The Truth: Christ and Depression

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

Depression is real. It is an emotional roller coaster most sexual assault and abuse survivors deal with at some point along their journey. It is not the made up depression you hear people say when their favorite ball team loses. “Oh, I’m so depressed the Chiefs lost last night!”

It steals your joy, energy, care, and willingness to do anything even if you want to. Depression takes your sleep or makes you sleep, robs or increases your appetite, causes you to hurt physically and emotionally. Depression leaves you in puddles of tears many days, whiles other days it leaves you numb.  It may also come with suicidal thoughts. These especially can bring unrealistic shame, are dangerous, and should always be told to someone. It is not your fault you have these thoughts. You can get help.

I know depression well. I have Major Depressive Disorder. Which means I have episodes of long term depression. I may go for a few months without being very depressed and then, out of nowhere, the depression is upon me again.

I have come to realize when the depression hits me I need to take steps quickly to not enter into my cocoon.  I also realize my episodes are easily triggered and related to my sexual assaults and the trauma experiences through them.

My recent episode of depression right now is a battle once again, to make myself eat, stay out of bed and off the couch. To do what I can. However, I know I can’t do it on my own. The verse God laid on my heart to share with you is Philippians 4:13. “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (NLT) I do not bring it to you as a cliché or platitude which I feel will be the end to all your troubles. Simply, we must rely on Him for our strength, for we can’t do this life alone. Especially during depression.

One verse and one prayer will not lift you out of your depression and heal you, it is a journey and a mountain you must climb. You can do it, one step at a time, with Christ who gives you strength.

I pray you find your way out of depression if you are in the valley right now.  Will you allow Christ to strengthen you and walk it with you?  We were never meant to walk this road alone. I would not have written this without His strength.

Father God,

I find myself once again in the depths of depression. I do not feel like doing anything. It is only with your strength I am able to accomplish tasks and walk through each day. Please strengthen me, guide me, and help me do the things needed to get better. Strength to exercise, eat, and stay out of bed. Help me through this valley God.

Amen

© 2017 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.
 

 

 

Child of God – Part I

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Galatians 3:26 (NIV)

I was extremely close to my grandparents. In September of 2008 my grandpa suddenly became ill.  Technically we’d already lost him to Alzheimer’s disease because he did not know us anymore, but he would always smile and enjoy our visits at the Care Center.

He died September 10, 2008 around 11:30 p.m. I was holding his hand. I was devastated, but comforted He was finally whole again with Jesus.

I was always very close to my grandpa. He was a wonderful Christian man who constantly believed in me and called me “his girl”.  We laid him to rest 9 years ago tomorrow.

It was around this time my physical symptoms started. I began to lose weight. I wasn’t hungry. I had no interest in anything. The doctor played it off as depression (not to say it wasn’t to some extent) and gave me a mild anti-depressant. Still, I kept getting worse. So I switched doctors.

For the next year I endured a barrage of tests ranging from testing me for mononucleosis, rheumatoid arthritis to crohn’s disease. Many sexual assault survivors find the same thing happens to them. Sometimes soon after, or like me, years later.

I blocked out what happened to me after the sexual assaults stopped. A common reaction our bodies and minds execute to protect us.  However, when there is trauma stored inside one’s body it will eventually surface in some form.  Mine came in the form of physical ailments.

Lately, I have been feeling some of these ailments again. Partially because I’m still working through the trauma, and partially because I’m fighting depression. Both common for sexual assault survivors. I know now nothing is physically wrong. It is the trauma from the sexual assaults. The depression, anxiety, and complex PTSD. The physical part will go away as I deal with the truth and face what happened to me and if needed change some medication.

Yet, I find myself thinking about my grandpa since it is September. I no longer get to hear that I’m “his girl” anymore. Many days, maybe due to the depression, I feel I belong to no one. However, God reminds me this is not true.

He reminds me I belong to Him. I am His child. He is the only one I need to belong to. We are children of God. Loved, cherished, and He is just waiting to hold us and love on us.

I know I need Him to love on me. Will you let Him love on you and begin the restoration of your soul?

Father God,

I know I still have a long way to go to work through everything in my life triggered by the sexual assaults. Hold on to me so I do not fall too deep into depression. Love me as your child and hold me close. Begin restoring my soul.  

Amen

 

© 2017 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.

Never Alone

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

 I am single and alone. Will I ever work through all of these memories? I asked God why He has allowed me to be alone in life. Through the trials of dealing with what was done to me I have been alone much of the time. No one wants to be around someone who is dealing with depression, anxiety and complex PTSD.

You may have discovered this too. However, there is no shame in being depressed, anxious, having PTSD, or anything else. There is no shame in needing medication to help you treat it, or help you deal with it if you and your doctor decide that is the course needed. God has provided people in this world with knowledge to help us in these areas. Yet, we can still feel alone.

Jesus understands being alone. He was a single man. Never married, never had children or dated. In fact, He died completely alone, crying out to His Father, for you and me. If anyone understands what we’re going through when we’re alone it’s Jesus. Nailed to a cross, bleeding, gasping for air, and His Father leaves Him. He knows our pain.

We feel alone and we desire human interaction and encouragement, but our God offers the ultimate encouragement in His word. He’ll never leave you or abandon you.

God is enough, and He can fill you with His presence if you will only ask Him.

 God,

I feel alone and empty. Help me to realize you understand. I come to you asking for you to fill me with your presence and peace. Please bring people into my life to walk this road with me. Help me not be discouraged and afraid, but to trust in you.

Amen.     

 

© 2017 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.

 

Finding Peace – A Special Posting

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)

Today is not Tuesday, but it calls for a special post. I did not write this today, but yet it could fit today and this week so well.

On the days when I feel completely broken and alone, when the memories are too hard to bare, I cry out to God.  “Please be with me. Help me.”

I cuddle up on the couch in the fetal position and cry into God’s arms. He is the only one who is always there. Yet how can I feel so utterly alone in this world?

To get out of the house I call a friend. She’s on her way to a group for the afternoon. I am not in that place. Too many things prevent me from being able to do the kind of activity she’s going to. All because of what was done to me.

As an adult people tell me I should be over it. At 40 years old I’m working through it with my trauma therapist. With God’s help one day I’ll be able to handle normal situations again. No, it isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair. God never said it would be fair.

However, with all these human feelings and bad memories I feel one more thing. His presence. He is here with me. He loves me. He will never leave me. I can cry out to him day or night and He is there.

He is there for you, too.

Father God,

I am feeling so alone right now in this world. No one to turn to who understands except you. Hold me tight in your arms and embrace this broken spirit and body. Please calm my heart and my fears. Bring me your peace and remind me of your unconditional love. I need you now more than ever. 

Amen

 

© 2017 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.

God Understands

“So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

You belong to a club you never wanted to join. You never asked for any of these things to happen to you. Being in the club of those who have been sexually assaulted can be exclusive in a way you never wanted to be.

It leads to the “If only’s…”

“If only…” That is what my friend kept saying to me. If only I could have done something to stop it. If only I had been bigger. If only people understood what it’s like to be sexually assaulted. For many of us, again, and again.

I knew what she meant. What she feels. “If only…” Many people don’t want to acknowledge sexual assault happens, but it does. Based on reports, before the age of 18, 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted, but 85% of sexual assault victims (like me) never report their abuse. If you are a survivor of sexual assault you are not alone. Many have yet to let anyone know. If you are reading this, I congratulate you on a step toward healing.

Yet there’s still “If only…”. “If only” it never happened my life would be different. Except it did happen. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to wish it away, but we can’t. It did, and it’s not our fault. We couldn’t stop it. We’re not to blame. We were the victim. We are now survivors.

God can take the most painful times in our lives and use them for His good. He has plans beyond what we can ever ask or imagine. He tells us in all things He works for the good who love Him. (Romans 8:28 NIV) Even though we cannot see it now, or even tomorrow, He will see us through the darkness.

He loves you. He cares for you. When no one else understands, God understands. He understands the “If only…” and He says, I am with you, I will help you, I will strengthen you and hold you.  (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

Try picturing God holding you as you pray today.

 Father God,

I cannot help but question what my life would have been like had I not been sexually assaulted. Guide me in allowing you to work in my life, and find the right people to help me heal. I know it will not happen overnight, so please help me be patient. I need your strength for this long battle. 

Amen

 

Statistics from http://chauciesplace.org/child-sexual-abuse-statistics

© 2017 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.

Restoring The Soul: Meditations for Survivors of Sexual Assault

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

If you’re joining me on this journey we have something in common. We are all survivors of sexual assault. Not victims. Survivors.

If you’re not sure you fit into this category allow me to define it. Sexual assault is any type of sexual behavior that happens to you without your consent. It is an assault on the body, emotions, and spirit. This includes incest, molestation, fondling, attempted rape, and rape.

As I share with you each week I hope and pray it will encourage you, and bring you a new hope through God and restoration for your soul.

Bad things do happen to good people.  We have really difficult times in life.  If you’re there right now, I want to encourage you. I understand because I’m there too.

I invite you to journey with me because when you can’t feel Jesus, He’s still there. I believe this since I am experiencing it.

I hope you’ll join me every Tuesday as I share a piece of God’s heart through mine. Together we can begin to restore our broken hearts and souls.

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or professional so this content should not be seen as professional advice. This blog is not a substitute for therapy and does not promise healing or restoration.

 

Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

© 2017 Susan M. Clabaugh All Rights Reserved.