Dealing With Depression
I am not sure how other people deal with abandonment, dashed dreams, or unfulfilled promises. In prison there are not a lot of people that a man can just bare his soul to. To talk about your feelings opens you up to others who may try to take advantage of you. Of course, these are just unresolved fears which probably contribute to the battle with depression.
Over the years I have found that I struggle with depression, usually, two times a year. The first is around my birthday in the middle of the year, and the second is around the Christmas season. There are probably several reasons for this but I have identified three main ones.
The first is that these times of year are to be spent with friends and family. Because of my incarceration, I am deprived of this luxury and it weighs heavily on me. Secondly, these date are markers for the passing of time. For the first twenty or so years of my incarceration, people would ask, “How many Christmases have you been down?” Naturally, my birthday is a time stamp of how I have grown old inside these walls. Lastly, at least in my experience, I think the depression comes from a temporary lack of hope. The devil whispers the same thing in my ear that he did to Eve. “Did God really say…” echoes through the halls of time and casts doubt in my heart. My eyes can turn away from the good God that loves me and my hope can be shredded to pieces when I listen to that whisper day after day.
I know many of you may be going through similar times in your life and may be suffering from the cruel grip of depression. I could give you my own personal diatribe on faith and hope, but that would not shed light through the dark clouds of despair in your life. I do want you to know that I go through the same things you do. There are days I just want to curl up in a ball and cover my head until the despair goes away. I do know one thing though…God still loves us and knows what we are going through. I know this to be true because He has proved it hundreds of times to me and He will prove it to you as well.
How do you deal with depression? I do not have a degree in psychology. My degree is in Biblical Studies. I do know my God though. So, I force myself to get out of bed. I force myself to worship. I force myself to read the Word of God. I force myself to be around other believers. I must admit that my friends know what I’m going through and I do not pretend that everything is alright. I am probably not the greatest witness to God’s love and grace but, during those times, I rely heavily on both of them from The Lord and from my Christian brothers. So, why do I force myself to do all these things? I need them to restore my hope. I need them to restore my cracked foundation. I need them to get me back on track.
To be honest, I believe God allows me to go through these dark times so that I will learn He is with me even there. He wants me to fully rely on Him and not on myself and to reach out to others with the same comfort that He provides me (2 Corinthians 1:3-11). I know that He will be waiting on the other side of the night.
He will be there for you also.