I came into the Understanding Depression & Tools for Recovery class at House of Hope in a really broken place. I had recently been hospitalized for severe depression and debilitating panic attacks. I felt hopeless and believed many lies, including the belief that God probably didn’t love me anymore if he allowed me to be hospitalized in a psychiatric unit. I felt isolated and very alone. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to continue walking through life with depression.
Depression is heavy and all-consuming. I didn’t understand how such a hopeless depression took hold of my life. The Understanding Depression class helped me understand that depression is multifaceted, with many contributing factors. The curriculum worked through ten potential contributing factors, and I soon realized that I had seven of the negative factors present in my life. I began to understand that while I could not change a few of the contributing factors of depression, like genetics or my past, I could change the other factors like nutrition, exercise, Scripture reading, and avoiding negative thoughts.
Understanding the factors gave me hope because my struggle with depression was no longer a “mystery,” but a condition I could start to walk through and out of as I adjusted my lifestyle and began to implement positive changes like self-care. As a mom to five kids, I was practicing very little self-care before I took the class, but as a result of the information I learned in the class, I realized how important it is to care for myself as well.
Through the love I experienced during the class from the facilitators and other participants, I learned that I am not alone, that there is hope during seasons of depression, and that ultimately God was offering me His saving grace through House of Hope. It is not an exaggeration to say God saved my life through this class.
I am extremely thankful that House of Hope offers such a practical class that teaches participants about depression and the tools that are available to not only survive difficult seasons, but to really thrive and live with joy in the extravagant Hope and Love God offers us through Jesus in all circumstances.