Friday, May 16, 2014

Living with depression

I’ve talked about my depression pretty in depth before, but I think the subject warrants an entire article. That’s because it’s now a part of me, like other facets of my being. So, what’s it like living with clinical depression? Well, let’s take a breath and dive in.

Depression is like someone’s sucking away at the very marrow of your soul. Imagine that for years on end, your joy in almost its entirety was snuffed out. It’s as if reality’s colors have dimmed. It’s like a song without sound. In short, it’s terrible. I’m not sure where it came from, but it’s here now. This biochemical tribulation has been like a cerberus hounding after me in some Lovecraftian hellscape.

Enough with the metaphors, eh? The bottom line is that sometimes I feel a hurting emptiness where my heart should be. I can’t enjoy the things I once loved. Worse than that, I want to die. Not every day, but close to it. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy… and yet it is mere ordinariness for me.

The worst part about the suicidal thoughts is that they come from nowhere. I can’t predict them and I can’t prepare for them. Each time it comes it’s like a black wave crashing over me. I try praying. I try reading my Bible. I even try watching anime. Nothing works in those moments. It’s then that hopelessness creeps in. I have idealized death in some form every week for the last seven years. It’s tiring.

Here are things you must know if you’re reading this and don’t understand depression. First of all, don’t blame the person who is suffering. Be understanding and use your words carefully, you don’t want to trigger a negative emotion. Secondly, be around for that person. Seriously, be around. If you’re going to make a commitment to be a shoulder to cry on, you need to stretch your availability. Finally, if someone you care about is talking about wanting to die, don’t take it as idle conversation… get professional help immediately. Also, as an aside to my fellow Christians: don’t tell someone they’re depressed because they didn’t pray hard enough. Say that to their face and you might be walking funny afterwards.

That’s as basic as I can give it to you, but maybe that’s enough. To finish, I’ll tell you what keeps me going: faith that there’s a purpose for my suffering. Basically, faith in God. If I didn’t believe that there was an objective reason for my existence, I would have already committed suicide. I mean that with every atom that I am. So don’t tell me that I can get by on my own strength, because you don’t know what you’re talking about. Either I believe there’s life in Jesus, or I believe in the void of death. For today, I choose the former.

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”-Second Corinthians