It takes many forms.
When we hear the word we think of self-harm, pills, sucicide, saddness, unmotivated, isolation, anger; the list goes on. Can I tell you friends, there’s more to it. The layers are thicker and it’s not one size fits all. I want to share with you my layers. I’m still in the thick of it, so shit’s going to get real.
My depression reared it’s ugly head when my daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness. It didn’t help matters that I was an emotional pregnant mama bear at the time and found myself weepy twenty-four seven. My depression looked like: anger. I was angry all the time. I snapped at those I loved without any warning. I hated myself for it and was annoyed that I was so annoyed all the time. I also felt like I had to people please during my depression. If people didn’t like me or if someone thought bad of me I’d go into a full blown panic attack. I didn’t feel sad in my depression in fact, I felt nothing. Some days, I felt paralyzed to my bed and clung to Netflix and food and wine for my comforts. I didn’t want to talk. I always want to talk so this was huge for me. I pushed my friends away and began to process inward. I wanted nothing to do with my husband. I felt alone because his depression was full force as well. I tried to be the responsible one so I sought help and began to “push through”. I still had a family to take care of and a job to do and I still needed to be human and function in society. I couldn’t sulk in my sadness over the diagnosis because time was short. I ran myself ragged trying to give Sawyer the best, most fullest life I could in the short time that she could cognitively enjoy it. I worked even harder to get all of her medical records in order, sent to the hospital, in constant contact with doctors, making appointments, getting developmental testing done, setting up therapies, and so many other invasive tests done (alone), and all the while taking care of my newborn. I pushed through so hard that I pretty much lost myself in the process. You know how everyone’s searching for their purpose in life? I didn’t have to search any longer, keeping her alive was my purpose. I went through cycles of doubt with God. I believed in Him and that He was real but I didn’t believe He was there. I believed He heard my cries but I felt like He abandoned me to teach me some sort of profound lesson. For the record, this is ridiculous but I’m still learning to leave this lie and discover His truth in love. I “pushed through” and was determined to find hope in a clinical trial. Sawyer was accepted into this clinical trial and I thought it was over. I had hope, I should’ve been elated, I could go on with my life. . .but I couldn’t. I’d never felt so alone, weak, angry, combative, devastated, anxious, than ever before. For some reason I pulled back the layers and found myself empty and hopeless because I put all my hope in something other than God.
During this time of emptiness and depression is when all the things happen. It’s when our car breaks down, it’s when your marriage is destitute, it’s when things in our house break, it’s when we can’t pay our mortgage because there’s so many bills to pay, it’s when you drop the ball on friendships that mean so much to you, it’s when we have strife in the family, family members get sick, people abandon us; it’s when we’re barely hanging on by a thread. The circumstances in my life felt like everything was broken and I had no power to fix it. I literally threw all my eggs in one basket and realized that no matter the outcome of the trial it still wasn’t going to fill this gapping hole that ultimately only God could fill. Trust me, letting God “fill the hole”…please, sister tell me how? What does that practically mean? It means stepping back and embracing the process of His promises. We need to step back and locate Him in our midst. I began to do this, I’m still doing this. God aligned so many things in order for Sawyer to get into this trial (like, I just can’t even. It’s a miracle), He’s protected her and us in our travels, we haven’t had our house taken from us and our needs have always been met, money has always come through, gracious people fixed our car, Sawyer isn’t declining yet, and our kids are always full of joy. All these things God provided me with while I was stuck in my depression. He intended for them to fill my heart with hope. However, I was so far in the thick of it all that I didn’t even recognize these were blessings from His faithful hands. Dwelling and sitting in depression is so much worse than actually looking at it in the face and walking away from it one step at a time. We do that by recognizing our need for God and nothing more and believing He’s willing and able to make your mountains move. Walking from my weakness and running to God’s strength is all I can do right now. Slowly, but surely I peel back the layers of doubt and sadness and direct my thoughts towards Him. One layer at a time because stepping back and looking at your mess only pushes you further down. If getting out of bed each day is your one victory, give Praise. If accomplishing one measly little task is all you can muster, hats off to you. It won’t be like this forever.
Survivng depression is all I can do right now. Moving forward one more day and injecting hope into my painful layers is all I’ve got. Each layer I waiver between doubt and hope, sickness and health, mountain and valley. Rest is parked in God’s faithfulness so I’m planning to stay there awhile and heal.