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By Kris Beaird

It was tragic news. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, two celebrities, recently committed suicide. Yet they represent just a tip of the iceberg of those suffering from depression. It’s one of the “elephants in the room” in our society. The lie is that if we just don’t talk about it, it’s not really there. I used to be very judgmental about those struggling with depression and of those who committed suicide. Then I myself experienced that hopelessness.

I still hesitate to talk about my depression even though I’m on the other side. Perhaps I think that by talking about it, it will return. Yet I feel a need to address my story because that’s how we help each other. After my journey with burnout and depression, people would remark, “Oh, yes, that happened to me too!”

I was angry that they hadn’t talked about it. Or perhaps I wasn’t listening because denial is a part of depression and burnout.

I kept pressing the boundaries of physical and mental health because that’s the narrative I’d always heard: “just push through it.” But after having four pregnancies (and three children) while in my twenties, I felt depleted in body, soul, and spirit. I suffered from the cruel and spiteful disorder of chronic insomnia.

One evening I held a bottle of sleeping pills in my hand and determined that I would sleep that night – no matter what it took. I gulped a handful of pills and began the calming slide into unconsciousness. Still I knew I could not leave my three children to deal with the burden of what I was doing, so I placed a 911 call just before things went black. Ironically, my husband was a police chaplain and had been out counseling with a police officer’s family. He had just arrived at home when the doorbell rang. As he answered the bell, he was met by a fellow officer responding to the call.

Why is it that when we break an arm, we go to the doctor and work through the process of getting it healed without being ashamed to admit that we had an accident that caused our broken arm? However, shame accompanies depression and keeps us from seeking a solution. Also, as Christians we’re often taught (verbally or non-verbally) that depression doesn’t happen to us or that if it does that means we are weak.

After seeking counseling, taking proper medication for a time, and learning how to address depression physically, I began the process of healing. I discovered that I needed to embrace the journaling process of writing out my feelings (I hated it at first!). My physical body absolutely needed regular exercise to raise the good chemical levels in my mind. My spiritual being needed to let go of trying to please God and everyone else. However, it didn’t happen overnight. The Psalms of the Bible were a great comfort to me because David unashamedly penned his dark moments.

I struggled on this journey throughout the decade of my thirties. Even after that, I had to be aware of despair creeping in through my own self-talk, doubts, and fears.

I learned to flip the script on myself and believe the story that God was writing for my life instead of the bleak one that kept invading my mind.

I distinctly remember one day when the darkness once again began to settle over me as if I were being sucked down into a dark, spiraling drain. After a few minutes I recognized it and declared, “I’m not going there!”

It was a conscious decision. I could declare that because I had worked through the process, not just because I decided to make it go away without dealing with it. There’s a big difference!

This is the short version of my story, but I want to warn others not to ignore the signs but to get the help you need. It can make all the difference in your life. God is for you, not against you! You are fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose and design to be blessed and to bless others with your gifts. God has immensely blessed my life and family!

About the Author

Kris-author
Kris Beaird, a licensed Open Bible minister, works alongside her husband, Dr. Jim Beaird, as they lead the churches of Open Bible’s Southeast Region. She also conducts workshops and seminars and does keynote speaking and coaching as a certified John Maxwell coach, teacher, trainer, and speaker. You may contact her at: Kris@MaxCoach.pro

About The Author

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