Broken: Journeying through Depression

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16

The past few weeks, I have been struggling with knowledge of my worth.

This isn’t something new to me. It’s been around for a long time — some times more than others, but always there in the background: this little voice saying, “You’re not enough. Not beautiful enough. Not talented enough. Not smart enough. You’re never going to be enough. You are unworthy.”

And yet… there comes a moment when you have to stand up and say “Yes, I am worthy.” A moment when you don’t let that little voice order you around anymore… when you acknowledge that God created something unique — something beautiful — when he created you.

Warning: this is about to go into some brutally honest stuff. It is with some trepidation that I tell this story, but my hope is that God will use it to his glory. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring.

My senior year of high school, I fell into a deep depression. I almost failed a class, gained quite a bit of weight, stopped taking care of my diabetes, and essentially lost touch with the world, to name a few. I was suddenly, unexpectedly, inexplicably lost in a black hole from which I could not find the way out. I slept all the time, was physically exhausted (I can recall having to stop halfway up my staircase because I was too tired to make it to the top without sitting down), and found myself preferring sleep to almost everything else — because when I was asleep, I could escape being the girl I hated.

And this lasted for three years.

THREE YEARS of my life, I was stuck in this black hole. Three years of my life, I hated myself. Three years of my life, I would look in the mirror and see only the flaws and imperfections marring God’s creation. And for those three years, I was struggling to get away from this lonely, sad place… and I had no idea how.

At this same time, I was so good at putting on a front and pretending I was okay — even excellent! My theatrical training stood me in good stead, and I managed to keep all but those closest to me from noticing that anything was wrong. There were two different Megans — the smiling, happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic Megan that the world saw, and the broken, hurting, lost Megan who came home every day to hide in her room and cry. That was the real Megan. That was the girl I kept hidden from the world.

Throughout my childhood, I sought to always see beauty in every person, and I was good at it… except when it came to myself. Life was a constant competition, and everyone else was winning. “Her hair is so much prettier than mine. She’s skinnier than I am. Why can’t I be as good an actress as she is? I wish I could sing like that.” On and on and on it would go, till even on rare days when I woke up feeling almost-confident, it would take just ten minutes to remember how inferior I truly was.

My friendships began to be affected. I was surrounded by talented, beautiful, strong young women who sought to glorify God with their every breath, and I was so jealous. I couldn’t understand why God would give them so much and give me so little. One of my best friends was a singer who also acted and was involved at church — plus, she had beautiful blue eyes, a big smile, a petite, adorable frame, and long, wavy brown hair that looked perfect no matter what she did… and I felt that I could never compare. Now, she was just one girl — but I was surrounded by dozens of them. My social circle consisted almost entirely of girls just like this best friend. It was a living hell for a girl who hated herself as much as I did.

And it wasn’t just that. There was the loss of my grandfather to deal with. The diagnosis of my grandmother with cancer. A summer of nannying that left my heart absolutely aching every day. The death of my grandmother three months after her diagnosis. Friends who didn’t have time for me. And this was a time of huge transition in my life… senior year of high school, freshman year of college, moving away from Mums and Rikki, trying to grow up and still be a kid at the same time… A million little things — and they piled up and piled up and did everything they could to bring me under.

Fast forward two self-loathing years and wander into the basement of the Wesley Foundation, where I was sitting on a chair talking to two of my dear friends about how I just didn’t know why I was so down… ALL THE TIME. And then, for the first time, I admitted it. “Liz? Becca? I think I’m depressed.”

Admitting it, to me, was half the battle. It meant that I was no longer powerless to feel sad and broken all the time. It meant that I knew what to pray for. It meant I could seek help. It meant that I could beat this.

I began to do everything in my power to kick my depression. I journaled, and wrote songs, and talked to my friends, and talked to my mom, and talked to a counselor, and cried and laughed and dealt with things I had locked up years ago. I pulled out all the hurt I had pushed aside when Grandaddy died and let myself grieve. I slowly began going through the pain I felt when I lost Mimi. I forgave people who had hurt me. I rebuilt friendships. I learned to give myself TIME — something that I had never done before. I prayed… and prayed, and prayed, and cried, and prayed some more… And slowly, slowly, I began to heal.

It’s been a year and a half since I admitted that I was depressed, and for the past six months, that pesky depression has been kept under lock and key. I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t still occasionally rear its ugly head and get a good knock in, but for the most part, I am depression-free.

I still struggle with my worth. All the time. ALL THE TIME. I am learning to love myself the way that God wants me to love myself, and I’m striving to see the beauty that he sees. There are a lot of bumps in the road: for instance, it’s been pointed out to me recently that it doesn’t matter what someone says… but I always, always take it in a negative way. It’s a work in progress, and I can’t say that I see beauty in myself all the time… but I’m getting there.

Friends. I beg of you — I BEG of you — don’t let yourself get to the place where I was. You are a beautiful, beautiful creation. God makes no mistakes… you are not a mistake. If you take absolutely nothing else from my story, please know this. And if you are in that place… please, talk to someone. There is so much more to life than that lonely, broken spot.

I realize this is a long post. Thanks for bearing with me, friends. Some stories just need to be told.

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6 thoughts on “Broken: Journeying through Depression

  1. It breaks my heart that there are so many people out there that struggle with this. Thank you for your honesty and for your courage in sharing this. I hope that it encourages people to talk about this rather than holding it inside. Oh, btw I think that you are great and am saying it so that you know it 🙂

  2. Megan, I have always thought of you as a beautiful girl from the inside out! You were certainly good at hiding your struggles! I can relate to much of what you have said….I think almost all girls struggle with self-worth. God doesn’t make mistakes, though and we are all created for a purpose! I know there will always be women much prettier and more talented. But, if I can use what i do have to make a difference in this world then I will be content! “) Your honesty in writing may help countless people. Thanks for sharing your heart. That just confirms the inner beauty that I have seen all along and radiates on the outside making you even more beautiful! Love you lots! Joan

  3. First of all, let me say that you are loved more than you know and I count it a joy and honor to call you a friend. Sounds kinda crazy coming from an old man, but I am very serious when I say it. Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” You are God’s workmanship and He, who began that good work will carry it on to completion. Gloria Gaither wrote a song one time that had a line that says, “Being loved by Him whose opinion matters most gives us the security to risk loving, too – even loving ourselves.” You are a beautiful creation of God and Jerry and I love you.

  4. Megan,
    I am very glad that you have shared your inner thoughts in a way that I think can be very therapeutic. I have also struggled with depression my entire life. Still do. People who don’t suffer in this way cannot truly understand what it feels like. It is so easy for people to say “cheer up” or ” just try to be positive” but it’s not quite that easy as I guess you can attest to. I can remember moments in my childhood where I felt like the lowest person on the planet Earth. When I look at pictures of me as a child I can see it in my eyes. I remember once when I was around 8 years old that I was visiting my aunt’s church where I didnt know anyone. It was time for me to go to Sunday school and I was really nervous about going so instead of going to the class I went to the restroom and found a utility closet that I hid in until it was time to go back upstairs. Depression runs all through my family and its worse in some spots than others. My grandmother actually tried to commit suicide several times and I remember being upset when I was in kindergarten because she told me that she was about to die. I am 43 now and she still tells me this. I wish I knew the answer to all of this but I don’t. Know this though, you are not alone and there are others going through the same problems as you and I. You are a very strong young woman and I know that you have what it takes to fight through this. I have always believed in you before and I do now. I am thinking of you.

  5. My beautiful, sweet, brave friend – I love you so much! This post brought me to tears at the mere thought that you could ever think you weren’t worthy or good enough. You are such an amazing and talented woman and the love of Christ just pours out of you and onto everyone around you! We put so much pressure on ourselves to be as the world thinks we should be when all we are ever supposed to be is what God created in us. What He has created in you is true beauty from the inside out! I am honored to be your friend and you bless and encourage me in more ways than you can imagine. Thank you for sharing your heart in such a courageous way. I love you way more than there are words to express, my beautiful friend!

  6. It takes great courage to be open and vulnerable. I could tell you all the wonderful things about you, but deep down inside, I think you already know about that. I’m no expert on depression, but I know enough from battling my own demons that no matter how much affirmation you get from others, the voice(s) in your head tells you otherwise, and no amount of outside praise and affection can change that. I’m so glad that you came to the place where you could recognize what was really going on and took steps to get better. Thanks for your willingness to be so poignantly transparent. You really are terrific, though. Fantastically talented and a sweet, generous soul. Press on, dear sister!

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