Am I the only one that feels like there’s trouble and difficulty at every turn?
Am I the only one who seems to always have this rain cloud with an occasional rainbow over my head?
Am I the only one who sees a blessing as the cruel lead-up to another letdown?
Am I the only one who can’t seem to get excited about a goal, let alone identify a goal because I cannot see through the aforementioned cloud?
Am I the only one who feels every decision I make is wrong?
The obvious answer is no, but inside I hear “duh, yeah you are the only one. Look at the mess you are.” You need to be more like Chip Gaines and his always on the bright side of life mentality.
Can I give you a reason why I so often feel this way? Yeah, I could list my wife’s health, finances, lack of direction and goals, running a business, dealing with clients, getting stopped at a red light, trying to figure out how to get a 34′ motorhome + truck in tow to a Starbucks, the amount of studying left in this real estate course, shall I go on?
I’ve used all the above and more as excuses for the “what’s wrong with you?” question, and that’s exactly what they are, excuses; because for many who struggle with depression, there is nothing that can honestly be pinpointed to what’s wrong. There is just something that is “intangible dragging me down” as Kristen Bell put so well.
What doesn’t help
Depression often leaves the sufferer feeling a loneliness and worthlessness that many just can’t understand. The lack of really understanding results in the punch list of sure to fix depression sayings such as: “Look at all you have“, “Count Your Blessings!“, “You’re richer than 95% of the world“, “You need to CHOOSE joy“, “Stop believing Satans lies“, “You need more faith” …just to name a few.
While these are all more than true and should be enough to blow the cloud of anxiety and depression away, it instead creates an EF-5 tornado. Incase the analogy doesn’t make sense I found this cool image.
The cold dry air is the depression which is mixed with the warm air of truth (and something about updrafts and downdrafts).
Going back to what Kristen Bell wrote for Time:
For me, depression is not sadness. It’s not having a bad day and needing a hug. It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, that’s the tornado that begins wiping everything out in its path.
Getting through the highs and lows of depression is difficult for all parties involved; spouses, kids, parents, friends. I hate the fact that my wife feels like she has to cover for me around others, or keep the kids busy so they aren’t worried about me.
Whats the fix? I believe my wife is right in her assessment that communication will make the daily struggles so much easier, yet, ironically communication is the hardest hurdle to tackle (remember Miss Bell’s quote above?).
Is there a fix?
There three channels of communication that we can all use to combat this issue:
- Working on communication first with Jesus (who, being the loving and gracious Father, can provide all the comfort we need without ever letting us down)
- Your spouse (if you have one).
- A Dr., mentor, or closest friend.
- A blog is probably not the best decision as it’s sure to garner criticism that’s not helpful.
If you’re the reading this and are the #2 or #3 person on this list, my advice to you: Listen. The depressed aren’t always looking for an answer, a fix, affirmation, or a hug. They don’t need another tornado, they may just need an open ear.
By the way, check out this fascinating article about President Lincoln and his struggle with ‘melancholy’