Dirty plates and half-drunk cups of tea are stacked up by the sink, I haven’t been outside in days, and I’m stood at an open fridge, unable to mentally piece together a meal. Defeated and tired, I close the fridge and order a pizza. It’s all too much to cope with.

When you struggle with depression and anxiety, everyday tasks and self-care are suddenly overwhelming. Depression also feeds you lies. It distorts reality and makes you genuinely believe things that just aren’t true.

“You don’t have any real friends.”
“Your husband would be so much happier without you.”
“You’re terrible at your job.”
“You’re worthless and unloved.”

These are real and all-consuming thoughts that regularly flood my mind. I’ve had counselling and medication, but it will likely be a life-long battle. If you also struggle with your mental health, or know someone who does, I’m sorry. It’s not an easy place to be in.

I (almost) welcomed the lockdowns! It meant I didn’t have to see anybody. I could shut myself in and not worry about being a burden. Of course, this isn’t a healthy response, and if you’re finding things hard, I would encourage you to go out and see people wherever you can. I’m now making a conscious effort to go out for daily walks with friends.

Thankfully, during the first lockdown, some friends, family, and ChristChurch members continued to keep in touch – reminding me of their concern and encouraging me to cling on to what was true.

The truest thing in my life is God. I became a Christian when I was young (6-ish), so I’ve had nearly 30 years of a relationship with Jesus. In all that time, getting to know him through the Bible and talking to him in prayer, one thing is clear: his love for me is unfailing.

I’ve experienced his faithful love throughout my life, but I don’t feel it when I’m in the deepest pit of depression. I lose my grip on God and his goodness, and instead am overwhelmed with dark thoughts and worthlessness.

I’m thankful that in those times of distorted reality, it doesn’t matter if I lose my grip on God, because he never loses his grip on me! I am precious to him, and he gives me value in this life. Jesus also sees immense worth in you – so much so that he died for you! (See John 3:16-17 in the Bible.) If you want a relationship with him, all you need to do is accept his sacrificial love and put him first in your life.

As a graphic designer, I’m a very visual person. So one step I’ve taken to help in the dark times is to pin up some cards, letters and Bible verses on my wall. Then I can look at them and know, “I am loved – by people and by God,” and be assured that all those other thoughts in my mind are simply untrue. I pray you will know God’s love too, in both the happy and dark times of life.

If you struggle with your mental health and would like to talk to someone, you can call Samaritans for free on 116 123.