By Morgan Myers
Depression is a dark, wet blanket that pulls everything down to below status quo. It paints everything in grayscale. It’s a deep hole that is sometimes impossible to climb out of. It can go on for days, weeks or months. For me it’s usually months. I have memories of losing interest in virtually everything in life. I sit and let others tell me what I’m obligated to do. I wait for my child to cry to signal me to any sort of action. I let my boss get irritated at my lack of activity before I get into gear. It can be completely crippling and terrifying. It grabs at my ankles as I tread the water forward. Anxiety pulls me into worried vigilance for the next shoe to drop. It may be as small as someone not responding to my text, but feels like the status of all my relationships is in jeopardy. It makes a mountain out of a mole hill in every area of life. My nervous system is wrecked. I go from manic responses to the stimuli I perceive as danger, to carelessness for everything going on around me. I feel completely trapped in these states. And when I think of my healthy self and a normal response to this life, I crumble. I realize how little bearings I have in my life.
There is little hope to hold onto. Especially as I’ve been trained as a psychotherapist and the perspective I easily have for others vanishes when it comes to myself. I try medications to no avail, and my faith doesn’t offer me any answers. As a Christian this is a constant question. How do I go on holding onto my faith when everything feels hopeless? There have been moments when I have seen the total joy of experiencing God. For the most part, my faith has been unwavering throughout my depression experience. But I often wonder how I can hold feelings of hopelessness and hope at the same time.
I have prayed for many years for answers and healing, and for the most part God has been silent. But He has shown up for me in different ways. I have found hope in the quiet moments. I feel God’s comfort. I remember Jesus broke down. He stopped and wept. He got worn out under the pressure. And he didn’t try to self-help his way out of it. He didn’t pray his way to a new phase of his most successful life possible. Our first reaction to pain is often, “How can I get through this?” Jesus prayed honestly, IN IT. He was present in his pain and humble in showing it to his father and his friends. He cried. He grieved. He asked to not have to go through it. But then he went through it anyway. He was disappointed but kept his faith. He went before us in all things.
And that’s where the light breaks through for me. I have a comforter in Christ who experienced the depths of suffering and held onto his faith. And I realize faith and hopelessness in depression aren’t at odds with each other.
Just because we have eternal hope doesn’t mean we can’t feel hopeless sometimes.
Just because we know we’re loved doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to feel unlovable sometimes.
Just because we feel dark and despairing doesn’t mean we don’t have light within us.
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” (Ps 139:7-8, 12)
Christ as my comforter has always been just enough. For many years I have prayed for healing from my anxiety and depression, but I have gotten just enough. “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” (Ps 56:8) The presence of God in my deep pain is my healing balm. The crumbs of God’s mercy have been enough for me. And when I look for the light at the end of the tunnel I see he is the light in the midst of the tunnel.