How Jesus Delivered Me From a Mental and Emotional Breakdown
Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited for the Lord and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay. And set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.”
In 2018, Jesus delivered me from a mental and emotional breakdown. I suffered a major depressive episode which lasted for several months until I was delivered. This was a result of a sudden and unexpected change in my life that transpired in late 2017. I was just not equipped to deal with it as I had been living with untreated depression and anxiety for years. I felt like my life was over, and I had nothing else to live for. I was extremely sad, unhappy, and weepy. I struggled to function in all aspects of my daily life to no avail.
Then, one Friday evening, as I was getting ready to leave the office, the realization that I was going home to an empty apartment, hit me and I broke down in tears. I had to calm down myself in case anyone saw me. I didn’t want to go home, and I hated that the day had come to an end. I had to face the reality of my life again. Two whole days with nothing important to do to distract me was torturous.
So, as the days and weeks went by, I didn’t know what to do with myself. And living with untreated depression and anxiety caused my mental health to decline. I was desperate to escape my life, so I quit my job and moved to another city. I took over a student’s lease; he had four months remaining, and he went home for the summer. That was enough time for me to see if I would like the place and, maybe move there permanently.
Coping in the New City
In the new city my depression only deepened, I found it very difficult to cope, and as the days went on, became more and more unhappy and sad. Despite what distraction I found to take my mind off my reality. The city was not conducive to my mental health. It was a very small city with not very much to do. I noticed the demographics were in the older age category and quickly learned that the city was a ‘working’ city – for government professionals. All the younger people move to larger cities to find non-government work and settle down.
The shopping stores close at 6 p.m., on the weekdays, and are closed completely on Sundays. After I visited all the interesting landmarks, stores, sightseeing places and such, I lost all the excitement about the city. I went swimming at the Y.M.C.A., and this was the only consistent enjoyable thing I could find to do. But, I couldn’t rid myself of the overwhelming sadness and despair I felt. I had lost all interest in myself and hope for my future.
Experiencing Suicidal Thoughts
Then, I started experiencing intrusive, unwanted thoughts and memories about the past. All of the events that caused the pain and emotional trauma I’d endured since childhood. My mind was plagued with these thoughts.
It was like a record replaying my past, all of the negative events that had happened in my entire life. Things that I had blocked out and was unpleasant to remember. I couldn’t sleep anymore and I started experiencing sleep paralysis more frequently – one of the scariest things a human being can experience.
Moreover, I had lost all mental clarity to think straight, to think about what was next for me and my future. In fact, I wasn’t planning a future because at that point I decided that I didn’t want to live anymore. I figured what was the point. I had come to a crossroads in my life – and I could only see one way out. Besides, I couldn’t go back to Toronto because I had given up my job and apartment, and had become homeless.
Then I began to have suicidal thoughts. I became obsessed with these thoughts. Mostly how would it happen? And if it happened at home, how long before my neighbour or landlord found me in the apartment? I would walk down the street and fantasize about throwing myself off the bridge I was crossing. What if I stepped in front of an oncoming car? It was a lot of what-ifs – but I never planned it. I was okay with dying, but I never had it in me to take my own life. So, instead, I asked God to take my life.
When Jesus Delivered Me in the Wilderness
One day, I went on a very long walk in this neighbourhood that I’d never visited before. I ended up at this forest-like trail, it was very long and surrounded by huge, tall trees, with very long branches blowing in the wind, overlooking a river with swimming ducks enjoying the warmth of the summer. It was a very warm, peaceful, and quiet afternoon.
I walked for a very long while, then I stopped and sat on a bench as I didn’t know how far the trail continued. I had been listening to music, and the song that was playing was “Jesus, Center of My Joy,” by Richard Smallwood. Listening to that song has always moved me and made me feel hopeful. So, I’m listening to the song and suddenly, a wave of emotions overwhelmed me and I began to cry out to God. I cried and cried and poured my heart out to Him unashamedly, withholding nothing.
I began to rehash my whole life story to Him and asked Him why I was born if I had to endure such relentless struggles and emotional pain my whole life. What was the purpose of my life if I was just living in perpetual sadness and despair? I talked to Him about all of the negative experiences I’ve had, beginning in my childhood. All of the negative thoughts and memories that were plaguing my mind, depriving me of sleep.
Further, I made a decision in my mind – I told Him that I couldn’t see another way out of my depression. I felt my life was pointless and couldn’t even think about my future nor was I interested in my future anymore. Then, I could not believe the words that came out of my mouth next. I said to Him that if He had no intentions of delivering me out of that depression, to just take my life that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I repeated it again. Just take my life.
Although I was saying those words to Him, deep down, I really didn’t mean it. In fact, I felt a little fearful that what if He really took my life. That’s when I realized that I really didn’t want to die, I wanted to live, but not with deep depression. Thankfully, He knows what’s in our hearts, and it was not His will to take my life.
When I was finished talking to God, I walked away from the wilderness feeling different, lighter, and hopeful. My emotional pain had left, my worries had disappeared, and I felt courageous to take on another day. I knew what happened that day was real and, that I would always remember it. I had experienced God’s grace and mercy, his love, and his faithfulness that afternoon. Jesus delivered me from a mental and emotional breakdown that I had been experiencing for months in which I saw no way out.
That day, I thought I was going on a walk like any other ordinary day, but it was no ordinary day. It was my day of deliverance. I couldn’t have imagined that I would be summoned to the wilderness for a meeting with the Lord and receive my deliverance.
It is true that God always has other plans for us. That day, I was prepared to go Downtown; when I got outside, I started heading toward Downtown direction. Then I stopped and turned around and headed in the opposite direction ( I didn’t have any reason to change course). But, little did I know that Jesus was waiting to deliver in the wilderness that day.
Ask What Ye Desire
So, the next morning after Jesus delivered me when getting ready to pray, I picked up my Bible to read, without knowing what scripture I was going to read, I turned the pages and landed on St. Mark, and my eyes caught:
Mark 11:24 “Therefore, I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
At that very instant, I knew that the Lord was communicating with me and, that he wanted me to ask Him for help to get my life back on track. And, so I did.
After I finished reading, I prayed and began to ask Him to provide me with an apartment and a job, so that I could move back to Toronto and resume my life. I suddenly had the will to live again, and the realization that God was actively working in my life to help me along the way, only restored my faith in Him and gave me a newfound hope. It was unexpected, but I was grateful that Jesus delivered me.
Amazingly, all my suicidal thoughts had left, all of my sadness and deep despair gone. I was excited and looking forward to finding a new apartment and a job. I suddenly had a future to plan for again. Subsequently, within two weeks, I found an apartment, and another two weeks after that, I moved back to Toronto.
Jesus delivered me from a mental and emotional breakdown. He was there for me at a time in my life when I needed Him the absolute most. He proved faithful to me and saved me by His grace. Now, it was time for new beginnings for me, and to look forward to the future again with His Holy Spirit guiding me.
Consequently after, Jesus delivered me, I moved back home, after staying there for three months. I resumed my life. I realized it was good for me to get away, although I felt that the city was not conducive to my mental health. I went back home with renewed faith and hope and trust in Christ. My spiritual life was strengthened and I grew closer to God. I had hope in Him for the future again. I created a new prayer routine where I prayed and read the Word every morning and evening.
Finally, I continue to live with depression, and by God’s grace, I have never experienced another depressive breakdown again. However, I acknowledged the fact that clinical depression is an ongoing mental disorder, and I recognized the importance and benefit of taking antidepressant medication to help reduce my symptoms, stabilize my mood, and help me to cope better, while I’m awaiting my complete healing from the Lord. So since 2021, I’ve been on an antidepressant, and I’ve been coping well, in addition to actively practicing daily self-care.
I always knew that one day, I would have to bear witness to His saving grace and tell the story of how Jesus delivered me. He waited until now.