If any of you are anything like me, you may or may not watch a lot of television.
And if you do, you have probably seen commercials for anti-depressants. They are fairly frequent, probably because at least 10% of adults in the United States suffer from depression. (That’s just the number reported- I believe that there are probably more than that). However, I think that there is a sort of taboo associated with depression… We don’t want to talk about it. We live in a pleasure-driven culture; if one is seeking ultimate pleasure, how could they be so consumed by pain?
That’s the thing about depression… it is painful. It hurts, and it’s hard, and it’s suffocating. It is not sadness. Anyone can be afflicted by sadness. It’s not a feeling. It’s an overwhelming sense of pain, that grabs you and won’t let go. It is a darkness (we call it “the black hole” in my family) and a despair that doesn’t just go away. It affects the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of an individual’s life. There is a gripping sense of hopelessness, anxiety, fear. Depression has weight… but that weight is also a force, and it fights you and fighting that force is so tiring and hurts so much that it is that much harder to get out of bed in the morning.
For example: yesterday, I woke up in a cold sweat. I was crying. The weighty force I just mentioned had invaded my body, literally pulling me down by my shoulders, pushing me back onto the bed as I tried to get up. It also seemed attached to my gag reflex because every time I tried to sit up, I felt violently ill. I didn’t think I was going to make it to work. I also wasn’t sure if it was worth it to try.
My depression is chronic. It is something I’ve been
not dealing with (trying to, anyway!) since I was in high school. And it is hard. Every day is hard. Somedays are a little easier than others. I haven’t had a day as bad as yesterday in a while. But leaning on my own understanding gets me effectively no where. There is no way I can overcome this illness without help. I am seeking help, actively, but so I often forget to consult the One who can ease this. I do believe that my depression is genetic and it is partially beyond my control, but it wasn’t until recently that I started to truly pursue outside help, and seeking interior Help is still so difficult.
It’s like… I’m afraid to get out of the black hole, because what does light feel like? I honestly thought that the low-ness I’ve always felt was just “who I am”. It’s hard to recognize that there is something else, because this is all I can remember. I don’t mean to make myself a martyr (I promise!). I know that other people experience this suffering. I know that other people experience worse sufferings. And those people do a better job of seeking Christ than I do. It’s so hard for me to pray because it feels like my prayers float up to the ceiling and then bounce right back to me. I don’t know what consolation feels like, so relying on that feeling of hope doesn’t help.
Also, please don’t think I’m a hypocrite… Like the Bishop said, “There isn’t anyone who can honestly tell you they haven’t struggled with doubts.” I am a sinner, and I struggle, but I’m doing the best I can. I know that what I believe is true, even though it can feel distant from my heart. I am seeking the love affair with Jesus, but I am scared. I write a lot about religion because it is something very important to me. I’m not perfect- not even close.
I guess the purpose of this post is two-fold… I want a little bit of my experience to be out there, because I need help. Does anyone know of anything worth reading that can help me? Not like self-help nonsense, but good spiritual reading, especially if it is somewhat practical/involves taking some sort of action. Above all, please keep me in your prayers. You are in mine :)