Editor's note: Sister Yolanda Yi used to suffer depression. She fully recovered in 2017 after 3 years of suffering and now she can look back on those cloudy days and write down her journey. Regarding her recovery, she believes that her Christian faith helped her finally walk out of the shadow of depression.
Her first person account is divided into a series with the first part below: "Some Practical Methods to Fight Against Depression."
I have been suffering from depression since 2014. After long term treatment and many attempts, I finally walked out of the shadow of depression in 2017.
During those dark times I received much help from the Christian sisters in my church. One of my articles on depression, published in 2015 on a Christian website, was highly read and reviewed.
Almost healed, I would like to write down my experiences fighting depression, hoping those attempts I have tried could help other sufferers as well as the sufferers' families and friends who love them and want to help them.
I've tried the following ways to fight depression:
1. Go to church regularly.
Hearing that I was suffering from depression, one of my classmates advised me to go to church. She also gave me a Bible, which was the third Bible in my life.
At the beginning of my church attendance I could not stay focused when seated in the chapel and my mind was out of control. The four-hour worship and sermon were so long for me. The one whole chapter of Scripture was also too long for me to read through. This was weird since before this I could read a hundred-page-or-longer English report at one time.
I could not stay in the chapel till the end of the service to begin with. However, eventually, when I was seated there listing to the sermons, my painful breathing began to ease. After half a year the pain was almost gone.
The church has helped me a lot in healing. The scripture, message, scared music, and prayer of Christian sisters helped me a lot.
2. Arts are helpful for healing.
During my depression, one of my friends told me that Winston Churchill once turned to drawing during his depression treatment so I tried to do some drawing. When I did this the color started to work in my heart, as if my heart turned out to be colorful instead of a world of black and white.
At the beginning the content I drew the most was a view of a little girl's back. There was no full face in any figures. Noticing my drawing, my family encouraged me to draw a front view. In my picture, the little girl I drew was surrounded by a wonderful landscape. Gradually, the little girl turned into a beautiful young woman in an elegant dress. With those pictures my heart opened and the light shined in.
3. A positive farewell to depression.
My paintings reminded me of my ex-boyfriend who broke up with me many years ago: would I face the painful breakup if I live well again? When we dated each other he was happy while I was in pain. Bearing so much pain, he felt much pity, tenderness, and love.
We walked through 7 years together. It seemed that he didn't learn a lesson from his previous relationship with someone else which I discovered after we dated. I could not stand him any longer, and he was very disappointing.
One week I dreamed a lot about him. I dreamed that he smiled at me. That smile washed off the entire unhappy past and yes, he forgave me.
Usually, I miss the people and things of the past and I want to recover with pity and regret. However, this time, with the help of the Bible and prayer, I bid farewell to the past people and things.
4. Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.
Depression is connected with my birth family. However, retrospect or blame cannot change what has occurred. After all, warm care could be a powerful support in healing depression.
I suggest that sufferers of depression and their friends strain ahead rather than think about or blame their family.
5. Love and support come from the family.
Thanks to my parents' kind care I could write down these words after recovery. They have borne my ill temper for years. They accept me, they encourage me, they travel with me, and they help me with my basic necessities.
6. Other helpful and practical things.
In addition, the following ways I tried also helped to heal the depression: antidepressant drugs, moxibustion, sports, traditional Chinese medicine, pets, continuous prayer, daily mood journals, travel, reading, clearing and cleaning up, massage, helping others, reading novels, making up, Sunbathing, etc.
-Translated by: Alice Wang