Friday, May 6, 2011

The Blinding Storm of Depression, Blog Day #11

This is a story of my depression, told in a unique way. Because this whole blog, to sum it up, is about the heaviness and struggle that is more emotional and spiritual rather than physical. The physical aspect is simple to address and attack. But it is only a small part of the picture. Here I describe the battle field, and the surest way to hold your own.

Sometimes I just want to be out of my own head. I just don't want to know all the intimate details of my past. I know I am a broken person with a history of selfishness and rash decisions made by emotions. I don't need to hear about it all day long. I wish there could be spiritual earplugs, or a mute button. I won't say that I hear audible voices in my head, but there is definitely a nagging little me in my mind that wants to wave a neon sign that says, "Failure!"
There are times I wish I was telepathic. Do other people think the way I do? Are other people plagued with replays of past conversations, with spoken words you wish you didn't say, expressing opinions you no longer have? Do images of past mistakes and wrong decisions and bad attitudes haunt people they way they haunt me? Is anyone else bothered by their foolish pasts? Does anyone else wonder what happened to all the people they have impacted so negatively and hurtfully?

I often, by no effort on my part, am bombarded with these questions because I struggle with the pain of my past sins and current sinful patterns. My sins have been forgiven, but I still feel a dull ache in my being and I can't help but grieve the years I spent running away from God.

It is this grief that my mind, with the Enemy's prompting, uses against me.  Sometimes I come at myself with the "shame" angle. I tell myself that I will never be good enough because I will always be tainted by the decisions I made and followed through with. Kind of like an incurable spiritual STD (that just gave me the heebie jeebies)

Sometimes I come at myself with a bunch of "what ifs". "What if you just had thought things through?" "What if you had just kept your mouth shut?" "What if you really saw what God was trying to tell you instead of relying on your own feelings?" "What if you had just sought out help and prayed more?" In other words, if I had done those things in the past, I would not be such an idiot now. A lie, I know, but a powerful lie.

Perhaps the most invasive strategy I come at myself with is the "warped mirror" angle. "If you weren't so overweight, you wouldn't be so socially awkward." "People would like you more if you were prettier." "You are only mediocre in music. You should just quit." "If you were more disciplined and diligent, you wouldn't be in this predicament." "Your husband would appreciate you more if you would just get everything done."  Lies, lies, lies.

These thoughts have become the dense blizzard on the narrow path I walk on.  But I am certain I'm on the right path, even though the blizzard is beyond bitterly cold and making it impossible for me to see ahead. I know I'm on the right path because there's a rope that has been set and tied for such a storm as this. So hand over hand, one foot at a time, I hunker down and pull myself through the storm. The rope has been tied by one who loves me and cares for me. I just need to follow it until the storm passes by, or until I reach the Final Destination.

I began the Lent season in this storm. I was feeling inadequate, to say the least. Fasting from Facebook had nothing to do with my depression, but had everything to do with where I was directing my thoughts.The hours I had previously spent reading updates and thinking of what to write, I instead thought of a time 3000 years ago. This was done for me:

You might see a gruesome, humiliating death. Indeed it was. And it was done out of love. For all men. For me. It had to be done. Because I really am a broken, sinful and sometimes wayward human. Deserving of death. But instead, an innocent had to die. Yes, gruesome. But believing this and taking on the heaviness of it, the storm around me eases up. Funny how that works.

This love that was so powerful that this death was endured for me. I was a traitor, worthless, running away aimlessly. But He loved me. And still loves me. And will always love me. The lies my mind tries to tell me are no match for this love. It is this unfathomable love that pulls me through the storm.

And then this death was defeated. This man, who was God, called Jesus was not in the tomb he was placed in. He had risen. The rift between mankind and God could now be bridged. This bridge is my access to everlasting joy and love and peace and grace and mercy and all things blessed. Not that I gained this access, but just believed and trusted that this particular bridge was safe and passable. 

I follow the rope across this bridge. And the storm clears. The sun is out. I set my feet on the green grass, and rest beside quiet waters. A feeling of gratitude overwhelms me. How I want to return this great love that has saved me from the bleakest of storms.

God, thank you for your loving-kindness towards me. Help me to ignore those destructive thoughts and stay on your path where you are leading me to safety and warmth. May I be a light for others so that they, too, might have love like this.Amen.


James said...

Can't relate much to the warped mirror, but definitely the what ifs and the shame angles.
Have you ever read The Search for Significance? I've readit twice- once in college right after salvation and once again a few years ago as I used it in high school Bible study. It really helped me with my issues. Didn't solve them all, but gave me insight into why I have them and enabled me to come at them in a different way.
Love you! And your blog. :)

James said...

Hey and these James comments should be Ashley. Didn't realize his account was still logged into.

We are the Ganyos.... said...

" I won't say that I hear audible voices in my head, but there is definitely a nagging little me in my mind that wants to wave a neon sign that says, "Failure!" "
Diagnosis or not, we as women are so so susceptible to this. You put it brilliantly.