Such an ominous word. Such an ominous state of being, because deep in the mind is a place that becomes a trap.
People ask questions; especially when we hear about a suicide so prevalent in the news … an abrupt ending to a life. But those questions are always there.
Questions galore from those who experience it or know someone who experiences it, and questions from those who don’t understand it at all.
Why do they not know they are loved?
Why didn’t they feel how much we needed them?
But their life seems so perfect; I don’t understand?
Why did they do such a selfish thing?
Didn’t they think about those loved ones left behind?
In the mind of someone who suffers from clinical depression is a place that is a trap. I speak of it with experience. Twenty years of torment. The many facets it contains are complex, but more common than many imagine. My soul’s desire when I share my story is to shed light on those many different facets and encourage those who live with this disease that there is Hope. This life was not meant to be lived alone. God is the answer in so many ways.
For those who have a physical ailment, learning to deal with it comes through a process. It’s helpful that other people can see the physical illness and therefore are able to help. But when illness is in the mind, it’s a whole different story.
First… let me take you into the trapped mind.
Depression. Oh the pain of heart pain. None to be equaled.
Depression is a very difficult subject to understand,
to live with,
to be around …
It’s a mountain sized mystery even to those who suffer.
My life did not start out full of peace that I know today. It was hard, heavy, full of depression and darkness — even as far back as I can remember. Troubled to the point of destruction, yet cared for the by the protective Hand of God even when I didn’t recognize it or admit it or want it.
The divorce of my parents and suicide of my father weighed heavily on my young heart and mind as these happened all before I turned 10. I knew really nothing of the circumstances at the time, except that my mom loved me and my brother, and she took care of us no matter the sacrifice; and that my dad loved us and he left us. It is life’s unknowns ~ that can get blown out of proportion ~ that feed the trap in the mind.
Carefully digesting the unknowns and hurts of my life in my conscious effort and heart was not possible for me for many years. Because I had very little understanding or direction, my thoughts took me deeper into the pattern that would nearly destroy me. The concern that someone else I loved might eventually leave, too, haunted me day and night.
That thought became demonizing to me as a young girl. During those early years of my life, I would dwell on the memory of seeing my dad with drugs and alcohol before his suicide, and seeing him cry on my shoulder with tears large and heavy. That burden, chewing away at my consciousness, drove me deep into a fantasy world that mirrored what virtual reality would look like before it was even invented. Like others who suffer from the evils of depression, I found comfort in that unreal life in my mind. It is THE trap.
It makes no sense to find comfort inside the very thing that is messed up to begin with, but nothing makes sense inside sheer desperateness.
I found myself lying in bed each night exhausted trying to listen to what was going on in the house; listening for my mother’s voice, her breath. On any given night, I could hear the wind slam against the windows, the house creak with settling, my heartbeat racing wildly to stay on alert. My mother would have never left in such a way, as she gave her whole life to make ours better after such tragedy. It was just my mind working overtime… the affect of the attack. The enemy is sly. Make no mistake. This is all from the enemy. What and whom is God’s enemy is also ours. And after we give our life to Christ, which I did at age 15, the attack becomes harder and deeper and more personal.
This was just the beginning of the horror that became my reality. Much was an attack, yes. But some was choice enticed by the enemy. I made so many bad choices early on and that pattern continued. I had no one to truly walk it with me because I kept silent. My greatest fears became my reality. In many ways I chose to allow them to overtake me. The medical profession can be very helpful, but the whole truth is that it limits our illness to symptoms. The fact that it comes down to choice is not popular, but it is true… every day we are faced with choices and we must make them with God in mind.
But without Godly help, without direction to make better choices, without choosing to make the right choices… the hole gets larger, the pit deeper, the trap closed.
That is how a trapped mind works: overtime, overdrive, overdone. That is why just having people around us who care to walk it out with us is so important… to help us inside the middle of it to remember that God is there to lean completely on. That is essential.
I fell into the trap so far that life became sorely deep and dark and tormented. It took every ounce of energy in my tired body and mind to hold myself up against the negative force that was oddly becoming my friend. Yes, the trap became friendly.
In my alone-ness, I fell.
All alone, I learned to accept what was in that place of comfort… comfort that shouldn’t be.
The answers to those questions that get asked by loved ones all have the same ultimate answer:
With God they will know their love and worth, and many times God works through others. Us. You. Me. We are not alone.
Every illness needs to be surrounded by God. In every way possible. Otherwise the pain and fear will worsen over time. Those moments of feeling alone can wholly be filled by God.
Until we give it over to the One who can control it, we are fooled. That’s how the Enemy works. And make no mistake… Depression is straight from the enemy.
In some weird way I guess I felt comfortable in my ill-thought ways. Probably because it had become all I knew.
Sadly, I believed I could continue to handle it all silently. My mind was being beaten and I didn’t know the depths to which it would sink. It’s in the trap where the silence becomes a song of comfort. A comfort that should not be.
We were not made to be alone.
In the second part of my series here, I’ll share those specific moments. I’ll share what it’s like in those moments when you think the whole world is crashing around you, and what I did to make sure that didn’t happen.
Do you ever stop and think about what in your life is a comfort that shouldn’t be? Is there something that consumes your thoughts in such a way that you know it isn’t healthy or productive but you go there anyway? That’s a trap. Beware because it can enslave you and affect everyone around you.
I pray each person who suffers inside the trap of depression finds true Hope and true Help. I so desperately want others to know the healing that I came to know 17 years ago… in whatever form that looks like in their life… through God’s plan.
I’m here for you. It’s what I do for Him… because I love Him and you.
Love and live blessed,
(Heather is writing a 4 part series on depression and how God has helped her overcome. This is the first part.)
Heather, self-appointed “Ellipses Queen”, is a ‘Super Race-Runner’ after Jesus’ own heart. She loves to live #ALLIN for Him as a loved wife, proud mom, encourager to many, deep soul lover, big time laugher, voice-over wannabe, and freelance writer. She is currently writing two books – an autobiographical devotional and a Q&A book, with a panel of nearly 50 people from around the globe, about how God and faith factor into our lives. Heather writes at 40YearWanderer where she welcomes you to share soul-deep. She has wandered through a life full of some incredible things… all of which God has laid on her heart to share. She can also be found sharing whimsical funnies on Facebook.