Depression - JJ Landis
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Depression

depressionYou should probably stop reading right here because I can feel from the start that this is not going to be a rational post.

 

It’s about depression. And depression is a lot of things, but rational is not one of them. And that’s why it’s so bewildering and maddening.

 

Depression is often described as a looming heaviness. For me that is true. But it’s more than heavy. Sometimes I feel light. Depression doesn’t always keep someone in bed, afraid to face the day. Depression doesn’t always manifest itself through tears.

 

I rarely cry. In fact, I long for a good cry sometimes. When I worship God, I want to cry. When my children hurt, I want to cry. When I am having a bad day, I want to cry. I am sure I hold it in because I’m afraid once I start, I won’t stop.

 

But depression drips down through all parts of me. It fills me up and the tears that won’t come out give me clouded, blurry vision.

 

Depression manifests itself as confusion and the inability to pinpoint and organize thoughts and emotions. I am guessing we all struggle with that to some extent. But with depression (for me anyway) it consumes so much energy that the rest of life is a chore.

 

And then with the feeling that life is a chore, when my current reality is pretty fabulous, comes overwhelming guilt. How dare I not celebrate my charmed life? How dare I not appreciate my blessings? But I do.

 

Don’t misunderstand me. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my life. I can’t stand how great my life is sometimes.

 

Some will say that I should count my blessings. Pray more. That I should have more faith in God’s love for me. More security in Him. That I should let God fill up all the emptiness in me, that He should be the answer to all my questions.

 

That’s just it. I am incredibly in love with God. The intricate story of Jesus Christ is beautiful and inspiring and strengthening. I fall on Him a lot. He is a part of me and HE UNDERSTANDS. In fact, He is the ONLY ONE who can get inside my head and sort things out for me. So there is no lack of faith causing or continuing my depression. My faith is great.

 

Depression is along for the ride. Sometimes on my journey, I barely notice it. But like a creaky knee or chronic back pain, occasionally it will rear up and become an obstacle.

 

No tidy final thought here. Just wanted to be honest and maybe get some things out there in case anyone else deals with this monster. You’re not alone.

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7 Comments
  • Even in laughter, the heart may ache
    Posted at 14:50h, 16 December Reply

    […] a personal history of depression and anxiety and a family history of suicide, I was determined to keep a straight head. I couldn’t wallow. I […]

  • Peggy
    Posted at 18:13h, 24 October Reply

    JJ — me too!! Symptoms may vary, but I absolutely, completely feel you!!!

    Sending lots of love — along with admiration of your writing gift!! Peg

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 18:27h, 24 October Reply

      Thanks Peg! Love ya!!

  • Stacey
    Posted at 10:48h, 24 October Reply

    Loved this post and I agree with Carissa, everyone has experienced a form of depression. As those of us who “live with” an obstacle like depression, it’s somewhat different than “experiencing” it.

    I happen to live with depression’s twin sister. She goes by the name “anxiety.” It’s a childhood game of tag that I play with anxiety. I just never quite know when she’ll tag me or how long the stinking game will last – one day, two weeks, a month?

    You can’t pray this stuff away. You can take a 1,000 measures to make the depression/anxiety feel like an aftershock of an earthquake vs. feeling like a full blown earthquake. God/prayer are just one of the many pieces to solving the problem/obstacle/annoyance/chemical imbalance.

    I feel God leads us to people or as Mr. Roger’s Mom called them, “The Helpers.” When in crisis of any kind, she
    reminded Fred to look for the helpers in life. I would encourage all of your readers who struggle with the twin sisters anxiety and depression that they, too, look for the helpers (doctors, family, friends, neighbors, support groups, prayer, blogs, books, one on one therapy, and church). Thanks for being a HELPER in my life J.J. You are an honest truth teller and hope spreader and I love that about you and your writing.

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 18:29h, 24 October Reply

      Thanks as always Stacey. I appreciate you so much!!

  • Carissa
    Posted at 08:29h, 24 October Reply

    I always love how honest and raw you are J.J.! It makes me wish we had been able to truly know each other when I actually lived in Strasburg! 🙂 I think almost everyone has struggled with depression, if we are all truly honest with ourselves. Having bouts of depression though (and situational depression) is totally different than LIVING A LIFE of depression – one that it seems you (and myself) know all too well. I could totally relate to everything you said. And at times I almost feel like, because I’m a Christian, it makes it harder because (not God, but others) will indicate that I’m not praying enough or being grateful enough, or whatever enough! And that is not it at all. It took living with deafening depression daily for over 15 years before I finally experienced TRUE freedom from it (not temporal or situational freedom, but LASTING, “so THIS is what I’m supposed to feel like!!!” freedom). And ironically, there are days (albeit it rare) that I miss it because the sad, cynical, weight-bearing me I once knew because I feel guilty for having something others don’t (like, “why am I so special I get a ‘free get out of depression card’??”). But then I remember that God is in control and I am so grateful for His freedom that I longed for, for so long… a freedom that took years of Him guiding me to the source of the problem and to the solution (which in fact had nothing to do with emotions or my “head”, but everything to do with what I ate and other things. Weird sounding, I know, but trust me!). I had no idea the mother, wife, and woman I could be, until that life-long weight was gone. Walls and blockades that I could not scale for years, came crashing down in one fell swoop. I appreciate you so much sharing YOU. 🙂 Because I’ve been there, and know that so many others are still there — what you are doing is making a difference. Thank you for being real in a world full of fake, my friend!

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 18:29h, 24 October Reply

      You are such an encouragement Carissa! Thanks.

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