Dear God, I have depression

Dear God,

I have depression. I’m telling You, on the internet, not because You need to know but because I need to say it.

Lord, I have atypical depression which, despite its name, is the most common form of depression. Like all forms of clinical depression, it’s characterized by overwhelming low mood and low self-esteem. Or to put that another way, it rips out my heart and replaces it with this writhing deadness. It claws its way up my neck, choking and mocking me, taunting me that life and love are impossibilities for this miserable fraud. It makes me hate me.

Atypical depression differs from other forms of depression in that you experience increased appetite and increased desire to sleep. They’re known by the awesome name, “reverse-vegetative” symptoms. On the plus side, atypical depression will often lift temporarily in reaction to good things. So yay for that!

It’s also associated with intense inter-personal rejection sensitivity… which is about as fun as it sounds. And oh boy Lord, am I sensitive.

It’s not so much that I think people dislike me, just that I take every tiny bit of criticism, every negative inflection, and turn it against myself. My mind is an extremely skilled ninja-critic. I can find something wrong with everything and then use that to denigrate myself.

Perhaps even more, I am often blind to my good qualities. I expect so much of myself and am inevitably disappointed when it turns out, lo and behold, that I am human.

Sometimes I can hear the things I say to myself and Father, I am cruel – International Court of Justice cruel – to myself.

I don’t deserve that so why do I do it to myself, Lord?

I’ve had major depressive episodes, as they’re called, since I was about 12 (or possibly earlier) and started antidepressants when I was 15. As You know, I haven’t been able to come off my medication successfully.

All this means that I have spent so much of my life feeling worthless and ashamed, and so much time crying. It means I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t dealing with depression, or its fall-out, in some shape or form.

It’s usually triggered by changes in my life. In the last two years, I’ve had a crisis of faith, quit university, traveled overseas alone, left my church, become Catholic, started my first full-time job, moved out of home, and then quit that job to go back to study. Suffice to say, these years have often been hellish.

Why is that, Lord?

I have no idea why You made this way, God. I don’t know why my body sucks at making the happy-chemicals it’s supposed to. I don’t know why my temperament is textbook melancholic at times. I don’t why I have keep fighting this, beating down the same old demons when they are as strong and wicked as ever.

It’s like drowning out in the open seas. If you can’t swim, drowning is an awfully quick process – but I can swim. And so I’m treading water, my legs doing the egg-beater, back and forth, round and round, and it’s so much energy just to keep alive. 

Yes, I’m stronger than I was, Lord. I try to be glad of that. But I’m also more wearied. My soul is aching from all the just-coping and just-getting-by. And most of all, I am tired of this fear and negativity.

So I need to own it. I need to say it to You and to myself and whoever else wants to listen: I have depression.

I did not cause it.

I do not want it.

But by God, I will not let it win.

I will get the help I need. I will make space for healing and be patient with myself. I will go to Mass where I am strengthened, not discouraged. I will learn to eat better, sleep better, paint my nails, do my hair, and just be silly sometimes. I will go to confession more and I will learn to forgive myself as Jesus forgives me.

And I will begin to believe again how deeply I am loved and how much I am cherished. For I am loved with an everlasting love (Je 31:3): a love which casts out fear (1 Jn 4:18), endures all things (1 Co 13:7), surpasses all creation (Ro 8:39), and lies at the very heart of Deity (1 Jn 4:8).

For God is love and He loves me. 

I know it won’t be easy but I know you will be there, with me and for me, every step of the way. And I have such Hope.

Because Father, I may have depression.

But I also have You.

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29 responses to “Dear God, I have depression

    • Dear Laura,
      Were we not twins separated at birth?
      I understand and feel every word you wrote here.
      I, too, have recently coverted to my home, the Catholic Chruch.
      As you said, embrace every sacrament that the Church offers us.
      Michele

      • Dear Michele, I understand what you mean. 🙂 Thank you for your support and congratulations on coming home to the Catholic Church!! I wish you all the best, make sure to pop back in. We’d all love to hear how you are going and support you too. 🙂

  1. Big hugs! So many life changes in such a short period of time.

    I will help in the self-compassion front! That’s my current life lesson. I will pray for you xo

    • Thank you lovely! I was about to say I don’t deserve such wonderful people in my life – but I stopped myself. Self-compassion all the way. 🙂

  2. You tell those Ninjas that they’re part of the problem – you are God’s woman, He made you and He loves you – because you are you, Laura, that unique child of God without whom His creation would have something lacking – God be with you, dear sister. And here, from the UK, is a cyber hug (((xxx))) 🙂

  3. Hi there Laura, just wondering whether you have seen a therapist? I sincerely hope so. Depression is debilitating in all its forms, and the atypical depression you speak of is insidious and difficult to overcome without professional help.
    Sincerely.

    • Yes, I have for a number of years now. 🙂 I’m about to start seeing a new one though because as lovely as my therapist is – and she has helped me heaps – there is still lots of deal with. Thank you for your concern.

      Also, I just noticed that your avatar is actually a picture of a salmon in a boat – I feel like my eyes have been opened! 🙂

  4. Dear Laura, I found your blog just last week and have read every word. Have also prayed for you, and thanked God for your witness. I unfortunately relate fully to what you wrote today about depression. God has provided somethings which may help relieve the symptoms … sunshine and exercise (the latter being the last thing you feel like doing when you are depressed!) God bless.

    • Dear Annette, thank you for your very kind words – and for reading the blog too! 🙂 I can’t say how much I appreciate your prayers. I have to admit, I’ve never been the biggest fan of exercise but I’m going to try do a little more. I always do feel better afterwards! (As long as I can get out the door…) Praying for you too and hoping to see you around as well. God bless and keep you, Laura 🙂

  5. I too, am a textbook melancholic personality – it drives me crazy! I’ve found spending time in an empty church talking to God (out loud), crying, just being raw and human with our Lord very helpful. Also reading about some of the saints that had that tendency (St. John of the Cross, St. John the Divine, St. Francis, and St. Catherine of Siena. to name a few) and how they overcame that thorn in the flesh (or mind) gives abundant hope. I found the website fisheaters.com very helpful – just search for melancholic. I know depression is a huge cross to bear, one that I don’t have, but the Lord can use a willing vessel such as yourself to bring about good. St. Dymphna, pray for us!

    • Thank you Catholic Mom! 🙂 I have some spent my fair share of crying alone in churches in the past year or two. I had a look at the fisheaters website and it was very interesting! Was St Francis melancholic? I always imagine him as always happy… you know, with all the animals and Brother Sun etc! 🙂 Thank you for your prayers.

      • Most saints probably figured out how to rise above the more negative aspects of their personality. I would imagine St. Francis as always smiling and happy too – thus the heroic virtue that made him a saint! It gives me hope knowing that others struggle with the same things I do and they came out victorious!

    • Thank you Joseph and I certainly will pray for you too. I’m so sorry that you’ve also struggled with this. It can be awful, can’t it? (Sorry for the delay in replying too!) Praying that your Lent is going but looking forward to having you around more. But I suppose you want to give us all even more reason to shout Alleluia! come this Easter? 🙂

  6. Laura,
    I feel like I just read a page out of my life. Depression is something I deal with daily, and some days are worse than others. I also cope by eating, sleeping, or just “checking out” of all my responsibility. In the midst of it, I am so horrible to myself. I think in those times I hate myself, and I cannot believe that God would EVER want or love me because of the way I see myself. Instead of falling into Jesus and his Truth of who I am in him, I ignore God during these times… Your post is very encouraging to me to not let the depression win, to not let it steal my joy and my relationship with God, and to not just exist in the just-getting-by but to really live in the life God has created for me.
    Peace!

    • Oh Faith, I’m so sorry that you are also dealing with depression. It’s a horrible thing but I think the worst is the way we can torture ourselves. It’s so hard to believe that God could even tolerate us, let alone love us, when we loathe ourselves so much. Depression is a complicated business but I would absolutely encourage you to get the best help you can, both spiritually and medically. I’m sorry to be so nosey, but are seeking medical help? Much love sister. 🙂

      • I actually appreciate your concern 🙂 I used to be on medication, but I stopped taking it about a year and a half ago. Right now, I don’t have health insurance so I can’t afford to see a psychiatrist or even a counsellor to be reevaluated.

  7. Wow. This is so beautiful and touching. I can relate as I’ve suffered from depression since the teen years too. You describe it perfectly. Medication has worked for me to keep the low valleys from becoming deep canyons.

    • Thank you for your words of support and empathy. 🙂 Thankfully, I am on medication which is a huge blessing and definitely improves things but I still find myself in those deep canyons – as you say. God bless you and thank you again. (And loving your blog too!)

  8. Hu Laura, we could be soul sisters! I had to ask myself if I wrote this myself while I was reading. I understand and I feel you. But with our Lord by our sides, we will be just fine..

    The Lord can turn our suffering into worthy sacrifice. We can always choose to suffer in His name as a way to share His Great pain for the world, and offer it up to heaven. That’s how I deal with my pain.. and when you do that, the pain is so sweet, like honey in your mouth.. uh.. I mean, in your head. 🙂

    Be filled with the Lord’s sweetness! And God bless you! You are in my prayers.

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  10. Hi lily boat, have to agree, try to join it to Jesus….
    Laura, I suffered clinical depression and after visiting many doctors was proscribed vitamin B which helped. It depletes when one is stressed. (lots of tears, lots of sleep, and support of freinds helped.)
    I was a victim of a crime which brough it on for me. I’ll pray for all here they’ll will get the help they need, and the grace to bear it if its God’s will. .God is good.

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