Monday, November 23, 2015

The D-word

I hate depression.  

I've watched it cloud, choke, and transform people into shells of the person they once were.  It isn't just an emotion or shifting of mood but for many, a disease that invades and destroys.

When someone you love has depression, you feel trapped on the other side of the mirror.  You can see them but not reach them.  Touch them but not bring them over.  And some days it seems they get deeper inside.  Another layer away.

Unlike a terminal diagnosis, there is little understanding or empathy for someone battling depression. Most people assume you can just "shake it off" and look on the bright side.  Yet for those trapped within the clutches, there is no bright side to see.

I've been depressed and have endured great darkness in losing my son, but I can't say I've suffered from chronic depression.  For that I am grateful because I know the pain of depression, and how it hurts both the one suffering and those that love them.

There is a difference in grief and depression, though often they go hand in hand.  Grief just adds to the weight of the already sinking.  Like throwing bowling balls to someone drowning.

Then you add the holidays, which for many are a time of rejoicing, but for others are impossible expectations.  And of course, the changing of seasons, where sunshine is harder to find and days turn frigid, gloomy and cold.  It is no surprise why the most wonderful time of the year is also the most difficult for the depressed.

Tim and I handled the grief of losing Austin in very different ways and it taught me, firsthand, how unique grieving is.  Though he was never diagnosed, there were periods I would say that Tim fought depression.  The weight was tangible, as if he carried a heavy coat on his body that wouldn't come off.  It wasn't just triggers, anniversaries, or memories that resulted in his sadness but a heaviness that clung to him.

And I prayed fervently for it to be released from him. It's with extreme gratitude to God that I see a change, knowing the weights have been lifted.  Of course, we will both always carry sadness in the loss of our son, but the clouds of depression are no longer in view.

This is one of the most difficult posts I've written because I find myself tiptoeing around what I want to say and worrying someone will take it the wrong way.  And also because even though this was my experience, it doesn't mean it to be so for everyone.

But I know that the only reason I have survived the loss of my son is because of God.  He gave me strength when I didn't have it.  Helped me find hope where there was none.  Gave peace in moments that surpassed understanding.  And brought joy back into my life.

When you fill your empty spaces with light, there is less room for darkness.

The closer I've seen my husband grow in his relationship with God, the more I've seen the darkness fade.  I know Satan uses whatever tools he can to hurt us and pull us away from God.  He hisses in our ears and clouds our thinking.  He hides the silver lining of every day.  He revels in depression because where it is, joy cannot enter.

If you're facing depression, there are so many options for help for you.  You are worthy of help.
You matter!

Seek support.  Exercise.  Eat well.  See your doctor.  Take care of yourself!  
Pray.  God will walk this journey with you - and carry you when you can't walk.
Practice the power of positive thinking.  Light cancels dark!  One day, one step at a time.

Reach out if you need help.  You are never alone in this.  Someone cares for you.
1-800-273-TALK is just one of many resources available.

Know I am praying for you.  If you need specific prayer, comment below or message me.

My prayer for all is that you'll find the hope, peace, and joy that can only come from One source, this season, and always.


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