I can remember wanting to die from depression. This was a distinctly different feeling than wanting to kill myself. I never wanted to kill myself. There was too much at stake for that. I didn’t want my daughter to grow up with a dad who took his life. Having my wife go through life without me was not something I wanted her to have to do.
I also knew, I didn’t want to continue living like this.
Several months before my breakdown, I had become a dad. I was still dealing with the new reality. Once you’re a parent you cannot undo it. Even if you lose your child, you’re then a parent who lost their child. My identity was forever changed. I’m such a deep thinker, I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
I never planned on being a dad.
Don’t get me wrong, I had my daughters name picked out when I was 14. But I never gave consideration to being a real father. For me it was something that would happen one day. I knew it would never come before I was ready. Clearly, it didn’t go down this way. I became so overwhelmed with life. The daily choices I needed to make. The idea of providing for a wife and for a daughter became such a huge undertaking. Depression was creeping in.
I couldn’t handle this depression. All I wanted to do was sleep. It was the only time my mind shut off.
I would have panic attacks. I genuinely felt like I was losing my mind. Sincerely, losing grip with reality. I remember distinctly telling my wife that I knew God didn’t make mistakes but he made a mistake making me a father. Even now I remember the exact moment and exactly how I felt.
I thought God knew everything? From what I was told as a kid, he doesn’t make mistakes. He would never give me more than we could handle together. Although, here I was, broken and ready to just leave this earth. I didn’t understand how anyone could live a full life like this. I knew I couldn’t live 60 more years this way and I was ready.
All my insecurities in life were compounded by fatherhood.
I had finally found something in life I wasn’t naturally good at. It was something I had to work at. This immediately made me think I wasn’t fit for it. I was at whits end.
The only thing I ever knew to do was pray. I’m not going to tell you I didn’t have anyone helping me either. I give so much credit to my brother and sister in law for listening and helping me feel sane. I give credit to a counselor who told me to tell the old Sean to let go and I was taking over. These things, this net around me helped more than I could ever have imagined. Although I want to share something that’s beyond this.
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I’ve always believed if you pray and earnestly seek God because you fully believe He is the only one who can answer the questions you’re asking, He will answer.
So, I started to pray.
I knew God was the only one who could heal me. I started to ask him to heal me and immediately thanked him for healing me. And I wasn’t feeling the healing immediately. I thanked him trusting that my healing would come one day but I didn’t know when it would be.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
I’m in the middle of praying and listening to the radio in my car, a song came on I had never heard before, Good Good Father. I started singing the song and claiming it to God. I knew he was a good father and I trusted he would get me through this. Something magical happened in that moment.
I genuinely felt God was singing it back to me.
That I was a good father and I was perfect in all my ways. I didn’t think God was telling me I was perfect and I knew he was telling me I was perfect as a father for my daughter. Then, I realized he ordained me for fatherhood. It was almost as if overnight my situation started to change.
My mind started to clear. In the thick of my depression, I thought it would never end and God made a mistake. I never thought I’d come out alive. Looking back, this was a period of roughly 3 months of my life. They were by far the 3 worst months of my life. However, I now look back and see how God was moving.
I say all of this to say this, you may be in the worst moment of your life right now, but there is a better day.
There’s even a better moment. Right now you can pray, genuinely pray to Jesus and tell him you need his help. You need him to take over. Let him know you trust him. You have to deeply trust him. I now believe life is too short for me to enjoy time with my family and wonder how I’ll make due with the little I have. Enjoying every moment more is what I try to do. Waking up excited for the day.
Depression is definitely real, but it really does get better. Don’t let go. Just give up. Give it to God and let him work his magic.