There is a monster that resides within my head much of the time. The monster’s name is Depression. Sometimes, I am able to wrestle the monster and lock it away for a time. Sometimes that duration is long; other times that duration is short. Either way, if a reprieve can be had, I welcome it regardless of how long it may last. My current go ’round with the beast, though, has been a long battle that has taken so much out of me and, I’m sure, out of my husband who does his best to put up with me.
Depression can be fed by a variety of things. Failure, comparison, loneliness, and illness are the biggest feeders of my depression. Others would have a different list. Some may be able to mask the fact that they are plagued with the monster, while others, like me, maybe could do that at one time but not every time…and especially not this time.
A mind that is held captive by depression hears messages that a mind that is not held in such captivity cannot usually understand. Some of those messages for me include:
“No one loves you.”
“It’s never going to get better.”
“Life is not worth it.”
“You’ll never be enough.”
“Death would solve all your problems.”
“You deserve this.”
“Your life is pointless.”
I have had people tell me that all the above are lies of the enemy. I’m not sure if when they say that they are insinuating that I don’t know that fact. Because, the things is, I do know that. I really do. It’s believing that fact that is often the problem.
When I was a child, my mom baked wedding cakes for people in our church. With the help of our next door neighbor, she would spend hours in the kitchen baking and assembling multi-tiered cakes. Most weddings were in the summer so I, along with aforementioned next door neighbor’s son, was banished to the outdoors so as to not get in the way. Intellectually, I knew what needed to happen to bake a wedding cake. But, until I was given the privilege of baking my daughter’s wedding cake, I couldn’t fully appreciate the work that went into the task. I think I baked five or six different cakes to find just the right flavor. I agonized over how to decorate it so it looked beautiful but not overdone. My daughter’s cake was small compared to the cakes my mom often made, but since it was my first attempt at such a feat, I was nervous as could be when it came time to actually decorate, assemble, and transport the two-tiered, heart shaped cake I created (with the help of my future daughter-in-law). From the outside looking in, it didn’t seem like such a huge task. Baking came naturally to my mom as it does for me. It was only when I stepped into that role of baker-in-charge did I realize how much work went into baking wedding cakes.
From the outside looking in, it has been easy for people to tell me exactly what they think I need to do to beat this oppressive depression. I’ve been told to have more faith, to remember that God is in control, that everyone goes through sad times, that I need to choose happiness and joy, that God will use my depression for his glory, that other people have it so much worse…I could go on. Now, if you are reading this and you are thinking, “Well, those things don’t sound like horrible words. All those statements are true,” then you obviously have never been caught in the death grip of severe depression. With the exception of the first statement (I don’t believe the level of a person’s faith is a protection from difficult times), I understand that all those statements have truth value to them.
That doesn’t mean they are helpful.
I have suffered at the hands of varying degrees of depression nearly all my life. I have attempted to take my own life and have thought about it too many times to even count. I have a preferred way to die.
Yes, I know that sounds horribly wrong. But it is the sad truth.
Depression is an evil monster that wants nothing more than to destroy a person. I would dare say that in many cases, and I think I would include my own here, that destruction doesn’t always have to take the form of suicide. For the last six months or so I have felt like a walking dead person. I have been breathing, eating, existing, but with little life. There have been times that I have been able to force myself into nearly normal existence. Those times usually happened when I had my grandson with me. Now that he has moved away, in all honesty, I fear that any normal existence for any extended period of time is a chasing after the wind.
Maybe that is another lie I am believing.
I guess only time will tell.