my Journey


<de-pres-sion> feelings of severe despondency and dejection.


a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way.

I look normal. To look at me you'd never know anything was wrong. That's why it's called an "invisible illness".  If I'm feeling bad enough though, you'll see it on my face.  It can be hard to conceal sometimes.  But other times, I can slap a smile on my face and pretend to be happy.

Fatigue first of all.  When I'm feeling bad, I can barely move, even when I have to. Even when I'm at work, it can be very, very difficult for me to perform usual tasks.  This is because either I can't sleep or I sleep too much...and even then it's never enough.

And also, numbness.  There will be periods where I won't be interested in anything at all.  I won't want to talk, I won't want to go out, I won't want to do a lot of things that normally interest me.  I try to eat but nothing tastes good.  I try to watch a movie but nothing sounds enjoyable.  I explore various websites or Pinterest, but it doesn't do anything for me.  Not because I don't WANT to enjoy things...but because I CAN'T. {An official term for it is called ANHEDONIA}

Now, fortunately, my illness is not NEARLY as bad as it used to be.
Throughout my whole life I struggled with fear and anxiety. I was afraid to try just about everything...either for fear of getting hurt, or fear of messing up.  I feared ANYONE'S opinion of me.  I was constantly afraid of rejection and being alone forever.  And the worst part was, I went through A TON of rejection while I was in school.  I was verbally bullied pretty much every day in elementary and middle school.  In high school, it subsided a bit as people "matured", but it never went away.  I loved my teachers, and I loved learning...but I absolutely hated being at school.
I also had trouble doing my schoolwork and taking tests.  I hated making mistakes.  In my mind, doing something wrong was reason to feel ashamed of myself.  SHAME was probably the most prominent word in my vocabulary.

By the time I was in college, my anxiety was so paralyzing, it prevented me from doing just about everything.  I had trouble making and keeping friends because of my constant fear that other people wouldn't like me, or would just abandon me.  I couldn't focus on my schoolwork, so I either didn't do it or I did a very mediocre job with it. My mindset was, "I'm not going to be able to do this so why even try?" I either failed or scored very low on test after test.
Pretty soon...I was so unhappy with myself that I sunk down low...and I mean very low. I stopped going to class and I didn't care. I stopped seeing my friends. I deprived myself of food and lost 30 pounds very quickly.  I was extremely isolated, and the people around me didn't understand. The thing I feared the most...being alone...had happened.
I was sick. Very sick. The thing was, everyone else just thought I was lazy...or dramatic...or just not trying hard enough.

I never had one big encounter with God that saved me from this pit, as a lot of people experience.  Christ has always been in me, even when I forgot about Him.  And there were SEVERAL occasions when He grabbed a hold of me and reminded me of His amazing grace.  Throughout my whole life, I would come back to God, and then fall back into the pit...come back to God, and then fall back into the pit.  It was just the nature of the illness {the whole "anhedonia" thing? Yeah God was included in that too.  I just couldn't experience Him}.  

Then, God brought my best friend, Mamma Bird, and the one who gave me the nickname Little Sparrow. And I thank Him for her every single day.  She was the first person who actually understood what I was dealing with...and as she told me her story, it was like she was also telling mine.  For the first time in a very, very long time, I was not alone.
She assured me that my illness was not my fault, and that it could be treated. She talked to me about medication and the importance of it.

Today, I am very happy I listened to her {which she likes to hear! Ha!}.
After some trial and error, I finally found the right type and dosage of meds to help me feel better. And I DO feel better! I still have some pretty down phases, but they don't last very long anymore, and I bounce back quickly. The meds have helped with the chemistry flaws in my brain, and as a result I can experience joy again.  And the best part is, I've been able to experience God in a way that I've never experienced Him before! And I really do give Him all the credit for this! During the times I thought He was silent, he was still always there, keeping me alive. He brought just the right people and just the right opportunities for me to get better.


1. Not to expect too much of myself.
I have learned not to be disappointed in myself anymore if I can't accomplish all the tasks I plan to accomplish in a day. It takes twice as much energy for me to do half of what a normal person can do in a day. And I'm okay with that now. I've learned how to set small goals, and even when I can't accomplish anything at all, I don't resort to self-deprecating thoughts anymore.

2. God is ALWAYS present!
Even when I choose to ignore God, or don't feel like talking to Him, He has never left me. I will NEVER truly be alone again.

3. My illness doesn't define me.
It's a huge part of who I am, yes. But I am a person beneath the label.

4. Who my REAL friends are.
I've had to remove a lot of people from my life...the people who thought I was lazy, dramatic, making excuses, or trying to get attention. That wasn't easy to deal with, but I figured out quickly that they were not real friends.  The ones I've kept around are those who have stuck with me during my darkest times, even if they didn't understand it.  Even when I pushed them away, and they could have left me, they didn't.  Those are the people worth hanging onto.

5. To not apologize for feeling bad.
I realize that going through depressive phases is just part of who I am, and I don't need to feel bad about feeling bad. Those who are willing to try and understand, and to wait it out for me, know that I will come back around.  I've mastered the art of bouncing back!   



  1. This is beautiful. I know it probably took a lot of reflection to write this, but it amazes me how self-aware you are in presenting your entire story.
    I have a deep appreciation for your honesty about your own mental health. I have also wrestled with anxiety and depression throughout my life, and those lessons you have learned from the illness touch me even now.
    Thank you so much for sharing, Emily.

  2. Wow! I love your honesty. Thank you for sharing your story with us! It was very encouraging :)