Thursday, January 14, 2016

Comfort in the Darkness - Part 1

One Sunday, a few weeks ago, I was sitting in church listening to a sermon that I, regrettably, don't recall.  I was suddenly overcome with the need to share the story of how depression has wound it's black tentacles through the story of my life.  As I walked out of the service, I felt the discontent of knowing that I had not been obedient.  I tried to reassure myself that this was just some weird trick my mind was playing on me and that the tugging at my being would dissipate with time.  Of course it didn't.  I knew it wouldn't.  So the next few posts will be devoted to sharing my story.  My prayer is that God will use this to show someone that light can be found in the darkness that depression casts.

I met Depression as a young child in my insecurity and fears.  He was there like a shadow.  A constant companion who whispered so gently in my ear.

"Those other kids don't really like you.  They only play with you because they are too nice to tell you to leave them alone."

"Stop trying so hard.  You are never going to get it right."

"Those other girls are so much prettier than you are.  No one will ever love you."

"Why do you talk so much?  Nobody cares what you have to say."

 "You aren't really as smart as people think you are.  You will never succeed at anything."

"Your brother.  He's the creative one.  Not you." 

I moved every three years or less.  I always tried to leave him behind, but there he was.  In every new state.  At every new school.

There were hours, days, weeks that he would retreat into the recesses of my mind.  The more I occupied my mind with reading, the longer he stayed at bay.  So I read.  Voraciously.  I was a member of the Baby Sitters Club and spent time in the Secret Garden.  My best friends were Jo March, Sara Crewe, and Anne Shirley.  I had adventures with a mouse named Stuart Little and I cheered for a pig named Wilbur.  I explored the land of Narnia with Susan and the frontier with Laura Ingalls.

You can't escape in literature all the time though and in the night, when the house was quite and I wanted sleep, he would creep back to the forefront of my mind.  He replayed every detail of the day, reminding me of all the times I said or did the wrong thing.  He discounted anything that resembled joy.  He told me that tomorrow would be no better.  And, no matter how much I imagined exactly how the next day would go - what I would wear, what I would say, what I would do - it happened again the next night.  It went on for an hour or more most nights, before my thoughts, his accusations, finally subsided and I was free to sleep.

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