Facing Depression

I took this picture on January 25th. Not to document a good hair day, or that I put on makeup and got dressed. I took it so I could remember what had laid under the surface, unseen for days, and at the time of this photograph, would continue for several days after it was taken.

It’s the face of depression, when an internal storm rages in the depths of the soul creating a hurricane of emotions that seem to swirl out of control.

I have a serotonin deficiency and I have lived with it long enough to understand these moods will come and they will go, but even with that type of self awareness, being in the middle of an “episode” is still hard. As I faced the tumultuous squall of melancholy, I continued to pray and read my Bible knowing that these things would not PREVENT a tidal wave of depression, but they would keep me anchored to HOPE in the MIDST of the storm.

And that leads me back to the picture. Not a self-ingratiating picture, but one taken to serve as a reminder that when the waves subsided I would still be here, and I would be okay.

I wanted to remember that even though I knew what was happening, I could not seem to articulate what I was feeling, because there’s no way to to describe what “THAT” feeling is. In fact, it has been several weeks since that photo that I have actually been able to string together sentences describing the experience.

I was beyond exhausted in spite of sleeping 10-12 hours a night. I was listless, apathetic, had no desire to be around people, could not concentrate or focus. I was angry and agitated with others, not because of anything they had done, but because I knew this wasn’t ME.

I want you to SEE that depression can look put together and “normal”. I want you to know that it can be mistaken for laziness or disinterest. It can seem unmotivated and uncaring. It can feel inadequate, unaccomplished, sad, angry, exhausted and frustrated.

Eventually the cloud began to lift and as I write this today, I have been feeling like “ME” for a while. I want to be around people. I can clearly think and articulate my thoughts and ideas. The excessive fatigue has dissipated, the apathy has been replaced by genuine care and interest, I am motivated, I feel grounded and I can finally start to explain a little bit of what it’s like when those storm clouds gather on the horizon of my life and then burst in full capacity, trying to capsize the boat in which I live.

I want you to KNOW that depression is complicated for those experiencing it and just as equally complicated for those who live with us and love us through it.

I want you to UNDERSTAND that if you experience depression; medication and counseling are some of the best things you can do for yourself. And just because the “Church” doesn’t talk about it very much, it doesn’t mean that Christians don’t battle it or that their faith is less than because of it. And……it’s okay, to not be okay.

But more than anything I want you to know that this too shall pass. That it does not define you (or me). Nor does it lessen God’s love for us.

2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.”

Xoxo, Gena

PS: If you are dealing with depression, anxiety, isolation or any other mental issue LakePointe Church in Rockwall, TX has an incredible hotline that you can access, just text HEAL to 20411 and you will be connected with amazing people ready to pray with you.

If you need more in-depth help please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text MHA to 741-741

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