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I believed my voice didn’t matter.
I believed no one wanted to hear what I had to say. 
I believed I had no value. And I had no self worth.
I thought I was worthless and unlovable.

The root of these beliefs about myself came from the abandonment I experienced at ages 3 and 4 from both of my parents, on separate occasions. 

I was separated from my mom for 9 months when I was three. I was with my dad and his parents during those months and my mom would come visit me and then she stopped coming to visit me. She claimed it was too hard for her and me. I’m sure at the time she thought it was “better” for me. When in fact… was the WORST thing she could have done.
At that age I was really bonded to my mom. She told me how a counselor had said to her that she and I were ‘too’ close. (if that’s even possible??) For her to not return and visit me meant trust would be broken and my ‘crying voice’ stopped. Similar to when babies cry and cry and cry, and no one responds, they stop crying, detaching themselves emotionally from others.

Then at the age of 4, my parents divorced and my dad moved away. He left me.
My world view was such that I couldn’t trust anyone. The world was a place where people would hurt me. I better shut up and hide.

I turned inward after that. My mom claimed that I was an outgoing child before the 9 month separation with her, ‘You would say hi to strangers’, she would say. At the time she told me that, I couldn’t fathom myself acting that way. I was the ‘shy’ kid. As EVERYONE told me. I was labeled ‘shy’ and I used to HATE that word (probably because it went against my TRUE identity). Deep down inside me I believed and lived out this mantra : 

“Staci you don’t have anything valuable to say. Your words, thoughts, and ideas don’t matter. In fact YOU don’t matter. You may as well keep quiet, keep your opinions and thoughts to yourself because no one hears you anyway.” 

No one cared whether I was crying or not. 

I was depressed for many years because of my childhood trauma, living with layer, upon layer of SHAME. Shame about who I was, or who I thought I was, or who I “should be”. Even after I found faith in Jesus I had shame around being a Christian and being labeled ‘a goodie two shoes’ or ‘religious’ or ‘stuck up’ because of my faith. I would isolate myself from others as a way of protecting myself. And I thought I was somehow protecting them from me, from my emotions. "Shame isolates us from God, others, and ourselves; authentic community helps us to reconnect and to overcome our shame." (Mending the Soul, S.Tracy, pg. 90) 

Jesus did come into my heart and life. And I found HIM and a community who said that I DID matter. My voice and my story matter. I was so compelled to share my story here on B Bona because like me, they value others' stories, voices, and being real and genuine. Jesus, My Redeemer, Rescuer, Warrior, and Friend says that I and everyone else does have value and worth. We matter to Him so much that He came into this world that we would have LIFE and have it to the FULL. (John 10:15) This is available to us!

There is so much I could say about the times I’ve spent with the Lord. But I think the most meaningful is that HE SHOWED UP. Even when I didn’t think He would over and over and over. That He wouldn't “really” speak to me, or “really” be with me. He was. He did not abandon me. He never did and never will.
I never thought I would say that, but it is true. I have seen it over and over - even in sin after sin - thinking “oh for sure after this sin the Lord isn’t going to talk to me again” or ‘take me back’ or ‘rescue me’ or ‘love me’.

He promises me that ‘He will never leave me nor forsake me’(Joshua 1:5b) and that ‘nothing can separate me from His love’(Romans 8:39). He says I have been ADOPTED into His family (1 John 3:1, Romans 8:15,16). 

I now have HOPE for the future and FREEDOM from the lies that used to keep me depressed, in bondage and chains. I have hope for others and for their story to be redeemed too. It would be a dream come true if somehow my story could bring hope, freedom and life to others. All the pain would be worth it because YOU are worth it. 

***If you or anyone your know is depressed from any type of abuse - neglect(abandonment), physical, spiritual, sexual or verbal - A professional group that was significant in my healing journey (along with professional counseling) was a Mending The Soul small group, which is for all types of abuse. You might be able to find a group near you on the website under the section ‘Find a Group’.

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Christina boyce

I know all too well how depression is a taboo topic for many. Don't talk about it because then you look weak. Talk about it so you can seek help. What you feel is all made up. Can't you just be positive!?

It's all these stupid antics that make people struggling with depression slip further into a dark hole. We already can't comprehend how we feel or why we feel it. Now we are made to believe we are some sort of alien life form that is polluting the world with our negativity. Well the only way to solve the problem is to end our lives it seems...

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alexandra butz

A few years ago, I noticed myself becoming more and more anxious. Before leaving the house, I would have to turn sinks on and off over 15 times either until I felt satisfied and confident that they were off and not running, or until someone had to take me away from the sink and tell me to move on and get the things done that needed to be done that day. I went to the doctors and was diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). OCD lead to depression, because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop being afraid of the house flooding, or of the house burning down...