My best friend, who was there at the time, could tell something wasn’t right with me. She tried to ask me questions, but I was very short with her because I didn’t want to talk about it. Like always, I desired to isolate myself.
It can make you feel like you have no purpose. Like you will always just be here stuck in this moment. It can give you anxiety about the future, or say that you don’t have one. It’ll make you wonder if you’ll live to see even one more day. When it rains, there’s literally no ray of sunshine that can lift you up. You hide under the covers like a bear in hibernation, just waiting for someone safe to come around and tell you it’s okay to come out. But even then, you’re unsure if you’ll believe them. You’re stuck inside your own head. You’re a prisoner of war to your own thoughts and fears with no relief. When you finally come out people ask if you’re okay, and you think you are. You think maybe it’ll end this time. That maybe you’ll be magically restored. Maybe you’ll be able to hold it together this time, not fall apart in the feeling of after-shame. But just like the last time, there it comes again with it’s hooks so nasty and sinister to rip you from the rail of hope you were desperately clinging to. This is depression.
As a lot of you may know, I struggled with this crippling disease all through high school, and some in middle school. Whether it was situational depression, or full-on depression, life became almost unbearable. I never really expressed the extent of it to anyone because I thought I could handle it, or that it would just go away on it’s own. But it kept getting worse. It got to the point where I felt like a zombie half-sleeping my way through life. Eventually I called on God to take it away, along with my anxiety, and He answered me. I had to figure out what was causing it and learn how to treat myself better. From then on, the bulk of it has subsided and I’ve been able to live a relatively normal life. I’d be lying, though, if I said I don’t have bad days. I usually just sing and praise my way through any time I feel like it’s creeping back up. I think Bible verses in my mind that pertain to joy and peace of mind, but I’m not always able to make myself okay.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with situational depression a lot more because of some circumstances in my life that I can’t change. I’ve sort of felt stuck, and for someone with depression, that’s the worst feeling in the world. I HATE feeling stuck. It blocks my ability to problem-solve sometimes, because I’ll do anything to feel free again. I had something come up last week, that made me completely shut down in that zombie-ish way again. It was something so small, but it triggered thoughts like, this is never going to be over. It’s never gonna stop. My life is in limbo. We’ll never get along. Over and over these thoughts kept coming. I ended up going in the garage and sitting in the car just to find some tranquility. I cried for a little bit and sang praise songs, but I was crying so hard that I could barely get the words out. After it was all out of my system, I went on Twitter to distract my mind. I found a live broadcast from one of my favorite Christian speakers, Christine Caine. I watched her travel around Italy for awhile, and somehow it lifted my spirits enough to go inside. The next day, I decided I needed to get more into “the word”, because I knew that was the only thing I could truly depend on. It has helped a lot, but I still felt a lot of confusion on how to ensure it doesn’t happen again. How do you beat this once and for all?
I’ve come to the conclusion that you have to watch what and who you surround yourself with. When toxic/negative people remain in your life, the likely-hood of you being as negative as them is higher. Also, if you’re in a job that you hate, that highly contributes to situational depression. In that instance, you really have to listen to the voice of God and what He’s asking you to do. Most likely He will tell you to either: stay in the situation because He’s about to turn it in your favor, stay in the situation to make you stronger for just a season, or leave because He has something better for you. It is impossible to feel happy all of the time, but it’s important that you make time to enjoy your life. I know some people who never stop working. They never sit back and put up their feet. They forget to smell the flowers, and then they wonder why they’re so stressed out. Always, ALWAYS, make time for you. Always, ALWAYS, make time for God.
Something happened to me last spring that brought a load full of situational depression. It was around the same time I was still struggling with my anxiety. I didn’t really know how to be myself after being an ex-addict. Addiction took away my ability to be completely genuine and in the moment. God had to break me of that and is still breaking me. I talk more about that in my previous article, Unfocused: An Ex-Addict’s Tale of Redemption. Anyway, I was fighting with a friend that, at the time, I felt very close to. I felt with all my heart that I could trust this person, because they made me feel safe. I honestly felt like they wouldn’t do anything to purposefully hurt me, but was soon faced with the truth. This person told me something that, at the time, I didn’t need to know. It was a truth I never saw coming. I thought everything was fine before. There was no warning, and I remember feeling really numb and shaky after that. You never quite forget the feeling that rips your heart to shreds. After that conversation, I headed back home. I walked with no emotion, just kind of dead on the inside. My first and only thought was, I have to get out. I have to get away from this place. So I did. I changed my clothes into something more appropriate, and took a little walk, unsure of when I would return. My best friend, who was there at the time, could tell something wasn’t right with me. She tried to ask me questions, but I was very short with her because I didn’t want to talk about it. Like always, I desired to isolate myself. I started walking and immediately realized where I wanted to go. I was headed to the store to buy alcohol, just enough to take the edge off. This was what I had always done. This was what I was used to. I needed familiar. It was by the grace of God that when I got to the store, I realized I didn’t have my i.d. (what a fail). I was irritated but left the store and just kept walking.
This is the part of the story that will tell you how really not myself I was. Remember, that when you’re depressed, there isn’t much that can shake you out of it except God, medication, and family. 2 out of 3 of those things were not around in that moment. There was an on ramp and an off ramp near where I was walking. In order to get to where I was going, I had to cross both. I had done this a gazillion and one times, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I started to think about everything that had happened up to this point. Who’s really my friend? What will people think of me? How will I ever get past this pain? I saw the cars headed my way, and got so close to just stepping out in front of them. It would’ve been quick. No mess. No fuss. Something stopped me though, and I pulled my foot back in. I tried to reason with myself by thinking, just take it one minute at a time. I finally made it to where I was going, which was a relative’s house. I remember opening the backyard fence and sitting on the white chair outside, facing the grass. I just wanted to be alone to feel what I was feeling, but I couldn’t feel a thing. Couldn’t cry. Couldn’t scream. Couldn’t talk. At some point, I ended up calling some people that I knew would be worried about me. They were not happy at all by my reaction. Apparently they had already been told by the friend I was fighting with about our little conversation. As if the whole thing wasn’t embarrassing enough! The issue was finally let go after I let loose where I was, and I stayed there in the backyard, just staring. I listened to “Bloodstream” by Ed Sheeran on repeat, and still wasn’t sick of it. Just trying to feel something, anything. It never came, at least not that day.
There’s so much more to that story that I can’t even get started on. It was just a really sad time in my life where I had to suck it up and work through the pain. Eventually, I did work through it, but it still affects me to this day. I never did make up with my friend. I don’t think I was important enough to that person for them to want to fix it. To this day, I still wish I could speak to them again and make things right. I’ve completely forgiven that person out of love and at least tried to see things from their point of view. Sometimes that’s all you can do. You can’t control other people’s actions, only you’re own. The reason I’m telling this story is for anyone who may feel the way I did right now. You may feel like you’re situation is never going to end, and that people aren’t going to understand you. Another thing I’ve learned is, you can’t blame your failure on people not being understanding. Whether they understand or not, you have to do what’s best for YOU. There’s only ever going to be one you in this world. Make the best of this life. Do what makes you happy. Live for God. Be a light. This sad period that you’re in isn’t going to last forever, and I really wish someone had told me that when I had my episode. Don’t be ashamed to talk about how you’re feeling with someone. Even if it’s just one person. When I was going through it, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone for fear of judgement. But the right people will always listen, even when they think you’re wrong. And lastly, be completely honest with God. Yes, God knows everything. He doesn’t need for you to tell Him what’s going on with you to know. But He wants you to come to Him first and talk to Him like a friend. That’s not what He’s there for. The Holy Spirit is also very gentle with the way that He speaks to you. John 14:16 refers to Him as “the comforter”, so there is no reason to be afraid.
I hope you guys got something out of this article, that’s the only reason I made it so long. There’s just so much I could share with you guys about my experiences. I just don’t want people to think that there’s this quick fix for depression and that your instantly healed. I still struggle, even when I’ve pretty much overcome. If you have any questions for me be sure to leave them in the comments down below. Also, share some of the experiences you’ve had, even if it’s not the kind of depression I’m talking about. Tell as many people as you can about something you’ve struggled with in life, and learned to conquer. I love you guys SO so much and I hope you have a blessed rest of your week!
P.S., here are some songs I sing when I’m at my worst (Christian & Secular):
Hillsong United – Even When It Hurts (Of Dirt And Grace)
Taylor Swift – Clean
Paramore – Born For This
NF – O Lord
Dierks Bentley – Riser
HAIM – Falling
Lauren Daigle – My Revival
Eddie James – He’s Alive
NEEDTOBREATHE – TESTIFY
OK Go – This Too Shall Pass
Coldplay – Talk
Snow Patrol – Run
Little Big Town – Silver And Gold
Natalie Grant – King Of The World
Yellowcard – Here I Am Alive