Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Will To Engage - My Journey Through Depression

If we never identify the lies and replace them with the truth, we'll forever crave a healthy life on a diet of poison and always wonder why we are sick. Author Craig Groeschel - Soul Detox

I am angry. I am frustrated. I feel stuck. Yes, I try to stay positive, but my thoughts take a journey without my permission. Depression pops up and anxiety kicks in and in the pit I go. Yes, depression is a pit. A pit of despair one cannot understand unless they have travelled the journey. There are days when I want to sleep the week away or I want to crawl under a boulder. Lately, I have been in a good space, not that the stabbing of depression does not cut, I am trying to do my part in healing. Even though I know that in Christ I am healed, I do know as a flesh being, I must take action.

As I look back over my life, I have always struggled with stress in some form. Everyday was a struggle to just keep living for my sons. I honestly think that if I did not have my children, I may have ended my life as a teenager. Though I have very fond memories of my childhood, I do have very sad and dark memories of my childhood. I was not molested or abused physically and I praise God. The fear of abandonment is a constant reminder after losing my mother when I was 16 years old. I honestly feel as if I lost more than I have ever gained, but the reality is, I know that I have gained so much due to the mighty grace of God. The fears of not being pretty enough, good enough, wanted or needed, oh yes, I admit that. The fear of failure is powerful. As a child I held everything in. As an adult I hold everything to a lesser degree. No wonder I crashed mentally in that wall with nowhere to go.

My journey with depression has caused me to take giant steps back to really see this process for what it is. I am reading books, going to counseling and taking medication. I am doing research. I talk about depression with those who care to listen and for that I am thankful because I have learned that others close to me are struggling too. As I sit here and do my best to bring you another post I find it difficult to really express how I feel. My emotions go up and down. As I will myself to engage, I remind myself that this journey is not about me. It is about someone who could use whatever it is that I can share to give them hope and encouragement. To say if nothing else, that I truly understand. To shout that we will make it.

As I experience this process, I am exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. The effects of depression takes a catastrophic toll on the whole body. Yes, I can smile and laugh, but on the inside I want to scream. It is hard to focus on the many things that I truly enjoy like, reading, writing, or listening to old school R&B and gospel. I just want silence. Like today, my house has been silent except for the sirens and motorcycles whizzing by. The anxiety that creeps up inside of me is so overwhelming, I want to run away screaming like a maniac. The anxiety itself seems to be a bigger struggle for me as it happens for no apparent reason. I am not in danger and there is no danger lurking. So, why? I go to a scripture that is a reminder in so many ways.  Ephesians 6:12 NLT says, "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places". Now lets look at it from the King James version that says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". Do you see what Paul is telling believers? Paul said this to remind them what powers are against the Church and the attempts made on turning them away from God. Not only is depression a mental warfare, it is a spiritual one too.

Mental illness is more than just some chemical imbalance. It is more than the brain producing more serotonin then needed. Though this is the root cause of mental illness along with tragedies left uncheck, satan is the author of confusion and lies, satan is the creator of dysfunction and chaos. And if you are a Christ believing man or woman you know this to be true. With that being said, I want to encourage you to stay connected to the true source of peace, God. Stay connected to those who want to see you at your best. Stay connected to all things positive and do your best to address the negatives in a way that moves you past the pit that leads to depression, codependency, and anxiety. Don't try to be all to everyone, YOU CAN'T. Don't force yourself to engage in anything that serves you no good.  Don't allow yourself to be a people pleaser. Say no and offer no explanations. The will to engage rests on you and what you are capable of and comfortable with. No, everyday will not be a good day. Everyday will be a new experience in your walk through depression. 

My brothers and sisters, I cannot say it enough that depression and anxiety are real killers mentally and physically. I want to encourage you who are struggling, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You must take action in getting healthy. Seek counseling, try the medication. Change your eating habits and get active, as in physical activity. I thank God for my son, Marcus for encouraging me to get more active. He is a weight lifter so, if you know any serious weight lifters, you know what I am talking about. I am not lifting yet, but I am doing more walking, 3 to 5 miles each walk, and a little running. Back to you. Mental illness is a subject not being discussed and many are living and breathing but dead while living and breathing. Many men and women are locked up and not being diagnosed. Don't let this be you. If you don't know where to start, start with talking to God and asking Him to help you. He will do it.

Here are a few books that I have read and found very helpful:

Healing from Depression - 12 Weeks To A Better Mood - by Douglas Bloch, M.A.
Willow Weep For Me - by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah "I loved this one"
Understanding Depression - by J. Raymond DePaulo Jr. M.D
Get Out Of The Pit - by Beth Moore
Hope in the Midst of Depression - by Mary Southerland
Soul Detox - by Craig Groeschel "I loved this one"

You are needed. Your family and friends need you. Your gifts are needed. Have the will to engage.

Be Blessed

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