According to the National Institute for Mental Health, approximately 1 in 18 or 5.30% or 14.4 million people in USA deal with depression.
Crying spells, anger, feeling isolated, withdrawn, overwhelmed, unable to enjoy activities that used to be enjoyable, low sex drive, feeling worthless, tired, achy, prone to colds, easily frustrated, difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions, eating too much or too little, not taking care of yourself, your home, doubting yourself at every turn, wondering why you are not spiritual enough to overcome...
This is really hard for me. Because this is me. This has always been me. This is what I try to hide on my worst days and what fades into the background where I try to forget about it on the good ones. I have had a few clinically diagnosable exacerbations where I took to my bed only crawling out to go to work.
I went to the doctor once for help. To my family doctor. He told me I could try St. Jon's Wort over the counter and that it would probably pass. I told him I had felt this way my entire life and was starting to seriously worry about myself. He nodded his head and walked out of the room. I paid $65 for that visit.
There are worse depressions than mine, I know. I work with people who truly live a life and death struggle. With no tinge of irony I think, there but for the grace of God go I. Really, without the ability to lay in my bed and cry out to him I would not live as well as I do. And I do live well. I laugh and have friends and am loved. I am able, because of Christ who is Truth in me, to know that this mood that wraps itself around me is a lie. It does not make it less real but it makes it less powerful.
This, as Paul would say, is my own thorn in the flesh.
I, however, am ashamed of my thorn. I think sometimes it makes me weak in spiritual places if I admit to it. Stupidly, I can share it in front of a hundred people in terms of past bouts. But when I'm locked in the middle, the depression puts it hand across my mouth and tells me to shut up. It tells me that people will judge me and that I am a disappointment to God. It tells me I am self-absorbed and cowardly. I sometimes wonder if it will finally come to stay, settling in to steal all the joy once and for all from my life. Will this be the time I cannot pray it away? Will I wake up and this time, call in sick and stop going to work?
No, I am not afraid I will suicide because I have at least learned to tell a few people around me that it is here again and so I have people to carry me through. And God who has dominion over my life tells me this is not my lot.
This depression, I believe, has had certain victories in stealing my potential from me and forcing me to redefine what would I could have been. It took my confidence, will power and self-discipline from me for many years making me fat and defying me to go back to college until age thirty four. It made me distrusting and short-tempered leaving me turning my back when friendships became hard to tolerate. It talks to me still and convinces me to stay home from parties, movies and visits. I leaves me wondering who I should have been and who I can be and what I am capable of. It makes tomorrow seem very mean and punishing. It makes life seem over-long and too quick all at the same time.
I am so angry at this thing that I have kicked walls and screamed at it. But it is not afraid of my desperation, it feeds on it.
I am done with it. I am done. I want more, I am hungry for life. I am hungry for the appetite for life that so easily wanders away from me. I am made for something better.
I am not DEPRESSION. I no longer take this lie and tattoo it on my soul as my destiny.
I am going to talk to a doctor and I am going to fight this in heavenly places. I am going to call it out of the shadows and reveal it and then I am going to kick the crap out of it.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.