Depression IS A Thing

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Did you know that King David dealt with Depression? In Psalms 42:5 he wrote: “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” (NASV) He then wrote it again in Psalms 42:11, and again in Psalms 43:5. It was a recurring issue for him.

Everyone deals with Depression, at some point, in some way, for all kinds of reasons. It’s a dilemma we face caused by different circumstances.

It does not have to be a permanent part of who we are. There are ways to deal with it. There are ways to combat it, and even conquer it. I know, because I have conquered it. More than once in my life. From terrible circumstances in my childhood, to dealing with the rejection of divorce. From joining the military and never quite fitting in, to discovering my mom had cancer while I was stationed in another country. I’ve been temporarily homeless, jobless, and friendless. I suffered near-severe postpartum depression with my first child, before it was a recognized problem with available help. I developed PTSD while deployed in an area with bomb threats. I’ve had my life threatened, even nearly died more than once. I was depressed in my teens and almost died from alcohol poisoning when I was around 16.

I am no stranger to Depression.

I am also no stranger to the fight to overcome it. I have never taken medication for it, but I don’t think negative of those who need or choose to do that. It’s ok. Whatever helps, that is what is important. Take hold of that necessary help.

I have learned there are things that trigger it. Certain words, memories, even people. I have adjusted my life to include a group of those hand-picked by me that I know will stand by me no matter what so that I have that source of necessary encouragement. That is part of walking in freedom from Depression’s debilitating grip.

I have a personal relationship with the greatest Encourager mankind has known, or ever will: Jesus Christ.

I have learned tactics and techniques to pull myself out of the downward spiral. I also have learned not to focus inward so much, to get busy, find an outward focus, become the encourager for others that I often need others to be for me. At times I find out that as I encourage them, I also encourage myself as I remind others of all those positive things depression can tend to overshadow and hide.

Depression is a stealthy force that can render us overwhelmed, unable to cope or do much. But it doesn’t have to remain that way. I was inspired to write this for a couple of reasons.

The first is an important movement started by Jared Padalecki, #AlwaysKeepFighting. I cannot begin to tell you how relief has overcome me to see there is such an amazing place for people to reach out and become a part of!! I fought my battles mostly alone for so long, though when my battles were toughest there was always at least one person I could lean on. I’m inspired to see so many reaching out to one another, as well as to Jared Padalecki himself.

The second reason for this writing inspiration is because of a recent letter gone viral over Facebook. The writer is Bekah Miles. In her letter she asked, “…why aren’t we having a conversation about it?” It’s a good question, an important question. We should be having a conversation about it so we can move past it. So people know there are others who care, who understand, who identify, and even some who have moved past it into content and happy lives.

The thing I’ve learned that has stuck with me the most is: It’s only temporary. It does pass. Circumstances change. Things that caused me to feel depressed have lost their hold or have been forgotten over time.

So, let’s talk.

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“Don’t Apologize”

I’ve spent most of my lifetime apologizing for who I was and who I am, for simply being here, maybe in someone’s way, or saying something that might have given the wrong impression or just didn’t get my point across. I’ve apologized and been completely introspective, believing something was wrong with me, because someone was positive I must have been flirting with a worship leader when I was watching them for upcoming cues, as I would a conductor in a symphony.

I’ve mentally kicked myself probably near 1 million times for all the mistakes I have made or possible wrong impressions I unknowingly have given.

I’ve eased up on myself over the years, because the focus stopped being so much on how I was messing things up, the more I grabbed hold of my life and learned to follow God. But sometimes, I can feel that try to pull me down again. It’s like trying to swim to the top, to breath, but being pulled back down by someone who just doesn’t want me to reach the surface. That’s what the negative opinions and gossip, misunderstandings, misinterpretations and even lies of my past tries to do to me.

I’ve apologized time and again for making mistakes, for giving an unpopular opinion that offends someone (but they don’t apologize to me in return, as their opinion can be just as offensive.)

I don’t expect from others what I know should be expected of me.

So, lately, I’ve got some stuff going on. I’m realizing I have some health issues that stem back to before I was even a teenager. The medical diagnosis is taking F.O.R.E.V.E.R. but I’m pretty positive I know what is wrong. At the very least, I know the generalized category of what is wrong with me. Had I been diagnosed as a child with this, would that have shaped my life differently? Would I still feel the need to constantly apologize for my very existence that alone seems to have caused so many problems, less or even more so? I believe some people actually think if I had not been born, their lives would have been tremendously more easy, and some of the problems just wouldn’t have been. Too bad, cause the only place I’m going is probably shutting the door to them. I am grateful for the life God has given to me, and I am satisfied. Should I apologize to them for that, do you think?

So, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for being awkward and untrusting.

I’m sorry for being messy and unorganized in the past, yes I know, I was pretty bad.

I’m sorry for ever having needed to rely on someone else for help.

I’m sorry for having an opinion different from yours and not just keeping it to myself.

I’m sorry for having been promiscuous and confusing that with being cherished and wanted.

I’m sorry for leaving a church where the lack of grace was suffocating me. I’m also sorry my husband felt the need to leave, as well, all by himself. I’m sorry so many misjudged and thought I convinced him to leave, too. I’m even more sorry for the hurt inflicted in him, and me as well, as we felt rejection from some who had once treated us like family.

I’m sorry I’ve cut so many people out of my life over the years, because I just do not trust them not to hurt me.

I’m sorry for misunderstanding what you said.

I’m sorry for having a possible physical disability that seems impossible to actually diagnose.

I’m sorry for thinking a fire hydrant was a child dressed in winter clothing, in the middle of the hot summer, because my eye sight gets so blurry.

I’m sorry that you think I’m stupid.

I’m sorry for being born. Really. I’m sorry for being born. Because, we all know I had so much control over that. (Yeah, ok, this last one was pure sarcasm.)

I often hear from my husband, “Stop apologizing. It’s ok. It’s not as bad as you think. It’s not as frustrating as it seems. You’re fine.”

I can’t just quit. Because maybe apologizing will help people who don’t like me because we differ in political or religious opinions, to like me. Maybe people won’t judge me so harshly as being stupid because I made some mistakes, or I got confused about something, or I don’t debate the way they think I should.

Maybe people will think as highly of me as I think of them, if I just apologize enough for being so inadequate and insignificant.

I purposely cover over the hurts and negatives that others have caused me. But, I don’t see that happening for me from most people. So, I guess if I apologize enough, maybe, they might realize that sometimes I need to be apologized to. <shrug>

Some people, and they know who they are, have yet to begin to scratch the surface of apologies I deserve to be given. But, because I understand how to forgive and look past things in everyone else, except myself, of course I will overlook things and press on, surrendering the pain and frustration to God.

By the way, I’m getting better at not making myself the exception. That is the healthiness God is bringing about in me.

I hope you’re getting better at apologizing.   😉