I remember reading a book, a work of fiction, that described a battle between two kingdoms. The good king was defeated in battle. One of his son’s was killed. As punishment for being defeated, he was chained to the dead body of his son front to front, and left there to die. Sorry. I know that’s pretty gruesome, but I wanted you to get my point.
This is how depression can be for me. Chained to a dead part of myself, wishing release would come for me. It’s like living with one foot in the land of the dead, and one foot in the land of the living. It is a half-life lived in terror of truly sinking into death.
Some days, I just want to be left alone. Scratch that. MOST days I just want to be left alone. I want to be left alone to think and drown in my own pool of misery. Me, myself, and I like our little pity parties. I can get pretty grumpy if it goes too far. I don’t get much done. I hid and avoid like the best of them. I become an emotional couch potato.
But life happens all around me, whether I like it or not. My son still comes to me in the morning for snuggles and kisses. He looks to me to succor and support him in these tender years. He wants me to interact on a deeper level than I’d like to sometimes. It’s not that I don’t love him, it’s that I sometimes I feel like an empty well: I have nothing to give. It’s not fair to him to give him my scraps, and then hope he turns out okay. He may later resent me for “not being there.”
My husband needs support too. At our best, we reciprocate life to one another. We share in the deep bonds of marriage. Empty wells have not much to give into that sort of thing. Not to mention friends, church, commitments, and so on. Like I said, life happens, whether I like it or not.
Some days it’s all I can do to focus on what’s going on around me. Some days it’s all I can do not feel utter despair and hopelessness. Some days it’s hard to believe that life can be better than it currently is for me. Some days, death would be easier than taking one more step up my metaphorical mountain.
Every day is struggle. I have to make a choice. I have to choose life, or choose to be half-dead, or choose to be all dead. It’s up to me. ‘Cause you see, I believe there’s more to life than this. I believe it can get better. I believe I can be free of this some day.
Depression is one of the toughest things to overcome. Depression turns in on itself and becomes an out-of-control tumbleweed of despair, loneliness, and hopelessness growing bigger and stronger day-by-day. The more you see life through this lens, the more things look bad. The more things look bad, the more depressed you feel. It feeds on itself. It grows exponentially. One might think there is no way to overcome depression.
They would be wrong.
There are a variety of ways that to overcome depression. My best, and first action, is get on anti-depressant when it is so bad I cannot see my way out. I am chronically under-produce serotonin. Prozac helps to keep serotonin in my synapses longer. Next, is to seek out some kind of therapy. Usually, I go to various counselors in my church for spiritual guidance and prayer. Then, with the help of God and others, I keep working out why I am depressed in the first place. I keep working at it till I feel good enough to come off the Prozac. You can choose to manage your depression without medication or therapy. But you have to be strong-willed to keep yourself at check. You need to have a strong goal in mind.
These days, I have attempted to produce more serotonin by exercising regularly. This method seems to be going okay, but I don’t recommend it for those who are inexperienced at managing depression.
Some people meditate. I pray, which is a form of meditation. I need to connect with my Divine Healer, with my Source of Life, with the Author of My Salvation. Right now, Jesus is my Prozac. I go to God, the same way, my son comes to me. I seek succor and strength to keep on keeping on when the mountain seems to steep today.
Some people overeat (like me), attempting to fill their hole with food, especially food that falsely replaces the missing neurotransmitters (this is why people like chocolate so much when they are sad). Some people drink alcohol, some do drugs. Some have lots of sex. These aren’t methods that I recommend. They are false prophets that fill your mind with false goodness. And it never lasts. And it just reproduces negativity and despair.
Sometimes I use self-talk to snap myself out of my thick, soupy fog. Quoting scripture to myself works for me. Particularly Psalm 42 and the famous Psalm 23. I literally talk myself out of depression.
Depression can be overcome. Slowly, steadily, and surely. Someday, I will get there.
You just have to choose to overcome…and get to work.
How do you manage your depression?