Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fighting the Darkness

My brother has been a wrestler since he was in second grade and continues with the sport today as a coach. I grew up spending many weekends at wrestling tournaments and really came to both understand and enjoy the sport. The goal of wrestling is to overpower your opponent by throwing them to the ground and ultimately pinning both shoulders on the mat, causing them to 'submit'.

My brother was a part of a Collegiate team that won Nationals. To get to this point, you must make wrestling your top priority. I feel like I am a wrestler, in the most important match of my life. Truth be told, I don't want to make fighting depression my top priority. I hate depression and I hate that it is something I struggle with. I would much rather devote my time to my husband, children and helping others. I don't like having a disease of the brain.

I have never before wrestled with anything as difficult as the depression I have experienced this past year. I am fighting with all my might, using the skills I have learned to outwit my opponent. I am exercising, eating better, taking medication, trying to lower my stress, asking for help and getting counseling.

One of my favorite wrestling moves is called a reversal. That's when a person goes from being in a defensive position to gaining control of their opponent. It can be very dramatic! I can still remember the roar of the crowd when this happens, suddenly things become very exciting and it's anyone's match! There have been several dramatic reversals in my fight against depression. Sometimes I am the one feeling in control while other times, I feel overtaken, afraid that I may expose my shoulders to the mat. It takes all of my physical and emotional fortitude to not succumb to the weight that is on me.

What do I do? Honestly I pray! I try to keep busy, especially doing for others. I read my Bible, I write, I read Christian books, I talk to someone who cares. Since the start of my major depression I have gained a love for my Bible different than the rest of my Christian life. I need to read the written word. I need words of encouragement I need to praise my Lord.

Sometimes, I sleep or cry or hide myself away from people. I try really hard not to do that because it doesn't help me feel better to isolate myself. Sometimes I forget and need to be prompted to re-join the outside world! It can be so painful to be hiding behind your depression. It's not like it's completely evident for others to see and therefore no one can understand why we look normal while we feel so abnormal.

I don't wish for anyone else to struggle with this awful disease but there are many people who unfortunately can identify with me both now and in Biblical times.

Examples of people in the Bible who struggled with bouts of depression:
Abraham (Genesis 15)
Jonah (Jonah 4)
Job (Book of Job)
Elijah (1 Kings 19)
King Saul (I Samuel 16:14-23, etc.)
Jeremiah (Book of Jeremiah)
David (Psalms 6, 13, 18, 23, 25, 27, 31, 32, 34, 37-40, 42-43, 46, 51, 55, 62-63, 69, 71, 73, 77, 84, 86, 90-91, 94-95, 103-104, 107, 110, 116, 118, 121, 123-124, 130, 138, 139, 141-143, 146-147)

If you struggle with depression, know that you are not alone. I'm willing to talk with you and we can encourage one another.


Melissa said...

I can relate to all of what you've written about depression. I am at the bottom of a pit right now, and I'm doing all of the things you're doing. I'll see a new doctor tomorrow, and I hope he can prescribe a medication that works better than what I'm taking.

Kim Bauer said...

I think depression is more of an issue during tough economic times. You are one brave gal. I am sure your kids view you as their hero. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

I hope in some strange way, it helps to know that you are building a digital community of supporters.


Melissa said...

I agree with Kim. Last week we met with a counselor, who said that she has never seen as many people as she has lately. The economy and all the stress that results from it seem to be causing a lot of people to seek help.

Simoney said...

Thanks for sharing Gina. So many people battle this quietly and never let on. Especially Christians, many of whom feel like they will be judged or misunderstood if they let on. I'm glad that some people are starting to open up and share about it.
Thanks for joining in my Blogfrog discussion :)

Mary said...

I love that the Bible is full of REAL people with REAL problems- God is so wise. I commend you for all you are doing to fight your depression, Gina- especially when it would be much easier just to give in and submit. Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your struggle with depression. I thought I was doing so great on Celexa, but now things seem to be going back down again - I think my daughters unhappiness at school is a major trigger.

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