Depression

Depression isn’t just something that comes over you once in a while.  It is a condition that some people live with, like M.S., that gets better or worse, relapses and remits.  Here is what it is like, from someone who knows:

We get up every day and we have plans just like anybody else, to go to work, school, or do all the ambitious things on our “things to do” list.  Sometimes we have the inner and physical resources to see those plans through.  Sometimes we surprise ourselves, like anyone else, and accomplish more than we hoped.  We have as much determination as most people, probably more.  But it’s like the hills we climb are so much steeper, our little “gas tanks” are so much smaller, and our “engines” are so much less powerful than the average person’s.  We are just not as “well-made”, as well-armed, and not as well-equipped as the next guy.  Some people doubt that.  They think we are lazy, unmotivated, or just like to “feel sorry for ourselves”.  And yet those same people wouldn’t think anything of the limitations of a person born with defective legs, blindness, or a weak heart.  No one just expects them to just “get over it”, or “snap out of it”.

Our efforts seem meager.  But we are like that duck out on the pond who seems to be coasting along like anybody else, but we are always paddling like the dickens underneath.  You can’t see that we are struggling, trembling, sweating, crying in pain to accomplish the things that come fairly easily to others.  Most days we manage.  We manage to get enough done to preserve the appearance of normalcy, of doing alright.  The appearance of productivity.  But behind our closed doors, or behind our daily routine of job, motherhood, or anything else that may be our lot in life, there is private anguish, and fear that one day our best valiant efforts will not be enough.

You may rub shoulders with us every day without even knowing that in privacy we long for relief, and just hope we can hold on until it comes.  For the Christian it means acdepting that our existence was pre-determined by God, and so we must wait.  Hang on, bear up, and wait.  And when those dark days turn into long strings and beome weeks and months, and for some, even years, it becomes especially hard.  Sometimes the frayed threads of our love for our family and closest friends is barely enough to hold us to the Earth against the tempting pull of “permanent relief” and the thought of being able to finally lay it all down.  It comes down to a choice between feeling this awful inside, and never having to feel anything, ever again.  No more excruciating exhaustion pulling down at your shoulders like an oxcart loaded with the weight that is your life.  No more feeling ashamed, or ugly, or inadequate, or incompetent, weak, defective, and broken.  It’s the conviction that you contribute so little to anyone or anything, and since you have so little to give or offer, you are sure beyond the initial blow, they’d eventually heal, and then be so much better off without you and your darkness. It’s feeling all this and knowing that you shouldn’t, knowing you should (and do) feel ashamed for feeling this way, and yet not being able to help it despite your willpower,.  And all the willpower in the world is not enough to banish this darkness that comes smothering over you and blocks out all the air, all the light, all the hope and chokes out all your joy.

Depression is kind of like drowning…you have heard people say they always “get to a point where it would be so easy just to close my eyes and let it take me” and the drowning victim who survies is the one who realizes when that happens that they must “FIGHT NOW!”

Satan knows what our weaknesses are. I am not talking necessarily of sinful weakness.  But real vulnerabilites.  Much of what happens in our bodies mood-wise is chemical.  He knows that for some people it is very easy to fall into mental darkness.  So he does everything he can to perpetuate it.  The depression sufferer may put up a valiant fight every day of his life but just as in everything else, Satan gets in his licks.  No one likes to admit how dark and bad it gets.  It’s hard enough to admit it when, feeling okay, but extremely hard in the midst of one of those dark times.

But just because that is an area where someone may have a very real vulnerability, we are still responsible to do battle against giving in to it.  Go to the doctor.  Take the prescribed meds.  Sometimes a few months on meds can correct it and you don’t have to stay on them forever.  Sometimes there is an underlying medical condition, which corrected, would eliminate the depression.  Get out in the sunlight.  15 minutes of sunlight and 15 minutes of brisk walking can boost your mood for several hours.  Doing it every day can be like little deposits into a “better mood” savings account. It may not make you all better today, but if you do it for a month, I promise you will feel better in a month than you would have otherwise.

Read your Bible and pray.  Prayer is the antidote to anxiety.  And the Word is noursihment to the soul.

Laugh! A merry heart doeth good like a medicine!

And it is my hope that just reading this, and knowing someone understands, will help someone.

Parts of this essay were previously published (in the book “Emerging Butterfly” by Tammi L. Morgan 2008 Publish America pp. 128-129- used by permission) but are the original work of the author of this blog.

Copyright STLloyd2006

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5 thoughts on “Depression

  1. “Depression is kind of like drowning…you have heard people say they always “get to a point where it would be so easy just to close my eyes and let it take me” and the drowning victim who survies is the one who realizes when that happens that they must “FIGHT NOW!” ”

    I cannot tell you how many times I have said to my husband,”I feel like I am drowning and I am growing weary of treading water. Sometimes I think I’d be better off just giving up the struggle, going to sleep and never waking up. Just lose the will.” Wow. Of course I haven’t given up yet and the more I study prophecy the stronger I become. I am seriously going to research the possible connection between feeling the call of a watchman and/or prophet and depression. We know Jeremiah suffered from it, but do ALL of us today? Do we sense things at such a “deeper” level that it actually affects our bodies?

    Have you come across this? I’d love your professional (as a nurse) opinion as well as your thoughts as you are a “Titus 2 older woman” in relation to me.

    Blessings and Maranatha,
    Marcia

    • I think that there are individuals in this world who were “wired” from their inception (when God planned them) to be ultra-sensitive to certain things. I have a very very ultra-sensitivity related to death and a good portion of my nursing was in that arena of hospice. I think that we discern some things that others don’t, and on a level that many would find difficult and maybe impossible to believe if we really shared it with them. I think that super-sensitivity lends itself to easily being overwhelmed, burnt out, and weary. And yes, it has been my experience that these particular traits lend themselves toward depression and melancholy. Emoting requires a huge amount of energy. Even when we are not worriers, and even when we strive not to “dwell” we are like giant sensors/detectors, and we absorb the, for lack of a better word, “vibe” of whatever those around us are dealing with (or dealing out, whichever the case may be). I do think Christians who are prone to depression are often more open to the study of prophecy for that very reason, that they grow weary of this world early on, and what’s more, I consider it a great and gracious gift, that we do lose all love for this world and eagerly anticipate the return of Christ. If not for my health struggles, fatigue, and yes, at one time (and for a very long time) depression, I would still be loving and pursuing things in this world. The Lord delivered me and healed me from my previous chronic depression a few years ago when I fasted and prayed for a very long period and sought Him out in His Word. I have the “slumps” every normal person gets from time to time, but it lifts in a matter of hours or by the next day. I think most people go through life hardened, and growing more hardened all the time, just as a survival/defense mechanism. When you study prophecy, it makes a very sensitive person to feel great urgency. So yes, I’d say there is a correlation in the two things. I also believe it prepares us for some role God has planned for us in the Millennial Kingdom and beyond. It’s really exciting when you think about it. Right now, it feels to me like I used to feel when I took exams in college. While everyone else was freaking out, the arrival of exam day had the opposite effect on me because I knew that no matter what I did or didn’t retain from my studies, there was not one more thing I could do about it at that point, but take the test and hope for the best. I feel like I’ve gotten through so much really hard stuff in my life, and no matter how bad it gets before the trumpet blows, I feel I’m as ready as I ever could hope to get, and it has given me the ability to just enjoy the here and now for “ever how long it lasts”.

    • That is a good description of what it feels like as well! You keep “climbing” only to find yourself down in that hole still! I think the hardest thing about depression is that people who have never experienced deep, long-term or chronic depression, don’t realize there even is a different kind of depression than the “temporary slump” kind. When you live it for years, or 8 months out of the year, it can be so hard to keep going. Most people don’t really want to die, they just don’t see hope and don’t have any quality of life. I have come to believe that God made me extremely sensitive for His own good reasons and purposes, and I even can see those purposes being used of Him now, but the fact still remains that I am more fragile emotionally than most people, so I have to be very careful and even aggressive, in managing my exposure to things that overwhelm me so easily. I don’t worry too much anymore about the folks who don’t understand. I have those in my life who do, and that’s what matters. At the top of the blog is a “Contact STLloyd” form which is private and does not get published, goes straight into my personal inbox. Feel free to stay in touch!

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