On Depression

by ethankilgore

“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.” – Prozac Nation

I have a very hard time talking about my struggle with depression, so forgive me if this post isn’t very well written. I’ve typed entire paragraphs and deleted them because I don’t find them capturing what I want to express. However I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never be able to fully describe my struggle with depression to you – that would require me understanding it, which I most certainly do not. It’s hard to say when my first depression started, but it was sometime around my sophomore year of Highschool – four years ago. I’ve been battling it ever since. There have been a few good stretches where it has seemed to lie dormant, but for the most part is has been consistent. It is the little demon on my back affecting everything that I do – and unfortunately it controlled me for quite some time.

The most important thing that I can say is that depression is not just the state of being sad. It is much more haunting and debilitating. The best way that I can describe my depression is this: Understanding the concept of hope, but knowing that there is none for you. It feels like everything is pointless and painful. You have to fight every morning just to get out of bed, and when you do your entire body aches like a giant bruise. You lose interest in the things that once brought you joy, and eventually you lose all interest of everything. Then comes the worst part: when the pain is too much and you no longer register any emotions at all. You might as well be one giant square of apathy. You isolate yourself and cut off connections with the outside world – you let relationships fall to the wayside. Life just flies by you while you’re lying broken and bleeding on the side of the road.

I once opened up to someone about my depression they told me,”Sometimes I feel depressed, but then I just choose to be happy. That is what you need to do…” Do you know what saying that to someone struggling with depression is like? It’s like telling someone who is stuck under a hundred ton boulder that all they need to do is lift it off of them. It doesn’t work that way. And it sure sounds a hell of a lot simpler when you’re not the one under the rock.

There were nights where I would fall asleep praying two specific prayers. The first was that I would not wake up in the morning – that  God would take me home to find peace and rest in his arms, but thankfully that prayer was never granted. The second was that if I needed to continue this struggle, that He would provide me with a friend who be with me every step of the way – and this is where God has shown himself to me more than any other aspect of my life. Jesus answered that prayer in ways I could not even imagine. He blessed me with an amazing family, and dog whom I love desperately (and also the first living thing I told I was gay), and friends who have shown such patience and understanding that they’ll receive hundreds of crowns in Heaven.

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Some of those previously mentioned friends…

On my worst days I scream at God for allowing this to happen to me, and on my best I thank him for seeing my fit enough to carry this burden. For a very long time I blamed God for putting me through this, but then my mom told me something that I have never forgotten. She said, “Honey, it is important to understand that God didn’t do this to you. Why he has let it happen to you, I’m not sure, but I promise you he is with you every step of the way.” It was so simple, but it was also was exactly what I needed to hear. There were years where I felt like God had abandoned me, but then I look back and I see his love and mercy through the people he has surrounded me with every step of the way. My family (whom I love more than I could ever try and express to them), my friends, and equally important – my dog.

People often tell you that, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” That is a lie. I believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle with His help. Lord knows that I could never have survived this without the wonders of Mercy that He has provided me throughout these difficult years.

I would ask something of you – if you know someone with depression (and I’m sure you do) keep them constantly in your prayers. It is a horrible illness that can too easily wreck someones entire life. Go out of your way to show them the love of Christ.

Not all afflictions are visible, and unfortunately depression is as rampant as the plague.

Thanks again for reading what I have to say – it means a lot to me. If you ever have any questions for me about depression, sexuality, or anything I’ve discussed, don’t be afraid to ask me. I want to be as much help as I possible can.

Ethan

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