Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Special Guest Post: Shelley Manha on depression

Over the next couple weeks several guest writers will share on topics varying from prayer to depressions. I hope you enjoy their voices and interact with them in the comments.

Today, one of my Resident Director’s from college shares her experience with depression. Please welcome, Shelley Manha.

I have struggled with depression for many years. My temperament certainly makes me vulnerable to it. The sanguine part of my temperament loves people and having fun, but the melancholy part of me tunes into the details of life with intensity and analysis. Because I experienced so many hard things in life, I grew up dwelling on all the sorrow. 

I gave my heart to Jesus at eighteen, and all He has done for me changed my life completely. Though I was saved, the healing of my wounds would take time. I was an encouraging, friendly person, but especially when circumstances were hard, I suffered from depression. It was a combination of challenging situations in the present that would trigger wounds from the past. 

Through the years, I dealt with my depression in different ways. In my late twenties, I saw a therapist for two years which was an incredibly healing experience. When I was 36 I took antidepressants for two years because I was going through a stressful season and it helped a lot. 

My mental health has come a long way since then. In my relationship with God, I have always found myself praying, "God, I know there's more." And when I was thirty-eight, He led me to a place in my walk where I had never been before. 

Long story short, like those in the first book of Acts, I too, was waiting (unknowingly) to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit that was more than what I had received when I was saved. As He led me on this path, I jumped in (or filled up as it were). And what I learned about baptism in the Spirit and being continually filled is that it's all about faith just as salvation-I believe first and then I understand.

Welcoming the Holy Spirit into my life has brought scripture alive to me. I had always read that scripture was "living and active" but didn't understand the inherent power in the Word, and in the Word coming out of my mouth and over my life until I received the seemingly forgotten part of God. 

The Holy Spirit teaches me as I read. One very helpful thing that I've learned is that my negative mindsets and toxic thinking were a result of listening to Satan who constantly spoke lies to me. I had to learn that no, my mind is not an entity unto itself isolated from the negative spiritual realm, but indeed always exposed to it. And God now shields me with the Spirit helping me to take responsibility for my thoughts and refute the lies with truth following the voice of my Shepherd who is never negative or condemning. 

And little by little, these lies are being replaced with truth. Emotions follow the lead of thoughts, so these changes in my thought life have decreased depression significantly. Just as soon as I ever think I have this path down, (and sometimes I do actually think this), God shows up to answer that prayer always rising up to chase down my pride: "God, I know there's more." And thankfully, there's always more.

Shelley Manha loves to write about what she learns. When she was young, she wrote her way through many diaries trying to make sense of confusion. Writing is therapy for her as much as it is a pleasure. She is married, has a six year old son, and lives in Southern New Hampshire. She enjoys swimming, reading, singing and gardening.

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