Thursday, April 18, 2013

You can't tilt it back.

Imagine you're walking through your neighborhood, enjoying a normal day, when suddenly you realize you are right on the edge of this:

photo credit discovery news

You'd stare, eyes suddenly open, realizing how fragile are these days we call "normal." You'd feel small. Breakable. Grateful.

That's how I feel today as I write this post.  No, I did not almost fall in a sinkhole. I had another bout of depression.

Darkness my old friend

Funny how that old enemy can sneak up on me. First I think it’s something else, something fixable. As if I were just having a bad day.

If the kids would just get along… 
If I just had another cup of coffee… 
If I just go to bed early tonight…

Often, it's not a sudden drop into a sinkhole. It's a gradual tilting of the ground beneath me. So I lean, and I adjust my walk. My muscles ache a little, but it's manageable. It is possible to walk leaning sideways for a little while, unless my muscles give out.

Unless the ground tilts too far.

Unless I slip.

photo credit cliff hands

It's back. 
It pulls heavy on my ankles. 
All my energy is spent clinging to the side of the pit, trying not to let it pull me down. My nails dig in to the earth.  Rocks are slipping and I struggle. I’m terrified and angry and weary all at once.

My frustrations were not merely side effects of a bad day. They were red flags. They were symptoms. (Anxiety flashes, irritability rage, mental fatigue)

I sleep, I get help, I ask for prayer, and yet still nothing feels better.
I fight, but the fight is exhausting.  
Soon my efforts are half-hearted.

No easy fixes
Time in Scripture is well spent, but the moment I reenter my day, the darkness weighs and pulls at me once again. I hide from the children while they watch a movie, and for that moment I am relieved, yet their sweet voices find me later, and I hear only accusations in their loving words. 

The darkness pulls. Weighs.

Because of the fight, life becomes all about me. How I’m feeling, how I’m doing, what I can and can’t handle right now.

I use all my strength for clinging to the sides of the pit. I can barely figure out how to make dinner in my exhaustion.  All energy is spent in the attempt to function.

Again, I am an empty cup seeking to be filled. There is nothing to pour out. There is no energy for replying to emails or answering the phone or being concerned for a friend.  I fake it if I must, because fake is all I have, but when nobody's looking, I fall back into guilty exhaustion.

It’s only been a few months since my last bout of depression, but I had almost forgotten how awful it can be. I had forgotten how fragile I am, how quickly it can overtake my life.

Some stuff helps, some stuff doesn't. Talk to your doctor and your family and listen to your own body.

For me, there are small things I can do that help me get through the days.  I get out in the sun. I take my vitamins and my medicine. I rest. I eat cashews. I lower my standards.  Those things help me make it till bedtime, but it does not seem to be in my power to right the world again when it is crooked.

Only God can, so I ask Him.
And sometimes He doesn't help right away.
I have no idea why.
And that's hard.

And yet here I am today, helped and restored, standing on the edge of the hole, gaping, and grateful.

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning.
My God turns my darkness to light.
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

(Psalm 18:28, 32)

He is true whether I feel it or not.

Have mercy on those who battle depression, especially on those who feel like they are losing the battle.  Relieve their suffering. Assure them of your forgiveness.  Cheer them with the promises that are ours in Jesus.        
Make it better, soon please, and sustain them until you do.

Read more of my posts on Depression here.


  1. Your post gives voice to those who suffer in silence and don't know how to express their pain. Thank you for this, and may God bless you and keep you in His peace.

  2. My prayers for you. Thanks for posting. We both have seen the pit, and it ain’t fun. But our God is indeed greater, no matter what we see, feel. He knows better, not best. I have always come back to Isaiah 41:10

    Do not fear, for I am with you;
    Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
    Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

    God’s richest blessings in Christ.


    1. Ah.... The second line should read: “He knows better, no, the best.”

  3. Thank you for being real and honest here, I needed it!


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