It’s been awhile since I’ve written. To be honest, it was a bout of depression that stymied me. I’ve been able to achieve a mostly depression free existence with my diet, but having four kids means that we all get sick from time to time. Every time my stomach is affected I get depression symptoms for a week to two weeks. So I have that to look forward to after the sickness is past. I’m still rolling through a bit of depression right now, but my sleep has been better the last few days, so I hope that I’m going to be feeling a little better each day.
Depression has a slot of stigma attached to it. Whenever I mention that I’m dealing with depression there’s a percentage of people that get a knowing look in their eye. It seems to say, “Sorry Little Jeremy, life is hard and everybody has to deal with depression along the way, it’s part of life. But if you put on your big boy pants, you’ll be okay.” I remember feeling that way. In fact, when I heard that someone was going through mental or emotional problems, my first thought was, “It’s too bad that they’re doing something in their life the wrong way. It’s some kindof of sin or a wrong way of thinking, obviously, that’s affecting them. If only they would just turn over their lives to Jesus, all that would be gone. How sad, but after all the wages of sin is death.”
And then I got depressed. Depression is hard to describe. After so many years of dealing with it, you start to know the gradations. First is a subtle sense that everything is wrong. Then you notice that the things you enjoy have no joy anymore. Life can achieve a bleakness that is devastating. You have no interest in anything, and you feel like an eggshell that the slightest difficulty or stress will crack wide open. When it gets truly bad, you feel a darkness, an absolute emptiness that is physically painful, as if your brain is aching. Tears come for no reason, and everything is overwhelming. You begin to want to escape life, as you can no longer find any meaning or reason for living. You start to examine everything in your life with a manic intensity, hoping that some change, however small or large, might make one iota of difference, might bring some ray of light or hope back into your mind. For years I interpreted it as a spiritual phenomenon. I anointed the door posts of our apartment with oil, hoping to chase away whatever demon or spirit of negativity was tormenting me. Even after others suggested that I get psychiatric help, I refused. For two years I reasoned that it had to be a test from God, something that I had to learn from. Something that I had to change. It couldn’t be me. And it couldn’t be something so simple as a physical problem, this went way beyond that. There was no way that what I had was physiological, it just was…too big. So I suffered, and my wife suffered.
Next: Beating Depression, Round 1