The Depression: part 2

AGAIN!!!  Why did I wake up?

Every night I would secretly hope that I would just die in my sleep and wake up in heaven!  I didn’t see the point in my existence anymore, life was meaningless.  “Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, why am I still here?  What purpose could you possibly have for me, that you keep forcing me to wake up for ANOTHER pointless day?”  Just another day to get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, day after day, after week, month, year blah blah blah.  I’d had enough!!  Is this all life was about?  Working to pay for bills, spending most of my days working, having a few weeks off a year to escape the meaningless reality of life in another country, for as long as I could possibly afford and then drag myself back to the slavery that I was captive in…there must be more to life than this???

It was as if I had been asleep, a sleep walking zombie, unaware of my sleeping state, but every once in a while I would be rudely awakened by some painful experience beyond my control.  It would force me to self reflect and look at my wounds, but the pain was overwhelmingly unbearable to REALLY feel.   One of my coping mechanisms, was to stuff my pain along with myself, deep down beneath the fully reinforced impenetrable defence mechanisms, that I had created to ‘feel safe.’  I even managed to fool myself most of the time that I was ‘fine’!  I was lying though, my soul was sick, my defences were malfunctioning left right and centre and I didn’t know how to fix it.
I started to search the Internet for answers – Google became my best friend!  I realized that others were searching also, this offered some comfort actually, but I honestly still felt so lost.  I had been in church for about 8 years already, serving, tithing, and faithfully turning up week after week.  Was I doing something wrong?  Why was I so miserable?  Why did I feel so empty?  Maybe there was something more I needed to ‘do.’

It seemed no one I came across had the answers I needed, maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places, but finally I made a decision, that I needed to make a decision, to make some changes.  I have been in the personal development industry for 9 years and at the time I was mentoring and counselling young people in schools across South London.  Therefore clinical supervision was something the company provided for us to review our workload, work through any issues we were experiencing and any personal development needs we had.  Fortunately I had a good relationship with my supervisor and I felt safe enough to share with her how unhappy I was.  She recommended the book ‘Being Happy’ by Andrew Matthews for me to read, which she felt would point me in the right direction, so this was also a good starting point.   This among other books gave me glimmers of hope and pearls of wisdom, which I put into practice, but I kept getting stuck and still could not figure out what was wrong with me!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been someone who would look out for others and help others to progress.  In my spare time I was busy volunteering and at work I was busy fixing other peoples lives, so I rarely had time to think about what I needed and do anything about it, I was mostly fire fighting!

In the autumn of 2008 I noticed the heaviness taking its toll on me.  I started to cry at random times, my temper was out of control, I struggled to sleep and everything was a chore.  This was during what was the most exciting times of my life.  I had just co-written and produced a large scale youth musical for my church, which was an amazing success – but I was absolutely miserable and inside I felt like a disgusting rotten corpse!

After the musical, I was at a loss as to what to do with myself.  My life felt stale and I just felt like I needed something more.  I remember talking through some ideas I had with my mum, one of them being my long-term desire to train as a counsellor.  My mum encouraged me to submit my application and she sat with me while I completed it, and we went together to take my passport photos to send off with the application (sadly my mother is no longer here, so this is a fond memory for me as I write this).  It was not long before I found out that my application was successful and that I was accepted onto the course.  My life was taking a new turn and I was so excited about my journey ahead…

Look out for pat 3 coming soon..

Xxx

The depression: part 1

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God! –
Psalm 43:5

The heaviness was back.  The ugly burdensome, overwhelming weight of hopeless despair!

I was lost, confused and I hated myself for feeling this way.  Why couldnt I just hold it all together like everyone else?  What was the matter with me?  I wasn’t physically ill, disabled or suffering with some life threatening disease – why couldnt I just be happy?  What did I REALLY have to be sad or ‘depressed’ about anyway?  In fact I had everything ‘on paper’ to be ecstatic about!

Even though I tried to paste this ‘I’ve got it altogether exterior’ mask on by keeping busy with various projects, relationships and ‘doing,’ the emptiness within grew like a plague within, gradually stealing pieces of my soul.   The mask eventually grew too small, and the imperfections although I fiercely tried to hide them, fought back fiercely – they were winning.

…I had been struggling silently with bouts of depression for many years but didnt know it. One day during clinical supervision, it hit me – I could not recall the last time I was ‘truly happy’!  I felt guilty even admitting this to myself, I was a Christian, I thought I was supposed to be happy all the time, after all wasnt I ‘saved’, ‘born again’, ‘destined for heaven’, a ‘child of God’ ?!?!?!?!   How dare I not ‘be happy’??!!?  It was a shameful truth to admit to myself, I thought I was disgracing Gods name, a poor and shameful witness of the Christian faith to admit this ‘shocking’ truth that I – WAS – NOT – HAPPY!!!!  But it was the TRUTH.  It was the first time I had spoken out loud about my TRUE feelings of discontent and this was the beginning of my awakening: the awareness of my true self…

…I wrote the above a little while ago, but i decided to post it today because I know that many people suffer in silence – as I did.  I just want whoever reads this and may be going through depression now to know that you can overcome this and it does not have to be your reality forever.  You just need to be honest with yourself about your feelings, allow yourself to go through the motions of whatever is causing it, but also seek help – DONT suffer in silence.  I battled with depression for a long time, but I thank God that I have finally overcome it and I am now FREE!  It has been a long process and do still have the odd down day, but it doesnt floor me anymore.  I will talk more about my process in later blogs, but what I will say here is that it is my relationship and faith in God that keeps me grounded.  At my lowest point in my life, after I had tried EVERYTHING I could think of to make myself happy, I cried out to God in desperation “please God help me, if you are truly there help me, I need peace, I just want to be at peace.” I can honestly say, hand on heart that God was true to His word and He came to my rescue.  He will do the same for you too!

Feel free to leave any comments, questions etc if you want to.

Until next time…

Be Well xx

x lifejourneymemoirs x