Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Loud but (partly) true: On Depression and Shouting Accusers

Everything is louder when I’m depressed, from the kids to my conscience.  And it is impossible to make either of them quiet for long.

 “Have you been feeling unreasonably guilty about anything?”
Most mothers have been asked this question by a medical professional:

I remember saying  “No,” while inwardly crumbling a little. Please just don’t make me talk about this any more.
I felt plenty of guilt, but it was not unreasonable. I knew I was a big selfish jerk, incapable of getting out of my own head, prone to anger, and short on love. My very presence was poisoning my home and family.

 I was unreasonable, but my guilt was not.

Believe me, I had tried to make it seem that way to myself. How much time in the pit did I spend trying to tell myself that I had an excuse for feeling injured, that I had a right to be upset about some small offense? I could go around in circles for hours, excusing and then accusing myself.

You can’t be giving of yourself all the time! It is ok to want help, to demand it, to pout if you don’t get it. Of course you should pour yourself out caring for your family, but not ALL of yourself! If you are feeling empty- it is THEIR fault! These people, and those kids, and all their NEEDS!

But, wait, self… aren’t you supposed to love your family?
 They have needs that only you can meet. Why are you refusing to give to them? Are they really asking so much from you? Look, there goes another need unmet- the child who wanted attention, and you are too stuck in your head to give it. . And now you met that need for a snack, but you did it with anger and self-pity. Where’s the love you say you have for these people?  Your heart is nothing but selfishness!

In the pit, everything is amplified.  

Loudly I hear the accusation of my sin, and complaints about those done against me.  It is so loud, I can’t sort it out. I feel that there is truth in both sides, but it is impossible for me to untangle the mess. As long as I keep listening to both sides, neither one will quiet down.

My heart wants so badly to justify itself. It contorts and argues with all its might, trying to find rest in my own excuses and reasons for my struggle. But mixed in with all the legitimate complaints is my own horrid selfishness, and so my heart can find no rest.

The loud feelings have truth in them, and I cannot make them quiet. Eventually, I collapse in guilt and weariness.  I am too exhausted to fight.

Jesus, quiet my mind for me.

Father, I am a mess.
I see selfishness in every single thing I touch. The people around me are selfish, too, and what they do affects me so much- too much.  I can’t sort it out, and I don’t trust myself to even try.

You see what is sin in me- forgive me, destroy the selfishness, and fill me with Your love.
You see what is merely weakness- heal and strengthen that.
You see what is injury- heal me, and teach me to forgive.
You see what I cannot see- guide me, Lord.

In the name of Jesus, whose death for me gives me the courage to bring my messy self to you, Amen.


  1. You are so right- to get through it we need God by our side. I love this post!

  2. In times like this, of which I have had many, many, many, this scripture seems to be the one that gives my comfort, even if only seeming like the light from a lighthouse far off in the distance during my storm, the quintessential, ultimate chapter that deals with us in this state - Romans 7.

    18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

    19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

    20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

    21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

    22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

    23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

    24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

    25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

    What comforts me is that last scripture. There are "two" in me ALWAYS. "One of me" who always serves the law of sin, and "one of me" who ALWAYS serves the law of God.
    So when the winds howl in your ears, cursing you for your sinfulness and failures, and the waves lash at your soul and body, when every tear or smile on your child's face only becomes one voice of accusation for your lack of love, remember that our only hope, our children's only hope is Jesus, the ONLY one who can quiet those winds, and walk on those waves. So though my flesh wars against my spirit for as long as I live on this earth, my solid rock, the cornerstone of my faith, is Christ. He holds us fast.

    So throw an inkwell at the devil or something. He's got a loud roar. But he aint got no teeth anymore! I'm here throwing one with you, sister. I don't know if that helps, just sometimes the Word in my sister is stronger than the Word in my own head. (Oh Lord, don't I know it!) Two can chase a ten thousand. Be at peace. He is the author and finisher. We're both finished!! (In every sense!! :P) ((hugs)) Love you.

    1. Leah, thank you so much for this! You are absolutely right- sometimes it is easier to hear these Words from other people than to tell them to myself!

      Copied and pasted and put it in my depression file :)

      Thank you, fellow finished one! :)

  3. What beautiful words, Emily, from both you and Leah. Thank you both.



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