Depression lies to us.
Depression tells us things that sound romantic but aren't true. It isn't helping you. It's not your friend. If you listen to its falsehoods, it will take everything until there's nothing left, and it will leave barren and hollow those who you love the most.
It's also not a way to pay others back. You won't end up on top. You will lose so much more than I can tell you. Love. Sweet love. Life. A chance to see the rising sun. A chance to make things brighter. Better. Anything.
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And I don't say this to make you feel guilty. Not at all. I'm not saying that it's up to you to hold it all together to keep everybody else happy. I am saying that it's one thing to feel depressed, but it is another thing to listen to the slanted logic that depression will present you with.
I didn't talk about my depression.
And I want to say upfront that I'm not a clinical psychologist, and this isn't a substitute for a doctor's advice. Go get help. I strongly advise that. I also realize that we're not allowed to talk about feeling suicidal, I mean not as a society, and because of that, we don't mention it.
And so, you feel alone.
But you're not.
Don't be afraid to speak out and get help.
Your life depends upon it.
I was in a difficult situation, and I had a double whammy.
After the birth of my firstborn child, I experienced a blackness so thick, it was palpable. It actually struck me at first when I was pregnant. It was there, ever looming in the background, like a darkness that ever threatened to engulf me.
I wanted to die.
I was carrying my child, and I believe that she saved my life.
A boredom so pervasive invaded my every moment. I was bored while doing things, and time seemed to slow down to a crawl. I know firsthand that depression hurts.
Believe me, I understand.
I am typically a very busy person, and that did not stop. I just felt unsettled no matter what I did. After the pregnancy, the dip in hormonal levels sometimes hit me like a wave, violent and formidable, a terrible foe that I could neither vanquish nor do anything against.
I was just surviving.
I was drowning in the day to day. My child was a terrible sleeper, and I was breastfeeding her. I tried to do too much. I am a rule-follower to a T, though I don't look that way in appearance. The truth is that I wanted to do everything right, and I wanted to do everything that people asked of me.
I usually ended up doing nothing but working so hard at doing the nothing that it felt like I climbed Mt. Everest. And yet, somehow I still felt like a disappointment.
I am the worst people-pleaser, though I ended up failing at that, too. I have since had to be true to myself and drop a lot of the plates I was spinning.
It turns out I don't need to follow the rules that constrict and that bind me. Sometimes people will act as if I do, and I just remind myself that I need to take care of myself.
I felt like I HAD to be the parent who stayed up at night with her. I felt like I HAD to do everything. No one had any idea how much I tried or how hard I worked even while sitting perfectly still.
I took care of that baby. I stayed up at night with her. I sacrificed, and I bled internally, metaphorically speaking.
And then I got sick.
I came down with mono. And the sun, it seemed, went down on my life until it was just a tiny speck far away on the horizon that I could barely see. I needed more help than I was getting. I needed more sleep than I was getting. I cried out from desperation, and it seemed no one could hear me. It seemed nobody was listening.
I didn't think I would get well.
The days stretched into weeks that stretched into months that turned into an entire year.
No help, no phone calls, no 'how are you doing?' from those I expected it from. To say I felt abandoned is a vast understatement.
I loved everyone, but I felt I was doing them no good. This is when depression whispered into my ear. It told me how happy my husband would be without me. It told me that he would be relieved and that he would go off and find a young blonde wife who could hike and cook and do plenty of things with the baby. It told me that she would have plenty of kids and would pop them out easily, one by one, every year.
It told me my baby would be better off.
It lied to me.
It said my child would be happier with a different mom and that she would forget all about me. Hell, I believed that she wouldn't be interested to learn anything about me, as she would be so happy with Better Mom.
My husband wouldn't have to deal with my burdensome ways. He and my baby could get back to being a happy family together with Better Wife.
Lies. All stinking lies. Lies from the putrid depths of the pit called hell. Lies from the enemy himself. Understand this: the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but Jesus comes that you might have life and more abundantly.
You say you're in pain?
Of course you're in pain. It doesn't mean Jesus can't fix you. I don't know what the fix is for you. It might be a therapist or a doctor, medication, or a change in diet or scenery. It might be getting some rest.
I don't know.
But what I do know is that you cannot believe a word that depression would tell you.
For example, I did not realize that if I ended my life that it would cause others pain. I thought my husband would have a celebration. I realize that this may be a no-brainer to you or to another depressed person, but I guarantee you that your views are distorted if you are that depressed. It might just be that you are deceived in a different area than I was.
As a radio show host, people often send books for me to review. I received one such book in late 2016. It was called 'Bloom in the Dark'. The stories in the book are written by survivors of trauma and abuse, so, naturally, I was drawn to it. Late one night, I was reading it while my husband was asleep.
My eyes were soon flooded with tears.
It included a real letter written by a real person who was married to someone who had killed himself.
I was devastated.
The love, the pain, and the suffering were obvious in this person who was left behind, and I had missed it. I realized that my husband and child would be hurt and not helped if I had died. Depression had so clouded my thinking that I could not see this.
I didn't believe anybody could love a loser like me. I had been unemployed since 2009, and this also contributed greatly to my sense of worthlessness.
Your lie could be different. Only you know what the whispers of shame are telling you.
For me, just realizing that my major belief was untrue was enough to shatter the bubble. I no longer considered suicide, and I no longer listened to whatever depression would tell me. I realized my thinking had been distorted, and I was able to accept help.
I told my husband about Better Wife and Better Mom, and he just looked at me, incredulous. He didn't have a desire for Better Wife, and he said he wanted me. I was his wife and not because of what I could do.
I want to pause here and say that our worth doesn't come from another human being, and that if your spouse or kids don't love you that you still are more valuable than you know. You are LOVED by a God in heaven who gave Himself for you.
What woke me up wasn't having worth in my husband's eyes. It was that I realized how distorted my thinking was. It frankly scared me.
Since then, God has blessed me with a job I can do from home. I did recover from mono, and God has brought new friends into my life. My point here is that things can change and not that friends, a job or any other thing should become your hope in life.
I'm not promising rainbows shooting out of your back end, but I am saying that suicide is permanent. I saw no way around mono (because of my compromised immune system), and I had taken on too many emotional responsibilities.
If I had it to do over, I wouldn't try to be all things to everybody, and I'd let people do some things for themselves. I would have stopped it with the people pleasing. I would have dropped all the rules.
I know depression is overwhelming, and I know how overwhelming the blackness is. That's why I'm saying to get help and to not listen to its lies. I am also saying that you're not alone.
Most of us don't talk about it because of the stigma attached to it and because we're not licensed clinical psychologists. There is this idea that you're not allowed to talk about it, and what happens is that nobody talks about it.
It means that we think we're all alone when we're really not. It means we take on more than we ought to on our own, thinking we have to be strong and that nobody else is suffering this way.
They are. I am trying to start the conversation. Talk to someone. Get some help. We're all rooting for you.
'Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.' Matthew 11:28
You can call the suicide prevention hotline 24 hours a day 1-800-273-8255
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