Note: This was written August 11, 2017. Today, the darkness isn't closing in on me and I am wildly grateful. It is my true desire that in sharing my life, hope will be passed on to another who struggles.
Depression is a cruel thing. Sometimes depression makes sense to me. The first time I lived in this darkness it made sense. I had just received a second diagnosis of melanoma, I was working at a job I hated, my husband was out of work, our son had gone away to college, leaving me wondering what my purpose was. It kind of made sense that I fell into the dark place.
But this summer depression has made another hard run at me, and it makes no sense. My life is lovely. Our son is newly married and living just ten minutes away from us in Boise. Our new daughter in law is a delightfully perfect fit for our family. Our daughter is a joy and finishing her nursing degree. Life is secure and filled with friends who love us and care about our lives. I’m not sick. We are financially secure. I have the rare blessing of being in control of my days.
I feel guilty being sad like this. It seems self-centered and such an unkind thing to put my family through. Again.
Yet as much as I try and try and try to be free of it, here I am.
And I worry. I worry my family will get tired of "sad me." That my friends will stop calling, because who wants to be around this. I don’t.
I’m hesitant to talk about this thing that’s happening to me. Depression seems like a cliche. Something everyone is doing - like being hipster.
And yet I know this terrible thing I struggle to be free of has made me a kinder person. I judge less, perhaps hoping I will be judged less.
I hold onto the hope that my time in this dark place will pass. It always has. I must believe it will again. Maybe when I’m sitting on the other side of this darkness, I’ll look back and see I’ve learned new stuff, become a better person, stronger, kinder, more forgiving (of myself even). Right now, though, I hate this place. I want to laugh and soak in the good stuff happening all around me. It’s not fun. And it’s awful for my husband.
Yesterday, I sat in my favorite coffee shop downtown and a homeless man was sitting next to me. He started talking to me, asking about the book I was reading. I looked at him and wondered how often people like me really see him. Really hear him, so I put down my book and gave him my full attention. We had an odd conversation. He bounced from one random topic to another, and I followed where he led. After fifteen minutes of talking and laughing, I wished him a good day and said goodbye.
I left him there in the coffee shop, glad I had given him part of my day, knowing that in my own brokenness I too need the kindness, the understanding, the attention of those around me.
I left hoping I can stay focused on the road ahead, trusting it will get better.
For You LORD are a shield around me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. Psalm 3:3