Thursday, June 9, 2011

a hole in my cup

What does depression feel like? 
I suppose it can be anything from a mild “ho, hum” feeling to a deep black pit of forsakenness. Much ink has been spilled on personal subjective accounts of this experience, so I guess you can add this one to the pile, for what it is worth.

(*a personal note to those who know me - these feelings are as far away as Africa right now.  If it were not so, I would not be capable of speaking publicly about them.)

My “pit,” the short version:
Emptiness.  A cup empty, void of all goodness, with a hole in the bottom.  Empty and unfillable.

An example:
(Written during the days of seizures and sadness.)

  ….some of those days were successfully completed, albeit on survival mode, and I went to bed feeling that I had done the best I could under the circumstances.  But there were also very bad days, days when the grief would almost consume me.  I would walk around feeling utterly empty, like a cup with an enormous hole in the bottom.  All energy, patience, joy, enthusiasm for life, love, strength, and everything good about me just drained out of the hole.  Anything in the world that ever brought me joy only brought irritation and annoyance.  Any kind of experience at all, even a playful kiss from one of my children, felt like something that sucked energy, life, patience out of me.  All I could see in the world was need after need after need that I simply could not meet.
            My body screamed with exhaustion, so that even one mere dish in the sink seemed like an overwhelming task and personal insult. I became exceedingly selfish in every single one of my thoughts: my mental ranting was constant and loud, and consisted only of complaints and guilt.  I saw my family and saw nothing but my guilt and failures.  My heart simply could not give them the love they deserved.  If there was a conflict between the children or a discipline issue to be addressed, my emotional state was such that I only had two options: seethe in silence or overreact. 

            My thoughts were filled with self-pity mixed with a thousand “shoulds,” and prayers for help and forgiveness that felt unanswered.   You should not feel this way, you should be thankful for your children, for your home, for your husband and your health.  You should be kind and patient, you should be thinking of others, you should be able to make it through a meal without slamming your hand on the table and yelling!  You should not think your life is so hard, you should not have this terrible attitude toward those you say you love.  You should be able to pull yourself together and function!

 Lord forgive me, help me, change my heart.  Lord forgive me forgive me forgive me help me O God please help me I am a mess Jesus help.....
            I remember many mornings, hiding in the office with my coffee while the children watched cartoons, in tears even before breakfast.  I have heard many people say that “God never gives you any more than you can handle.”  I am sure there are good intentions behind those words, but that thought did not seem to match the reality I was facing.  I was far beyond what I could handle on my own at this point.  I was curled up in a ball, crying on the deck of the ship while the war raged on.
            When I came before the Lord, I had trouble assembling any thoughts to form a prayer.  I was simply an enormous pit of need.  I was weak, selfish, and completely empty-handed.  My cup was empty, and everything I tried to put in it to fill myself back up again just fell out of the hole at the bottom. 

And if there is no God, no love, no forgiveness, no Helper, then nothing more can be said. 
Simply, utterly, weak.

But there is hope in the promises of God.

 For he delivers the needy when he calls,
 the poor and him who has no helper.

He has pity on the weak and the needy,
   and saves the lives of the needy.

Psalm 72:12-13

God, come quickly, and rescue those who struggle in the pit today.  Repair the broken cups and heal the broken hearts!    And even as we wait for our complete repairs, comfort us with your grace.  Let us hide under the blood of Christ, and take refuge in Your great love for us.  You see and know our hearts; yet in Christ even the ugliness and weakness is covered. We are fully known and fully loved, fully safe in Him.  


  1. You have described exactly how I have been feeling emotionally during this pregnancy. I know that not taking my prozac has NOT been helping (incidentally, my sister and i have been doing research on antidepressants during pregnancy and it seems they're not as bad as thought...), however, I have felt like this for almost a year now and it's horrible. As you said, the only reactions you felt were to seethe in silence or over react. Thank you for opening yourself up. It's been helpful to me to know I'm not alone.

  2. Oh Jeni, I am sorry to hear that you have been feeling this way a WHOLE pregnancy! That is a LONG time to feel that way... If you are surviving at all, God must be helping. (even if it only feels like a little bit!)

    Seethe or over react... an awful place to be. Then you try to withdraw, but if you are able to withdraw then you feel guilty for withdrawing! What a nasty trap!

    So glad we are covered in grace even when we can't sort this out.
    Hugs and prayers...

  3. Just downloaded the ebook - looking fwd to reading it! :)

  4. Oh my goodness. Exactly how I feel "off and on"..Was diagnosed with PCOS many years ago but after I lost 35 pounds most symptoms left but in the past two years (in spite of not being overweight anymore) my hormones have gone completly batty (for lack of a better I blame time and age (just turned 40 but told I look 30ish) but that does not help on those days I dissolve into a puddle of tears and emptiness and feel nothing but my own lack and need. My poor husband loves me dearly but I know he is often beside himself with confusion over these moods (His question is usually "What did I do?") I take St Johns Wort which seemed to help for the first year but as of late seem to not help as much..I pray often. We have two teenage children.

    1. so, so sorry you understand. I definitely think mine is related to PCOS. I've been taking a low dose med for a couple years, and it really does help take the worst edges off of the bad days. there's no shame in prescriptions! see the post called "hard means."

      Lord help our husbands, seriously!

      Prayers for you today- my God be your comfort! He is stable even when we are not!


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