It took me a long time to figure out the issue. It took me even longer to realize that I wasn’t crazy. It took a lot of reading and talking to people. I talked to my husband, my mom, my sisters, my friends. There was no escape. I felt as though there wasn’t any escape. I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t know how to fix it. I just knew that something needed to be different.
“Beauty is so strange. I can see it in so many others but not in myself.” Journal entry 3.10.2012
“I spent the night at [one of my friends’] house. Man, did we have a counseling session. I found out that I have a low self-esteem (that’s certainly something that needs to be worked on) and that I have a lot of built up anger (oh really???). So, every day, I have to find one good thing about myself.” Journal entry 1.2.1999
“I feel like such a loser. I suck.” Journal entry 3.13.1999
“I realized that I need to have other people’s approval before I do anything.” Journal entry 10.9.2000
“I’m in a bad mood today. I don’t have the energy to do anything except eat and sleep.” Journal entry 11.27.2000
“Depression is a state of mind; the result of which is the changes in the regular patterns of life. It changes your sleeping pattern, happiness, work ethic. It causes procrastination, loneliness, unhappiness, anger, tension. Too many things that ruin too many people and too many families. ” Journal entry 12.5.2000
“I feel so miserable. I just start crying for no reason.” Journal entry 9.15.2001
I think I may have always used writing as an outlet to sift through the craziness in my head. Even before I knew it was a thing. Kelly Needham wrote a blog posting a few weeks back about the benefits of journaling. She uses hers for lists and notes and all sorts of stuff. I use mine only to sort out feelings.
I felt alone a lot of the time. As though I had no allies in the world. And, today, while looking through my old journals, I noticed a trend: it went from Eeyore status to quoting scriptures and back to Eeyore stuff and back to Jesus. I have always leaned on writing and Jesus to get me through the darkness. But there were times that I felt that even God was distant. I thought He was angry with me because I wasn’t praying, or as I wrote one day,
Last week, actually, the past few weeks I have been struggling to read the Word and pray. Journal entry 11.13.2000
The thing is that the high points are super high and the low points are terribly low. When I would talk to people about the low lows, they would insinuate that I was being dramatic or that I needed to spend more time with Jesus. If I would spend more time with Jesus then I would be able to fill the darkness with His light. But, here’s the thing, when a person is feeling low and they finally gather up the courage to talk about something, having people tell them that they’re “down” because Jesus is annoyed with them for not reading their bible daily probably isn’t the way to go about it. What may have helped would be if those same people had done some sort of study about the d word and given me some scriptures to help combat it. Some scriptures like these:
“He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the LORD supported me. He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me. The LORD rewarded me for doing right; He restored me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. (2 Samuel 22:17-22 NLT)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time. (Psalms 34:18-19 NLT)
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)
I’m not saying that people are to blame for my battle with darkness but I am saying that a little compassion goes a long way.
I cried tonight. I cried for all the innocent girls who have sex with their boyfriends. I cried for all the parents who have to deal with the disappointment and the reality that kids don’t always learn from their parents’ mistakes. I cried for lost dreams and goals. I cried for struggle and pain. I cried for sadness. I cried for all the people in the world who judge unwed teenaged parents. I cried for God’s grace. I cried for the loss of self-esteem, for the thoughts of failure. I cried for those who do indeed lose their dreams. I cried for those still trying to achieve them. I cried for being judgmental. I cried for God’s patience. I cried. Journal entry 11.5.2000
My journal entries always followed the same pattern. When I got married though I began writing less and less. I think I was leaning more on my husband and Jesus than on writing. But after I married I also finally decided to get professional help. Or more like pharmaceutical help to cope with the darkness. Was I crazy? Was I being dramatic? Was this a spiritual longing that was showing up as something else?
Wes didn’t like my choice. He didn’t want me to take the medication. He believed that there was a better way. That there had to be a better way to combat it than medication. I wanted to believe him and agree with him but since I had been dealing with the darkness for as long as I could remember, I accepted it as a part of my personality that he would have to learn to live with (and I did NOT make it easy for him).
So…what’s the point? The point is that we all have issues that we are overcoming. The point is that none of us are exempt from difficult things. The point is that while I no longer take anti-depressants, I do have to exercise and eat real food and write and and not keep my feelings bottled up to be able to deal with the darkness…depression. But it does sometimes still try to overwhelm me. Sometimes, depression wins; sometimes, I win. It’s less prevalent now that I’m used to it. But, it’s always, always there…waiting to consume. The difference between the Sam in 2014 and the Sam in my old journal entries is that I’m more aware now. I know the “feelings.” I know the sadness. I know the hopelessness. I’m also more experienced with dealing with depression and I’ve found ways to cope. And, most importantly, I’m not ashamed.
**If you or someone you know is battling depression, leave a comment and I’ll be honored to pray with you and support you. You are NOT alone. No matter how alone you feel.**