Faith and Prayer Helped Her Overcome Depression

Joy eluded me like a forgotten melody. I felt as if I'd lost myself...

By Julie West Garmon, Snellville, Georgia

As appeared in

Easter Sunday, the calendar on my kitchen wall proclaimed. So did the kids' baskets with their neon-colored eggs and marshmallow bunnies. And our new outfits for church.

Jamie, 13, and Katie, 11, had polka-dot dresses like mine, and three-year-old Thomas proudly wore a miniature tie. Easter was all around.

So why wasn't it Easter inside me too?

"Look!" my husband, Rick, said as we pulled out of the driveway. "The pear trees are blooming! First time since we planted them!"

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I don't even remember us having pear trees. What's the matter with me, Lord? It had come on so suddenly, this gray, gloomy hopeless feeling.

At church, shouts of "Happy Easter!" bombarded us. "Happy Easter!" I parroted, mimicking my friends' bright smiles. Put on a happy face. What kind of Christian is sad on Easter?

I told myself it was only temporary. But April and May went by with the same dreary numbness. I forgot to eat, I was losing weight, I couldn't sleep. My mother wanted me to see my doctor, but what could I say to him–"I'm feeling sad but there's no reason for it"?

Besides, weren't Christians supposed to rejoice in the Lord? All my 34 years I'd gone to two church services every Sunday, Tuesday night outreach, Wednesday night Girls-in-Action when I was younger, nowadays Prayer Meeting with Rick.

What would everyone think if they knew that I was feeling this darkness inside, that I was failing God so?

Maybe I just needed a change of scene. In June, when we went on vacation, things would be different.

On the drive to Florida's Gulf coast, I tried to join in with Rick and the kid's excited plans about everything they wanted to do once we got to the beach, but I ended up feeling like the odd sock in the dryer.

At our rental condo I went through the motions, packed picnics for the beach, played games, and at night while my family slept, slipped outside to cry.

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Stepping out the glass sliding doors into the briny darkness, I listened to the rhythm of the waves. Why didn't it soothe me as it always had? I have new freckles on my arms, Lord, so I must be in Florida. Why can't I feel anything?

I came home feeling worse than when we left. I stopped looking in mirrors, unwilling to face the drawn, needy-eyed woman lurking there.

All summer I forced myself to take the kids to our neighborhood pool, thinking, Maybe if I act like the other moms, I can feel like a mom again. As my friends chatted, I put on sunglasses and pretended to be absorbed in a magazine.

I thought I was fooling even Rick, till one evening he said, "You don't hum any more, Julie. Is something the matter?"

No! That was the trouble. Everything was fine, except me. "I'm just a little tired," I told him.

"Let's pray about it," he said.

I have prayed! I've prayed and prayed and nothing happens. Rick must have been more worried than he let on, because for the first time in our married life, he suggested we kneel and pray out loud together. I repeated everything after him, like wedding vows.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

It became a nightly ritual, praying together at bedtime. "Thank you, Lord," Rick would close, "for giving Julie your perfect peace." I'd feel peaceful too–for as long as he prayed. Then he'd fall asleep, and when I couldn't lie still any longer, I'd ease off the covers and tiptoe over to the clock.

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Your Comments (3)

thank you for the article. what you experienced is exactly what i am feeling and have been feeling for a long time. even when i had a good job and was going to church and trying to work out i still had a time with depression. i think its time to see a doctor myself. thanks again

This is truley inspiring. I've been having anxiety and somewhat of a depression lately and this really has given me hope, I can relate to your feelings with your faith, deep down I know God is with me through this all even though my feelings make it hard for me sometimes to have that faith that I used to have.. I'm very happy for you and your family and I thank you for sharing this, it made me feel a little more at ease. God bless

I've been suffering and depressed now for at least three years. It's a deep, dark hole I cannot seem to get out of. I cannot concentrate, I am sad, lonely, angry, wondering if I will ever get better, feeling inferior, allowing others to abuse me, not telling anyone because I'm ashamed of being depressed. I've been on two different medications that never worked which really frustrated me. I have another type which I do not even want to start taking, because I think they might not work, and I'm jus going to get bad side effects. I hate this feeling of hopelessness. No one understands me, but then how could they, when I'm not telling them what the problem is. I pray, and I pray but that doesn't seem to help either. The above posts has given me hope. I now know I am not alone, and that I can get well. Each day I tell myself I'm going to have a good day, so it starts that way. By early afternoon, I'm sad, lonely and wonder why I am living. I miss my beautiful daughter so much. She died a little over five years ago. I loved her very much, and now all I have are memories. I know we all will die someday, but she died so suddenly and that's what was shocking, and hurt the most. Her death ripped my heart right out. I still feel depressed, but I know I have hope and that I will get well. I go to the doctor all the time, and I will go again in a few days, and tell him I want to start on the Celexis (Not sure of spelling). My problem is I'm impatient and want the medication to work right away, but it doesn't work that way. I have to take them and expect results in some weeks to follow. Please pray for me so that I will have patience while taking the new meds. Thank you all, for being there for me. May God bless you all and keep each of you safe thru' your darkest days. Amen.