When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
As someone who struggles with depression I’ve learned the hard way that there’s a difference between saying ‘I struggle with depression.’ and saying ‘I AM depression’. One is filled with hope, hope that one day this will end. The other is a lie-a lie that banishes all hope. For years I lived my life coiled up in that lie. The lie that I was depression, that this one diagnosis defined me. I bought into a lie that stated I wasn’t good enough and that nothing could break this iron chain around my neck.
I lived my life in chains, my soul shattered beyond what I thought possible. I refused to look up, because what use was hope when this dirt and this pit was who I was? I couldn’t even remember what it was like to live a life where I could lift my chin and smile because, gosh darn it, the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. Instead, I believed the voice that whispered in my ear, You are nothing. You are a mere speck of dirt. If you let anyone close enough to see who you really are they will run for the hills laughing at your pathetic excuse of a soul. It told me I was worthless and asked why I even bothered, because wasn’t I just a screw up? A kid that no one loved? I mean, would anyone mourn my passing? Or would they secretly be relieved that they no longer had to worry about me?
Those lies became my truths. Because that is what depression is. A lie. It’s ugly. It’s filled with untold suffering. It’s not grunge pictures and deep quotes like tumblr would have you believe. It’s slashed wrists and broken girls. It’s a mother’s sobs as she holds her little boy when the voices grew to a crescendo he could no longer fight. It’s a brother bearing his sister’s casket and a father crying out, sobbing because how did he not see? It’s pain. It’s snot and tears covering the front of a lonely girl’s shirt. It’s the glint of steel against bare skin. It’s the voices screaming in your head about how worthless you are, about how you don’t deserve to breathe and that you should just end it all because it’s too much.
Depression is living in your own version of hell
Depression is living in your own version of hell. It’s not truth, it’s the absence of truth. It’s a life lived out of a lie, a lie that holds no weight. It’s the lie that You are unlovable.
Tell that to God. Look him in the eyes and tell Him you are unlovable. And you know what He would say to you? Tears would fill His eyes and He would wrap you in His arms as He whispers truth into your ears, You are loved. You can not fathom my love for you. If you were to count all of the grains of sand on the earth they would not come close to the number of thoughts I have about you (Psalm 139:18). I have plans for you, plans for welfare and not for harm. Plans for a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). I saw you before you were born (Jeremiah 1:5), I knew all of the days of your life before the Earth was even formed (Psalm 139:16). I know you so intimately my Child.
You are not depression. Depression is an illness, not a truth. People who believe that they are depression and find their identity in that diagnosis (and that used to be me-sometimes still is) can’t and refuse to be able to ever break away from it. If you buy into the lie that you, yourself, are depression you are choosing a life devoid of hope, and hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). It’s a life filled with torment and a life that ends in heartache. Oh, God, it’s hard to once again hope. To let yourself love again. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done. But I am not depression. I may struggle against depression, but it does not define me anymore.
Depression. is. an. illness. It’s something to struggle against, something to beat your fists bloody against and say ‘You will not consume me! I am worth dying for! My worth was decided on that cross!’ It’s something you throw truth at, even when you feel anything but loveable. Let me say this another way, if you had cancer would you sit back and say, ‘This is who I am. That will never change. I should just accept it and move on’? No. You wouldn’t. You would look your doctor in the eye and ask about treatment options. You would throw everything you had into fighting it. You would go down fighting for the right to live. Don’t you want to live? To truly live?
Stop it. Stop the lies. Emotions are not reality, they are fleeting and fickle. There is a greater reality than the one we see. And that reality is this, we are loved and we are worth dying for. You are not depression. Depression does not own you. You may struggle against depression, but you are not depression. There is a difference, and it’s the difference between life and death. Don’t let depression steal who you were meant to be because it’s ‘safer’. Don’t let life pass you by because of fear. Believe me, it may be the scariest thing you’ve ever done but don’t you want to smile again? Wouldn’t you like the voices to stop? You have the power to end it, you just have to make that choice. Will you go out guns blazing, or will you let the slow rot consume your soul? It’s the hardest thing I have ever done, and may be the hardest thing you ever have to do but it’s worth it. Oh, God, how it’s worth it. Hope again my child. Lift up your face and scratch your way out of that pit you’ve fallen into.
If you ever need to talk my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find me on Instagram @abeautifulhope or on facebook (Instagram is a better way to get a hold of me followed by facebook) Keep fighting, darling. You’re worth it.
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave,a you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me,b O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
Get out of my life, you murderers!
They blaspheme you;
your enemies misuse your name.
O LORD, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
for your enemies are my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.