“The Lord has eyes for the just and ears for their cry.” Psalms 34:16
A lot of posts of have been going around the social media scene lately about mental health and illness. I will not focus on stats, I will not focus on anyone else, I will focus on me and my path and how it has brought me on a roller coaster path that I hope in the end will bring me closer to my family and my God.
I have depression….. I hate labels, but it is what it is. It is a burden that I have been given in this Earthly life, and I will do my best to carry it with pride. Labels hurt, especially one like depression where there may never be outward signs of illness like there are for things like cancer. It is not a one-size-fits all diagnosis and telling someone to “think happy thoughts” will not make them do so. People cannot just get over it. And, as I have told my wife, if you do not have it, you cannot understand it.
“When the just cry out, the Lord hears and rescues them from all distress.” Psalms 34:18
My journey started years ago, to a point that I really cannot remember when. I’ll spare you the long history of the past. The journey has been difficult on me, but to me, more importantly I know it has been difficult on my wife and boys. They can see in my face when things are bad and they can feel it in my lack of being their mentally. A few years ago I went to my physician and got some medication, but that didn’t work. He also suggested therapy, and well, that didn’t work, but probably because I wasn’t willing. I tried again a few years ago, started meeting with a new therapist but I had a very hard time opening up, felt like I was just going in his office, complaining, making excuses and then going home. My mom died, I quit going and the cycle started over.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I was at a Chiefs game with a few buddies and had a few too many adult beverages and basically made a donkey (no they weren’t playing the Broncos) of myself. The next morning I woke up embarrassed, ashamed and to be open and honest, a little scared. I could feel a downward spiral beginning. Thankfully my wife was there the next day and for once, I opened up a lot. Since then, I have had a great confession with the priest, my wife and some buddies…..and well, now you. I am back on some medication, back to seeing an awesome counselor who I found through the archdiocese and opening up more.
Am I cured? Ha, not even close. In fact as I type this, I just told my wife today felt like “one of those days”. Why, no clue. So I surround myself with her, my children, say a prayer, put my St. Michael the Archangel prayer coin in my pocket and take on the day. Every day seems like a new beginning, and every day like today leads me to what I hope is an even bigger new beginning. I know this will probably never go away, but my hope is that one day my valley will be a little higher, my peaks a little higher and a little longer, and to help all that I can along the way.
“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
I end with this verse because depression and mental illnesses are real. Maybe someone reading this is experiencing it, or a loved one, or just someone you know. My hope is that that person will expose their condition to someone soon, in a healthy non-harmful way. I ask if you know someone, talk to them, share this story, share your story if you have one. A person suffering is great and masking it, I have been there. But eventually the mask will come off for whatever reason. Be there, just listen, no advice (unless asked for) pray for them, love them, reassure them. Depression is a disease just like any other, and left untreated it will only get worse.
I am here if/when you need me.
May Jesus Bless You.