Today I came across a blog post entitled “I’ve Made My Decision” from the creator of bipolarblogging.wordpress.com. This post hit me so hard, I didn’t even get past the first three sentences before tears started welling up in my eyes.
“I decided I didn’t want to live.
Things have been bad for a long time now. My depression isn’t getting any better in spite of all the things I’ve been trying to do and all the changes in medications. It’s been almost impossible to work. I just have no motivation and no energy. I spend my day staring at the computer screen or out the window, waiting until it’s finally time to go home. But it isn’t any better there. It’s absolutely miserable. So I plod through each day, dreading the drive into work and hating being home when I’m done for the day. So I start looking forward to the weekend. At least I can sleep and not worry about trying to look busy at work. But weekends are even harder than weeknights. The solitude and isolation is almost more than I can bear. I struggle through the workday, I go home to nothing and I spend my weekends miserable and alone. There’s nothing to look forward to and no relief anywhere.
So I decided it was time.”
My heart literally ached as I was reading this post. I could somehow feel the author’s misery and desperation. I felt so sorry for him. But even more than that, I was affected because reading the post brought me back to a familiar place from my own past. It brought back memories of my own struggle with depression some years ago when I lost my son.
No, I didn’t lose my son to death, although honestly, back then I wished it had been the case ’cause then I thought there would have been some kind of closure and I would have been able to put some sense into all the chaos. However, I lost my son because he left home and decided that he wasn’t ever coming back.
My soul was in deep anguish and it wasn’t so much about why he left, or the fact that he was physically separated from us, his family. Rather, it was the unspoken implications of his actions — that I was undeserving and unfit to be his mother, or that my best efforts to raise him up and make him feel loved weren’t good enough after all.
Night after night I cried myself to sleep, only to cry again the moment I opened my eyes the next morning. For a brief moment, I tried pulling myself together for the sake of my husband and my daughter, but the waves of loneliness would constantly revisit me no matter where I was or what I was doing. I often had to run to the bathroom to cry, trying desperately to hide the visible signs that I was slowly losing my grip. It didn’t make sense to me that life could go on for everyone else, while it seemed to have ended for me. I thought nobody could possibly ever understand the full extent of what I was going through, what was going on inside my heart. It felt like I was wandering in the wilderness — totally alone, isolated, and with no way out. I’ve always taken pride in being a mother. I’ve said many times that motherhood is my highest calling in life and for having raised my kids on my own for a decade prior to remarrying, I believed in my heart that being a mother to my two children was the very purpose of my existence. So when my son left, I thought, I must be an awful, terrible mother. So, I too decided that it was time to give it up.
However, just as the author came to a sudden awakening, there was a voice inside me that told me, “It was time not for giving up but for something else…”
It was time for me to let go of all the anger and all the pain. It was time for me to let go of my son and be at peace with his decision while continuing to hope and pray for the best. It was time for me to set him free so he could find what he’s searching for and find his way towards discovering his own purpose in life. It was time for my broken heart to heal. It was time for me to forgive. It was time for me to start living again.
“My life is hard, and is about to get harder, but it is life after all. As hard as it may be, it’s still better than the alternative. If I can only hold on I have to believe it will get better. I’ve survived worse, and I can survive this. I have to, for myself and for those I love.
I have decided I want to live.” (Excerpt, I’ve Made My Decision)
The quandary remains to this day. There is still this wilderness deep within my soul because my boy hasn’t come back home yet; but just as God sent ravens to feed the prophet Elijah when he was stuck in the wilderness, God continues to use things, events, and people to bring tiny bits of encouragement, hope and comforting every day into my life. At times when I’m too disheartened to bring myself to pray, fellow Believers would tirelessly pray for me. They are my messengers of hope and God’s sustaining love, my spiritual ravens.
The greatest battle of my life wasn’t a battle against my son or against anybody who may have supported his actions. My battle was against depression because it was the force that was destroying my will to live. And it was a battle that was won “not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6).
According to study, 15% of those afflicted by depression end up committing suicide. So, if I may be so bold as to attest my own beliefs, I’d like to say that it is only through the grace and power of the Almighty God that one can overcome depression. It is in believing that He alone has the power to save you, that He cares about what you’re going through, that He can and He will give you peace amidst your troubles, that He will give rest to your weary soul. Believing all that. That was how I overcame – and conquered — depression.
If you are suffering from depression right now, hear me please: You are not alone. God loves you and He can save you!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 28
When was the last time you felt really depressed? How did you overcome depression?
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