Tag Archives: depression

76: Wanting to Die (Trigger Warning)

76 geralt pixabay fear-615989_1920

I hate my life and don’t want to go on living. Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days.” Job 7:16 NLT

In my own experience, determining to end your own life is such a traumatic place to be that it does not last long. You either take action, or some level of hope or love intervenes so you don’t go through with it. Having made the decision one way or another for sure is in itself fairly liberating. But choosing life is a big and brave thing to do. It means that you decide to carry on knowing that it is going to be painful, and this is incredibly tough.

Most people who go the other way and fail in their attempts are glad to fail, and frequently see life as gift from then on, but having deep compassion on souls whichever way they go having reached rock bottom, is really important. Knowing what it feels like to want to end everything, I have nothing but empathetic heartbreak for those in that position, and do not presume to judge.

I do counsel continuing because I have faith. Not that life will miraculously turn around and be suddenly wonderful, but that time is indeed, however worn out the cliché, a great healer, and the smallest amount of love, when you are able to either give or receive it, can make life worth living again, in, through and despite any other pain.

In my own life, it was, strangely, the numbness and emptiness I felt at that “now or never” point that made me stay. I was free in that moment to make my own decision. Angry at God for not coming to my rescue, I found that he was trusting me to choose life for myself. And I’m very glad that I did. One of the things that brought me back from that precipice was knowing that I couldn’t hurt my parents like that. Because of course, every untimely death has other victims, and the nightmare of the “what if?s” and the “If only we’d s” will likely plague those who love us for a very long time to come.

But after that decision is made, the really hard work begins. Discounting suicide, we may then have to come to terms for quite a while with living even though we feel like we want to die. We feel hopeless and disconnected to life, cut off from joy and completely unable to see any viable or worthwhile future. It is incredibly tough. This kind of overwhelming depression can last many years, as it did for me, and it is usually healed by small degrees. But take heart my friends, because it IS healed. God may not arrive in a thunderstorm as he did in the face of Job’s utter hopelessness, but he will arrive if we ask him to, and he may be so gentle with us that we do not even realise he is there for a long time. But I am quite sure that he was for me. Every buttercup that summer was a bright sign of his love, and every worried look from anxious parents a mirroring of his care.

When we are broken at the core, the work of holy restoration takes into account our fragility, and takes its own sweet and kind time. Meanwhile, we breathe in and out and we pray, and we hold on to anything around us that is good, knowing that this is of God. I have been rescued by inches, as if pulled slowly from quicksand, and the ground feels a little more solid now, enough to share these things with you, and to know that I am, as we all are, loved beyond measure.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NIV

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

If you are feeling suicidal or just finding it all too much, please do ring the Samaritans in the UK on their free to call number: 116 123   They are fantastic listeners and there for you if you are having a tough time. You can also email or write, check out their website here http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us

 

Photo from Pixabay

63: Depressed

63 depressed pixabay sad-505857_1920

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5 NIV

I’m very down today. There are a lot of problems in my life and I can’t see past them for now. I’m not even able to enjoy or rejoice in the good things, and the small joys that usually lift me are leaving me cold. Everything seems dark and pointless, as though a greyness of muddy cloud were overhead, recolouring the emotional landscape. Not like a dark cloud or a storm, because that would feel dramatic, with the possibility of some clearance in the offing, a feeling of ions strengthening in power and looking for a way to discharge. No, it is not like that, this clouding. It is a dulling, a numbing of the joy which normally wells up deep inside. I can’t always feel it, but I know that the joy of the Lord is my strength, and so it is today, I am sure and certain of it, I just can’t access it. There is a barrier, a swathing, like my heart is wrapped tight in misery and entombed somewhere unreachable. There is no rolling this stone away today.

Like bad weather, this day will have to be waited out. It will move on, it will pass. And in the mean time, I pray, I talk to my heavenly father about how I’m feeling, ask him to help me, knowing that it won’t always feel like this, that the stony weight in my chest will begin to feel less heavy at some point. I am fortunate, I know, that my depressions are now circumstantial. I very rarely get low with no discernible reason, as those poor souls with clinical depression do. I can point to the things that are crushing my spirits, I can name them and pray about them.

Some people call depression a black dog, picturing it as a shadowy creature that follows them around and comes and goes seemingly at its own behest, without reference to their own wishes or commands. The best thing we can do for those under his paw is to offer understanding, empathy, space. To listen, to hold (if we are nearest and dearest), to believe and take seriously the huge suffering taking place. When you are depressed, you can’t be “cheered up” as you can if you are just a little low. You can’t “pull yourself together” because all the pieces are scattered.

Going for a little walk, getting some fresh air, or some sunshine – all popular advice from those around us at these times – is not going to cut it. We don’t need others to try and lift us out of the perceived hole in the ground, we need others to sit quietly with us down there. Listening is one of the best things a good friend can do, and that is why I feel it is okay to tell God just how I’m feeling and why, even though some of it sounds petulant or irrational, there is a great deal of real misery with good reason, and who should I speak to about it but the one who made me, who loves me and who will hold me until I come out the other side again? Yes, in him I will put my hope, I will think of the tears as hopeful and not hopeless, despite how they feel.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

42: Meaningless

flowers-190866_1920 by ADD pixabay

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:17 NIV

Dear old cheerful book of Eccles, how I love your honesty! It seems appropriate today, on day 42 of the Veil of Tears, to talk about the meaning of life. However you calculate it, as I sit here playing solitaire on my laptop because my brain is too tired to do much else, life seems pretty meaningless. But these sayings, often attributed to Solomon, are talking mainly about the pointlessness of striving or working for material goods, and the lack of purpose to a life lived solely for earthly rewards.

Indeed, we might say that making riches or fame your goal, since we all die anyway, is pointless. Ecclesiastes goes to great lengths to remind us that we cannot take it with us. In my case, there’s very little to take, and so it is not hard for me to think that meaning must have its seat somewhere else. If our final result is the grave or the ceramic jar, then there really is no point and we may as well live how we like and throw all cares to the wind the writer of the book says we are chasing.

We can all feel from time to time, that our lives are purposeless, pointless, meaningless. Even if we help others, we’re all going to die, so what does it matter? But within an eternal universe, every action and thought matter, however small, because everything is forming us for a different kind of existence. Sometimes the work is onerous and the things we go through seem too hard and of little import. But the Lord sees it all, and even the tiniest effort, made from, through and with love, matters.

But whilst we know this and we can talk forever about the wonders of love and how it makes meaning out of everything in life, the seeming good and bad, there are still those times of feeling utterly bereft and forsaken. When it’s all so tough and we just say within ourselves, what’s the point? I am having one of those moments as I write this. And I have to hold onto my mustard seed of faith and tell myself that this writing does mean something. That my life does matter. That I am making a difference. That my art, however little and unskilled it is, improves the world. Because everything that makes life better, everything that calls out the bright and the beautiful, the true and the good, is meaningful, even as it praises the maker of all things and as it brings more and more of his kingdom into ours, preparing our weary hearts and souls for a new way of being.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

photo from Pixabay

13: In the Pit

13 in the pit nicksumm MF

“So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.” Genesis 37:23-24 NIV

Joseph was used to being the favourite, with his father Jacob especially. The seed of favouritism had been planted with Rachel his mother, who had been Jacob’s favourite wife. His half brothers hated him and plotted against him, partly out of envy, partly because the young Joseph hadn’t mastered the art of tact. He knew he was special, and he didn’t see much point in hiding it. He had the gift of prophecy through dreams and shared his future greatness with all and sundry.

What a shock it must have been to this confident, cheerful and naïve seventeen year-old boy, to be thrown into the pit by his nearest and dearest! To be suddenly left alone in the cold pit with no way out, ridiculed and relieved of the mantle of his father’s love. This was only the beginning of his suffering, and the suffering of his brothers by their guilt, and the pain and heartbreak for Jacob, who mourned him greatly, fooled into thinking him dead (Rachel had already died by this time).

For those of us who are blessed to grow up with loving parents, secure in all we say and do, looking forward to the future we’ve been led to believe will be marvellous, there is a deep sting in being suddenly left very much alone and helpless. When every prop and favour is taken away from us, when we find ourselves flung into a pit by the very people we were sure loved us, what is left to sustain us?

This is a journey I see a lot in those whose hearts are for God. The Church is good at nurturing the first seeds of faith, great at proclaiming things over us, repeating the prophecy from Jeremiah for the whole of Israel over us as individuals: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) and generally making us hope to be history makers and world changers, with lives full of health, blessing and prosperity, because all the bad stuff has been paid for on the cross, right? So we don’t have to suffer any more! But without negating the power of the cross, this is a childish message on its own.

We are not so good at preparing Christ’s young disciples for the prospect of hurting, brokenness or plans going awry. We don’t explain that sometimes life is crushing, and so many times I see Christians who are bewildered, angry and even side-lined because their lives have become hard. The mantle got taken away and no-one climbed into the pit with them, and no-one preached to them on Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (NIV)

We can feel, at such times, that we have been left to rot. And yet, it is right at these times, when he is all we have left, that we have the choice before us of whether to trust God or not. It may take a while, years maybe, before help finally comes. We may, like Joseph, then find we’ve been sold to slavers, seemingly out of the frying pan and into the fire, the first part in a twisting tale of epic proportions. Or we may, like Jeremiah, find an Ebed-Melech, servant of the King, willing to come and gently lift us out of our cistern. Either way, God’s purposes and plans will win out in the end. But there may be a hard road yet to tread.

If we have been there, perhaps we should train ourselves and our brothers and sisters to be on the lookout for any dark dungeons, and to peer into the murk as we pass them, calling out, and remembering to carry sturdy rope with us at all times.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Morguefile.com

 

173: Ravine

172 ravine seriousfun on mf

To fall or not to fall, that is the question. Who will catch me but death, unless I float, feathered flowing, toing and froing, on streams of holy spirit air breathed to save me? Can I continue to stand here on the very edge of things, the sharpness of the earth’s deep wound cutting into my feet, calling me downwards into the abyss? Where is God in the presence of these dark jaws? Can I call to him here, even as I steel myself to jump? Does he answer the broken bleeding messes standing here at the top of all things?

Certainty rushes in with the solidity of wind and the sureness of cloven hooves. My God is at the top, at the bottom, and all the way down. Breathing the blessed assurance of this, I step back from the edge, and learn once more to look around me.

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016

Photo from morguefile.com

 

163: Pothole

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Collapsed under the sheer weight of traffic, implosion caused by heavy loads that were never yours to bear, not for you to carry, even for that one moment in which they passed over, rumbling in thundering juggernauts. Now you stand, cracked and broken, dug out to the composite core, fissures filling with rainwater, and see no way out. There is no budget for repairs, no end to the emptiness, and you sink down and spread out in your misery, and even your edges are lost to you.

Road pock now avoided by all, leper of the lane, I pray might you now find a calm in the centre of the highway that you grace. Might you now relax into your frayed borders, new crow’s feet cracks forming as you take the time to laugh in the rain. Might you now, perhaps, sometimes sing of what lies beneath the smoothness and teach all of us how to make ponds and gardens out of the sinkholes in our lives.

 

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016