Success after Depression

I want to share a small glimpse into my past, and how I got through some very devastating times.

Not so many years ago I was struggling with my second serious bout with depression. When I say depression, I mean the feeling of total and utter hopelessness.0, even to the point of feeling that  God had forsaken me.

The last time it did not last as long as the first time 20 years earlier. However, it was much stronger and almost took my life.  20 years ago it took everything but my life; we lost our house, had to sell our business, and still went bankrupt.

I am sharing this to encourage and help others that do not feel life is worth living. I want to give you hope because there is life after depression.

On a scale of 1-100, I was below 10 and wanted to end it all; I had given up on believing that anything or anyone was ever going to be there to help me.

Over this time I honestly embraced the idea that God would call the angels together to laugh at me as I stumbled and fell.

I would cry out for help, and the people to whom I reached out would set up hoops for us to jump through before they would help us.  And when we could not jump high enough, they walked away.

People that could have helped us just turned away and others mocked us before turning their back on us.

Let me say this to anyone that has never struggled with depression; we are not looking for you to fix us, we are looking for someone to care.

I have to add that sadly some of the deepest hurts we felt in this struggle came from people that claimed to be Christians.  And some of the people that accepted me at this time are the ones that did not pretend to be anything at all.

When I say “we” I am referring to my wife and I since even though I was the one that was struggling, my wife suffered with me. She suffered just as much as I did when the people turned their back on me because they turned their back on her, too.

Someone once asked me, “How did you get over it, how did you get through it?”

I am going to give the short answer here; I had to change my mind. I had to change how I looked at myself and the world around me.

I do not deny the power of the Holy Spirit that was at work in my life. However, I will say that I alone had to choose to change my mind and think differently.  Only I could decide to stay in the place that I was or work on changing my mind.

God can not change your mind; He can make you regret that you never did; however, He can not force you to change your thoughts. When you decide to make the changes, He is there to help you as long as you choose to take the next step.

Now, I wish I could say that after getting that revelation, that I alone had to renew my mind, that everything changed.

It did not happen all at once; it took some years for me to walk in the new understanding that I had to choose what I feel, and no one could make me feel anything good or bad.

Once I started to embrace this new concept, I would have to face many challenges, and each one created an opportunity for me to stand strong and embrace the new belief or fall apart again.

I did not succeed at every chance I was given to do better; I had to work hard at putting the new mindset into motion. Most of all I had to understand that other people are not going to do it for me, and sadly most people do not care.

Once I embraced the fact that if anything was going to change, I had to make up my mind to change it. And that meant to change my mind about how I see myself and the world around me.

Once again, I do not deny the power of God at work in my life; the point is God could not do anything I did not allow Him to do in my life. First I had to choose to change my mind before He was able to do what He wanted to do.

In conclusion, how did I go from suicidal depression to success?

First, I had to dream again; I had to want something that was much bigger than what I was. I had to want a reason to live; I had to want to become something more than I ever was before.

A man without a vision will perish.

Second, I ( all by myself) had to take every thought captive, and I had to decide if the thoughts that were in my mind were helping me to reach my dream or were they stealing my dreams? I had to take control and make them stop because I can control my thoughts, they do not control me.

Then I had to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit; I had to be willing to submit to the leading and will of the Spirit of God if I wanted to live a Godly life. It is important to note that if I had not taken every thought captive first, I would not be able to receive all the Holy Spirit has for me.

The next step was to go out and hire a mentor/coach; I firmly believe that a paid mentor or a life coach is critical. When you pay someone, you will get more out of it than if you do not invest anything at all.

A paid coach or mentor will most likely not be afraid to offend you, and they will tell you what you need to hear and not just try to be your friend.

The next step was to stop running away from the struggles; I had to face the things that I did not feel comfortable doing.  This is different than trying to do what you are not good at doing.

I had to face my fears; I had to hold on to the dream that the Spirit of God put in me and take my thoughts captive, I had to think with a renewed mind and take one step closer to my fear. And as I took each step I could see that my fear was not real. It was only what I thought it was.

What you fear is only real in your mind, and nowhere else; only you can decide to stop thinking about it in the way you do and renew your thoughts. If you do not choose your thoughts, your brain will run away with many wild ideas.

You are the master, not the prisoner, of your mind; you can take every thought captive. You can not stop an idea from coming to your mind; you can stop it from running around in there. You alone decide if you will entertain each thought or throw it out.

When something comes to your mind that is making you feel in a way you do not want to, focus on something you’re grateful for in life. If you concentrate on these good thoughts, it will overpower the bad one.

The number one key, above everything else, is you have to stop wanting other people to pity you or rescue you!

If you think someone owes you something and that they must help you, then you will go nowhere!

If you think someone has to change what they are doing so you can be happy; you will never be happy!
I want to add; all this did not happen in one day or one week. It was a daily process; I had to work at this on a regular basis. It took me several months to find a stable footing and to change how I see myself, believing that I am someone of great worth.

Looking back, I know it would have taken that long if I had all the tools I have now. Because I wanted more out of life I searched for more; I was not content in the place I was, so I worked hard to learn more to help improve my life.

When you understand it is all about you changing how you think, you will completely change your outlook.

When you understand it is all about you changing what you believe about yourself, you will completely change your out come.

Papa Ray


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