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.
(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.
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
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.