TIMES of incapacity, of staring ahead in a daze, feeling nothing, and nothing certainly good, there we are: in a depression. It stands to reason that we experience this nothing-of-a-life season; nothing ventured, nothing gained. Then there’s the moment of acute sadness — the waves of reality’s truth break clean over us and our hearts are tossed furiously in a tumult beyond reconcile. Wonder upon wonder, this shiftless state creates an imbecile out of royalty; pride is blamed, but can it really be pride when there’s no sense of self or worth in sight?
What hope is there?
One thing I can say about depression is it seems such a distant memory when I’m not depressed, yet when I am it feels I’ll never live happily again. What an irony mental illness is. It’s so easy to be blasé about it, until you’re in the quicksand endeavouring frantically to wade out of it. And I only have my own experience of it; it may well be much worse for others. I pity anyone who wrestles with this blackness of bleakness.
Yet, is there hope?
There has to be hope.
And there is. Calling out to God, we’re prepared to try anything to shift this. God doesn’t answer, but he sends a messenger. It’s a thing of nature. Something mundane, yet beautiful. Even bugs were made for a purpose. Or, it’s a prompting. A little nudge. We resolve to do something on the spur of the moment. We search. Tempt fate. Dive in and plumb the depths of something safely unknown.
Depression is meant to teach us. It has a purpose. It gives us incredible, albeit unwanted, perspective; a suffering both possible yet confoundingly tougher than we’d otherwise imagine. It connects us with our ailing humanity — within us and within community. It opens our eyes to the plight of much of the world. There are millions who suffer. And is it perhaps that we’re being equipped, somehow, to help?
Wading out of the temerity of depression is done one day, sometimes a moment, at a time.
Against the flow of the current that threatens to sweep us further out to sea, we hold out faith that a rip will come and take us into shore, so we can rest and recover.
There is the help of a comrade. A pithy word, too. The grace in a sunrise. The serenity in a sunset. The holiness in a baby sleeping. The waft of a spring breeze. The fall of autumn leaves. Bread baking. The creativity in an idea. The taste of lemonade. The simplicity in freedom. An image cast in the sand. The immense vastness of life. The choice that is joy.
Strive to smile even in darkness. And keep searching for joy and it will come.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.