09 October 2009

Depression- a Gift?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Now I never actually had the thought that there was “no such thing as depression.” But until I had lived with a person in a major depressive episode, I had never internalized what it really meant. It’s like a woman who knows that her newborn will get up at night- her head knows it, but she won’t really understand what it means until she has been up nights with her child. When my husband was at his lowest I had realized that he really, truly could not just get up and get a job, that he was just unable to do things he had done before. I realized that it was unreasonable on my part to request or demand that he do things he had accomplished before.

After all you have been through, you may think you are getting this suffering thing down. Not that you are a practiced martyr, but you begin to feel like you can handle the next battle with whatever lessons you have under your belt already. Beware! After my husband and I had been reunited for over a year, a few things worked together to make me feel especially fatigued and battle-weary. Fear again encroached and tried to regain battleground that I had already won with my prayers and tears, knees bruised and heart broken. I suffered for three months and realized it was too much. My parenting had radically declined and I was sleeping way too much. When I realized that I had not been functioning very well for quite a while, I went in to my doctor and got an anti-depressant. I had never taken any kind of medicine on a regular basis (except for birth control), so I was asking questions about how to get off of it when I got the prescription filled.

I had continual light-headedness and slight nausea for the 8 weeks that I took the medicine. I felt like the undead- I was suddenly unmoved by anything. Things which had angered me before, or caused great pain, suddenly had no power over me. I felt like a stunt man on the kiddie ride… unimpressed. I stopped taking it and was fine. That month, my husband began sliding downhill again. He had been pretty responsible lately, and things seemed to be going well enough. When I saw him becoming depressed, my knee-jerk reaction didn’t appear. Usually when he showed the slightest misstep, I would go into a flailing panic-prayer routine. This time, my depression was near to the front of my mind, and I was much more sympathetic and able to be encouraging. Maybe my sense of calm affected my prayers or maybe I was a better helpmeet for my husband, but he didn’t go completely down that time.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, Genesis 50:20

We must remember that there is an unseen spiritual battle going on all around us. When I became weary of my battle to glorify God in my marriage, the devil saw his foothold. He moved in to cripple me, but God turned it around. My bout with depression became a precious gift to me, that helped me better see my husband and his struggle, and how to support him in his trouble.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8