While there are so many similarities between my battle with depression and my sister Angie’s, their were some significant differences. Angie was the first person in our family to have battled the darkness and the broken mind. I can only imagine the fear that she felt as one of the catalysts that multiplies the fear depression brings is that of the perception of isolation. You feel as if your situation is completely unique. You feel as if you are the only one who has ever had this happen. You believe this because no words before could ever prepare you for this hurricane of the mind. Sure you have had people attempt to describe it to you, but, by way of personal analogy, you easily dismiss it as something that can be overcome with a quick change of thinking. Angie never found anyone that she believed had entered into the same darkness. She felt alone.
I have been very different. I have not felt alone for two reasons:
1. While I have talked about the absence of God in many areas, he has joined me every moment in prayer. It has been one constant that I can not deny. He listens to my sadness and holds me. That is the best way I can describe it. My theology does not allow for a life of ease, especially if your desire it to have him shape you. I often fearfully pray, “Whatever it takes Lord” (hoping that it does not take that much). I know, as C.S. Lewis said, “Pain is God’s megaphone to awaken a deaf world.” I am deaf in so many ways and I know that. While I can complain about the necessity of going through all this now, here in this world (especially since we will be completely sanctified in an instant at death), I know that he knows what he is doing. Therefore I gladly submit to his chisel. But while he is at work, his presence has been felt. I am not alone.
2. Since Angie’s death, I have been more aware of this type of pain. I have looked for it, noticed it, and sympathized with so many who are far too familiar with the clouds of the mind. Whether it is my two other sisters who have been here or Angie herself, I know that it is common. This helps so much. As well, this blog has served as such an encouragement. I have read every comment. So many of you have encouraged me through this. It is not your “Buck up’s” or even your “I’m praying for you’s (as important as the latter is), but to see so many people who share the same type of story, to see so many of you who have waded this darkness and made it through, has been oxygen to a drowning man. I have to continue to remind myself that I am not alone. You have reminded me of this.
I have not been under the cloud in five days now. I don’t know why. I am done analyzing why I went into it and why I am coming out of it. (Yeah, right! I say this about ever six hours.)
I have been moving for the last week from Norman to Edmond, OK. We lost our house (another story) and are renting in Edmond. This is the primary reason why the blog has been so silent. I am exhausted. Me and my sister have moved the entire house with a pick-up and a fourteen foot trailer. Tomorrow I am going to get our eleventh load! While the emotional stress of losing a house, credit, having to rent a home, and moving ourselves would be expected to send me deeper down the hole, it has not. Moving has kept me busy in a way that does not require much mind power, creative motivation, or leadership. I have often heard that a radical change of environment helps people get through the worst of depression. They are probably right. (See, I am analyzing it again. Did not take long.)
A few random things that you should know (as I have had some concerns from some of you about many things):
- While I said that I understand now how someone could take their life when depressed in this way, I have never considered suicide. Sure, I have petitioned for the Lord’s second coming (the righteous way of saying “Take my life Lord”), but I have not even come close to going “there.”
- I have seen a psychologist. Yes, he did suggest that I get on Zoloft. I declined saying that I wanted to let this play out for a bit longer. I am not against anti-depressants, but I do think that depression, like any other physical pain, is a symptom—a warning—that something is wrong. I need to listen to the pain for a bit so that I can see where I am taking the wrong turns.
- Many people have advised me to get on an anti-fungal diet believing that this is the cause of depression in so many people today. This may be the case, but not for me. The funny thing is that I just finished six weeks of the anti-fungal diet three weeks before the depression started! Maybe I needed the fungi. 🙂
- Right now, while this is bringing a lot of color to my faith, you need to know that my faith has not changed. In fact, I would say that my faith is stronger in many ways that are hard to articulate. I don’t know how people make it through these things without the Lord.
Anyway, this post was not meant to be so long! I just wanted to update you. I expect that things will be getting back to “business as usual” here at the blog and in my ministry. Thanks again for all your prayers. As when God strengthened Elijah by letting him know he was not alone, so your candidness has with me.