I was supposed to be in my first exam on Tuesday morning. I wasn’t. And it felt awful.
It’s not that I slept in, or forgot. I’m just not taking my finals this year, and most likely never; my depression has made sure of that.
Part of me feels like I’ve failed; that I’ve wasted the last three years of my life, that it’s all been for nothing. Part of me feels like I didn’t try hard enough; if only I’d worked harder, or tried more I wouldn’t be in this position. Part of me feels like I tried too hard; if only I’d worked a bit less, and not pushed myself when I couldn’t take it I might not have had a melt down. Part of me (albeit an irrational but rather large part) feels like it’s all my fault; that I’m to blame. To blame for my depression, to blame for what triggered it, to blame for not being able to take my exams, to blame for everything, whatever everything is…
Blame eats away at you, steals your self-worth, your self-respect, your confidence, your happiness. By assigning blame, to you or to anyone else, it acts like a giant microscope, which focuses on and exaggerates all the shortcomings and flaws. And the more we look, the more we notice. A picture builds up of all the things that are “wrong” or “bad” and you start to blame yourself for these too.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
Depression makes it virtually impossible to change your way of thinking, it makes it hard to think full stop, and according to Shaw this means nothing will change. No progress will be made; it won’t get better. You try to find ways of coping, of escaping the cycle of blame, but nothing works, nothing changes.
But I don’t have to change by myself. None of us do.
I’m unacceptable? God created me, Christ died for me. I am acceptable to Him; before the world was created He made the choice to adopt me as His own.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.
Ephesians 1:4-5 For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love. He destined us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.
I need to be punished? When Jesus allowed himself to be beaten, mocked and nailed to a cross to die, he paid the ultimate price for any and all my wrongs. He bled so I don’t have to, and freely gave grace, love and forgiveness.
1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.
Things are never going to get better? God promises a future and a hope – I might not be able to see it now, and I have no idea how it will work out, or even if I believe it half the time, but I will wait on Him.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
I’ll never be able to change? God has made me a new creation, and even though it will take time, He has promised to change me for the better, no matter how I feel about myself.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Even though I’m not taking my exams this year – even though I’m depressed – that doesn’t make me a failure, or any less in God’s eyes. I just need to have that perspective and see myself as He sees me. He doesn’t blame me, so I shouldn’t either.