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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dealing with Depression Part One

As I approach another new year I look back on this one... the joys, the trials, the growth, and that which still needs work in 2012.  I have had several conversations lately with friends who are tired and weary, life is no longer joy-full and they desperately want that joy back.
Weary by swotai, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  swotai 

Depression seems to be becoming epidemic in our country.  Why is that?  Have we lost what is really important, replacing it with the urgent?  Are we so consumed on the next moment that we are not enjoying the now?  Is life just so darn stressful, always rushing and going that we do not even know how to relax anymore?  I do not know what the answer is for everyone but I do know how I have dealt with the dark days that have left me hopeless and helpless.

A Helpless Addict by ToNG!?, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  ToNG!? 
For me the blackness slowly crept in, like dusk as the sun dips into the evening sky and then all of a sudden I found myself plummeted into inky black, unable to make out even a pinhole of light.  It was the scariest time of my life.  I felt helpless and hopeless as I groped along each day, pasting  a fake smile on my face to tell the world I was alright when inside I was crying for help.  Pride.  It seems to always get in the way.  I did not want others to know about my journey into despair, after all, I had everything I had ever wanted.  A precious husband who cherished me, a son whom I adored, a house that was affordable and charming... so, what do I have to complain about.  I did not want people to see that I was failing as a wife, that the traumatic delivery of our first born son had left me so broken and in pain that intimacy was not even a blip on the radar screen for almost a full year.  I was a failure as a mother, not knowing how to deal with a cranky baby, or how to balance everyday life and caring for someone else who constantly needed me.

I had a Super Woman image to keep up people... even my best-friend, my beloved husband, did not know the extent to what  I was going through.  So the days passed into weeks and weeks flowed into months until I had fallen so deeply into the black pit that I finally snapped.
The river behind my house.

It was nine years ago, in the middle of winter.  I found myself, yet again, pacing the floors of our home in the wee hours of the morning.  Insomnia was a common companion during these painful days.  My body was so weary and tired but my brain would not let me rest.  I wept and mourned over my lost joy... how would I ever find it again?  Life seemed so overwhelming.  The thoughts in my head that swirled constantly reminded me that I was a failure and that I was worthless.  I wanted to escape, to put an end to the misery I was feeling.  My husband deserved a better wife, my son deserved a fun-loving mother.  Instead they were stuck with this pathetic excuse of a woman who cried too often, who had a hard time putting one foot in front of the other, who couldn't stand the site of herself in the mirror.  A woman who still so often felt like a little girl.

"You can put an end to this pain.  Your husband can find another wife, one who is prettier, smarter, and stable, and she can love your son better than you can.  They will be happy and you will have peace."  The voice hissed in my ear and I shook my head... "no, this cannot be true.  I would never take my life" and yet the accusations came, the reminders rushed in of how I had failed, how I had changed, and the darkness was swallowing me up until I quit and gave in to the Deceiver.

Temperatures were below zero that night, snow blanketed the ground and in the expanse of the night sky the stars shone brightly - any other night it would have been beautiful but this night, everything seemed cold and hollow.  The river moves swiftly behind my house... I began to romanticize what I was about to do.  It would be like Tennyson's Lady Of Shallot.
John William Waterhouse - The Lady of Shalott - Google Art Project


No angels appeared to thwart me, no booming voice from above corrected me but as I began to turn the doorknob my legs buckled beneath me and I crumbled to the floor.  I could not move from the waist down, my God had answered me and spared me from making the most selfish, stupid decision of my life.

I was paralyzed.

With useless limbs beneath me I sobbed on the welcome mat in our kitchen until the tears would no longer come.  I thanked the Lord for hearing me and apologized for not valuing my life more.  Then, I pulled myself through the kitchen and down the hall to our bedroom where my beloved lay peacefully asleep.  I reached my hand up to touch his face and the tears came again... this time I could not muffle my cries and my darling Matthew awoke, startled.  He met me on the floor and held me as I sobbed and confessed to him all that I had kept bottled up inside.  I looked into his eyes and asked "Do you think I should be committed to the hospital?"  He gave a  gentle chuckle and said, "No, we are going to get through this one day at a time."  Then he prayed over me as he embraced me in his arms and for the first time in months I could see a  shimmer of light.

Please join me next week as I talk about my triggers for depression and ways that I keep this dark dragon at bay without the use of medications.

Keeping it real and thankfully in His grip,
Dawna

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