The above image resonates with how I view living with depression. When you are in the midst of darkness and unsure of how to reach out or even find help… it can feel like you are drowning. Worse, drowning while others are oblivious to your storm. Mental struggles are not always noticeable on the outside: invisible pain. There are depths sunken that make it feel like you will never be able to catch your breath again.
These past couple of years have contained so much beauty and transformation, but I have not been able to see the good through the messy parts. I felt broken from battles with depression, anxiety, and the crushing grief of losing my dad. Inside my head was a chaotic haze: all hope deferred and my spirit utterly shattered. Darkness, “See, the darkness is leaking from the cracks. I cannot contain it. I cannot contain my life” (Sylvia Plath). My darkness felt all-consuming. Paralyzing to the point I lost the will and desire to live life more than barely functioning through it. The beauty comes in an increasing awareness of how I am truly not alone.
It is really easy for me to resort to isolation when I am not feeling very good, but I have been called and pulled out of that by some truly beautiful hearts. We are not meant to struggle alone. I tried a lot of paths to find help, to find hope, but I have been so discouraged. I choose to keep breathing one day at a time; when necessary, moment-by-moment. The communities I find myself in are bringing light into this darkness.
Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble.
About a year ago I learned of a House of Prayer and often found myself wanting to be there. There is almost always worship and prayer happening and it caught me in such an unexpected way. I would sit and listen, captivated by the atmosphere, but scared to participate/enter in. I couldn’t bring myself to worship or pray out loud, but I would journal and sketch. I have learned many valuable lessons in this community but one thing reflected only recently started to make sense: If I am choosing to observe and show up journeying towards healing/faith/God…why not see how it could be different journeying with God. That realization seems uncomplicated…but it took a long time for my head and my heart to align and surrender.
Surrender. Celebrate Recovery is another community that helped penetrate my darkness. Everyone has a story, and most have experienced troubles, but I had never met a group of Christians who are as vulnerable in sharing their hurts, habits, and hang-ups as this group. There is power in sharing those stories; there is hope that the hard times can be overcome.
“So I say to my soul, ‘Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be disturbed.
For I know my God will break through for me’”
Psalm 42:11, TPT
What does it look like to journey with God through the good, bad, and ugly? What does recovery look like with God? I know it is a process and it takes time. It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah, but it’s a start.
“Would you come and tear down the boxes that I have tried to put you in. Let love come and teach me who You are again. Would You take me back to the place where my heart was only about You, and all I wanted was just to be with You. So, come and do whatever You want to. Further and further my heart moves away from the shore, and whatever it looks like, whatever may come, I am Yours”
(In Over My Head– Jenn Johnson)