Disclaimer: This is a post that could be triggering to those with Depression - though I hope the only thing it triggers is healing <3
Being a believer does not make life any easier.
Belief in God and Christ doesn't void the darkness. It's still there, lurking.
If you're looking for a happy post about how the Lord brought me total happiness out of Depression, this ain't it, my friend. Perhaps you should come back another time.
Still there? Good.
I've touched on this blog before about my struggles with Panic Disorder, and the Lord has brought me so, so far on that journey. I'll have to delve more into that another time.
Depression? Now that's a whole other story. We don't like to talk about depression, do we?
Well, I'm going to. And hopefully someone out there will just 'get it'.
Depression waxed and waned as a teenager/young adult, and I was on and off of medications - mainly because I'd wind up having some crazy side effect that would scare the crap out of me. (Hello, Wellbutrin blackouts.)
If I don't remember talking to you, it may be because I was on Wellbutrin at the time.
But, I digress.
I am one who tends to believe that pain is relative. That is to say...a person who never had a child, but always had a cat they perceived as their child, and then loses that cat...would have relative pain to a person who lost their child, and never had a cat.
Am I saying no human tragedy is greater than another? Of course not.
But I AM saying that to the person experiencing that tragedy, there is a pain threshold. If they are at the top of their pain threshold, then it doesn't matter the cause - they are at a point that whatever they are dealing with is just too much.
The point of me explaining that is to stress that I probably wasn't going through anything harder than many people had to deal with as a teen and young adult - this post isn't about 'my pain is/was greater than your pain.'
This is about me saying...no matter what caused your pain - I see you. I see that you're hurting, and it's ok to hurt. Don't compare your pain to anyone else's - it just isn't comparable.
My main issue was isolation - I felt very isolated. Being highly sensitive didn't help - life was very overwhelming to me...and I internalized that because the other side of my proverbial coin was a measure of perfectionism. I really didn't want anyone to know or (*gasp*) tell me if I was slipping in any area - I would punish myself internally enough to where I probably didn't need any outside enforcement.
So to cope - I'd either retreat or act out. With that came depression, self-medication, and my own fair share of rebellion.
Was I a bad kid? Nope. Got good grades, always had a job, had a drive to succeed...
...but I always had this depression monster looming. There was this inexplicable darkness that would occasionally suck me into the mire and muck of hell to struggle my way out of.
But I'd always get out, somehow.
When I came to Christ and my life began to improve (thank you, Jesus), depression became increasingly bearable. The darkness I dealt with in those days was mainly panic-related, and then once that was under control - I was left to...
...happy. Yup, happy.
Depression still loomed in the back of my mind, but I'd say...I was in remission for a long while. When I had my son I definitely began to struggle, and I still do, with depressive thoughts and actions (hello, binge-eating.) And lately...lately it's been worse.
I started a new medication for esophageal spasms, and I'm pretty positive it threw me over the edge into the muck and mire. I'd go from 'ok' to completely numb and disconnected.
The other day, as I sat in this internal darkness and battled the numbness, I texted a bunch of my friends and asked for prayer. It was hard for me to go to more than one person and say...'hey, please help.' I didn't even go to some of my *closest* friends, because I was so embarrassed.
As they prayed for me...no, I didn't hear angels sing...and no, the heavens didn't open up and spontaneously heal me.
But, a song came on, and a line in the lyrics shouted SO LOUD that I came to an understanding about the Lord, our darkness, and His light.
Sometimes, comfort in the Lord isn't about relief. Sometimes comfort doesn't come as healing, it comes as a sheer will to keep going.
I am positive that the numb, empty feelings I was experiencing were the stuff of tragedy.
God stood there in that darkness and shouted "HEY...JUST KEEP GOING."
I sat in the corner of my mind and thought - how many people don't hear that? How many don't keep going? How many people don't see this darkness for what it is?
Far, far too many.
Depression is a lie, perpetuated by the father of lies. And the greatest lie?
The greatest lie the devil ever told was that he doesn't exist. More and more people believe that lie every day, and then they don't hear God screaming 'JUST KEEP GOING'.
Being a believer does not make life any easier, but it can help you keep going when you feel like you just can't.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because too often, we don't shine the light on what's really happening...and then the purpose of the struggle is lost.
Ephesians 5:14 says "...for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Tell your story. Be real, and honest, and vulnerable.
Shine light in every dark corner - you may find a friend you didn't know was there, who needed that light as much as you did.
If you or anyone you know is displaying signs of depression or possible suicide - don't second guess your gut. Get help. Need someone to talk to and pray with you? Reach out to happilyincomplete at gmail(dot)com...I'm always happy to rally around.
P.S. Don't worry...I've stopped taking the medication I think was tipping my scales, and I've told those closest to me what is going on. Shining that light sure does help.
Update: Totally blessed to be featured on Blogher ...wow. Truly humbled.