This is how I describe what it feels like to me: I’m in a pool with all of my friends and we’re just hanging around. I’m getting tired, and I swim over to the edge. I can almost touch it but it’s out of my reach….and stays out of my reach. I kick my feet that last little bit only to see that the edge is still not finding my outstretched hand. I still can’t touch it. I’m getting tired, anxious, and overwhelmed from all the swimming. I’m not going under. I’m staying afloat, but I just. can’t. reach. the. edge. And now I’m scared.
That’s what my depression feels like to me.
I was first diagnosed when I was 19, and I’ve battled it for 20 years. Some years, it’s wonderful. I pass through the seasons of life and everything feels peaceful. Other years, it gets a grip on me and feels like it could swallow me whole if I let it. I’ve been on multiple medications and gone to some of the most amazing counselors. The resources that I’ve had available to me have been a blessing when I struggle with the monster.
No one’s depression looks the same. It affects us in different ways. I’ve seen it manifested for some, through cutting. Others may have thoughts of suicide. Some just have this sadness that they can’t escape, while others might have physical symptoms. From the outside looking in, the symptoms are all the same, but how they’re painted on our life canvas looks vastly different from person to person.
When I’m struggling hardest with depression, I reach past the overwhelming feelings of being alone and afraid and I cry out to God. It’s hard sometimes. While I’ve been a Christ-follower for a long time, in my depression, it’s difficult to call out for help, even from God. I’m the leader. I’m supposed to have myself together. God gave me a calling, so I shouldn’t need to be so….needy. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
He’s the Healer. He’s the Living Water that keeps us nourished, even when it feels like a dry desert. I re-read this passage of scripture the other day and it was such an encouragement to me.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but it’s leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. –Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NASB)
Droughts will come. Hardships, heartaches, anxiety, depression, hurt…it will come. But if we trust Him, He will carry us through. When we extend our roots out to the stream of Living Water, He sustains us. And that verse reminds us that even if those dry seasons, we’re still producing fruit for His glory.
I’m in that pool right now, kicking and swimming and trying to get to the side. And I haven’t reached it yet. I take medication to help and I know God has me in His hand. I’ll reach the edge soon.
Anyone have a verse that they use in the throes of depression that helps carry them through? Share it in the comments below.