Depression and Love

I had always been a straight-A student. I had always had the energy to keep up with an activity-packed schedule. And I had always prided myself on my intelligence, my creativity, and my outgoing, friendly attitude.

So it was painful for me when I suddenly lost all those things.

When I returned to my home country after studying internationally, I experienced severe depression. Things that were once easy for me–making friends, doing my job, even leaving my apartment–felt impossible.

I felt like a failure.

I wasn’t a fun friend; I spent a lot of time crying. I wasn’t a hardworking employee; some days I didn’t even get out of bed. I wasn’t a good Christian; I didn’t have the energy to serve God how I thought I should.

I was no longer bringing value to my relationships, my work, or my God.

I felt worthless.

But in my weak state I experienced the love of others like never before.

My friends didn’t expect me to do things for them. Instead, they helped me by bringing me food and cleaning my apartment.

My boss at Bridges International wasn’t angry with me, he just asked that I do the work that I was able to.

God didn’t abandon me. I sensed with deep conviction in my heart that God loved me. I had always known in my mind that this was true, but for the first time in my life I really felt God’s love.

In the Bible, God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

I think I understand now what this means. Before, I had always felt that God loved me because of the things I was able to do for Him. I went to church every week, I prayed, I read my Bible, I volunteered, I told others about Jesus. Now I wasn’t doing any of those things, and God still loved me. He didn’t love me any less than he did when I was doing those things.

The power of His love was more obvious to me when I felt weak. He had always loved me completely–it had never been a matter of my performance. But now that I could see that I wasn’t performing well, I really understood that His love for me wasn’t about what I could do for Him.

I know that I am very lucky to have had friends and coworkers who were understanding and gracious regarding my depression, not everyone has that experience.

But everyone in the entire world is loved by God. It doesn’t matter if you are depressed. It doesn’t matter if you are failing in your classes or at your job. You are no less valuable than when you are high-performing. You are loved.

If you are experiencing depression today, here are some things you can do:

1. Ask God to show you His love for you.

2. Seek help from a mental health professional. Seeing a counselor and taking an antidepressant helped me to return to my former self. Most universities offer free mental health services for their students.

3. Find a friend you trust to share your feelings with. Any Bridges International staff member on your campus will be glad to listen.


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