DEPRESSION. Do you mind if I say it this way? It sucks. It’s a calamity we were not created to endure (yeah, I called it a calamity). Instead, the Fall (Genesis 3) brought everything that is counter to a life full of health and joy. Sin entered, and so did the big D word—death. We can also call depression a big D word when it strikes us.
After my sweet Sam died, my big D word took this route: Do any of these diversions sound familiar?
- I was frozen for months, unable to have a coherent thought or make decisions.
- I was disinterested in everything, including my own welfare.
- I was sleepy/tired all the time.
- I was bluesy but I can’t play the guitar.
- I binge-watched meaningless TV.
- I ate to assuage my grief (O, that I had been one to whom food had no taste).
Those were just a few of the things I went through. But for every one of those behaviors, God has an answer. Not once did I get angry with Him. Not once did I feel He didn’t love me. I tried to get angry, but I couldn’t; He pulled me up out of the pit of despair.
- His Spirit within me.
- His Word.
- Christian family members.
- Christian brothers and sisters (what an extended family!).
- Even non-believing family members and friends.
The blues still hit—they come out of nowhere, but God has promises, and He doesn’t lie.
I thank God every day for life in the name of Jesus. I will repeat it; I miss Sam every day, but God’s not done with my work for Him here yet, and it includes humor. One day…(insert a long anticipatory sigh here).
I told you God has an answer to each of the phases of depression:
- The deep freeze: God kept me in a fog for His own purposes. If I tried to make a decision based on my vapid thoughts, who knows what trouble I’d be in. (Thank You, El Shaddai- God Almighty)
- The DISS of apathy: Exactly one month after Sam went home to heaven, I was at a writer’s conference in Pennsylvania with my bestie. One month! That was God pushing me through a request Sam made of me months before he died. He told me I needed to do it no matter what. Know what? I got to meet Jerry B. Jenkins on my conversion birthday—it was through his and Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind books that I came to faith in the Lord. (Thank You, Jehovah-Raah- the Lord my Shepherd).
- The fatigue: I carried the “tireds” with me all the time. Going to sleep gave me an escape. It was good for a time, but when a body stays in bed for twelve hours? Not good. Despite the fact that I woke every day thanking God that I know where Sam is, I still sank into my mattress because I did not know what else to do. God woke me up after that respite; He gave me a charge to help others going through the same thing, and yet he equipped me first. Hey, it’s not me, it’s Him. Yay! I feel better. I wake happy on many days having rested in Him and knowing I have much to do. (Thank You, Jehovah Rapha – the Lord that heals)
- The blues guitar: No, I didn’t up and buy a guitar so I could cry in my iced tea while I played riffs that rival Stevie Ray (that’s a joke, Stevie was one-of-a-kind). But I did buy a drum kit so I could beat on something. Keeping time? Well, that’s another story. (Thank You, Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is peace)
- Meaningless stuff. I was out of focus. Nothing made sense except God and His Word. When the too-fresh memories intruded, I zoned out. I needed to re-focus and get over myself. I know grieving is important, but it can devolve into something without hope. The Lord gave me a banner to raise, He is good! (Thank You, Jehovah Nissi – the Lord my banner (or miracle).
- Grief replacement: It can be eating, shopping (done that, too), drinking, drugs, or many other stand-ins. Yeah, I nibbled when I got bored with mindless distractions. I also shopped for gratification (My justification sounded like this, “I need this so I can feel better.”). I threw away the replacements and let the tears fall (see my post on “weeping.”) and the memories linger. Thankfully, I have a tremendous support group; I can never thank them enough. And to this day they keep giving. I am happy to be able to now give back. (Thank You, Jehovah Jireh – the Lord will provide.)
I have gone on too long, sorry. Too bad, it’s my blog, right? Haha, gotcha. If you are going through it, hang in there. Trust in God and give yourself time. Let people love on you. God gave us tears, and He also gave us laughter. I don’t take any of this as less than serious. It was a hard go for a while; it still is at times. But God has brought me laughter, and I’m not going to refuse that great gift.
You’ll get through the depression. You will.
I’m here if you need to talk through it or even if you need a virtual hug. Shoot, I’ll even share a silly joke with you.