What do unsurrendered thoughts look like? It is something that causes turmoil in your heart and creates distance between you and loved ones. Some say depression is a dirty word, others say it’s too dark to talk about. I see darkness as an opportunity for light to shine.
We have kept quiet for far too long about a topic that rips families apart and shakes the very foundation that we call faith. Why this topic? I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 10. I was told to drink little white pills that will make me happy. Too young to understand and too confused to ask questions.
16 years later and the very same topic is causing chaos in my heart. The more I listen to people the more I realise how many of us struggle with this. The more I listen to people, the more I see shame, guilt and other emotions that make us hide.
Recently I have a new found empathy for people who struggle with depression, especially young ones. Depression is not an “Ah I’m having a bad day”, or “I’m sad”. It’s a much deeper feeling that cuts right through the core of your identity. At the age of 26, I started questioning who I am and what I’m called to do. For some that might be a joke that I admit it, but for others, you now know why I am hiding. I am scared of myself.
Depression has many different faces. It can be mistaken for a smile and an “I’m great and you” answer. But the reality is, when nobody’s watching, it’s the reason why you lie awake at night. There’s this massive war raging in your head and a feeling of all hopelessness. I’m not playing the victim here, but mentally you just don’t have the capacity to talk yourself out of it. It’s basically giving up on life and any will to have a purpose to live.
When you hit an all-time low, the very thing that you are familiar with and day to day tasks becomes an effort and problematic. My everyday reality is that there are some mornings where I wake up and I have no idea why I’m even alive. The thoughts that sparks in your brain wraps around having clarity. It’s honestly a struggle to focus on things that can be done in a split second. Just to be real with you this is a battle that I still fight, every day. It comes and goes as waves, high and low tides. But sometimes those tides wreck everything in front of it.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my job and where I serve in my local church. To an extreme that might be frowned upon. But these are the very things that I start questioning when depression hits. Words cannot explain what you feel and think when you sit in a dark pit and you have no willpower to get out. Because it’s easier to sit and cry than stand up and fight.
My heart goes out to anyone who struggles with this. I need you to understand that you are not alone. You don’t have the explain yourself, but I do need you to speak to someone. We cannot just speak about depression when a celebrity commits suicide. I know it sounds harsh, but there is a way out of this darkness, there is help.
3 Things that I’ve learned over the past few years;
Speak about it:
Be true to yourself and make sure that your ‘inner circle’ knows where you are at in life. Speak to a close friend or family member who you know you can text or call during hard times. Make sure you are honest with this person even when they ask a question.
Seeing that we are so honest, I really don’t like talking about my issues. I do build it up until breaking point and then all hell breaks loose. One of the most effective steps that I’ve taken was to speak to a professional. The key is finding the right person that works for you. I’ve seen many different doctors and counselors and it took a while to sit with someone that I saw constantly. There’s nothing better than speaking about how you feel and where you are at in life to someone who listens from an objective viewpoint.
I know for myself when I hit an all-time low it’s because of a trigger, but lately, I’ve implemented healthy triggers that are subtle reminders that I am not alone in this. For example; doors. The reminder I have is “when I walk through this door, how will I change/impact the atmosphere?” and I have 4 alarms on my phone that reminds me who I am and what I’m called to do. It’s small and easy reminders. Find something that works for you in your everyday.
I’m not a doctor nor an expert on this topic. But somewhere along the line, you need to grasp that people around you do struggle with this and it’s not just a “simple choice” to jump out of it.
I hope this encourages you.