How does the story start? I can start it the classic way; once upon a time….. I can start it the modern teenage angst way; I was staring at the blank screen and the words were dying to get out….. I guess it doesn’t matter how it starts; cause I’ve already started it. My title “this one is for you; whomever you are” is so true. I don’t know who will read my story, I don’t know who it will help, I know I have an obligation to share it, but more than that it will give me great joy to share it with you.
Now that I’ve got my fancy introduction (that is trying way to hard not be fancy) out of the way I’ll start. At 13 years old I was diagnosed with clinical depression, at 15 or 16 I was diagnosed with insomnia, at 18 I was misdiagnosed with bipolar and diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, and at 24 I was diagnosed with treatment resistant clinical depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Clinical means its long term and it’s not situational, it’s not just a phase in my life, it is something I will battle for the rest of my years. Treatment resistant means that when I find a medication that works it will only last a couple years before my system gets use to it and I have to find another treatment.
This is the part I struggle with, where do I go from here. I can joke about shooting a little pray up to God for direction, but in reality my heart is begging HIM to give me the words. The words to express my emotions, words that I didn’t have back then. Words that so many times failed to come to me in my deepest and darkest place. What does it feel like to be depressed? Some say it feels like being trapped in a dark hole with no way out, some say it feels like you have lost all hope in the world, some say it feels like you are drowning in a storming sea, while all of these are true. I say it feels lonely. It feels like no one else on the earth knows how you feel. It feels like you have a huge scar, or black pit, or whatever horrible thing on the inside of you. The hardest part it that NO ONE ELSE SEES IT. It’s not like you have a broken leg and everyone can see your cast and sympathize with your pain. Depression is just a concept to some people that they will never fully grasp or understand. And you can’t! unless you have been through it yourself. Even then no two experiences are alike. People battling this monster are all around us. You just can’t see. And that’s why it’s so lonely.
Growing up in the Christian church with depression is like (insert the best analogy here to express that something is really, really, really, hard.) There is this constant stigma that if you are a Christian you can not be depressed. I mean it says right there in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always. Well it is no coincidence that the next verse is Pray without ceasing. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard people say “Can’t you just find your joy in Christ, or Christians are suppose to be happy.” Well needless to say I got tired of hearing these things over and over again. Which means I stopped talking about my depression, which leads to me bottling up all my emotions. Day in and day out I have to put a smile on, pretend everything is okay, while inside I’m going to burst with anger, depression, loneliness, and frustration because NO ONE CAN SEE THE PAIN INSIDE ME! Cue me screaming into my pillow night after night, trying to cry myself to sleep, but if I sleep I have to get up and face a new day all over again. And the emotions are just too much to handle all at once. All I want to do is escape and go numb. And then the thoughts come, the suicidal ones. The ones you try so hard to push out, but always have a way of sneaking up on you. They are of course very, very sneaky. The most difficult thing someone will ever face is getting past this point.
Lets pause for a moment, cause I know your all thinking. Wait, she said she was diagnosed at 13, where are her parents in all of this? Why isn’t she getting counseling and medical attention? Well my parents were right there beside me; taking me to the doctors appointments, trying to find me a counselor I can talk to, and the when I found one driving me two hours there and back to see my counselor every week. One of them most helpful things my parents said over and over again was “Tell me how I can help you.” Often my answer was “I don’t know right now” and sometimes it was as small as you can make me a cup of tea. This whole time I’m on antidepressants, but one after another they quit working and I switch to a new one. There are good memories and moments of light and happiness in the mist of all this chaos.
God give me the words to finish.
Cue my knight in shining armor. No, he did not whisk me up on his horse and take me far far away from the dragon that was inside me. He was there in the still calm quiet voice, the whisper in the middle of the night, the sun breaking through my window after a long sleepless night, the unexplainable presence I felt when everyone else was sleeping in their beds, the passage of scripture I had written on my bedroom wall, and many other hidden places I will never know. Jesus Christ was there and HE sustained me. He was there the whole time. I did have my doubts, cause why would a God so loving put me through all this. I will never know, I have my ideas why, but its like trying to put together a puzzle without the box. Without the big picture on the box you can’t see which piece goes where.
So KNOW that you are not alone. KNOW that there is hope out there for you. KNOW that Christ is standing right there with you. And KNOW that you will find joy, and happiness again.