Many of you may not know it, but I sometimes struggle with depression. I have learned, over the course of a lifetime, and a quarter-century of being led by the Holy Spirit, how to fight it, but also how to spot the warning flares in the road.
One flaming torch of danger is when I isolate. Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but I’ve been pretty silent lately. Silence is not always isolation. Sometimes I am simply reflecting, but usually my reflections lead me to some sort of blissful joy or wisdom that I want to offer others like a precious treasure. When I am isolating, I hoard the soul-excavated-things like I’m protecting something I’m unwilling to share… even with my husband. I scowl at the thought of having to say what is filling my mind out loud, because well, I’m sliding into depression and isolation is the path leading me there.
Another red flag is simply which way my brain bends. Is my default to praise or grumbling? Am I seeing the beauty in the mundane, or am I thinking of all the things I wish were different?
When I begin to notice these two things occurring within, I know it’s time to make a hard pivot. I realize that depression is just around the bend, and I am walking right into it like I’m walking into the slaughter house. These are not only the warning signs, they are also the places I need to repent. Repentance means to turn from darkness to light, and it also means to change the mind.
So, I am dragging this isolationist, pessimism crap out into the light and admitting that it’s something I’ve been caving to, and need to repent of. I’m revolting against the isolation by admitting it out loud. And now I get to rant about things I’m grateful for, since I need the muscle memory of my mind to remember which way it’s supposed to bend (Did you know that thanksgiving and complaining are literally habit forming, and create channels in our minds making it easier to do one or the other?).
I am thankful for a faithful husband who endures even in hard seasons and does his best to love me. I am thankful for a beautiful place to live and a wonderful community of people to live among. I’m thankful for my five senses and how God woos me through them. I’m thankful for the moon, and the glorious metaphor that it is, reminding me to reflect the light of Another. I’m thankful for the Cross and all the ways it has made me whole. I’m thankful for the power of His Resurrection and how God resurrects me time and time again. I am thankful for the breath in my lungs, my love of words and deep thinking, for colors, children, dancing in the rain, taste buds, tree bark, running vehicles, and for my soap business and all the folks whose lives are more voluptuous because they have delicious soap to cleanse their skin and delight their palate with. I’m thankful for the plethora of good conversations I’ve had over that Market/Fair/Music Festival table. I’m thankful for smiles and dimples and personality types, and for quiet spaces and celebratory venues. And I’m thankful that we’re all different and yet all the same. I’m thankful that God has liberated me from so much shame in my life, through His affectionate cross, that it doesn’t feel scary to admit that I sometimes struggle with depression, because I know I’m not the only one and sometimes others just need someone else to say it first.
Thanks for listening. If you need someone to listen or pray for you, too, please let me know, or talk to someone else. Better yet, talk to God, because He is always near and has more compassion than you or I could ever fathom.