Listless words linger in my mind. Half-thoughts swirling around innermost parts. Sentences start, quickly fade, their endings unknown. Imaged impressions float through hazed vastness, just out of reach. Stretching out, trying to grasp anything, only to pull my hand back, empty.

Trying to shake them off, deliberate discouragements, carefully chosen, trigger my flesh. Familiar emotions surface, the sound of their voice a reminder, they are still with me. Failure memories, horrible happenings, the movie flickers while the soundtrack plays in my soul. I fight, struggling against an enemy who knows the ugly details of my weakest weaknesses and my darkest darkness. All strength is taken up in this recurring battle.

Fog begins to roll in, thinking becomes incoherent. Life presses on  blurring the line between intentional living and auto-pilot. Struggling to not fall asleep at the wheel, I am wooed into a slumber, my past takes over.

Loudly reminded, reluctantly remembering, weakened, stumbling, I fall. Accusations full of true guilt; bested, defeated, I succumb.

Days become bearable without light. Sleeping days give way to long awake nights. Nourishment seems optional once, then turns into a ravenous frenzy. Silence is pursued until external noise must take its place. Fountains of tears flow until the river, dried up, becomes a hardened ravine of callousness. Moments of extreme opposites prevail until their inevitable collision.

A welcomed reprieve would be nothingness…

*********************

I wrote that 2 years ago.

I wrote it because I wanted to talk about depression and pain and suffering from guilt and shame from my past; how it mercilessly takes you over, controls you, makes you its slave. Even when you’re a Christian.

I never posted it because it was too dark, too real, too personal, too much information for others to see. What would they think? Would they understand? How embarrassed could I stand to be? Nope. No. No-no-no-no-no. Not gonna go there.

Well, here I am. Two years later. And I want to talk about it.

The thing is, it IS dark, it IS personal, but most of all, IT IS REAL. It’s really real, even when you’re a Christian.

All my life I have struggled with all that I’ve been through. Up until recently I had never known what it was like to wake up and want to actually get up. Out of bed to take on the day. I couldn’t do it. I was so run aground I really thought there was no way off this island. I was trapped, doomed, branded, an outcast.

Why an outcast? Because I’m a Christian, and Christian’s are “free in Jesus!” So, I must not have been trying hard enough to “bind those demons” and “cast out the darkness” and “call down angelic warriors” and to “just BE FREE!”

*sigh*

If only people could understand, it’s so much more than that. So much more than “just do this or that”.

So we’re clear, I’m not necessarily mocking here. I’m simply pointing out that well meaning brothers and sisters in the faith who don’t understand what people with depression go through, they just don’t get it. I appreciate the intention, I really do, and I’m not so sure anyone’s ever told these people that that is a set up for more guilt and feelings of confusion and failure.

How is that a ‘set up’?

When I would hear those well meaning words of encouragement, I wanted so desperately to cling to them, and I’d try, and when I’d fail, those were the very words the enemy would use against me during a relentless accusation fest.

Begin the cycle. Lather, rinse, repeat; ad nauseum…

I’m not so sure people who don’t struggle with these things realize that and because of that, we need to extend grace to them. They’re mostly only trying to help and it’s far better than ignoring the elephant in the room.

When I would suffer, my tendency was to withdraw, to cut people off from me and to build that proverbial wall–thicker, higher, stronger, yeah!–in order to protect myself.

Problem: A wall works to keep people out AND it keeps US locked in. Alone. Where no one can reach us. Sometimes, not even our Savior and it grieves Him.  Oh how it grieves Him! After all, that’s exactly why He came, suffered, died and rose again. It was to seek and save that which was lost, to set the captives free, to reconcile us to God the Father. Keeping ourselves locked in our fervently fortified fortresses negates the work of the Cross.

I totally get the not wanting anyone to reach me, DUH, that’s why the wall’s there! Hello?! But listen, when it’s so high and so wide and so deep that even the honest tenderness of Jesus can’t get in…we’re only making things worse and honestly, the devil wins. When we stay there, in our pits of despair, for that long, in those extremes, we will die. That’s what satan wants. Now, I know how at times that feels welcoming, “just get it over with then”, but death and darkness are from the devil. Life and Light are from Jesus Christ. We need to choose:

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” ~Deuteronomy 30

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ~John 8:12

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” ~John 10:10

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” ~John 20:31

So, what am I getting at?

These things:

1. Depression, the weight of shame, guilt, pain and our past are real and they don’t easily go away.

2. People who don’t understand what this kind of suffering really is are only trying to help, extend grace.

3. We need to stand up and come out of the depths of darkness and pain and purposely walk into the Light of Christ, and walk amongst other believers, and let them walk alongside US.

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” ~1 John 1

Yes I know what that means and yes I’m very aware of the risk. I STILL weigh out the risk of engaging others on a deeper level. My radar is STILL on alert. But I’m also coming to know the victory that comes when I step out and into the light, the Light of Christ, and into the fellowship of His church and you know what? My radar doesn’t go off as much as it used to. My anxiety and stress, fear and panic are all a bit quieter now. I’m learning to NOT live in crisis mode.

Over the years I have received so much prayer, healing, deliverance and more recently some very good, solid, Biblical counseling. I had to make that choice to do it. I had to keep choosing to go. Each time I choose to give my hope for a future a chance, it gets easier. It really does. And then you know what happens?

THE FREEDOM COMES!

Honestly, truly, verily, verily, truthfully I tell you…the freedom comes. Sometimes slowly, but it does come.

I want that for you. I SO WANT THAT FOR YOU!

I understand what it’s like. You are in my prayers.

Let the Light and love of Jesus Christ hold you in the darkness until His light is all you see. Embrace His love, embrace His light, embrace the life He wants you to have. It will be ok. If I’ve made it this far, so can you!

You are not alone!

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” ~Hebrews 4:15

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kaye @House on Oak Street August 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Dear sister, I too have struggled with depression and you are so right. It is very much misunderstood in the Christian community. So many things can factor in and need to be addressed. I know that for me, nutrition and supplements are essential for me to stay on top of it. Years ago I was tremendously helped by anti-depressants. There has also been much healing of the hurts from the past. Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable.

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11

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Lynnae McCoy August 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve never suffered from depression, but I have a nice history with anxiety, which is also misunderstood.

I’m glad more people are talking. It’s not as easy as “just trust God more.” But God can and does heal, just as you said.

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