I don’t know how else to say it.
But I can try.
Depression is more like grief. It’s a crushed feeling. A grinding into dust. A shattering. A grating apart like flour through a sifter. A parasitic tapeworm of the soul. A weight on my chest, so heavy I can hardly breathe, producing the panic of an asthma attack, as if I am about to die. A sharp throb emanating from my heart, piercing me in the deepest, most vulnerable part of me–the part where the mental, spiritual, and physical meet. The throne room of my being, the seat of my consciousness, the very fabric of who I am. As if a spiritual claw is stabbing my innermost being. The place nothing should be able to reach save in the wake of the tearing away of the closest loved one of my life. Unrelenting, ruthless grief. A poisonous thorn, razor-sharp and dipped in a toxin with no antidote. It’s deep, deeper than I knew existed if it weren’t for the pain.
I can’t reach it, can’t tame it, I can’t even take the edge off of it.
It’s invisible, untouchable…insatiable.
Pierced, I am poured out. Gushing, bleeding out, pumping the life from me—the real me. As if my very soul has sprung a leak. Once the torment begins, the torrent cannot be stemmed.
The depression must run its course, like a virus.
In the meantime, I am hemorrhaging. I feel my spirit weakening, draining away into numb oblivion in the wake of the internal agony.
Drained dry, I find myself adrift.
Foam on the crest of a wave, soon to be swallowed and dissipated into oblivion. A shredded wisp of transparent tool on the cusp of a hurricane. One more swell of current, one more sharp gust, and I am gone, swallowed by whatever has drained me.
And yet…there is hope.
How can there be hope in the wake of such loss?
Allowing myself to be emptied instead of numbing with self-medicating…I find I am filled by something–Someone–else.
It is a glorious mystery, a wondrous paradox, dear friend, the kind of curious unfolding longing to be revealed. Like any discovery, there is an awe to it.
Like those times when my Love, Campbell, gripped me, swallowing my hand with his own, eye to eye as we battled wave after wave of agonizing contraction during labor—
—Jesus holds me, face to face, He breathes with me through each wave of pain.
It’s like two sides of me battle for control. My body is at the mercy of the pain—which is, believe me, merciless. And yet my spirit, as long as I breathe (internally, mind you), and focus on His voice, His gaze (for His eye is upon us as surely as it is on the smallest sparrow), and His face (which is the glory of God revealed)…I am anchored. I am no longer foam. I am no longer thin, shredded fabric.
The pain remains…but so does He.
And that is enough.
The apostle Paul said in Philippians 3 that he counted everything as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. He was speaking about his previous station as a lauded, revered, respected spiritual leader being transformed by his new faith in Christ into a fugitive, a vagabond, an innocent man constantly falsely accused.
But what if it means more than that?
For me…the loss is my mental health. My brain. My mind. The filter through which everything must pass, whether my spirit, my emotions, or my thoughts. Even my physical body cannot escape the warping of my brain.
And when my brain is broken…my friend, everything is broken. Most especially me.
But I count it as loss. One day, my mind will be healed and whole, and I will hear those precious-beyond-measure words from my Lord and King, the Lover of my soul, my Redeemer, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
So as I lie here, with sleep long fled from my eyes, unable to escape the pain by slipping into that sweet bliss of timelessness as my eyes close and then instantaneously open on the verge of dawn to a refreshed brain and spirit…I count it as loss, as not even something to be mourned.
As I am willing to give all for those I love here on this earth, how much more for the One who gave me His all?
Jesus…I love and adore you. Make me a reflection of your love as the light of the moon is to the sun.