The walls closed in around me, pushing all available air out, each breath more painful than the last. Battered and bruised, a mere shell of my former self, if this was all life had to offer, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on living. And yet, I didn’t want to give the enemy of my soul the satisfaction of winning. I’d never quit before, and I wasn’t going to now either.
By training, I am a clinical neuropsychologist with over twenty years of treating patients with medical and mental health disorders. I had told God that out of obedience to His prompting, I would write Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression to share my clinical expertise, and my experience with post-partum depression in order to help more than just those patients who come to my office. I wanted to provide a resource that would extend beyond my four walls.
Little did I know, however, that just after agreeing to write the book that I would experience a life threatening illness, and in its wake, I’d succumb to a major depressive episode more severe than anything I’d experienced before.
Of one thing I was certain: I didn’t just want to merely survive either the illness or the depression—I wanted to thrive and come out better than before. Scripture promises that God works ALL things together for our good, and I counted on God working even this for my good and His glory. I wanted beauty for these ashes.
In time, and with God’s help, I recovered from the devastating illness and began to understand the importance of addressing not just the physical and chemical contributors to depression, but the spiritual roots as well. I tried all the treatment recommendations I always offered my patients, and they helped, but they were suboptimal. Only when I addressed the spiritual component of depression did I experience true recovery. That is what I share about in Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression.
I grew up in a family afflicted by depression. My mother suffered. Her sister suffered. Their mother suffered. The enemy stole enough from me and my family, and I was determined that it would stop with my generation.
But that wasn’t enough for me. I had to share with others the hope that God had shown me. The hope that prevails, even in the valley of depression. That is why I penned Hope Prevails.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. If you do not suffer from it, God bless you, but you know many who do. My heart breaks for any who suffer from its torment, and if sharing my own story and God’s hope will help, then that brings beauty for ashes.
What many don’t know, however, is that the day that my book Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression released one year ago, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. What was to be a joyous day of celebration, was singed with pain and sorrow. It was the start of many months of doctor’s appointments, tests, surgeries, chemotherapy, and overwhelming fatigue.
It felt as if the enemy was thumbing his nose at us, mocking us: “Do you still believe what you wrote? Does your hope prevail even now?”
Here’s what I can tell you a year later: more than ever I remain convinced that as long as God is still on His throne, and as long as I still have breath, I will declare Hope Prevails!
Not only did we endure a cancer diagnosis this year, but I went through a 14-week bout with pneumonia/bronchitis/flu. We were burglarized on two occasions. Our office went through a complete staff overhaul. We lost a family member to Alzheimer’s disease. A family friend died. We experienced the pain of betrayal. And so much more.
And yet we know more than ever:
Hope prevails in depression.
Hope prevails in cancer.
Hope prevails in job and career uncertainty.
Hope prevails in relationship discord.
Hope prevails in financial loss.
Because no matter what, God is faithful, and He is our hope!
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)
Through the last few years, since I told God I would write Hope Prevails, it’s become ever so clear that while I do not know what the future holds, I hold closely to the One who does, and He is my hope!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Hardly a week goes by now when I don’t hear of someone who has been positively impacted by the message of Hope Prevails, or who is in need of its hope-giving message. I’ve been blessed to hear from readers from South Africa, Australia, Canada, England, and all over the United States who were once in depression’s valley, but now have the Hope that Prevails!
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the release of Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression. If you’ve struggled with depression and need to know there is hope, leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Hope Prevails. Read more about the contest below.
If you know someone who struggles with depression (and we ALL do), would you consider sharing this post on social media so that they can find out about the hope that prevails?
If you’ve been blessed by the message of Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression, I’d love to hear your comments below. It just might encourage someone else who needs to know THERE IS HOPE even in the valley of depression. And if you feel led to go an extra step, perhaps consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes and Noble to help others who are trying to decide which book to help them through their own struggle know that Hope Prevails would help them.
And for a bit of exciting news, stay tuned for more information in the next few weeks regarding the soon to be released companion Hope Prevails Bible Study!
Would you let me pray for you?
You know my heart is tender for all those struggling with the torment of depression. But Lord, you do not play favorites, and what you did for me, you long to do for all your children who suffer. Father, I ask you to be close to your child who is reading these words and is feeling broken-hearted and crushed in spirit. Dry their tears. While weeping may last for the night, return joy to their morning. In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I am giving away an autographed copy of Hope Prevails to one reader in the continental United States. If you’ve struggled with depression and need to know there is hope, leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing which will be held one week from today on 8/23/17.
(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/.