God’s Triumph — Depression, Part 3

I started writing when I was thirteen. My eighth grade teacher inspired me to work on “creative writing”. I wrote some very bad science fiction stories even though at the time I thought they were very good. Why did I write? What compelled me to sit before a typewriter or a blank piece of paper and put down some story that was trying to burst out of my skull?

 

Why do we as authors write? Is it for fame? Money? Self advancement? Therapy? Maybe some of you are like me, a person who “can’t NOT write”. I guess in those early days of writing, I was inspired by my science fiction icons such as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Frederick Pohl, Richard Matheson, and I could go on and on. I wanted to see my name on the spine of one of those books. I wanted to know that somewhere in a cool, dark bedroom a boy or girl was hiding under the covers with a flashlight reading MY book! Maybe I was tapping into a need for fame and glory. Maybe I wanted my name to live on after me although at the age of 13, I was pretty certain I was immortal!

Years later, as I became a drama director, I began to write dramas for the purpose of reaching people for Christ. I felt it was a calling. I wanted to write for God and I certainly never imagined making money off of these dramas (they were never published) or becoming famous (how many famous Christian playwrights can you name?). I never imagined that getting involved in writing dramas and producing dramas would be a major contributor to my coming depression.

As I mentioned in my last post, writing a book on depression was never on my list. In fact, so much of what I have done in life was never on my list. But, it was on God’s! God uses people for His purposes. He uses our failures and our successes. He uses our pains and our triumphs. I recall the first day our book, “Conquering Depression: A 30 Day Plan to Finding Happiness” appeared at our local Barnes & Noble for our book signing. It was the first time I had held the actual book in my hands. It was the first time I had seen the cover. Mark Sutton and I sat behind a table and we signed books. Over and over and over. People were not there because of us. They were there because they needed help with depression. I was stunned. I was shocked. Something I suffered through could help others? Here are just a few of the testimonials to our book. I list them not because I want to promote the book. As I mentioned, Mark and I have made very little money off of our book. The payment for us has been to know what we suffered through has helped others overcome their depression. We get monthly emails from readers who make the claim our book “saved my life”. People who were contemplating suicide, who had given up, who had no hope. Now, that alone is reason enough to write a book. I will never see my name in lights or win any awards for my writing or know that somewhen a hundred years from now my books will be required reading, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has used my life experience to touch someone and give them hope. And, that is worth it all!

Here are some testimonials:

I’ve been reading Conquering Depression: A 30-Day Plan to Finding Happiness for just over two weeks now. I don’t know what exactly to say to both of you other than, “Thank You” for giving me my life back. I realize that God is Great Physician is all of this; however, you were His mouthpieces. I really appreciate that.

 ***

 Please excuse the first-name basis, but I feel like I know you both.  I first encountered your book back in 2002 when my daughter was a junior at Hope College in Michigan and she experienced yet another bout of depression — this one being her worst yet.  I received an e-mail from her that actually made me fear for her life.  I called work, told them I wouldn’t be there in the morning, threw some items in a bag and immediately made the 3-hour drive from our home to her college.  When she returned from class and found me in her dorm room, she crumbled in my arms and sobbed.  The lost and terrified look on her face said it all.  The depression had her cornered and she was fighting for her life.  

 I spent the next 2 days with her every minute except when she was in a class.  Then I brought her home for a few days.  My husband and I prayed with her and for her.  I quoted scriptures to her and insisted she speak them out loud.  I repeated the same truths over and over and over to her because the depression would steal the truth away from her mind almost as quickly as I could say it.  I read scripture to her.  I sat with her while she fell asleep and I made sure I was there speaking truth to her when she woke up.  I fought like a mother bear for my cub.  Depression (Satan) was not going to snatch my child.  

Somewhere in that time, I ran across your book.  It was a God-send.  Although she didn’t have the strength or concentration to read it at the time, I read it to her and for her.  I used the Life Filters with her.  She learned to stand in front of the mirror and quote them as she looked herself in the eye.  Of course, somewhere in all this we got her to a counselor and on some medication.  In time she healed.  But she did more than that.  My daughter has become a champion for overcoming depression.  She was a favored speaker at the most recent depression support group I ran at our church.  Her testimony of God’s truth and power in her life is something really special.  She is an overcomer in the true sense of the word.  I’ve always loved the passage in Romans 8 that says we are “”more than overcomers.  I always thought, “Well, I know what an overcomer is, but what is ‘more than an overcomer’?”  I’ll tell you, it’s my daughter.  She didn’t just fight and persevere until she was no longer depressed; she fought and persevered until she had a testimony of God’s power, grace and healing in her life.  AND…your book was a big part of that.  

***

 I’m 24 years old and I have battled depression my whole life (as has my mom), but have not had this realization until about 2 months ago, when all broke loose and I was forced to face the reality, the battle, the heartache, and the beginning of healing. I have been visiting The Well at Brookwood for a few months, and have had the pleasure of experiencing refuge, community, joy, and most recently–the finding of “Conquering Depression”. I thought it was just another one of the coffeeshop books (at the time, I had no idea that you were the pastor there AND the author!) and was too afraid to browse through it for long, much less purchase it from one of the super-friendly baristas. So, I waited. I waited about another week, and then was searching again through Lifeway for SOME sort of help, release, direction out of the pit I’d found myself in. So, I searched through all the books and there on the bottom shelf screaming my name was your book again. So, I bought it. (Mind you, combined with a little journal, two cd’s and another book–I was too afraid to admit that’s all I needed…surely it was convincing that it was for a friend…right? 🙂 ) I cannot tell you the healing it has brought just within the first several pages. My eyes, heart, mind, no, my very soul have been opened up to the “blessing” that is depression–and that’s where I’ve come to turn to you. 

***

 As one who has suffered from clinical depression for many years I was skeptical about this “30 day plan” approach but after reading this book I am skeptical no more. Written by a medical doctor and a pastor, this is not a “pray it away” approach but rather a multidisciplinary approach that gives information from a medical and spiritual perspective as well as recommendations for treatment and tools to use on a day to day basis. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who lives with depression or even thinks they might have it.

***

 First I’d like to say that if I could give more than 5 stars, I would for this book. This book is a wonderful book on how to conquer depression, an illness that has plagued me for over 9 years. It is written by two professionals who both are strong Christians and both have suffered from depression which makes you know they understand what you are going through and there is hope. I also appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to sift through what I felt was Scriptural and what I felt wasn’t as this book is very Biblically based and glorifies God throughout the whole book. If you are suffering, have suffered, or know someone who is suffering from Depression please purchase this book for them. I only wish I had found it years ago when I went through my first major depression.

About Bruce Hennigan

Published novelist, dramatist, apologist, and physician.

Posted on July 26, 2011, in My Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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