Depression can be like a deep, dark, hole in your soul. When you’re in that place, sometimes it feels like you will never get out. Not because the hole is too big to climb out of, but because the hole is you. At least for me, despair rarely feels like something that’s happening to me, caused by something outside affecting me. It feels like it is part of me, a fundamental part, at the core of who I am… and it will never change, and there’s no point in trying to escape it, because it’s where I belong.
When I look back I see
The person that I was
Staring back at me.
I become the she that I was there.
Caught in the moment,
No free will.
If you’ve never been depressed, or if your fundamental years were free of depression, you may well have no clue what I meant by that. If you’ve been depressed for very long, and especially if you were depressed as a child, as I was, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
If you are in that place, please know that it is not you. No matter how much a part of your life it seems, you can come out of it without giving up who you are, regardless of its cause.
But you will probably need help to come out of it. Psychologists and well meaning friends and loved ones can help sometimes, for some people, but that often falls far short, and sometimes makes things worse. Sometimes the best solution is the one that seems the most desperate, so we never even consider it. Sometimes, you have to look up.
I spent over a decade in that place, resigned to always being there. I spent nearly another decade trying, and mostly failing, to claw my way out, with the help of a really great friend, who kept trying to convince me that it wasn’t part of me. I never believed him, but I was trying anyway, for his sake. I was also working on my spiritual walk, drawing closer to God every day, and one day God just picked me up and pulled me out of that pit.
And suddenly that deep darkness was gone, but I was not. I was left reeling, almost in shock over the sudden change. It took me quite a while to adjust to the change, the sudden loss of such a huge part of my life. I was happy, don’t get me wrong, it was a relief I don’t think many people can relate to, but it had been part of my life for so long, part of my self-identity, and I had had no idea that it was something other than me, that whole time. Something riding on my shoulder, pushing me down. I was intact, I was whole, and it was not a part of me after all.
When I look up I see
The person that I could,
Maybe, someday be.
No more fear.
Possessed of a mind that’s free and clear.
In those moments,
And all is great,
And I am found.
(The poem quoted here is titled “Sometimes” by me – Tammy Bowles. I don’t mind if you share it but please give the reference.)
I don’t think anything anyone said could ever have convinced me of that fact. If you’re in that place right now you probably think I’m crazy for believing I was healed, or maybe you just think it’s well and good for me, but your case is hopeless. I understand. I truly do. But please give God a chance. Ask Him to help, and then let Him (He’s a gentleman, He won’t take the reigns from you, you have to hand them over).
If any of this seems a little too esoteric, I apologize. I am still a little uncomfortable sharing at this level in the open, but if you would like to talk about this stuff in more detail please feel free to contact me.
I’m not saying that I never see that dark place anymore. God pulled me out, and I no longer live there, but there are times that I find myself looking back in. Hormone spikes can send me in that direction. I found out a few months ago that the wrong medication could send me back there as well. It always feels so familiar that it takes me a little while to figure out what has happened.
In the midst of that last medication-induced bout of depression God gave me a couple of lines and told me to write the rest of this song, because I needed to hear the ending. It’s a funny thing to be told to write what you need to hear, but it worked out in the end.
I shared this song on my Facebook page a while back, and have sung it at church a few times. I was going to wait to share it here until I got some music and a better recording, but something tells me I need to share it now… Perhaps someone out there needs to hear the ending as well.