Depression is defined as : a state of feeling sad : dejection : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.
Generally speaking, depression is a taboo subject. It's not something people generally want others to know about. When someone asks how you are doing, you don't generally answer with 'Well, I'm dealing with some pretty severe depression.' I'm not sure why that is, but it's my experience that this is how it is.
Over the past few years, I've had to come to the realization that depression is a part of who I am. It does not define me, and it doesn't bother me to talk about it. But there have been times when it was a struggle for me to even get out of bed each day. It was during those times that it not only impacted me severely, but it also was a big challenge for those around me, especially my wife. I am not sure if I'd have made it through this without her unconditional love and support.
So what was it like for me? Happily married to a beautiful bride, finally a Dad to a wonderful little boy, just moved into a new house, liked my job fairly well - by all accounts, life was good. From the outside looking in, people probably thought I would be the last person in the world to be struggling with something like depression. But I was. I was waking up each morning, wanting to stay in bed. I wasn't doing the things I loved doing anymore. It took all of my strength to do even the simplest of tasks. But there was no reason for me to feel this way. So I went about my daily life and hoped that the feeling would pass. It didn't. I never had thoughts of suicide. But, I did think at the time that some people's lives would be better if I weren't in them, or that no one would miss me if I were gone. Which I know isn't true, but that's how my mind was working at the time.
I decided I would go see a counselor for awhile. I talked to her to try to figure out what might be bogging me down. It helped some, but I didn't feel any differently. The counselor referred me to a psychiatrist. I hesitated at first. My initial reaction was, 'Me, go to a psychiatrist? Surely not. Only people with serious issues go see psychiatrists.' Well, this was a serious issue, and it was overtaking my life. It was beginning to impact my family, my job, and anyone who came into contact with me, even if they didn't know it. So I broke down and decided I would go. The psychiatrist did some bloodwork to make sure it wasn't something medical, which it wasn't, and then ended up offering to prescribe an antidepressant. I still couldn't believe this was happening to me, but it was time to try whatever it took to deal with it head on. I was ready. This was chemical, and I had no control over it without getting help. If the help was there, I needed to stop being stubborn and prideful and take the help.
As I sit here and type this, I am still dealing with depression. But mostly through my rear-view mirror. The prescription has helped a great deal. But I've also made some other changes in my life that needed to be made to steer me towards better mental health. God also reminded me time and time again through friends, family and church family that I have worth. I am loved. People care. I'm not crazy. No one has to treat me any differently because of this. This is just a part of who I am and what I've been through. I'm not ashamed of it. I feel like this is one of those things that happened to maybe help someone else, or to remind me that God is God and I am not. Or maybe for some purpose that I don't even know about. Whatever He can use this for, use me for, my mind and my heart are open to.
Have you been there? If so, I urge you to talk to someone about it. Talk to me about it. Just don't let it fester. It's nothing to be ashamed of. More people than you realize are probably dealing with something similar. There's a voice that will tell you that you are the only one in the world dealing with it. Do......not.......listen......to......that......voice! You are not alone. Talk to someone. Get on your knees and talk to God. See a counselor. Talk to a friend. DO SOMETHING. Because you matter. You are loved.