For Those Who Struggle
Not Always the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...
So I know in a previous post I mentioned how this time of the year is my all time favorite. I talked about the wonders of Christmas and how joyous it is for me. I do realize, however, that not everyone feels this same way. For a lot, the Christmas season brings about heavy depression and sadness. Whether due to bad memories or family conflicts and fighting or the stress and anxiety which comes from prepping for the big day, for so many, this holiday is just too much to handle. And if you're struggling with mental illness on top of this, it can be especially painful. People mean well (sometimes) when they tell others who are depressed to "cheer up" or "be positive" and the like but depression does not just go away by thinking about sunshine and rainbows.
In my life with depression, "cheering up" was just not an option. Not only that but I was completely void of positivity and felt that the life had been drained from body. A black, sticky tar was clinging to every part of my insides. Hope was so far out of my grasp that I gave up trying to have it. It was like trying to hold on to a greasy metal bar with oily hands. I kept slipping until eventually I accepted the truth of the situation. Things were not going to get better. Ever. I was numb and detached from everything around me. Absolutely nothing mattered anymore. Not even my own life. I was drowning and trying so desperately to stay above the water. But I couldn't take it anymore, I decided to kill myself.
I still remember the exact day, August 16, a Sunday. Because I don't want to give any ideas on how to end your own life, I'm not going to disclose what I was planning on doing but I will say that I was beginning the process of executing it. There is a scripture in the Bible which sparked a bit of hope in me and it's found in the book of Psalm chapter 69. The very first verse hit me and resonated within me so much. "Save me, Oh God, for the waters have come up to my neck [they threaten my life]". I found comfort in the fact that not only had David suffered with crippling depression but God was aware of mine and was holding on to me. Although I still felt as though my life had no worth and because of such I was still wanting so badly to end everything, I held on to the grease covered bar for as long as possible, looking for an alternative escape.
Eventually one came but the wait was excruciating and just about unbearable. So what's my point in saying this? Well, this is depression. This is what it feels like and this is why "getting over it" simply doesn't cut it. Being free from depression involves God and a lot of times, medication. Those two interventions have made a dramatic change in my life. Though I do still struggle with depression, not nearly as much as before, I feel a lot more freed these days. For those who still struggle and have yet to find that relief, please do not give up. I know this time of year makes things a lot harder but the pain can end. If there is anything left in you that can manage to hold on to the bar just a little longer, please do. And I would also encourage you to check out Psalm 69, as it may hit on exactly where you are right now.
You can make it through this. We will make it through this together. Don't let go of the bar. Hold on.
Feel free to share your stories and experiences with depression in the comments section below. Reach out to others and try not to isolate. I do genuinely hope that you are able to enjoy these upcoming holidays in some way. Or at least be around to see them. I'm praying for all of you. It can get better.