It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged about anything that wasn’t related to a book release. I haven’t looked at a Twitter, Facebook, or any social media feed in just as long. (You know it’s bad when you get a baby announcement from a friend you had no idea was even expecting.) I had my excuses: been working the day job a lot; health hasn’t been so great. But it actually comes down to one simple truth I’ve been trying to avoid–depression. There, I said it.
I’m no stranger to this. From the ages of 7-21 I struggled with severe depression and suicidal ideation. But in my senior year of college, God moved and gave me healing which miraculously changed my life. So you can imagine that, seven years later, when I started recognizing the symptoms in myself, I was both terrified and fully in denial. I never wanted to go back to that dark place again. God had healed me; end of that chapter. Besides, life was good. I had two careers I loved, close friends, and had been writing like a super ninja. There was no reason in the world I should feel “depressed.”
So I brushed off those weekends that were particularly bad as “being in a funk.” Everyone’s allowed to crash once in a while, right? I tried to ignore how that one weekend a month turned into most weekends, and then how when the weekdays came about I could no longer shake it off. Things I used to enjoy no longer held any interest for me. Even writing became like pulling teeth at times. “You’re just tired,” I’d tell myself. Weeks turned into months, and I watched helplessly as for the past year and a half, I slowly yet steadily backslid into a place I never thought to find myself again.
The depression is real.
But God wastes nothing. And so here I am, coming clean on an issue that so often hides and festers in the dark, secreted away from the light. It’s uncomfortable, admitting weakness. It feels like admitting defeat. If I am to blog about such a serious topic, it should be to encourage others, to call out from the other side of the tunnel and shout with joy, “There is light!” Instead, I’m standing here bearing a broken and battered soul saying, “There is light, but there is darkness still. It ebbs and flows like the tides.” Doesn’t sound all that encouraging to me.
But perhaps the difference this time is I know the darkness does not last forever. It has its phases, this is true, but I have seen and experienced the relief and joy in between, and I can have it again. If you’re currently in the dark, you can have those again. The first step is to shine a light on this burden, to admit the hurt is real so we can confront it, rather than running away or suffering in silence and solitude. For I know all too well that ignoring a problem does not make it disappear, nor can a person “snap out of it” on their own power. The journey is long, and hard, and often sucks.
But in the meantime, God wastes nothing.
Thanks for sharing, friend 🙂 Encouragement doesn’t always have to be pre-packaged happy.
Hehe, “pre-packaged happy” does sound rather flimsy. I almost didn’t post this (and then I almost deleted it), but I figured if there was one thing others could gain, it’s to be encouraged to admit there’s a problem and seek help. 🙂
Hey Angela, Nancy here (Kate M:) My husband has suffered from debilitating depression but did find his way out. Key point in all you so beautifully said here is that you want to be well. He said it many times too and to me that was the most positive sign in the entire mess of this disease. It is a disease just like diabetes, heart disease and any other physical illness. Your brain and body need recalibrated:) and it will slowly happen over time because you want to get well, you want to be you again. Stay with that thought, get the help you need and someday it can be behind you again. We need your light, your powerful words and you just never know, someday you’ll write about it and help others. Thanks for sharing. You are a brave woman. Don’t ever forget that!
Thank you, Nancy. This time around I am able to look to the future with hope. But I also need to be patient with myself, and sometimes that can be hard too.
I’m glad your husband found his way out. There are victories out there, and it’s good to hear about them. 🙂
I watched my mother suffer through depression, and I’m sorry you are having a hard time too. I’ll be thinking good thoughts and sending hugs your way 🙂
Thank you, Shelley. 🙂