Breathless and weary, I feel my spirit sink into the darkness. Depression, with the swiftness of an undertow drags me into the depths. The dark, lonely place, where light is but a distant memory and the despair is crushing. Failure floods my field of vision. My spirit grieves. My ears ringing with regret.
I’m supposed to be better than this. I’m supposed to be further than this.
I’m falling, fast. Drowning in a sea of “too much and not enough,” I struggle to gain my footing, to catch my breath. I wrestle the doubt and anxiety, and with each exchange I spiral further into the dizzying despair that I am so desperate to avoid and escape.
“Let go. Just let go. Stop fighting.”
The dialogue on a loop in my heart and my mind. I can’t do this anymore. I know it’s time to call in the infantry. On the surface the waters look calm. I appear composed; but I’m gasping for air, struggling.
I muster what little is left in me to push off the bottom, and jettison myself on a trajectory toward the surface. I long to one day walk on water, but today is not that day. The cycle begins again and I reach out to my Doctor who has traveled this path of Depression with me. It’s time for chemical intervention.
My doctor, a man I’ve known for a little over a decade has seen me in the depths before. Last week he threw me a rope. And it wasn’t just from his prescription pad. For a moment he was just human. Another believer who could see that my vessel was cracked, that I was taking on water faster than I could bail myself out. As we talked about the depths that surround me, I again feel the urge to defend myself. Through tears I tell him … ”I still love Jesus.” He smiles and prays for me. Something he’s never done before.
Today is a new day, and I have a plan in place to make my way back to the surface. To keep my head above the waves, and one day walk on water. I’m taking my meds, and daily doing at least one thing that brings me joy. For now it’s as simple as holding my son a little longer when I tuck him in at night, or taking the time to quiet myself and read, pray, rest. I’m choosing to be fully in the present. Drinking in the now … letting go of the “not yet.” Slow and steady, I’m coming up for air.
The sovereign God once again reaches down from his thrown and draws me near. Even though there are days when I can’t see the light through the darkness … the light sees me still. Sitting in the depths … waiting for my rescue. He’s met me here before, and I know he’ll do it again.
If you know someone who struggles with depression … throw them a line. Ask how they’re doing, and demand a real answer.
And don’t worry about me … though I may be in the valley—I’m not here alone. I tell my story for those who silently struggle … because no one should suffer alone.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Aditya Doshi