Recently, I’ve been going through something I’ve been graciously calling a “funk”. You know, it can’t possibly be depression; I have no reason to be depressed because life is going pretty well; it hasn’t gone on for long enough to really be considered depression; it is not as bad as other people’s so I don’t really have the right to call it depression. Maybe these were little lies to get me by. But now, I’m ready to look at it for what it really is.
I stopped writing. I stopped prioritizing my spending and my daily tasks, stopped thinking of my to-do lists. I stopped wanting to hang out with my friends, but they wouldn’t know; I was happy to see them all the same. I stopped enjoying my practice times, and didn’t really get much done. The house is a mess, the dishes are dirty. The bathroom needs cleaned and the laundry needs put away. I haven’t done my Stats homework in over two weeks.
There is no motivation. It’s not that I’m motivated to not do things, like those times when I push myself way too hard and I desperately need a break–when I’m burning out. There is simply…nothing.
I’m having a tough time explaining myself well, so here is an excerpt from a journal-like post I started to write the other day…(dont’ speed read over this. You’ll miss it.)
I’ve been caught in a sea of questions and unresolved emotions as of late.
What is real? What is worth my time and emotions? What do I take in, what do I push away?
Why can’t I talk about it? Why am I so scared to reach out and get help…from people who care so much about me, from those who would understand the depths my heart travels…from those who would empathize, who would pray for me and encourage me…
How have I deceived myself into believing that I have no right to be depressed, because everything is going fine, I am doing well in school and we have some money to live on, […]…
Because all of my skills are getting better, and I keep saying that the only reason I’m not keeping up with homework is because I just haven’t made time for it…because I have been irresponsible…
When really, what has been pushing me down is a sense of worthlessness, thinking that I don’t really have anything to offer to anyone–because everyone else has already contributed; so what more could I possibly have to give that would actually be worthwhile?
It is a sense of loneliness as a result of fearful isolation; there are no kindred spirits to know me, because I do not allow them.
And with every homework assignment that goes undone, I feel more and more worthless.
Aren’t I a dedicated and diligent person? Don’t I always see things through to the end, no matter the cost? If I don’t…then who am I? I am lazy. I am irresponsible. I am worthless.
Every minute that I do not spend agonizingly looking at the clock with longing glances during class (I used to love class), I spend distracting myself. From what, I often do not know. I resort to endless scrolling down Tumblr pages, to a stupid RTS game that I play on my iPhone, to anything but doing something that might leave me some room to think. The dishes are dirty. The house is a mess. There’s that pile of homework. And what about getting a job?
I do not have friends, because I cannot tell them what truly weighs on my heart.
There is too much to do.
I am giving in:
I am bad.
Is it a spiritual attack? God never gives me more than I can handle, so maybe I’m just not trying hard enough
And that brings me to this:
That last bit was not a doubt in God on my part. It was a result of all of the dogma surrounding depression and emotions and God’s role in all of it.
I honestly wonder if any of those people who talk about “overcoming your emotional self”, telling you to “stop wallowing in depression” and “look to God and He will take it away” actually know what it means to be depressed. As if I’m the problem. As if it’s my fault that I feel this way, that I am sad (I mean, for Pete’s sake, did you even read Job?). As if it could fly away and dissipate like smoke, in just a moment’s notice. And even more, that it’s my fault that nothing seems to be getting better. Because I’m not trying hard enough, because my emotions are actually meaningless and I can’t possibly reach God if I have them.
Depression isn’t a sad mood. It’s not even a choice. So stop trying to tell me to “leave my emotions at the door” when I approach God. Stop trying to tell me that I can’t possibly get to him if I have emotions other than “joy” (which isn’t an emotion, by the way).
Because what I heard that night, as I sat in a puddle of tears, was not nothing. It was not silence.
It was a fierce, yet gentle reassurance. It was not words; not a whisper, like it usually is.
It was resolution. It was comfort.
Not the happy kind of comfort, though…but comfort through finally, finally admitting that I am sad, and I need to be sad for awhile, and God’s okay with that.
And it is so immensely frustrating when I hear such conflicting messages from the Christian community, from the body of Christ, from the ones who are supposed to build me up and help me grow–all of those lovely people who are well-intentioned yet sadly misinformed–all of those who are trying to help me but all of their words only dig me down deeper, only further away from God. Because they speak of things they do not know.
They do not know…
I have no moral-of-the-story for you. No encouragement. That question that I asked in the title, “What does the journey really look like?” I asked it because I have no idea. Sorry if you were expecting an answer, because I don’t have one…and I don’t know if I ever will. I’ll only ever have fragments, I think…one can never know everything about anything.
I can only tell you that I am getting better by the day. My depression seems to be cyclical, happening once every one or two months…but every night it returns…no, not as potent as it was a week ago, when I was at my depths. It lurks, though. Deep beneath the surface.
There was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, […]. Three times I called upon the Lord and besought Him about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He said to me, “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully): for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in your weakness.”
He never, ever ordered Paul to not have that “thorn in his flesh”. (Obviously. God wouldn’t even take it away.)
He never told Paul to not come to Him while that thorn was troubling him. (How else was Paul to receive His grace?)
He never promised Paul that his thorn would go away. (See first parenthetical remark.)
He only promised that His grace, and loving-kindness, and mercy, would be sufficient for him to bear it.
Even when he can’t feel it.
A promise worth holding onto, indeed.