Neck Above Water

Many over the years have speculated about depression, well, specifically MY depression- if only I would do a specific thing, eat certain foods, or say specific prayers ( yes, I have even bound the “spirit” of depression through prayer),  then I would be cured, healed…I would be “normal.”   A well-meaning lady told me if I would eat whole, non-processed food it was cure my depression. That is probably true for certain types of depression. Sadly and ironically she died of cancer.  She taught and believed if she ate all the right things, she would live her life out in optimum health.  It was a wise thing, Its just there are no guarantees.

People mean well.  They want to help.  They want to believe for me and for themselves.

After several years of praying and following a carrot on a stick, I realized that in spite of all my efforts, all of my faith, after all the prayers and verses recited, God for whatever reason chose not to heal me, and it was time to deal with reality.

That moment came in graduate school.  It didn’t really phase me that I was crying almost every day.  In fact, crying spells were for years the norm.  But this time was different:  While I was used to my mind racing, it took off with fantastic speed.

I was walking on campus when I looked over to my right and saw a man looking at me through a window, with a bewildered expression, as if I was crazy or something.  I realized I was crying and arguing with myself.

What am I doing?   I knew what I wasn’t doing-  I wasn’t able to focus on my classes, or my studies.  I decided to visit my doctor who after a lengthy spell of listening to me asked if I had diabetes, or any other form of illness- would I take care of it?  He wasn’t one to throw people towards medication, either,  He believed in medication as a last resort, after exploring all other options.  Giving my history, I was officially a “depressed” person.  He explained brain chemicals, how these affect mood and behaviors, and how there is no shame in taking care of one’s self, in spite of stigma.

I left with a bandaged arm where the nurse had taken blood, and decided a little window shopping might help me sort things out.  I probably looked quite ragged with all of my makeup long lost after an hour of crying.  I was in line at a store register when I noticed a woman’s bracelet and told her how attractive I thought it was.  She told me where she bought it, that it was sterling sliver, then continued through the check out line.  She went to the door, turned back to me, and clamped the bracelet on my wrist.

“Whatever you are going through, remember God knows and cares for you.”

Ah yes, God.  The one who is still here in my moment of truth.  The all-powerful one who could have removed this defect from me but chose not to.  How many times had I been reminded if only I had the faith of the small mustard seed, I could move mountains?  How many times was I told “If I would just have faith?”  How many times did I “Bind” depression so I could live a victorious life?  

I didn’t realize it that day, but accepting the truth of my depression was the most liberating moment of my life.


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