the great paradox of my depression

The great paradox of my depression is that, while it takes me to some of the darkest places and deepest pain I have experienced, it also brings me some of the greatest joy and the most intense moments of clarity concerning God that I have ever known.

The other day was rough. I wanted to bang my head against the wall. It felt like my thoughts were racing a mile a minute–but it was too foggy for me to process any of them. I couldn’t relax but I didn’t have it in me to do anything. These moments are the most dangerous for me, because they’re the moments when I wistfully think of putting a gun to my head. Not because I want to die necessarily. I’m just so desperate for all the shit going on in my brain to slow down–and I don’t know how to make that happen.

Like I said, I couldn’t relax. So that put sleep out of the question. But I was also so out of it that I knew I wasn’t going to get anything productive done. I was feeling particularly defeated because before this 5th semester of my college career began, I had made so many lifestyle changes. I had sat down and identified all the activities or habits or environments that trigger or feed into my depression/anxiety episodes. And then I had come up with ways to eliminate or avoid those things as much as possible.

I know that a messy room, a disorganized academic life, and not eating healthy or regularly makes things worse. So I have kept my room clean (if you know me, you know how big of  miracle that is–and I have even gone as far as making my bed every morning) and my things organized. I have been eating much better than last semester.  I know that procrastinating increases my stress and anxiety level to nth degree. So I have been on top of everything. Spending too much idle time at my apartment or being alone too often round house kicks me in the face and leaves me in a ditch unable to move. So I’ve been working twice as much as last semester, running and playing sports every week, staying on campus during the day, calling my family every four or five days, and making sure I meet up with friends when I can. I know when I don’t have a good book to read, something that will challenge and inspire me spiritually, my life starts to feel futile. So I’ve been reading almost every day. I’ve been responsible and wise.

And yet there I was. I felt my depression, that heavy beast of  thing, slowly making its way up through my toes and into my heart. About  a week earlier I had started to hear its footsteps. I guess, though, I thought if I kept trucking, kept running, kept busy, it wouldn’t catch up to me. But the other night, I guess I ran on empty. I sat on the floor of my bedroom, feeling so incredibly pissed and overwhelmed with disappointment. I knew going into all those changes they couldn’t make my depression vanish. But I had hoped with a child-like hope that they could keep it a bay…forever. But nope. There was nothing I could do. It was back.

I wanted to scream. Is it always going to be like this? My whole entire fucking life? Is this the thorn in my flesh? Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Sometimes when I’m depressed I think God is mad at me. I think that it’s all my fault. I should have spent more time debriefing with him every day. I should read scripture more. I should think of myself less. Even though I know that’s not the case and He’s told me before, I start to blame my self. Every time.

Luckily, my Papa’s mercy is limitless. I felt led in my spirit to listen to a certain song right then: “Never Let Go” by the David Crowder Band.

when clouds veil sun and disaster comes, oh my soul, oh my soul

when waters rise and hope takes flight, oh my soul, oh  my soul

oh my soul

ever faithful, ever true, You I know

You never let go. You never let go. You never let go. 

You never let go.

when clouds brought rain and disaster came, oh my soul, oh my soul

when waters rose and hope had flown, oh my soul, oh my soul

oh my soul

oh my soul overflows

oh what love, oh what love

oh my soul fills with hope, perfect love that never lets go

oh what love, oh what love, oh what love

oh what love

in joy and pain, in sun and rain, You’re the same

oh, You never let go

I felt my Friend there that night with clarity. In a simple, non-imposing way. He didn’t ask me to participate the daunting task of pouring out my emotions. He didn’t suggest I rattle off my thoughts to somehow sort through them. He didn’t tell me to read my Bible. He didn’t say anything. He just sat with me. Even in the darkness I was experiencing at the time, I felt a joy that is beyond my understanding. What a paradox.

Jesus is unbelievably faithful. In all of my confusion about life–and trust me, I have so much confusion about everything (even and especially concerning the Bible)–He is the one thing of which I am sure. Jesus is. Not the Bible. Not a Sunday school lesson. Not a bullet point list of the things I believe about His love. No, it is Him.

If I hadn’t met Jesus a few years ago, I, quite frankly, wouldn’t give jack squat about Christianity. But my relationship with this guy I can’t even see or hear is somehow the most solid thing I have now. Honestly, sometimes I want to give up on my beliefs and walk right out of the cumbersome faith world. But I’m unable to disbelieve Jesus is there, even if I try. I can’t walk away from Him.

I could never find a more faithful friend, never find anything more real, than Jesus.

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