Saturday, January 21, 2012


Depression. Webster's dictionary defines it as (1) : a state of feeling sad : dejection (2) : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.

I've never considered myself depressed. Well, at least I didn't used to. I just never realized that people could truly be happy. I don't know how much of this is related to just my personality, or genetics, or my childhood. But I never really felt an overall sense of happiness in my life.

Even as a child I just moved from moment to moment, enjoying myself somewhat, but never with the glee I've seen from other people. When asked what is my favorite childhood memory, I can't really answer. I can tell you about my childhood, I can tell you about traumatic memories, I can tell you about general memories, but I can't tell you about happy ones. When I remember things that should have been happy memories, I can remember the moment, but I can't remember feeling joy in those moments.

But to be completely honest, I don't really have the greatest memory anyway. I can't tell you how many times one of my brothers will talk about something from the past and I have no memory of it. And now that I've gotten back in touch with old high school friends (thanks to facebook) I'm amazed at how many things they remember that I just can't recall.

Maybe I just have a faulty memory, or maybe it's that there wasn't much good to remember.

But I can't blame it on a terrible childhood. In some ways, yes, I didn't have the idyllic childhood. My parents separated when I was 2. My father was present in my life but he won't ever win any father of the year awards, at least not from me. And I don't have a lot of warm fuzzy memories of him from when I was little. But I don't have that many of my life with my mom either, and she does deserve a mom of the year award. So it's just a terrible memory on my part.

Or maybe it's that I was depressed even back then.

Once, several years ago, I saw a commercial for an allergy medicine. It showed people going about their lives with a film over everything. And when they took the medicine, the film was stripped away and everything was clear.

A light bulb went off for me when I saw that commercial. I realized that that's what I felt like. It's like there's always been a film over my life. Always.

Then someone told me about dysthymia. It fits me perfectly, especially this: "in general, you may find it hard to be upbeat even on happy occasions." To be fair, I haven't been diagnosed with this. I don't particularly like going to doctors. But there is no doubt in my mind that this is what I have.

I've been on medication for my depression before, and it helped. And I have no doubt that if I went to a doctor now, I would only have to ask for medication and I would get it. But I don't want to. I want to be able to handle it myself.

Heh, I just read what I typed and realized something. I'm not approaching this the right way. What I really should have said is that I want to handle this with God's help. Or, even better, I want God to handle this.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I can't do it alone. I can try everything possible but without God's help, I can't do it.

I did however come to realize that the only way I do ever start feeling better is by spending more time with Him. It's so hard to see that when I am in a very bad cycle of depression, but when I actively read my Bible, pray, spend time with other believers, the dark doesn't overwhelm me like it can. There is more light when I am spending time with Jesus. Which, hey, truly just makes sense. He tells us all about it.

Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous fall.

Psalm 71:20-21 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.

I mean, look at that! Do you see how many scriptures I found in just a short time? And there are so many more. When I am reading the Bible, it is easier to see these. When I am allowing this world to win, I close my eyes and my heart and I don't see these wonderful promises that God has given me in His word.

I'm not trying to oversimplify it. I know the benefit of medication. And I believe that God blessed me with medication in the past. And I know that there are times when it is necessary, and it's what God uses to help people. I just know that I hate taking it. And I want to do it without having to take it. And I know that there is no way I can do it without God. I can't. I've tried. And all that happens is that I stay in a state of "sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies."

That won't do. I don't like living like that. And I don't have to. With God on my side, I can do all things. Nothing is impossible with His help. But that doesn't mean I just do what I want and He cleans up after me. I have to do my part. Whenever I look back at the hard times, the times I felt the most underwater, it was those times I wasn't spending time with Him. The times that I glory in His presence, those are the times that no matter what is going on, I can handle it. I can get through, I can find some joy.

Maybe I won't ever feel like that film is completely off of my life, at least not this side of heaven. But when I let Him in, when I spend time with Him, then it is so much brighter, life is so much sweeter, everything is so much happier. There, I said it, happier. God makes me happier.

Thank you Lord, for making me happier. And please help me stay that way.

PS, Is it obvious that I'm in one of my better cycles right now? I've been reading my Bible every day, worshipping more, praying more, spending more time with Jesus. I guess it makes sense that I am happier right now. 

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