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.
Would you allow me to 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!
Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I’ve suffered from depression and my 2 daughters suffer still. I recently found out we have a family history. I can’t wait to read your book but mostly want to offer hope to my grown daughters.
I understand the concern we mothers carry for our children. That was one of my big motivators to “do the work” to end depression–I wanted to see it end with me!
I have never been clinically diagnosed but have been down in the dumps and teary and sad needing medication to help me for a season … I am thankful for your voice speaking out, sharing your story, and helping me and others to find a Living Hope no matter what our circumstances. Thank you for being a Light for all to see and being transparent – that’s where we find Hope and encouragement in sharing our stories…
I personally do not but have an incredibly dear friend that could use this book. It can be so incredibly sadvto watch her struggle. Thanks for the opportunity. Passing on your information too.
Julie, I’m glad you’ve never had to struggle, but I’m so thankful you’re supportive of your friend who does. You may want to check out some of my other blogs for resources on what to say and what not to say to a depressed loved one, for example.
Thank you Bonnie for your encouragement. If sharing my story encourages others, then it’s worth it. Even being down in the dumps, teary and sad is miserable enough! I pray you experience the hope that prevails!
I’ve never been clinically diagnosed as depressed, but the past certainly should be clue as to my insecurity and fear that underlies all decisions I made. I went through a terrible divorce from a man suffering from Paranoid/Schizophrenia. He heard voices telling him to kill me and nearly succeeded. The Lord gave me friends and help through my Church and I survived. I found myself turning to the Lord and casting my cares on Him. Now in my second marriage I’m finding the same control and verbal abuse I suffered in my first marriage. It has turned me to seek the Lord’s wisdom in what to do and not to give in to the voice of despair. I know your book will be a help in my quest for security, peace and joy. The Word of God has been my refuge, but I know the enemy is seeking to overwhelm me into a state of depression. Thanks for your words and obedience to the Lord to publish such a book to bring hope to many hearts.
I am so sorry to hear of the very difficult circumstances you have endured. I am relieved, however, to hear that you are turning to the Word of God as your refuge! It’s the safest place there is!
Just want to thank you for your blogs. They have been such an encouragement to me.
Our adult son has gone through quite a few periods of depression some years ago.
About two years ago he was diagnosed with colon cancer of an early stage. He had surgery to remove that. His oncologist kept an eye on things. In January he noticed a growth through a test. They decided to operate July 6th. since the growth had gotten larger. We were relieved to find out the growth wasn’t cancer but scar tissue from his previous surgeries . To make a long story short after a lot of ups and down and after three surgeries this month, he’s home and recuperating. It will be awhile before he’ll be back to work but God’s people have been such a blessing. .Being in God’s waiting room is hard but our family are believers so we rejoice that hope does prevail.
Thanks again for being such an encourager. Wishing you and your family God’s richest blessings.
Linda, I’m so sorry to hear of the struggle your son has endured, and you as well as his caregiver. I’m grateful you are a believer, although we still have to endure the trials, I’m grateful we have the hope he gives to see us through it!
Congratulations, Dr. B. on your book anniversary and for overcoming with God’s Word. It has been a battle lately, a lot of prayer warriors are being attacked with illnesses or their loved ones, the enemy’s attempt to make them give in or up, I am concerned that they may become mental attacks on believers and I pray we keep Phillipians 4:8 in mind, think on good things.
Yes, I’ve seen the attacks on many more who are doing great things in the kingdom. That Philippians 4:8 mindset is a great one for battle!!
I love reading your posts! They have always helped me through the day. Depression runs in my family and it hurts to watch my daughters struggle with it. I admit I have not read your book but it is on my wish list. Thank you for your words of hope. I pray for all those suffering.
Thank you for your kind words Christy. I know about depression in the family so my heart goes out to you! I hope you are blessed by the book when you read it.
Thank you for your book, your courage to share your story and your continued faithfulness to God’s calling on your life. I would love to share a copy of your book with my sister who has been diagnosed as bipolar. I pray that your approach would give her hope for the future and maybe one day she will not have to depend on 14 medications per day.
Linda, thank you for your encouragement. I hope your sister would consider reading my book–the spiritual side of depression is crucial if we really want healing.
Your daily emails are such an encouragement to me. Thank you for sharing your hope, wisdom, and vulnerability. You truly bless,me. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a child, been in consistent counseling and on several different antidepressants in the past. While I believe and am thankful that both have been very helpful for me, my constant help and strength comes from Jesus, my relationship with Him and time in the Bible. Thank you for following His call on your life.
I’m so glad that in addition to the more traditional treatments for depression you know the importance of time in the Bible and a relationship with Jesus. He’s our ultimate healer!
I am not depressed, but I get anxious easily. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world. Way too many are hurting!
Sarah, I’m glad to hear you don’t suffer from depression but anxiety is no walk in the park either!! That’s the focus of my next book!
It has been a very difficult year with my niece having a baby boy at the end of January who at four days old was diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome.
Baby Dean Joseph lived one hundred and four days, his heavenly Birthday came at 1:02am the morning after Mother’s Day.
I have been having quite a struggle lately and this has been a big emtional trauma for my entire family.
I do believe that Hope does help us to keep our eyes focused on our Lord Jesus.
Marie, what a difficult year you and your family have had. My heart goes out to all of you! I’m so sorry. Sending you hugs in my prayers.
Thank you for writing a book on depression. So many people deal with this on a daily basis and others don’t understand. The phrase, “get over it” is so wrong.
Sheila, you’re right. Anyone who says “get over it” clearly does not understand!
Would love to win a copy of your book. Thank you.
Thanks for stopping by Vera. You’ll be entered into the giveaway drawing.
My journey with depression and anxiety began almost two years ago, the moment my husband confessed his affair to me. Even though I believed our marriage to be rock solid, his affair from 18 years ago shook my faith to the core – even leading me to a diagnosis of PTSD because of the circumstances surrounding his affair and our life events all those years ago – a time of extreme medical crisis while our infant son underwent a bone marrow transplant and liver transplant. It has taken every ounce of strength, faith in Jesus, medicine, and even EMDR therapy to bring me out of the darkness of my husband’s affair. It is a daily struggle. Sadly, Dr. Bengston, you know the woman that my husband had an affair with. Yes, #hopeprevails! It is what gets me through the most challenging of days. I would love to be blessed with a copy of your book.
Teri, I am so sorry to hear of all the stress and trauma you have endured. I pray you will stay close to the One who can avenge all wrongs and comfort all hurts.
THERE IS HOPE ,Hope Prevails, yes we all need to read this book! Here’s to Happy mail inn the mail box. <3
Agreed Tonya. Even those who aren’t depressed themselves know others who are.
I have been diagnosed with depression/agoraphobia. I am in the middle of Hope Prevails and am so glad for this journey that you shared. The spiritual side is very meaningful to me since as you stated, most self-help books do NOT focus on that! Thank you so very much for reaching out to others who struggle…
Sandy, I pray that you find hope and encouragement on every page…hugs from heaven.
I was diagnosed w/ depression in 2003. I don’t doubt there is a God, I just struggle to believe he cares for me personally….Hope was my word for 2016 and most days I still struggle to find it……
I understand Dara. You aren’t alone in feeling that way. But sometimes our feelings deceive us and don’t tell us the truth. There were times when I needed to borrow others’ hope when mine was fading.
Dara! Congratulations! You are the winner of the Giveaway. I’ll need your address to mail you your copy of Hope Prevails!
I am walking my own line of depression, with suicidal thoughts. However, I am going to therapy. I read your FB posts daily. The enemy will not win!
Ruby, now you’re talking!! NO, the enemy will not win. The Bible says you are victorious in Christ Jesus and you are more than a conqueror!! Remind him of that when he comes slithering around trying to cause trouble!
May God bless you for continuing to stand firm and declaring hope to others! I hope your book is helping many people and is truly bringing hope!
Thank you Kym, that is my prayer as well.
Thank you for writing your blog & sharing on Facebook. I’m so glad to find your page. It’s refreshing to read from a Christian’s perspective as many are not written that way. Your posts gives me Hope during my struggles & multiple health/mental challenges. God bless you & thank you for writing your book. I’d love to read it 🙂
Thank you for your kind words Mary. I appreciate your encouragement. I pray my posts continue to encourage and inspire.
Struggling with depression had me crippled for a few years. It’s hard to think back on that time. I am thankful God got me through and released me from the abusive marriage.
I’m glad you can look back and give a testimony of the good work God has done!
What a great giveaway! Your book sounds wonderful.
I would love to win a copy of Hope Prevails. My son is having a very hard time with his depression right now and I think your book would really help him!
Would love to win a copy of your book to help in my battle against depression and anxiety. Thank you!
Thank you for everything you share! I would love to read this book. I believe this book could really help me!
I read your facebook and twitter posts every day and they are very encouraging. My teenage daughter is going through depression right now and I would love to share this book with her. Please say a prayer for my family. Thanks so much.
I am so glad to hear my posts encourage you. Saying a prayer for your family right now.
Not sure if I am too late to enter or not, but I would love to win this book.c
Congratulations on surviving this year with your hope in tact. You are such an inspiration to so many and I’m blessed to call you a friend.