I war with Depression.
Notice the use of capitalization? Thats out of respect for a worthy advisary. Any villian that can get inside your head is more than we as poor humans can handle.
Now when I say war I mean this is the single most difficult issue in my life. I don’t face a day without thinking about the affects, weight, struggle, and definitions of this “illness” (I use the quotes because while it is a mental and physical illness it feels like so much more to me.) And much of the time staring through the fog of another day encumbered by it.
I am not medicated.
This statement probably deathly frightens a lot of people who may ever read this. The thought of adding something else to the list of my mental hinderences frankly frightens me much more than facing the days through the fog or under the flood. As I heard a woman describe it once, “Yes, the negative voices stop. But so do the possitive ones.” I would rather spend each episode staring in the face of my extreeme vulnerability, realizing afresh my full dependance on Christ, and resisting the attacks of Satan. The alternative of never experiencing it at all leaves me with much less growth, and much more pride. In myself, in my choices, and in the control I and my doctors seemingly have over my life. Don’t I ever wish for it in the midst of the episode? Every time! But I try not to make life chioces when I am in that condition.
One of the challenges of Depression is feeling different, strange, and less than ideal because you are so far from feeling “normal”. The lack of normal functioning is only intensified by the knowledge that you aren’t, and the defeat that comes with that. But…
this is all just pieces in need of perspective. This is my normal.
As Paul wrote in Philippians 1:
“Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”
Crazy to think a man sitting in a prison, facing his death would write the words that echo my heart and bring encouragement like:
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11
To shift my vision from inward struggle to outward faith is a huge step for me every time this struggle comes again into my life. Life happens in seasons and every season we are in is here to teach us something; about ourseves, God, the people around us, the spiritual forces, etc. Over and under and around all of these situations and seasons and circumstances, good and bad, is the grace of God for His forgiven people. Not that we would have a righteousness of our own under the law, but that which comes from faith in the work of Christ on the cross and the power of the resurrection. That changes the way we see all of our struggles. Even the ones we feel super out of control of. If I can keep Christ before me it is no longer my struggle, but only sharing in His sufferings. If Paul could say that as he faced death at the hands of men, or persevered with his own thorn in the flesh, than I can be encouraged that God will help me through this, too.