A Reflection on Depression


Dear Everyone,

As it has for a lot us, the tragic loss of Robin Williams has caused me to reflect. I think what’s cutting us to the core on this one is not only that we lost him, but also how we lost him. It has me thinking a lot about my own struggles with depression over the years, and I wanted to open up a bit about it and share. I know I am one among many afflicted. For those out there, you should know that you’re not alone. I am no expert in a field of study, but I know what it’s been like for me. I will share based on my own experience. Feel free to share based on yours.

Depression doesn’t have to be reasonable, logical, or rational. From the outside perspective, it can appear to be unwarranted. That’s part of what makes it so difficult to understand at times. It’s like seeing people with the worst circumstances in the world, yet they display strength, courage, hope, and even joy. Then you have people who are comparatively blessed beyond measure… who are tormented within their own heart and mind. It doesn’t have to be real to anyone else to be a devastating reality to the one experiencing it.

My depression was something that my ex-wife had to deal with. I know that wasn’t easy. We didn’t live together before we were married, and it is one of those things that can be managed enough at times to keep it unknown… enough. I never intentionally hid it, but it wasn’t who I wanted to be, so when at all possible, it wasn’t who I was. After marriage, she would see my times of withdrawal, of unexplainable sadness, of feelings of hopelessness and unbearable weight. When I was at that point there was nothing she could do, despite her best efforts. It wasn’t because of her or about her, but it surely effected her. I know it broke her spirits as well and caused her to feel inadequate in the sense that… she couldn’t fix the way I felt. I’m not meaning to speak for her. These are just things I’ve realized in hindsight, but are still coming from my perspective.

God has opened my eyes to the extent that I have realized what, for me, had perpetuated my depression. For me, it had been the disappointment of being failed by my idols. I am speaking of idols in the Biblical sense. The things I looked to for hope. The things I made my salvation and my source that never could’ve been those things for me. It was my misplaced and misguided expectation and ways of seeking for redemption. When people or things would fail me, fail to be what they were never intended to be, I would become disillusioned. I would withdrawal. I would unravel. I did this in lots of ways at different stages throughout my life, often seeking ways to escape the things I could not face, the most recent case being in my ended marriage.

You see, she was that savior from a home environment I didn’t know how to escape. She was that love that I never thought I’d deserve. She was that hope for a future away from a life of hidden pain. She was my grace for a life I never thought I’d get to have… and that was wrong. That was all wrong. It wasn’t fair to her for me to expect her to be something that no one could ever live up to. It caused me to only see and create who I wanted her to be, instead of who she was. I was in love with a version of her I created in my mind, and I deprived her of being loved for who she was. When reality broke through, when I was let down by my idol for being human as she was, I came undone. I could not be all she looked for me to be, just as she could not be all that I looked for her to be. We are not Gods and we were never meant to be.

I have been to the edge. I have been to the brink. I have come closer to leaving this place than I care to elaborate on. I am still paying off debt for medical bills from a panic attack and break down trip to the ER… but, I am lucky. Not all are so lucky. I have such loving, such incredible people in my life that reached out and reached into my life. They wouldn’t let me fade. They wouldn’t allow me to disappear. They wanted more for me than I did… they wanted me to live, and not to simply exist, but to take hold of that life that is truly life. God is good. God alone is God. God alone will never leave, forsake, nor fail. It is unfair to everyone involved to place someone else on the throne. They will only be burdened to live up to unattainable expectations, and you are only destined for disappointment by seeking perfection from the imperfect. The people who’ve loved me out of the darkness I was in have afforded me the opportunity to learn these things, seek healing, and begin again.

When you’re in that place, you don’t have the strength to reach out. You can’t even find the energy to expend. So I beseech you all, if know someone struggling, withdrawing, spiraling… reach out to them. Pray for them. Don’t ever try to rationalize away what they are experiencing. Let God’s love flow through you to break into their lives, for it’s that very love that will save them. It’s that very love that brings the hope, strength, and purpose to step out and live again. I thank you for your time, and I open the door to you as well. Let’s not be silent. Let’s not isolate or hide away. Let’s call this what it is, and throw ourselves on grace. I love you all and God bless.

Sincerely,

Me

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Confession


Here it is:

I decided to start this blog page the day after I realized that ending my own life was not an option. Hear me out, I am not looking for attention. I am not looking for anyone to talk me down, so to speak. I did not do it. I will not do it. But honestly, who has never thought about it before? This is simply a confession of the shared human experience. There has been only one other occasion that I have come as close to doing it as I did the other night. What has brought me to these points is something that I will reveal in time. Right now I want only to talk about why I did not follow through.

The main reason that prevented me that first time many years ago, and that has also been a continuous thread throughout my life in regards to the thought of suicide is– the fear of hell. Now, I am not here to argue the existence of hell with you. I do not need you to debate me on the topic of secure salvation either. I would also never tell you that just because a loved one of yours has committed suicide that he or she has gone to hell. I do not believe anyone on this earth has the authority to declare who has gone where into the afterlife. Only God truly knows the heart of a person. What I will say is that for me, the fear of hell in regards to killing myself has kept me alive. For whatever it is worth, this is a prime example of fear in the positive sense. I cannot say for certain that ending my life would not compromise my salvation in Christ, and I would not have it any other way. It is a gamble I simply will not take. That being said, this time around there was something new… something different. Another line of reasoning has emerged and it helped to save me from the brink.

No matter where you are at in life, you do not know the end to your story yet. But you can know the end of thee story that is rich with hope, glory, and an eternity with our Lord. That alone can provide the strength to make it through our darkest days. Am I always at my best in believing this? No. But that does not make it any less true. I thank God that truth does not require belief to be true. Take heart and hold on. You may think you are at the edge and that the only thing left is the plummet to the end, but there is hope in the mystery of what lies ahead. Allow for a twist of beauty to come along and take you by surprise. If you cut it short, you will never know what could have been. In due time, there will be purpose for your pain. It is up to you to not allow it all to be in vain.