Depression: My Story

My Depression Story

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’ The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:18-20

…Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Let that sink in for a moment. Moses went into the darkness, WHERE GOD ALREADY WAS.

That has been the story of my journey with depression. God has met me in each and every dark moment. God has shown me glimpses of Himself in ways I never would have seen had I not entered seasons of darkness myself.

Friends, if there is nothing else you get out of this post today, hear this: God is in the darkness right there with you. You are not abandoned. You are not forsaken. He is right there with you.

Eight years ago I had a 3 year old, 2 year old and an infant. Life was crazy and I was overwhelmed. I have mentioned before that I thought marriage and motherhood would be one big fairy tale dream come true. Why I never imagined how hard it would be is beyond me. But, slowly, day after day, I started sinking into a hole that I just could not pull myself out of.

I was sleep deprived, which turned into irritable, which turned into immense feelings of guilt that I wasn’t a more loving mother to my kids. The guilt was so overwhelming that instead of spurring me on to be a better mom, I fell into a deeper pit. Literally, moment after moment I felt like I was failing my kids and that I was failing them for a lifetime, not just this time period.

…in the thick darkness where God was. 

I’m honestly not sure if this started as postpartum depression or not, as I really didn’t start feeling my worst til Caleb was almost 1 year old. But, it could have started as that and just spiraled and continued going downhill.

Months and months go by with no improvement. I’m becoming more and more withdrawn. My husband came home a time or two and found me in the bathroom crying. I hate to even admit to you how little I played with or interacted with my children during this time period. And that was just another source of guilt. I got to that place where getting out of bed didn’t even feel possible at times. I would force myself to get lunch or food for the kids and that’s about it.

During this time, I could not say the word “depression” out loud. Honestly, I didn’t even THINK that word until about a year into this ordeal. I didn’t know WHAT was wrong, truthfully.

…in the thick darkness where God was.

Finally, I admitted that something was very, very wrong. Admitting that you are struggling with a mental illness is a very, very difficult ~ yet vital ~ step in the process. I didn’t know to move forward with any type of treatment until I knew that I had a problem. Once I began admitting that there was something wrong, we were able to move forward with a few different things that ended up helping.

First of all, depression effects the entire family. Our marriage was strained. To say the least. David and I began counseling at a wonderful Christian counseling office in our town. Thankfully, I have a friend that works there so I was able to feel really good about this option and not have to look around a bunch to find someone. The counseling that we received was WONDERFUL for us. We were communicating again. We were looking at both of our family histories and seeing patterns and finding things that we NEEDED to change to help our marriage not only survive, but thrive.

Secondly, our marriage counselor recommended a local psychiatrist that I began seeing regularly. She was also wonderful. She knew that life with 3 little ones could be overwhelming and she affirmed me each week in our visits. She also started me on Lexapro as an anti-depressant.

Between counseling and medication, my life took a turn for the better. Now hear me, it took a few months. MONTHS. There were still many hard days. And one hard day felt like a million years. But, even just having my husband AWARE of my struggles was HUGE. It was also very grueling waiting to know if the meds would kick in.

…in the thick darkness where God was. 

For me, medication pulled me out of the pit that I just could not get myself out of. I stayed on Lexapro for 2 years, I believe. Lexapro gave me back my life. It helped me smile again. But, it did come with its drawbacks. I gained a lot of weight. And I’ve never been able to lose all of it.

After a few years on this medication, our insurance changed and all of a sudden we were looking at paying over $300 a MONTH for Lexapro. So, I weaned off of it. This was also very grueling because I wondered if I was going to crash and burn again. At this time, my psychiatrist and I decided I wasn’t strong enough to try and live without the meds all together, so we began experimenting with other meds to find something else that would work.

This, my friends, was one of the most frustrating parts of my story. I would try a new med, wait 6 weeks up to TWO MONTHS to see if it worked, if not, I would start that cycle over again and try something new. But it took SO LONG for things to kick in for us to even know if they worked or not. This was another very hard season in my life. I tried several meds before finding something else that worked.

Eventually, we tried Effexor and it seemed to be a miracle drug for me. I was smiling again. I was talking to my children. I was feeling more and more normal with each passing day. {Not that normal is what I attain for, but at this time in my life I needed a sense of normalcy for my children.} I stayed on Effexor for several year as well. Again, the Lord granted me relief from the plague of depression for quite some time with the blessing of this medication. I consider it a gift to my family as well as to my own self.

In October of 2013 I just sensed the Lord saying it was time to try going without meds. I was willing and open to go back on them if need be, but I wanted to try it. 6-7 years of the ups and downs of meds was hard. I’m so, so thankful for what the meds did – they brought me out of the dark hole that depression left me in. But I always hoped that someday I would be able to live without them.

…in the thick darkness where God was. 

Going off of Effexor was another of the hardest times in my life. I wrote a lengthy post about how if affected my body physically during the weaning process. There are 40 comments there from many others who have suffered the withdrawal effects of Effexor also. Before you get on this med, I encourage you to read.

Fortunately, a few months after going off of Effexor, the Lord worked a miracle in my life. Since late in 2013 I have been completely OFF meds and DOING WELL. I do consider that to be a miracle. After years of suffering, the Lord did a work in my life that has allowed me to stay off meds for this long. I know that someday He may take me through the valley again, but for now, I’m grateful.

Read more about my journey OFF of anti-depressants here and all the things I’m now doing to remain healthy. 

What I want you to know the most about my struggle with depression? God was in the thick of the darkness with me. I am thankful for the darkest days of my life. The Lord drew me to Himself in ways I would never have known had I not lived in the dark times. He drew me to Himself through His word in helping me learn to pray the Psalms. I never knew how desperate I was for Jesus until I was living this desperate season of life. I don’t ever want to go back to not being desperate for Jesus. 

I walked through the valley of the shadow of death and He was with me.

In the thick darkness, God was there.

My Depression Story

3 Years Later

I cannot leave this post here without an update! 3 years later and I’m shouting from the mountaintops – GOD is FAITHFUL. I would love for you to read an update now that I have been off all of my anti-depressants for 3 years and am thriving. God has been so good to me. My mindset has changed. My health has changed. We are never truly hopeless if we have Christ. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us giving us the power to make the steps necessary to BE TRANSFORMED.

My Journey Off of Anti-Depressants

My wellness journey & 51 pound weight loss! 



Author: Candace Crabtree

I'm Candace and I'm grateful you're here. It is my heart's desire to encourage you while you're visiting and remind your heart of the truths of God's Word and the power of His love to transform lives. Great is His faithfulness! {Note: this blog does use affiliate links.}

24 thoughts on “Depression: My Story”

  1. Thank you for sharing such an honest and encouraging story. There are many people who need to be reminded that God is with us in the darkness . . . I love how you used that example with Moses throughout. I had never thought much about that part of the Biblical account. Thanks again for sharing — I know that your testimony will help many others!

    1. Cheri, thank you so much for your comments and stopping by! That is the reason I share so much of my struggle; at times, several years ago, I felt so alone. I want others to know that is a lie from the enemy! The enemy seeks to isolate us and make us feel abandoned by God. We have to speak up to encourage and comfort others.

  2. What an incredible, incredible post! I’m so blessed to have read it, as a fellow depression/anxiety sufferer and Christ follower. I think it’s awesome how open you are about being on meds – I am on them now, and in the past I have tried going off but it was unhealthy. I need to wait on God’s time. Thank you so much for your openness!

    1. Stefanie, oh thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!! I appreciate your kind words so much…it is for you and others like you that i write these posts. 🙂 The enemy seeks to make us feel alone and isolated and he wins that battle so often!! We must speak out and be real with one another so that we know that we truly are not alone!! Blessings to you!!

      1. I suffer with Bi-polar depression. I had struggled with depression for years and took several meds. Last year I went off of it, thinking I may be able to think more clearly, and have better memory. It threw me into several manic episodes. It finally got so bad, and satan’s voice was overwhelming me. I did attempt suicide. God saved me for the second time. My husband happened to find me and I was revived. I spent more than a week in a mental health facility. I had a wonderful physicitrist. He had to work to get my meds regulated. After trying several, he found the right combination for me.

        I thank God for my salvation, and for saving me from suicide.

        I will never try to go off of meds without very close supervision

        Thanks, for sharing the ugly truth.

  3. What an encouraging read. I too, have/am struggling with depression. For years, I thought I was just a tired homeschooling mom with many kids but when I hit extreme burnout and couldn’t get over it, I knew it was something different. Thankfully, I am getting help. I too used meds, changed my diet, and began exercising. I have also put my remaining children into school after homeschooling 19 years. It was so hard for me to do, but it is what needed to be done.

    1. Lisa, I’m so sorry you’ve struggled. I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to make choices to better our health and family relationships. They are TOUGH decisions, but I’m thankful for the courage to make those changes!! I’m so glad you stopped by today. Be blessed!!!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Sharing a bit of who you are & the journey. In reading today’s scripture something fell over me I broke down in tears I couldn’t stop myself. Every word with so much meaning. Thank you!

  5. I’m found the link to this post on pinterest. I thank God for you and your post. Literally. I’m not quite sure of what i’m going through right now. I would hate to call it depression when I know that there are other people out there with even bigger problems that what i’m going through. Still the truth of the matter is that sometimes it really hurts to … just to be. I don’t know. I just know im going through something and I really question my loyalty to God though I pray to him everyday thanking him for the many blessings I count everyday. I’m not doing anything wrong purposefully, but I feel I should be more greatful. Reading this is really showing me that he is there and he can hear me though this season is very dark. This feeling is very real, but I don’t feel like it’s too important to speak on so I won’t tell anyone. Not even on my darkest days. You are literally the first and one and only person I have told about this. Your post has definitely inspired me to try and do better before this gets out of control. I am at the point where I need to talk about it, but I have no one to go to. It would be a miracle if I actually send this. But I take comfort in my tears and depression everyday thinking that will be it if I just have one good cry. I know it isn’t right because it feels like i’m digging a hole when I do. It feels like im surrendering myself to it. I feel like that’s a bit dramatic, but like I said; this is very real to me. So thank you. Because I needed to know that this too will pass.

  6. I have suffered from severe, chronic depression for years. (most of my life actually). I completely agree with you that being depression free after struggling that long is a miracle, and one that only people who have been there can understand. I’m so glad to hear this for you, and even more glad to see you acknowledge and recognize that it came from the Lord and to give Him all the glory.

    I will pray that you continue to do well. That dark pit of severe, debilitating depression is not something I would wish upon anyone.

    PS–I’m writing a series about finding encouragement in dark times, and am going to be linking to a couple of your posts 🙂

  7. Loved this post. Curious if you had anyone in your life tell you that God and prayer should be enough. That if you are filled with the Spirit, you should have joy, peace….etc. I have never been of that school of thought but it was said to me and very hurtful. I went off meds and have struggled with mild depression. I told them it was a medical condition just like any other that would require meds and I still felt their disapproval. Thoughts???

    1. I also questioned whether GOD and prayer were enough. Which I’ve come to realize yes he is HOWEVER, I strongly agree depression is like any another illness so it should be treated as such. My psychologist gave the example of people who have diabetes. Diet & extercise are required but they will not get better if medication is not included. What I did was fully surrender myself to GOD. I remember one day standing in my kitchen and saying “GOD help me to be the women YOU want me to be”. At that moment when I surrendered to HIS will, amazing thing began to happen. HE led me the medical professional I needed to help me get better. I was plac

    2. I also questioned whether GOD and prayer were enough. Which I’ve come to realize yes HE is HOwever, I strongly agree depression is like any another illness, so it should be treated as such. My psychologist gave the example of people who have diabetes. Diet & extercise are required but they will not get better if medication/insulin are not included. What I did was fully surrender myself to GOD. I was tired of feeling depressed, Then one day standing in my kitchen saying “GOD help me to be the women YOU want me to be”. At that moment when I surrendered to HIS will, amazing thing began to happen. HE led me to the medical professionals I needed to help me get better. I was put on meds for anxiety. I was very skeptical but after a few weeks, I felt better then I’ve ever felt! It was thanks to GOD who lead me to the right people. I was also recommend to seek counseling to my treatment to “re-train my brain” (while on meds) in hopes to one day not have to use meds anymore. Hope my story can help you. GOD bless

  8. Depression for 18 + years taking multiple meds for nerve pain and zoloftt for depression m
    I’m a 36 year old paraplegic in a wheelchair with escalating chronic nerve pain. I am a single woman living in rural Wyoming. …Need online spiritual and social support. Thank you for your generous offer of counsel.

  9. I am so glad that I came across your blog. I too, am very slowly weaning off Effexor after having been on it for many years. In the past, I had been on another med which people said was a nightmare to wean off and it wasn’t that bad. I know just going down a notch on my meds did affect me so I know it’s not going to be fun. But your blog really gave me the encouragement I am looking for right now. Thank you so much for being so open and honest!

  10. It is such a great blessing to find this website and know I am not alone in my battle to overcome depression! I have struggled with it for about 20 years and just thought life would always be blah or bad half of the month. My mom had bi polar disorder and she had to be on medication to be stable and that was a huge blessing for our family! I just started taking medication because of my severe depression and I feel better but it is just the beginning of a new journey. I recently served as a foreign missionary but got sick and came home to take care of my health. I have a fibroid tumor that is causing lots of issues and it still needs to get addressed but the severe depression made it impossible for me to get out of bed. I am adjusting to life in the U.S. again and grieving the loss of my mom and missionary family I served with. I know with God I will get better! Please pray for me, for physical and mental healing so I can go back to work soon. I live with my sister and we really need my income to make ends meet. I know God provides for ALL that we need and that He is faithful!♡☆♡Thanks so very much! God bless you! Praying for all of you on this site too!

  11. I too am on Citalopram. I went through a very difficult marriage which ended after 37 years. I cried all the time because of my unhappiness. Then it got to the point I was having anxiety attacks, smothering like my windpipe was clamped. I don’t have the anxiety attacks but I do find myself battling depression even though I am happier than I have ever been in my life. My past abuse just seems to haunt me all the time. Looking forward to the day that my mind is free of the past.

  12. Thank you for being so open and transparent. Your journey with depression is so much like my journey. 3 babies in 3 years, the weight gained when I was taking Lexapro and not being able to lose that weight. I am grateful for the medication that has literally saved me from committing suicide. But as you state it also robs me of joy and happiness. I have tried twice to go off of my medication and both times by the third day I was suicidal. I had prayed and prayed asking God to heal me. God reminded me of Paul and how he prayed that God would remove his affliction. God chose not to remove his affliction. That was the day I accepted my depression as Gods will for my life. It has been 20 years since I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Your blog is so insightful and encouraging. Thank you for sharing in the oily family group.

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