Abuse/Neglect,  Depression,  Discouragement,  Faith,  Family,  Heart,  Hope,  Mental Illness,  Mind,  Soul,  Suicide

From Darkness to Light: Hope When You’re Depressed

By Audra Sanlyn

This week’s story of hope is from my writer friend, Audra Sanlyn. I pray her transparency and vulnerability will be a blessing to someone who is hurting and needs to know they’re not alone.

I was seventeen when I noticed it.

The fatigue. The loss of appetite. The inability to enjoy the beauty of life. I was in an abusive relationship, but felt I deserved it. Why couldn’t I just snap out of it? Maybe it was my relationship with God, or lack thereof.

After ending the abusive relationship, I started dating the man who would become my husband.

I spent the next ten years going through the motions. It took every ounce of energy I had to get out of bed and go to work. In 2002, I’d been a healthy 120 pounds. I now weighed 100. 

During this time, I married the love of my life.

My husband suggested I seek treatment for depression. Since I prefer natural alternatives to medicine, I avoided counselors and instead tried sun lamps, vitamins, everything we could think of. 

In 2008, skeletons started coming out of the family closet. On both sides. My view of our family, previously sunshine and rainbows, changed to something more akin to a whirling thunderstorm. Turned out members on both sides had depression—some medicated, some in denial. My paternal grandfather was among the latter, and we lost him to suicide in 2009. 

Thankfully, my fertility wasn’t affected during this time and at twenty-seven, I had our first child. 

They diagnosed me with severe depression and put me on medication along with regular CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) sessions. 

This was the turning point. I realized it wasn’t my fault. It was a chemical imbalance combined with triggers from my youth. 

The depression had taken a toll on my relationship with God, not the other way around. The medication gave me the energy to take care of my family, work, and enjoy the little things. Since our second child was born in 2018, I’ve experienced the joy of her smile, her toddles around the kitchen floor, all the little things I completely missed with our first child. Because I wasn’t there. 

Doctors know so much more now than they used to. Depression is understood to greater lengths than ever before, and there is help. If your depression is mild, natural alternatives may help. For many, though, it’s not enough.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. 

If you know others with depression, talk to them. Because it’s a very difficult illness to understand from the outside. Knowing there are people out there who are going through the same thing can provide incredible relief. 

No matter what, do whatever you can to treat your symptoms. For God, for your family, and for yourself. Because God died so you could live—fully and for Him. 

Resource: The American Association of Christian Counselors https://www.aacc.net/

There are Facebook groups and online communities created specifically for mental illness information and encouragement.

The best support you can receive is from family and friends. If you know someone with depression, do your research. Be patient and understanding. And pray.

CLICK TO TWEET: From Darkness to Light: Hope When You’re Depressed by @AudraSanlyn on @deenamadams

Audra Sanlyn is the author of Through the Eyes of a Veteran: A History of Winchester, a memoir/local history based on the life of her husband’s grandfather. She is a member of ACFW and ACFW Virginia Chapter and serves as Secretary for Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Audra stays at home with her two children, writes a monthly encouragement blog, and leads her church’s youth ministry with her husband.

As a thank you for subscribing to Audra’s newsletter, she’s offering a FREE download of a flash fiction story called 1982, which provides a glimpse into the life of Lisa, a minor character in Audra’s upcoming novel, Impact. Subscribe here: www.audrasanlyn.com

Connect with Audra:




Join the conversation. What encouragement can you offer to those struggling with depression? Any helpful resources you can recommend?

Please share this story using the links provided below so more people can be encouraged.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  • Lynn Moore

    Audra…..thank you so much for sharing your walk with depression. I pray it brings hope to those suffering….and it encourages them to reach out for help.
    Blessings! 🌺

  • Melissa Henderson

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I, too, know firsthand about depression and anxiety. The more we share our stories, the more people will be helped and encouraged.

  • Dave

    Thanks for this, Audra.

    Until reading your post, I never took depression talk seriously.

    I’m a bit like my dad, who confided “I don’t understand people who talk about having a bad day. I’ve never had a bad day in my life.”

    Maybe I’ll listen better.

    • Deena Adams

      Dave, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Years ago I struggled with depression and felt like such a failure as a Christian because I thought I should never be depressed but should be filled with joy all the time. My husband is a lot like you and always seems to stay positive no matter what’s happening so comparing myself to him made me feel even worse about my depression. Chemical imbalance is a real thing and can sometimes be situational. I praise God He’s seen me through some very hard times without taking medication but I thank Him for the medication for those who absolutely need it.

    • Audra Sanlyn

      Yes, it’s so hard to understand. For many years, I just told myself to “get over it,” but when I realized it’s not that simple, a weight was lifted. I think what’s so hard for someone trying to help a family member or friend with depression is they want to take action in some way. But usually the best form of help is listening and simply being there.

  • Deena Adams

    Amen! I’m honored to share your story, Audra. Thank you for your vulnerability and willingness to tell your story so others can find hope.

  • Audra Sanlyn

    Thank you, Deena, for the opportunity to share on your page. Countless people have been affected by depression, but there’s no illness or hardship too big for our God.

    • Traci

      Excellent story Audra. My oldest son deals with depression, and gratefully is seeking help. You can see the difference, even though battling very difficult challenges right now. I have sought counseling in the past and I recommend it highly.
      Thank you for your truth and vulnerability!

      • Deena Adams

        Thanks for joining the conversation, Traci! We all need a little help at times. So glad your son is seeking help and that he has you by his side to support him and pray him through the difficulties.