anxiety once lived. And after clinging to God in your darkest days, you will know Him more deeply and intimately than you ever dreamed possible.
4. God has an important assignment only you can do
In your moment of greatest despair, your faith may have seemed weak and your hope nonexistent. But God has given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). And He has an important assignment that only you can do. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).
5. God’s plan for you is good
In the dark of depression’s valley, you may feel aimless and without direction, but dear one, God’s plans for you are good, and they include a future and a hope:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Press in to Him. Hang on and hold on, to the only One who promises to never let go and to never steer you wrong. Don’t be afraid to tell Him how you feel (He already knows and He accepts you just as you are!), and to ask the tough questions that you long to have answered. He wants nothing more than an open, honest relationship with you!
I’m sorry we never got to meet. My prayer is that He meets you right where you are and comforts and heals you so that you too can comfort others with the comfort He gives you!
Because of Him,
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.