Healed of depression
Originally appeared online in the teen series: Trending - December 15, 2020
Most days during my sophomore and junior years of high school I didn’t want to go to school, didn’t feel like engaging with friends, and was uncommunicative with my family. It seemed as though all was dark, and I felt fearful about almost everything. I was struggling with depression.
My parents tried their best to help me. My mother talked with me about passages from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I’d grown up reading both of these books, and they had healed me in the past. I was also attending Christian Science Sunday School and would feel comforted as I listened to the teacher and other students talk about God and many inspiring Bible stories.
And yet, as quickly as the comfort would come, it would disappear. It felt as though I could never quite outrun the fearful and downward-spiraling thoughts. I even contemplated suicide, thinking I would finally find peace.
Just before junior year, the mental and emotional struggle became more intense, and I found I couldn’t sleep. My mom encouraged me to call a Christian Science practitioner for healing, but I was unresponsive, thinking a practitioner’s prayers would be of no use. It seemed like no one—not my parents, my teachers, or my friends—knew how to help me.
It was then that a neighbor stepped in. This dear lady, who also happened to be a teacher in our Sunday School, very lovingly offered to talk with me whenever I needed support. I’m embarrassed to say that there were times when I woke her up in the middle of the night. Many evenings we would sit on her porch swing, and she would share powerful assurances of God’s love for me.
It felt as though I could never quite outrun the fearful and downward-spiraling thoughts.
Ever so slowly, I became aware that I wasn’t just passively listening to these ideas anymore, but was asking more questions about God and thinking more deeply about what was real. I began to recognize that the times I found the most peace were when I was pondering the good and loving nature of God and what that meant for me.
I began to read and study the Bible and Science and Health regularly on my own. And little by little, I found that rather than needing my parents or neighbor in the middle of the night, I could rely on these two books to lift me out of whatever darkness I was facing. One night, as I was reading the Bible, the thought came that I wanted to devote my life to serving God and to eventually become a practitioner. It was like I'd finally begun to see the big picture of the mental struggles I’d been working through as a quest to understand God.
I realized I’d been burdened by a feeling that I had to figure everything out on my own. But when I read Christ Jesus’ words “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30), I realized that I really couldn’t do anything on my own, but could rely on God. From that moment forward, I felt a deep desire to acknowledge God and to turn to Him for guidance. And baby step by baby step, I did this.
Though I still sometimes struggled, I was beginning to understand that I could reject the dark thoughts—one thought at a time—and replace them with pure thoughts from God. This passage from Science and Health explains what I was learning to do: “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously” (p. 392). I was talking back to—and rejecting—the evil thoughts that for so long had kept me down, and finding courage, confidence, and conviction as I allowed in only what God, good, was telling me.
I was beginning to understand that I could reject the dark thoughts and replace them with pure thoughts from God.
At school, I was invited to be part of the yearbook staff, and instead of turning it down, I accepted. This activity led to even more activities and greater feelings of confidence and lightness of heart. By the end of my junior year, the emotional struggles and darkness had disappeared completely, and the following year I was elected senior class president. Through several months, I had been focused on keeping my thoughts filled with the light of God, and I believe this is what my classmates saw in me, and what propelled my progress.
For this permanent healing and so many others, I am deeply grateful.