As I write this, I am a week into what is turning out to be, once again, crippling depression. And when I say “crippling,” I mean symptoms that I will elaborate further.
The term “depression” has been tossed around a lot by people both in the throes of it and by people who don’t really have it. To the former, I say: please get help. To the latter: please stop trying to use a legitimate mental illness into a cry for attention. Stop it. It degrades a serious condition into something petty, attention-seeking, and shallow.
Depression is not shallow. It can drown you. A lot of people even succumb to its abyss.
With that said, I write this not with the intention of garnering sympathy. I do not want, need, nor desire your pity. Instead, I write this for me. I write with the hope that it can help me now, as I struggle in this darkness, and help me in the future when I am in these deep waters again. Perhaps I even write it for someone who needs it, but I never know who, and so it’s never certain if anyone will benefit from this. Still, if it helps even one person, then that would make me truly blessed.
Depression comes and goes. Most people, lucky, lucky souls— only experience it the once. Not that I would ever belittle their own struggles, but they do. They experience depression, get treatment, and then recover. As for me, I know that I am not so lucky. I will struggle with this, and its more sinister, more frightening cousin, mania, for the rest of my life. Perhaps I write that too dramatically. When I say it like that, I make it sound as if my life were some joyless, never-ending struggle between these two opposing forces. It’s not.
My life is a beautiful thing, and I have my salvation as an even more lasting, gorgeous gift to hold on to.
But as of the moment, I struggle. And I struggle hard. Right now I am crippled. My broken little brain is trying its best to cope. And when I say “crippled,” I mean the following:
I find it hard to get out of bed. I am tethered to it, almost. My mind and soul rebel when I try to do something more productive than what my basest instincts tell me to do. I am adrift in my own head, lost in some sort of hellish limbo as I struggle with myself to move, dammit. But—
Everything is hard. Waking up is already a struggle. Years and years ago, in the deepest throes of my depression, I would sleep for hours and hours and hours, and when I would wake I would curse my God for failing to kill me in my sleep. Too much of a coward to kill myself, knowing what lay ahead of me if I did, I would beg God instead: “Lord, please take me in my sleep. I wish to sleep forever. I wish not to wake.” And when I would wake, a deep agony would pierce me. I would ask myself constantly in those days, “Why am I still alive?”
I consider it a triumph, a triumph if I manage to eat and bathe in a single day. Once, I had neglected to eat for three days, just tethering myself to my bed, too depressed, too crippled, to move. What did I do in my bed, you might wonder. I lay and waited for God to smite me. Which leads me to my last point:
I yearn— and I do mean yearn— to die. I would lie awake and obsess over death and how pleasant it would be. Life in this state is agonizing. If staying awake is already a hardship, if eating and bathing already considered monumental success, how much harder would it be to get out of my room? To wash the dishes? To do the laundry? To live? Living is so, so, so much harder when you are tied to your bed, when you wish to mold yourself into the mattress, when you wish to cease to exist, and when you wish dying were as easy as closing your eyes, phasing out of existence from one breath to the next.
And so yes, depression is hard. When I am depressed, I cannot move. And right now, as I write this, six days have passed since I felt myself falling into it. The problem is placed.
What, I wonder, must the solution be? What must I do when I cannot move? And perhaps, a singular soul out there might be reading this, breathless, waiting for an answer. Perhaps their life depends on this post. Perhaps I am the last lifeline they are clinging to.
I can offer you nothing if you are one of those souls. From my own hands, I have no solution.
I have a God. His name, when whispered cautiously, carefully, lovingly, reverently, can do miracles. He is Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, and if you want His help, He will gladly, joyfully, aid you as He aided me, as He continues to.
If you’re one of the people who need this right now, I write this for you:
Go into an inner room where you are alone. It doesn’t matter where, just as long as you’re alone. Find a comfortable place to kneel. DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO GET DISTRACTED. Next: imagine that Jesus was in that room with you, as you beg him. Tell him this, BUT ONLY IF IT’S TRUE:
You’re at the very end of your rope and nothing and no one can help you. You’ve tried looking for answers, for solutions elsewhere. Everyone and everything has failed you.
You need help, badly. There’s something deeply, soulfully wrong with you. You don’t know what it is, but you want it gone. You want it healed. You acknowledge that this wrong thing is disgusting. It is vile, rotting, and dead. If you don’t know, this wrong thing is sin. Admit, then, that you have it— you are a sinner.
You ask that Jesus Christ help you, that He save you. Ask that Jesus Christ will pull you from the deep, cloying darkness that has engulfed you. Ask Him to be your guiding light, your Savior.
Admit that in your hands, your life is chaos. You don’t know how to handle it. And the truth is you can’t. You’ve tried so many times and failed so many times. You can’t control yourself. You can’t control your life. You have to ask, again, that Jesus take control. Ask that Jesus Christ be your Lord, as well, if He is to be your Savior.
Wait for His answer.
For that singular soul who might need this: I hope it helps. I truly, prayerfully hope it does.
And as for me:
I have made it this far. With the strength given to me by my God. With the grace that Jesus Christ has granted me, I will endure. I have coping strategies by now, well-executed, time and time again.
Still, for my own benefit, I shall list them down, anyway:
- I shall drink my medication, and I shall be patient with it. Its effects will take time. My broken little brain needs a few, or maybe several, days to incorporate all the chemicals it needs to go back to working order. Be patient. I will endure.
- I shall try and think of good things. Heaven is a place inside my own mind. Heaven is in my soul. Heaven is somewhere, somewhen really close and really soon. I am a child of God and I shall taste Him in all of His loveliness, in all of His splendor. I am so deeply loved, I am so deeply cherished, and I shall not listen to the lies that my depression will detract my Reward from me. Heaven is real, and it waits for me. But for now, I will endure.
- I shall try my best to move, even if it pains me. I shall eat and bathe and live, dammit. I’m going to live. I will fight tooth and nail against myself to live. I will taste the goodness of life on my tongue and I shall feel it pass my pores and deep down into my very bones. I will endure. I will endure. I will endure.
I will have courage, and I will take heart. My God goes before me, and He surrounds me. And I am not defeated, nor shall I fall, for I will endure. I will.