Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I never thought depression was something I would have to deal with. Anxiety, stress, a tad bit (maybe more) of OCD, yeah, I could handle that. But depression was never on that list. Because what did I have to be depressed about? I have an amazing fiancé, a supportive family (and a wonderful upbringing to back that up), great friends, a wedding to plan, and a whole future with the love of my life ahead of me. So, what could I possibly be depressed about?
Depression is a funny thing. It sneaks up on you when you least expect it. It pulls you further in the harder you fight to get out of it. It makes you feel useless and unmotivated, like what you’re doing is worthless and irrelevant. So why do anything, right? I tried exercising, reading, writing, doing the things that normally made me happy, but they just weren’t having the same effect. So why continue to try to fight back against it when it’s just easier to give into it? Why work to fill your day with what feels like meaningless tasks when it’s easier to just lay in bed—or on the couch—watching endless hours of TV (that you aren’t really paying attention to anyway).
Let’s back up a bit so you can understand how all this began. I became unemployed in March due to COVID-19, and I didn’t realize then that my job wasn’t the only thing I lost in that time. I lost my sense of security. I lost my confidence, my self-esteem. I felt like I lost a part of myself. And it wasn’t because I lost my dream job. I was just waiting tables at my fiancé’s restaurant. It was a pit stop to the next step. The only problem was, I didn’t know what the next step was. I used the waiting tables as a way to just keep going until I figured it out. So, when there was nothing left for me to distract myself with, it made me face what I had been trying to avoid—the truth. And the truth was, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do next. I was surrounded by people who knew what they wanted in their lives, who had their careers ahead of them, and I didn’t.
Constantly hearing about people’s passions and what drives them made me realize that I didn’t know what mine was. I didn’t have that one thing that made me excited to get up in the morning every single day. I didn’t know my next phase and I felt lost—personally, financially, and spiritually.
My relationship with God has surely been tested. There were moments where I thought He gave up on me. Moments where I didn’t believe in myself, so how could He possibly believe in me? Moments where I begged and pleaded for him to help me find my way only to think he wasn’t helping at all. Because when you’re constantly told that God has a purpose for you, that you were saved and chosen by Him for a reason, it’s sometimes hard to believe that when your mind feels like a blank slate.
But there is a glimmer of hope in this story. I’ve begun to find slivers of happiness lately, and think I’m finally starting to build a foundation (albeit maybe a small and rocky one) for the next step in my life.
I have a new business venture with my fiancé starting soon. A business we’ll build together and use it to support our future family. I started a new internship that is leading to a part-time position in an industry I really had a secret passion for but never gave it a fair chance in the past. Even the small stuff, like finding joy in my dog and the comfort he brings, trying a new recipe for dinner and being able to impress my chef fiancé with it, running a mile every day (well maybe not fully loving this one but it makes me feel good afterward and that’s what counts), or just sitting out on my back deck and feeling at peace with the sounds of the lake waves crashing against the shore.
But most importantly, my faith and relationship with God is slowly starting to build back up. I’m feeling a bit more grounded, and while I still have some rocky days, the good ones are coming ever so frequently. I’m focusing my time and energy into the things that will matter, the things that will make a difference, the things that will make me feel whole again. Daily readings, daily prayer, relying on Him to lead me to the answers instead of trying to find them myself. I’m not about to say that this has been easy, and it definitely didn’t happen overnight. Heck, I’m still fighting to get myself out of bed to actually do something every day. But I know this is all part of the journey, all a part of my healing.
And after seven months of being unemployed, I’m still not 100% sure what my purpose is and don’t quite know where my life—and faith— will lead me to next. But instead of fearing the unknown future ahead of me, instead of burrowing into the depression and letting it take hold of me, I’m starting to fight back. It may be small, but I just might see a sliver of light at the end of this tunnel. And maybe, just maybe, I’m actually eager to see what’s waiting for me on the other side.