Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Torrent of Depression

Have you ever experienced depression? I have many times. I believe I am prone to it, due to my melancholy disposition and the hypersensitive, hyperempathetic personality God has blessed me with. At times of my life, this has been enough to trigger symptoms of depression. Other times, God has given me circumstances that have triggered it (ie. miscarriages, postpartum stress). Still other times, my sin and poor choices have resulted in consequences that trigger it (ie. broken friendships, difficult marriage, career/school challenges). For the past few years, depression has hounded me and for the past year, it has gripped me. I want to share this because I believe this is something many struggle with and fear the taboo with which it is associated. There are also loved ones of these people that do not understand what they face and I hope that this will help.

Depression is my enemy. In the bible, there is much written about enemies taunting and chasing God's people.  At any given moment, they could be attacked by the surrounding tribes, chased off their thone, or persecuted for their beliefs. Fortunately for us, we live in a great country where the only enemies we have are stuck behind the mostly inpenetrable wall of our armed forces.  But that doesn't mean that Satan gives up. In fact, he has chosen to attack us in a stealthier way. That might mean alcoholism, prostitution, pornography, greed, envy, etc. For me, it is depression.

This is the way I describe depression. It is like being stuck in a dark, hot, cramped room. Your lungs struggle to breathe in the stale, humid, oxygen-deprived air. Your body longs to move, stretch, or rest but there is no room. Your eyes search for the faintest of light to focus on so that you don't go mad. It is a hopeless and lonely place to be. Simple things like going to the store, making dinner, or sending a text feel like impossible feats.

 Most people in this place will do anything to feel better. Sometimes, these are good things, sometimes they are crazy things. Days after losing my first baby to miscarriage, i ran my first 5K. It sounds like a good thing, but in fact the whole time I was purposing to torture my body--this body that failed me and my child. I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes, and a lump in my throat, and self-hatred in my heart. Those who don't understand judge people for such efforts, such "coping mechanisms". We judge the girl who goes home with a random guy from a bar so that for one night she can feel like she is worth something to someone. We judge people who turn to food for comfort and therefore gain weight, or turn away from food and become anorexic, never considering what pain they might be masking.  We judge people and get frustrated when people don't act like the perfect spouse, friend, neighbor, parent, churchgoer, etc. during these times. We judge people for going on anti-depressants to ease their pain. Remember that dark, cramped room? For me, anti-depressants were like someone opened a window. Yes, it was still cramped, hot, and dark, but at least there was a breeze. Prozac was a blessing to me for a short time, but it couldn't save me from my circumstances. So last fall, I chose to stop taking it and allow God to intervene. (I have known people who chemically were not able to function without medication and for them, it is the way that God intervenes/provides a way out or relief. For me, I do not believe this is the case).

This summer I studied the Psalms of the Ascent, one of which is Psalm 124. It speaks of how God saves us from our enemy.

"If the Lord had not been on our side--let Israel say--
if the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us,
when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
dthe raging waters would have swept us away.

Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have excaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

I don't know why God sometimes lets us remain in the cramped room for long or using the psalms analogies, why he allows us to be stuck in the flood, raging waters, grip of the predator, or a snare.  Maybe it is to teach us something. Maybe it is to teach someone else something (If you have been married to or friends with a depressed person, you know how much compassion, tolerance, and unconditional love it takes.) Maybe it is our stubborn refusal to just leave the room.

But this I know, if we are patient, if we are faithful and if we are willing to trust God, he will not only guide us out of the room, but we will destroy the room and burn the remains to ashes.  The following song reminds me of what it feel like to be set free from this depression. It is something I have felt for the past month or so and it is an incredible feeling. If depression haunts you, just know that I pray for you and I hope that God rescues you soon!

Alive Again, by Matt Maher
I woke up in darkness
sounded by silence
oh where, where have I gone?

I woke to reality
losing its grip on me
oh where, where have I gone?

Cause I can see the light
before I see the sunrise

You called and you shouted
broke through my deafness
now I’m breathing in
and breathing out
I’m alive again!

You shattered my darkness
washed away my blindness
now I’m breathing in
and breathing out
I’m alive again!

Verse 2
They never loved you
you waited for me,
I searched for you…
what took me so long?

I was looking outside
as a love would ever want to hide
I’m finding I was wrong

Cause I can feel the wind
before it hits my skin

Cause I want you!
Yes, I want you,
I need you
And I’ll do what ever I have to
Just to get through
cause I love you
Yeah, I love you!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I could have almost written that word for word. Sounds so much like me and my experiences. I love that you have opened your heart here. Thanks for sharing!


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