Monday, March 2, 2009

A post from your Island Pal

Hi everyone...it's your Island pal Kelley here...
It has been awhile since I posted on here....tonight I just wanted to share with you my most recent post from my blog (sorry it's a little long :) ). Be encouraged tonight to know that He is a great God and He is bigger than any struggle you may be dealing with.
Lessons from the struggles of life:
April '03...Almost 6 years ago yet I remember that month as clearly as I remember yesterday. It was one of those months that sticks with you for life.
I still remember sitting in my doctor's office and hearing him diagnose me with Depression...I was in total disbelief...sure I had a rough couple of months but no way was I depressed...it had to be a relapse of mono or something like that--I Kelley Campbell, could never be depressed, there had to be another explanation. I mean, I was the happy one...the cheerful one...the one that always seemed to be in control...plus, I was a Christian...Christians couldn't be depressed....
I quickly realized how false my views of depression and anxiety truly were...I always looked at depression as something people should be able to just snap out of...I looked at is as a sign of weakness...Oh how my eyes were opened!!!
As I struggled with the daily realities of depression, it was clear to me that I needed to share my struggle. It was amazing how when I began to be honest with others in sharing my story of pain, fear, feelings of rejection, confusion and frustration, I quickly realized that I was not alone. God brought so many people across my path who had struggled or were struggling with similar issues. How vital it is to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ...to be honest and transparent in the difficult times as well as the great times.
Romans 1:11-12 "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong, that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith."
Almost 6 years have passed...so why am I writing about it now? Well this past week in a lot of ways has been a tough one and has brought many memories that remind me of that time 6 years ago. Although I have been off my medication for almost a year and have had no major set backs since then, this past week has brought with it some bumps in the road. I have had a couple of pretty intense anxiety attacks and have been dealing with a lot of feelings of confusion, lonliness, frustration and have felt overwhelmed by life in general. As discouraging as this week has been at times...I'm reminded tonight of God's goodness...and His wonderful strength and grace.
During my initial struggle with depression I was unable to focus on much of anything...including reading my Bible. It was so difficult to sit and read for long periods of time...then God gave me a wonderful gift. He lead me to Isaiah 41:8-10 and for close to 6 months those were the only verses I read. Daily I would just soak in the words and it was in those two verses that God brought (and continues to bring) strength, encouragement, restoration, victory, healing and joy.
(I've highlighed the promises within the passage that I cling to daily)
"But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. 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."
There is so much more to this story...but tonight I just really wanted to encourage each of you...
Whatever you may be going through today..whatever you may have faced in your past...know that you are not alone. God has chosen you and even if you feel abandoned or rejected...He has not rejected you...He has not forgotten you.
Trust Him in your struggle...allow Him to work in the midst of the pain...He will turn your mourning into rejoicing...your pain into joy...your chaos into peace...He will bring healing where there is hurt...strength where there is weakness...comfort where there is saddness...clarity where ther is confusion...and hope where there was hopelessness.
It has been a long road in many ways and this whole anxiety/depression issue may go with me the rest of my life...but I am so very thankful that this sickness does not define me...
I try not to focus on the what depression does to me or how it affects me...instead I focus on God and on what He can do through this struggle...on how He can be glorified in the midst of the struggle. God is such an amazing and loving Father and He cares about every area of our lives....lean on Him tonight!!! As Christians we are not exempt from lifes heartaches and trials but we have a God who has promised to always be there and walk through this life with us!!! What an amazing witness it is to others, when they realize that our lives are not perfect but that we have Hope regardless of what we face...that we can have peace and joy in the midst of a struggle.
Cling to His promises tonight...

6 comments:

David Warren Fisher said...

Kelley:

Thanks so much for sharing so honestly and eloquently here on Pilgrim Pals.

I know the pain and hurt of depression. I've been there and I continue to wage battle with it.

May God give us the strength and resolve to trust Him wholly...for those who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Blessings!

David

Julie (Little Missionary) said...

Thank you for your honest post Kelley. Great Scriptures - Isaiah 41 is one of my favorites. Many Christians suffer Depression/anxiety; me included, however, many will not admit it because of the stigma attached. And the devil loves this because he can whisper lies like, "if you really believed in Jesus you wouldn't be depressed..." or "God must not love you or you wouldn't feel sad all the time...." on and on go the lies. Unfortunately, in my experience, the devil even uses "well meaning" Christians who have no idea what Depression really is, - they often say, "oh just read your Bible". But sometimes you just can't concentrate and then you feel guilty. I really believe those of us who have travelled this dark road can best tackle the stigma and help other Christians not feel shame, but get the proper help. As you know this is a physical disease - not unlike diabetes - changes in the brain chemistry make concentration hard and the mood low etc. That's a pretty basic description. Often it isn't just about taking an antidepressant - that helps initially but for me, I need the psychotherapy as well. I'm in a group two days a week at a local hospital and it is such a huge blessing from God! The people I've met (two other Christians in fact), are beautiful people. The Lord is unwrapping some painful memories for me, but I trust that it will lead to more joy in my life (it already has), and He will be able to use me much more than if I stayed in denial. It's been a long bumpy road and I know there are more bumps ahead. I know the Lord is my Sheppherd and is leading me on this journey.

I lift you now in my heart and prayers Kelley, and you too David.
Blessings on your lives.

Julie

Terry said...

Years ago , after all of Mom Golden's children were grown Kelley, she started to get bouts of depression.
Having at that time, never experiencing this ourselves I ,along with some of my other sisters and brothers never understood this and thought that she was OK. It was all in her head, eh?
One time a fine preacher was down and happening to be visiting a sister's home where Mom Golden had also been invited and he heard from Mom about her distress, he told her that this could surely happen.
Betty found Mom Golden a Christian councellor of such matters and after seeing this man and after he saw that Mom Golden truly had depression and that she had a chemical imbalance, also, he prescribed her a mild sedative, and kept her under his wing as far as letting her talk to him.
Another thing that got her out of much depression is our bringing over to her "Bill Gaither and Friends" videos.
She loved them so much and just the singing of those dear people brought joy into her heart.
If you don't mind Kelley and David and Little Missionary Julie, I am going to print this whole excellent post and your comments out for Mom Golden and give them to her tomorrow.
Quite often Vicki's posts have been helpful to her too.
Thank you!....
Love Terry

Julie (Little Missionary) said...

Hi Terry, I sure don't mind you printing my comments - hope they are encouraging to your mom. I really want people, especially Christians to understand, this is a serious disease and nothing to be ashamed of. Our brains are so amazingly wonderfully made by God but since we live in fallen bodies, like every other organ, sometimes things go wrong. Let us pray for those suffering from any kind of mental health issues - our minds are vulnerable to Satan and when the mind is "foggy" because of brain chemistry that is "off", it is all the more vulnerable to his lies.

Bless you Terry.

Julie

Kelley Campbell said...

Terry...
Of course you can print off my post!!! Have a great day and thanks for your comments.

Vicki said...

Hi Kelley,

I was so blessed to read your post tonight. And wow - that verse from Isaiah was exactly what I read this morning - so comforting to me. I've struggled with depression most of my adult life, too, but it has taught me so much. Your perspective is so good - to focus on Him, and not the depression. Sometimes I've only been able to read one line of Scripture, and yet the Holy Spirit would lift my heart so powerfully, renewing my hope. Thank you for sharing your journey. Depression has taught me to trust Him even more, because it's in our weakness, that He is strong.

Hugs,
Vicki