Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Depression leaves an impression on our mind. It sneaks up when least expected and carves deep holes into the heart. The day can be bright and sunny with the wind blowing, birds singing and sounds of children’s laughter bouncing off the walls and floating through the air. Depression comes in and casts a negative twist causing the sounds of children’s laughter to become unnerving, nature to be overlooked and the wind to feel like sharp knives stabbing our face.
It threatens to steal the joy out of each moment taking us on trips down memory lanes of pain and sorrow reminiscing the past instead of looking forward to the future. Each moment of the day is dreaded and bad habits turn worse as depression seeks its way. Thoughts are played over and over again, embedding depression into every fiber of our brain.
Depression mocks us and convinces us we are worthless with no hope for a future. Instead of holding on to the good, depression convinces us to hold onto the bad and negative things life throws at us. We become consumed with dread and thoughts of death and dying become tantalizing. Suicidal thoughts grab ahold and take over our mind. Hope is gone and life doesn’t seem worth living. We give into the enemy of our mind and our fate appears set.
Researching depression led me down paths arguing different opinions based on research and scientific data. Some Doctors and Mental Health practitioners describe chemical imbalances in the brain and hormones in the body as causes of depression. They prescribe drugs intended to rebalance the chemicals. Other Doctors and mental health professionals argue that the pharmaceutical companies and Doctors are in cahoots with each other to make money from the manufacturing and sale of drugs. Additional theories indicate trauma, loss, genetic disposition and other environmental factors lend themselves to causes of depression.
How then, can we detangle ourselves from Depression and its hold on us? How can we begin to see the twinkle of light lingering in the dark recesses of our mind? What is the real truth of depression and how in the world do we treat it?
A car accident leaving my husband a quadriplegic, my own health issues and many of stressors spun me down this horrific black hole. Tests validated chemical imbalances in my Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Dopamine and Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels.
It took medication, support from family and friends, counseling and my faith to overcome the black hole I was quickly descending into after this horrible accident.
As a Christ Follower, I was torn between the research, scientific data and various teachings by the church on health, depression and healing. Coming from a Catholic background transitioning into the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement, I heard it all relating to depression and physical and emotional healing. On one side of my faith walk, I experienced understanding and support regarding stress, depression and loss. On the other side, I was met with condemnation, accusations of a lack of faith for healing and told I had unrepentant sin causing my depression and health challenges. I was struggling with perfectionism, therefore, being told I had unrepentant sin and lack of faith almost put me over the edge. I felt the noose tightening around my neck and was ready to kick the chair out from under me.
I would lay in bed at night crying out to God to help me and to bring me peace and comfort. Each night I heard and I felt nothing. I saw no light at the end of the long and lonely tunnel. All I could feel was the noose drawing tighter and tighter ready to cut off the circulation to my brain and take my breath. During this time, church friends did not know how to relate to me, friends scattered and family was silent.
Spiraling into anorexia and bulimia, trying to control what I couldn’t just put me further into the clutches of death. Over and over again, night after night, I continued to cry out to God! I still felt nothing, absolutely nothing! All I heard was the silent trickle of the tears running down my face. I continued to go through the motions of work and caring for my kids the best I could, yet not knowing how to navigate any of it very well.
One day at church, a woman approached me and said,” You may not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is there!” She had no idea all of the turmoil in my mind. This simple statement gave me a glimmer of hope. I started staring at myself in the mirror telling myself I had a hope and a future. I began digging into the bible and posting scriptures around my home to remind me of who I was in Christ. I hung on to the words daily reminding myself of the light at the end of this turmoil of darkness and despair. I had limped along so long, that the process to healing was very slow. Determination to keep repeating scriptures, stay on my medication and reach out for support helped my mind to remain focused on a brighter future.
Instead of dwelling on what I lost, I began dwelling on what I still had in my life. Thankfulness ever so slowly began to creep into my heart and one day the glimmer of light shimmered and slowly became brighter and brighter. None of this was easy and I wanted to give up and give in to the negative thoughts more than once. Yet, holding on to one person’s word made a huge difference in the outcome of my spiral.
Years have passed and looking back I see the hand of God in all of it. He used medication, support, prayer and one person words to break through the black hole in my mind. Silent prayers lifted on my behalf from friends, family and strangers when I was even too exhausted and worn out to pray where offered also to the Father.
There are so many facets of depression and I am here to encourage all who are walking this road to not give up. Fight, Fight, Fight and don’t quit. Do whatever you can to get help. Stop the silence and bring it to the light so others can help you too. Begin to see the truths in the word of God and don’t let religion discourage or dissuade you from that truth. Don’t ever think that God is not there. He will never, ever leave you nor forsake you. He did not promise any of us an easy road, but we do have a hope and a future in Him. He is even there in the silence when you cannot see the light. Dear ones, the light is at the end of this long, dreary, dark tunnel even when you don’t see it.
His Beloved Warrior Bride,