Healing From Depression Using The Principles In The Creation Story
I was either listening to a sermon or reading a book recently but I don’t quite remember when I had to read Genesis 1:1 and I saw it in a whole new light that I had never seen it in before. It adequately described what being depressed looked like for me in a way that nothing else has. Genesis 1:1 says “God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” These terms “waste”, “emptiness”, and “darkness” Aptly describe my Depression.
Waste is defined as any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective, and of no use. Waste is synonymous with worthlessness. So I used to say to myself and family and friends when I was in the D-zone that I was matter — I only had weight and occupied space and wasn’t useful to myself or anyone else because I had zero value — I was worthless.
Emptiness: to explain emptiness think of a bottle of drink like sprite. When it’s cold and chilled, both the bottle and its content are precious to a person who is thirsty as they can give her value by quenching her thirst. However, as soon as the person drinks up the liquid in the bottle and it becomes empty, the person throws it away. Why? Because it no longer has valued. Emptiness signifies that you have no value, nothing to give so you’re discarded and you’re not fit to exist. My MIL always says she must die empty meaning she must die at the point when she has nothing else to give because she’s empty. A pastor at my church once mentioned that he went about homes counting people during the 1990 census and arrived at a wealthy man’s house. While he was still questioning the man about the number of people in the house, his adult daughter walked in on them stark naked, drooling with saliva — she was an imbecile. She wasn’t counted with the other family members because she’s practically empty. Though alive — she has nothing to give in that state. She could be healed in the future and become a person of value but in that state, she wasn’t.
Darkness: is a lack of illumination or an absence of visible light. Darkness signifies confusion because you can’t see anything so you don’t know where to go or what to do. It signifies hopelessness because if you don’t know anything or can’t do anything you’re stuck forever where you are in your pain and that’s why people attempt or commit suicide in depression. There’s no point living if you’re stuck on the same spot forever unable to change your situation. There’s this song I used to love a lot by 3 doors down titled “away from the sun”. I really loved that song but it was only a few years ago I realized it was about depression. The sun is the primary source of light and energy on the earth. If you are away from the sun, it means you’re engulfed in darkness, void of light and energy. In case you want to argue that Shebi there’s electricity in the absence of the sun, Einstein’s law of relativity states that energy is neither created nor destroyed but is changed from one form to another. E = MC 2 (sometimes I just like to show that I know book small 😜). Plants absorb the energy from the sun through a process of photosynthesis as food. Humans and animals eat plants and receive their energy. Humans eat animals and receive their energy so our energy comes from the sun when we eat food. The energy from the sun can also be converted into electricity as solar energy. So the source of all light and energy on earth is the sun and consequently away from the sun means darkness and inability to do work (energy is work done per time). So yea away from the sun definitely means depression if you didn’t already know.
Genesis 1:2b — says And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
In one of my book clubs, we are currently reading and discussing the book and its accompanying course, Adamant, by Lisa Bevere. In the last module I watched, she mentioned that the verse Deuteronomy 32:10 explained the word “hovering” in the above verse was. As she read it, I looked it up and it’s about the most beautiful verse I think I have ever read in the bible. I had to pause the video, read the verse again, read the entire chapter and previous chapter for context.
Deuteronomy 32:10 ESV -
“He found him in a desert land,
and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
he encircled him, he cared for him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye.
For context, this verse was spoken by Moses and its subjects are God and the Israelites. God is the “He” that found the Israelites in a desert land. However, this verse aptly describes what I believe happened to me and I would explain what i mean line by line.
He found him in a desert land,
Jesus found me in my desert land of depression. Nothing grows in a desertland so it’s unfruitful. If you are unfruitful or unproductive for whatever reason, you’re in a desert land. Jesus found me because I wasn’t looking for him. Like I said in my testimony video, I was practically just sitting around waiting to die and go to hellfire. I tried to speed up the death process a few times by attempting suicide but thankfully the one time I followed through was unsucccesful.
and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
So he found me in a desert land, in the howling waste of the wilderness. Wilderness are natural environments that have not been significantly modified by human activity or any nonurbanized land not under extensive agricultural cultivation. Essentially no humans or animals live or work in the wilderness. So the wilderness is a place of loneliness. I was alone before my family found out I was ill but even after my parents stayed with me and we went back and forth between New york and california several times and I finally returned home to my parents house and then the hospital, I was really still alone. Nobody seemed to understand what I was going through and I also couldn’t aptly describe it to them so I can’t even fault them for not understanding. Even the guys I met at the psychiatric hospital were hospitalized as a result of adverse effects of substance abuse not depression so they too couldn’t relate. One of my uncles who had been depressed twice in his life came to visit me twice and I guess to a little extent only he could understand but not fully. The circumstances and underlying causes of our depression were different and it’s only almost 2 years after I became well that I understood what caused the depression. One of the things that eases the burden of humanity is knowing that you are not alone in the things you are going through or in you desires so not having anyone who understands what you are going through is being in the wilderness. But thankfully, we have Jesus our high priest who feels our every weakness. Though I wasn’t even aware of him or his presence, he was very near me, felt everything I felt and could empathize with me so I wasn’t really alone like I believed.
he encircled him, he cared for him,
I really can’t describe how these two statements apply to me but let me try. To encircle means to surround. He surrounded me and cared for me. Like I don’t even believe I was a good person in any of my relationships either to my friends or family but I was surrounded by so much love by my friends and family in that season. I was in hiding from my friends and didn’t inform the ones in the US that I was moving back to Nigeria or inform the ones in Nigeria I was returning. However, the US ones never stopped sending messages on Facebook and emails which I would read and ignore. Ahmean over a 2.5 year period people were still sending me “I hope you are well and I am praying for you” messages. I honestly would have canceled the person with red biro after 1 or 2 attempts if the roles were reversed. People were reaching out to other people they didn’t know but who knew me to find out about me. Friends were reaching out to my mum and siblings and some kept showing up in my house even after my mum and siblings kept lying that I wasn’t home per my instructions.
I was just in a horrible state and so full of shame and I didn’t want anyone to see me in that condition. An uncle who has maybe visited my parents house once or twice in the over 15 years we had lived there, drove all the way down twice to see me and encourage me as he had also been depressed twice in his life. Aunties and cousins would come to visit me and encourage me etc. Like the show of love was all shades of amazing. A friend said to me after I was well that she had come to my house several times and was always told I was absent but never stopped praying for me and then one day the holy spirit told her to come to my house and she’d see me that day. She came to my house and I guess my mum was just tired of lying to her so she let her into my room. She told me I was out of it when she saw me like I was there but I wasn’t really there. I was just staring into blank space, lying filthy in my dirty room as I hadn’t showered in days, and she didn’t even know how to talk to me. So in addition to these visits, people were genuinely praying for me persistently. My parents were the real MVPs and deserve a post of their own but after running from pillar to post, they met a pastor who asked them to pray for me at 9 pm every day. They’ve been doing that faithfully for I believe almost two years now (though they pray for their other kids too oh not just me) but still, that level of commitment is very humbling. I recently saw a quote that said “when you love someone you pray for them” which I interpreted to mean “who you love you pray for” and conversely, thus their act of praying daily became much more meaningful to me. So yea God surrounded me with so much love and cared for me through people.
He kept me as the apple of his eye.
On more than a few occasions, I drove and just ran through red lights hoping to get into accidents. I have driven with my eyes closed for a few seconds a few times. I had spent several hours on several days on the top of a 20-sth story building just contemplating whether to jump and kuku kill myself or not. I never had the courage to follow through except one time when I was googling painless ways to die per standard behavior, I came across a chemical whose name I can’t remember that was used to commit suicide when you ingest it. I bought it from the pharmacy and drank it as horrible tasting as it was. I legit thought I would die that day with the way I was vomiting so violently. It felt like my entire intestine was going to come out in the vomit. The pain I experienced was out of this world. That was the first and last time I tried to ingest anything that would kill me. But through all my foolishness, God kept me as the apple of his eye. He didn’t allow anything to happen to me. Even during the times, I called 911 saying I was going to commit suicide and was cuffed by the policemen and taken to psychiatric hospitals and doped up, those pills didn’t harm me. Those pills normally dumb you down and keep you restrained. There were many such visits to psych wards and many such pills swallowed by me yet they didn’t affect my cognitive function like they did those of the people I was surrounded by at those wards who had been repeatedly attempting suicide and whose minds were almost non-functional. Like I could see exactly how horrifying my life would play out if I continued on the path I was going on and I still shudder now when I remember any of those people I met at the psych wards. People who medicine can no longer help — if anything medicine is harming their cognitive abilities — yet God preserved me carefully in the midst of all those horrors only by his grace.
Now to the good part. Sorry if I creeped you out. That was not my intention.
In Genesis 1:3 says, “God said let there be light and there was light!”
That’s similar to how I got well. I had a 3-hour, 2-day session with my doctor where I poured out my heart and to date I have no idea why as he asked me the same question he always asked to which I would give monosyllabic answers to but I believe it was just time. I had stayed in darkness long enough. God had encircled me, cared for me and kept me as the apple of his eye in my darkness but it was time to step into his light which is the life of men. He commanded light to appear in my life and the light appeared. And since that day I have been living in light since. Life has become bright and beautiful. Life now has meaning. Where I was empty, now I am full and have so much to give. Where I was waste, now I have talents, gifts and abilities that can create value and bless people. Where I was hopeless now I have hope not just in this life but in the one to come.
So Genesis 1:1 Is the story of creation but it’s also the story of how the new me was created. The principles God employed to create the earth and its inhabitants out of emptiness and void are still the same principles he employs today to create new versions of people and seasons I believe.
P.S. I actually want to list the name of everyone who reached out to me in this season as a form of public appreciation but as I am now mindful of people’s privacy, I have chosen not to do so. I have thanked everyone of them privately and even bought gifts of appreciation for a few but maybe I would just thank them again.