In her book, LAUGHING IN THE DARK, Chonda Pierce talks about the time she felt healed--as if she was walking in the light rather than in the dark. Like me, she chose to quit her depression medication and even to lessen her trips to her counselor (yeah, me too). Also like me, though, out of nowhere, the day came when "there [was] a heavy gnawing inside me--a sad, aching feeling that something wasn't right inside my head. The darkness was back" (196).
Wasn't I HEALED? Didn't God Himself take me out of the darkness and bring me into the light? Didn't I see Him roll the stone over the entrance to my cave and seal it shut, never to be opened again? Didn't I?!
Yes, I did!
But the truth is that in spite of healing, depression is not simply a matter of feeling or my emotions that I can simply pack into a box and put away to be pulled out when I so choose. Depression is a chemical state of the brain that the depressed individual has NO control over.
With every fiber of my being, I wish I could just "get over it" and move on with life and quit living in depression. I hate being depressed. As a general rule, I'm a very happy--no, JOYFUL--woman. I love the Lord. I love reading my Bible and worship. I love being a pastor's wife. I love my church. I love my family and friends. I love my job. I love the beauty of God's amazing creation. I love LIFE. But the truth is that when the darkness comes, all I want to do is curl up in my comfortable blanket and hide from the world.
This is a poem I wrote a few years ago that still holds true:
but I am powerless against it.
It settles on me like a warm, cozy blanket.
Even though I hate myself for it,
I welcome it.
I snuggle deeper into it.
I allow it to wrap around me--
Into me. I feel it deep-down to my toes.
I am cocooned in it.
Worst of all--I like the way it makes me feel.
I want to be able to: laugh
But I am trapped deep inside my Sadness.
The Joy--pure, true Joy--of only
moments ago is a distant memory already.
Is there anyone to help?
Is there someone who will pull the blanket off for me?
Yet, worst of all, I REALLY like the way it makes me feel.
In many ways, yes, depression is "comfortable" for someone like me, but not for the reason you might think. It's because it's my "normal." I wish it wasn't, but because it is, I do tend to feel "safer" when I am depressed than when I am walking in the Light and the Joy of the Lord. I do much prefer living in Joy--honest. If I had my choice, I would walk in God's amazing Joy all the time.
So please be patient with me--and with others who suffer from depression. Don't expect us to "JUST get over it." We're trying. We really are. Just love us.....that truly is the best thing you can do to help us through the darkness.
The old saying is so true that in order to know TRUE Joy, we must know TRUE sadness.