The ugliness of depression

I have had a very strong streak of melancholy all of my life.

And mild depression from late childhood on- I would write and read to self medicate, looking for a release or an escape.  Then, after a while, the burden would lift and I could come back to and go on about the business of living.

I pray and read the Bible.  I meditate upon the joy of the Lord- I seek out ways to validate my existence and try to surround myself with those “whatsoever” things in Philippians 4:8- searching for the true, noble, right, pure , lovely,admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things to think about. 

(And discover that I just don’t fit into any of those categories)

It has been a tough week.

Depression is not only ugly- it is a magnifier of ugliness.  Seen through its filter,  EVERYTHING is ugly.  Especially, me.

I can’t look in a mirror.  Can’t look at photographs, can barely look at my hands without being repulsed.  Everything I accomplish seems to be mired in the filthy lies of ugliness- and while I reach out for beauty- it become besmirched by my touch.

I once took a class on dealing with the fatigue that comes with cancer and other debilitating diseases, and they described the daily battle as so huge, that to a patient looking at a flight of stairs, the thought of making it to the top is akin to scaling a mountain.  That is where I have been-  from where I am struggling to emerge. 

Phone calls are so difficult that I let the phone ring.

Visits are a huge endeavor.

Getting dressed and washing my hair is a goal I hope to reach by 4 PM.

Making dinner is an all day task.

I haven’t given up.  I am fighting with all my strength – and trusting in God when my strength fails.  But the battle is in all realms- physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational.  I am functioning- but not well.

I have no recipe- no picture – no anecdote- no answer.

What I have is hope.

This shall pass.

“All shall be well and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”  Julian of Norwich

” Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6

Scarlett: I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.  from Gone With The Wind

( I apologize if this gets you down.  I meant to open a window to get in some fresh air and offer a glimpse into the well of depression. PLEASE do not respond by suggesting I go to a doctor for drugs- I don’t deal well with doctors OR drugs.  I promise I won’t write about this again, but it is part of who I am- and I am a big believer in the truth of vulnerability.)

11 thoughts on “The ugliness of depression

  1. Having dealt with it on my own for years, i know you feel. Hoping tomorrow brings you hope and promise of a better day… if anything, the sunshine today might help just a little… praying for you – – – and all will be well and all will be well and all will be well…

  2. Dearest Heidi write about what you need to write about. I will listen. Hope and the faith that this has passed before probably seem a little tenuous right now. (Still not sure I have spelt that right?). Hold fast to the small achievements of the day, let the bigger questions lie to one side for now, I’m with your guides Julian and Scarlett too. Good choices! With love, Joanna

  3. Heidi, I came across this verse 2 days ago and it brought me MUCH comfort. Psalm 94:18,19, “When I thought, ‘My foot slips’, your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolation cheers my soul.” Praying that God ministers His love, consolation, and healing to your soul. Much love.

  4. I love you! I’m praying for you. Would you like to go for a walk tomorrow? Maybe get a flu shot? Cup of coffee? Get a good book?

  5. Thank you, dear friends and family! I love you, too.
    The problem – or one of the problems of depression is that it hurts everyone.
    Encouragement and affirmation are so kind and touching- it is nice to know that you care and have a high opinion of me.

  6. Gosh Heidi I have a hugely high opinion of you…and I’ve never met you. The fact that you even wrote about your depression and how you deal with it…my opinion of you just got higher.
    This is your blog, your space to write what you need to. Sometimes life isn’t always about bread, and a new recipe…but it might be just around the corner 🙂
    If I was in the same country as you, I would bring around some wool and we could sit in shady spot and knit together. You could show me how talented you are at knitting socks and I could show you how untalented I am at knitting straight up and down. (A girl can never have too many scarves you see.)
    B xx

  7. Oh Brydie-
    I must be getting to the end of this dark tunnel, because you have made me smile.:)
    I am really a terrible person for following patterns in knitting. For 30 years all I could make were scarves and slippers that my mother taught me when I was 10 years old. Then I took a class and memorized the pattern for purses- and made about 25 purses so I wouldn’t forget the steps.
    I adapted that to make bowls. And have just taken several weeks of classes to learn how to make socks! I HAVE to make enough socks that I never forget the pattern!
    I would love to knit with you. Knitting is such a calming activity for me. When my mother and sister died (5 years apart) I knit all the time. People got scarves for Christmas- everyone I knew got a scarf or slippers! Then I started giving out the purses.
    We could sip iced coffees and knit and watch your beautiful boys play in puddles and investigate the world around them.
    And now I’m crying- and that is good, too.
    Maybe someday I will make it to Australia and we can go to a local cafe and unwind our many scarves from around our necks and laugh at the perplexity of life on this very small planet.

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