Written by cycleguy on June 16th, 2014

When I was running a series called Second Chances, Kari Scare wrote about her struggle with depression. Through a series of questions and emails, I asked if she would consider writing more about her struggle and how she (with God’s help) overcame it. I shot her some questions and we decided to “run it” as sort of an interview. Due to length, it has been divided into five conversations. This is the first. The others will follow at one each week.

Do you mind sharing your story of depression with us? How long did you suffer? What do you think was the cause? How did it affect you? Did you ever feel hopeless?

Depression fully entered my life around age 10 (4th grade). The severity waxed and waned through high school with the lowest points coming during my twenties. Actual diagnoses came around age 22, just a year or so after getting married.

As a child and through high school, I was very emotional and cried easily. I even had the nickname “baby” stick with me from 4th through 8th grade. In my twenties, I became pretty volatile and hit a desperate low, considering suicide at various times. Around age 28, light broke through the heavy cloud in my mind, and I began the climb out of the pit. Still unpredictable emotionally and still a regular pit-dweller, I began visiting the edge of the pit. My 30s can be characterized by discovering and dealing with root causes. Lots of ups and downs still during this time, but the lows became not quite as low and got continually higher as I slowly but surely dealt with the various causes.

The causes of depression for me were many and varied. I held unforgiveness toward an absent father and toward an older family member who showed me porn at a very young age. I had some very unhealthy thought patterns that needed reprogrammed along with some pretty poor relational habits. In many ways, I really had no way to even deal with the emotions of life, not even to identify what I was feeling and experiencing.

Added to all of that, I had some significant health issues (food allergy, food sensitivities, thyroid issues, hormonal imbalance & adrenal fatigue) that made climbing out of the pit nearly impossible. Then there was my inability to take personal responsibility for myself or to even recognize the need to do so as well as being pretty confused about who this distant God of the universe was.

I definitely felt hopeless at times, but there was always the slight hope of a hope that God was real and would not leave me to sink in the mud of the pit that was my life and had been for so very long. That hope literally kept me alive. A positive that came out of that hopelessness, which I know sounds very strange to say, is a realization of how powerless I was to change myself. With all my efforts, I could improve but never overcome. I could skirt the edge of the pit at times but never really be free from falling back in pretty regularly. There was always more struggle than anything else with true victory seeming only a fairytale.

Even as I answer these questions, I remember the feelings of that old life. I need to remember them once in a while and to be reminded of where I came from, so I can better appreciate where I am today. Remembering life in the pit provides tremendous motivation for doing whatever I need to do to make sure I never go back no matter what happens in my life.

Kari has really opened her heart and life to all of us. Any thoughts you want to bring or questions to ask?


21 Comments so far ↓

  1. Daniel says:

    I too know a thing or two about depression. William Styron wrote a masterful book on this topic called Darkness Visible. One thought that he wrote about has stuck with me. With deep depression, if someone were to hand you a magic wand that you could wave and have your life instantly transformed to the better, many in the boat of absolute despair would not even have the will or the desire to wave that wand. What seems logical for those on the outside is impossible for those on the inside.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Styron does describe depression quite well, Daniel. Not only could someone deep in depression not wave the wand, they could not even picture what changes they’d make. I get that. There’s a logic within depression that doesn’t exist anywhere else for sure. I’m on the outside of it now, but I still don’t understand it even though I lived it for so long.

  2. Jan says:

    Thank you so much Kari for sharing your life. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your answers. I, too, have depression and it can be a constant battle to fight. I have learned that I cannot do it alone, I must have God’s strength and word everyday, when I leave these things, I find that I can easily slip back into depression. I will be praying for you Kari.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Constant battle for sure, Jan. The only reason I can say I am on the other side of it today is because of God leading me out of the pit through His Word. Thank you for your prayers, my friend. Slipping back will happen if I let go of Him, I know this, and so I desire every day to tighten my grip knowing He has an iron grip hold on me.

  3. Zee says:

    There was a dark time in my life a couple of years ago. I am still not sure whether it was depression or something else (I never checked), but there were days when the knowledge that God is right there with me helped to go on doing what needed to be done.

    What was most infuriating for me was that I had no “real reason” for unhappiness. Everything seemed to be normal. At least from the outside. (And I hate admitting that I don’t know something… and whenever those who knew me well asked me what’s wrong, it was either “I don’t know” and “Nothing,” so I chose latter…)

    I am thankful to God for sending me my husband, because we can talk things out and I am not afraid to tell him that I don’t know something. Besides, mutual support and reminding each other that everything’s under God’s control helps immensely as well.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Kari!

    • Kari Scare says:

      I think everyone has periods of that in their lives, but we all deal with them uniquely. They look different on each person too. Not knowing why is always frustrating, and I think it’s one of the biggest struggles with depression. God does send us ways to struggle through these times, as you discovered, and you hit on a huge key in not succumbing to the pit… connection on a regular basis with others who love and support you.

  4. floyd says:

    “Remembering life in the pit.” That is a powerful statement to those of us who’ve been in it. Some of your questions make sense to me now.

    The process has brought about powerful wisdom and insight, being able to tell another that it was knowing you didn’t have control over anything and had to trust and lean on God to deliver is a ministry of your calling. Nothing is for nothing. Thanks for sharing from your heart, Kari.

    • Kari Scare says:

      What I think you’re getting at is that this remembrance guides and directs what I’m doing today. I can’t escape it because it has been used by God to shape who I am and the ministry He has for me. Thanks for the encouragement and understanding, Floyd.

  5. TC Avey says:

    Thank you for the courage and willingness to share this, Kari. It will touch many lives.

    As I read this, Psalm 119:71 came to mind, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

  6. So good to hear others’ experiences in ways like this so we can have grace and compassion with those who may not be able to express it so clearly (or may be so entrenched that they can’t see anything else). Thankful for what God’s done in you and is doing through you, Kari. Thanks to you (and Bill) for sharing this.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Thank you, Jason. I am so very thankful too. It’s humbling also when I’m so very aware that coming out of the pit was only possible through Jesus. He gets full credit for all of it!

  7. Pam says:

    Thank you for your honesty, Kari. I have a daughter who suffers with BiPolar Disorder and your words help me to understand a bit better what she goes through in the depression phase. Looking forward to reading the rest of your story.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Oh, that’s a tough one. Praying that your daughter finds her way through this as she focus on her Creator. Praying for you as a mom to be what God needs you to be for her.

  8. Ed says:

    I’ve suffered depression from an early age as well. In college I even wrote a paper (or two) on teenage suicide. The numbers are still incredible. Even though I have been depressed, and I still am to a point, it’s only by God’s support that I don’t take a nose dive. Can’t wait for the next installment!

    • Kari Scare says:

      It’s definitely hard not to focus on depression when it’s been a part of your life for so long, kind of like a best friend you can’t let go of but should. I’m heartbroken over the young age that depression is hitting more and more these days. My focus is a lot on helping adults (parents) become stronger, so they can teach kids to manage emotions, turn to God, etc. I understand completely how God keeps the nose dive into the pit from becoming a reality. I get that all to well. Hope the rest of the story is helpful to you!

    • Jan says:

      Amen to that Ed! I know there are days I haven’t been taken under by my depression because of God holding me up.

  9. Ceil says:

    Hi Kari and Bill! Wow Kari, what a beautiful explanation of depression. Talking about the pit, and how hopeless it feels really helps me understand it.

    I’m sure it must have been a relief to find a name for what you were feeling. How confusing to have these feelings as a young person and not understand why. I am sure that you have so much tenderness and compassion for those who walk in your shoes. What a gift that is to them!

    I look forward to reading more!

  10. Kari Scare says:

    Yes, it was very confusing, but not just as a young person. It was confusing well into adulthood too. Diagnosis certainly helped, but I relied on it as an excuse at times too. Looking back, it was just a bunch of small decisions that gradually brought true relief, but only God brought complete deliverance. I really hope I’m impacting others with my story. I’m just being obedient to what my God wants me to do, my friend. What more can I do?

  11. Caleb Suko says:

    Very interesting analogy of a pit and going to the edge of it but not in it any more. I think it would be great to see in more detail what it means to go to the edge of that pit but not let yourself fall into it.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Some of the future posts will provide more of what that means, Caleb. Though, there is a lot I had to leave out for the sake of space too. My strategy is to stay as far away from the edge as I possibly can to prevent even the remotest chance of falling into it again. If I don’t cover this in enough detail later, please ask more questions.