I recently told someone that "depression is a beast" but that doesn't really do it justice...If you have ever been the person experiencing depression then you know full well the darkness that shrouds everything you do and don't want to do. Everything you think. All the decisions that you make. It is ever-present. Always clouding your judgment and forever forcing you into an exhausted existence. Personally, I have battled with depression most of my life and have made it my goal to make sure that my depression isn't known or if it is known, that it disrupts other's lives as little as possible. Here is what most people with depression want to say, but don't:
This is my truth.
Please don't abuse my trust.
It takes so much for me to get here...but I want you to know that I struggle with depression. Not the bad feelings, kinda-down type of depression, but the kind where I can't eat. Hide under the covers. Avoid your phone calls. Don't want to be exposed.
A pep talk doesn't help.
Your very good advice doesn't help.
Fun activities and social events don't help.
This is the kind of depression where prayer is the only breakthrough I experience--that is if my prayers can worm their way past the ceiling of despair. Sometimes I can't or won't pray for myself. Would you pray for me? Even if you don't know me? Will you sacrifice your time and energy for an illness that you might not understand? Even if you think I don't deserve it?
I don't know how to ask for help. I'm not sure that I think I deserve it either.
I will feel embarrassed tomorrow for even asking. But I know the bravest thing I can do is ask because if I don't it leads to a darkness that saturates my soul and sucks me in like quicksand.
PLEASE love me enough to notice when I go off the deep-end so I don't have to tell you. I promise you I try not to spiral downward. I really do attempt to avoid my triggers. But sometimes they are unexpected. I know I automatically reach for whatever makes me feel better. Usually, that isn't what is best for me, but it's temporary relief. Something that makes me feel better, even for a little while, is better than staying here, in this abyss of lonely.
The hopelessness suffocates me.
I can't breathe.
I can't live here.
I hate being me.
Will you love me anyway? Even if I have less than nothing to offer you?
I'm too tired to perform.
I literally can't be anything you need me to be right now.
Paul speaks of a "thorn in his side" in 2 Corinthians 12:7 and there have been many "theories" about what this thorn could be...but I choose to apply this passage of scripture to the battle that some of us face with depression. The verses that follow in 2 Corinthians state, "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
I am weak. I am frail. I get better but then I relapse. I am ashamed of my depression. I try to make it better. I fail alone. I want others to help me but I decline their assistance when offered. I feel guilty for feeling the way that I do...especially since I have a "good" life. I want to be accepted. I want to be understood. I want to be loved unconditionally. I want to be better.
There is such a stigma with mental health. But just because it isn't seen on the outside doesn't mean that it isn't real on the inside. Please help those of us that experience this reality. Please love us anyway. Please pray for our healing. We feel alone and misunderstood. You can help if you come alongside us but don't try to "fix" us. If you offer a listening ear and an empathetic heart. We will NEVER forget your kindness and understanding. Thank you.
P.S.--At the time of this posting I am currently stable and holding steady in my battle with depression, although I have been in contact with several people over the last couple of weeks that are not in such a place of level-footing. The reality they face on a daily basis is exhaustingly difficult and has ignited a desire to inspire others to prayer for these precious people. Please join me in a united petition to God for their healing.