Depression is a funny thing. It doesn’t drop on you like a rock, but gently surrounds you until it overtakes you. Most of the time you don’t realize you are becoming depressed until you are overtaken by it.
Most people, me included, never thought about depression much except to think that one had to be weak to let it take over your life like it does some people. It almost seemed like they were taking the easy way out of having to deal with the ups and downs that the rest of us were having to deal with on a daily basis. I was wrong.
Having MS has opened my eyes to many things, depression being one of them. Being in pain every day is difficult to deal with. It wears your spirit down. Having to depend on someone else to help with your daily care wears your spirit down. Not being mobile wears your spirit down. After a while, you realize that you are no longer YOU and your whole life is being transformed into something entirely different. More than anything, realizing that you will never be you again breaks your spirit and depression sets in.
I don’t think I realized that I was suffering from depression until I started waking myself up crying. I was not hurting all that bad and I could not remember having had a bad dream. The only thing I really felt was an overwhelming sadness. The only thing I could think of that I was truly sad about was the lack of a normal life.
More and more I began to realize that things that normally made me happy didn’t seem to do so anymore. I didn’t look forward to watching my favorite TV shows, being online with my buddies, going out with friends and such. I enjoyed them, but the thrill that I had usually felt doing these things was not there.
One of the things I enjoy, and is a big part of me, is my writing. This blog, my novels and bits and pieces I write on several websites are a big part of who I am and what gives me fulfillment and joy. As anyone who follows this knows, I have not written in almost a year. I was not depressed during that whole time, but the depression takes so much of one’s energy a lot of that time was spent recuperating and trying to get back into a rhythm. Being able to think, function and having the energy to even try are just a few of the things that depression takes away.
For a long time, I felt like I was at the bottom of a deep, dark hole. There was no happiness to be found there and it was the loneliest place imaginable. No matter how many people were around, or how much people tried to help, the hole just kept hanging on to me and there seemed to be no way out. One of the things I found out with depression is that no matter how much help you get or how much people love you, it has to be a conscious decision on your part to pull yourself out. No one can do it for you.
I prayed, cried, laughed (hysterical type, not happy type!) tried to sleep, eat and go about getting myself out of that hole. I learned that the old saying is true – in our deepest despair is when we really find our strengths.
The greatest strength and help I had was from the One who is always there to help in times of need. I realized that God brought me a flashlight. And, not only that, He brought extra batteries in case I need them!