Today I was on “the facebook” and landed on a page entitled, “Deeply Fucked Up.” I was moved by the emotion expressed there and a little overwhelmed so haven’t looked at all of it yet, FYI. But the first few quotes I read, were expressions of deep, suicidal depression.
As it happens, several people in my life have shared with me seasons of suicidal ideation. Not a joke like the kids say, “oh I could kill myself”, or “FML.” An acronym that I needed my son to spell out for me at one point.
There have been a few conversations about anti-depressant medications as well, the help it can bring, and the risk we take, as they are known to have a reverse effect at times, depending on your brain chemistry. I tried one about 20 years back that had a reverse effect on me and still remember the voice in my head telling me to, “go ahead, take the whole bottle.” Full disclosure, I have otherwise not experienced suicidal ideation myself. I have a steel streak that leans more towards wanting to get rid of someone else before myself. Different post.
So, the medicines, I can talk about from personal experience. I am fully cognizant of the on-going stigma that they can garner and the organic only crowds call to take care of ourselves naturally. It is a personal decision and sensitive subject. After almost two decades of back and forth on the issue I am now settled . I like the words of Lewis Smedes, in his book, “Keeping Hope Alive, For A Tomorrow We Cannot Control.” He said, “God’s grace comes to me in the form of a little blue pill each morning.” (Lewis died at the age of 81, in 2002, so he dipped into anti-depressant therapy well before it was even spoken of in public.)
In that book, Lewis was also writing about hope and loss and fear as a part of life. He said, “Waiting is our destiny. As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a “not yet” that feels like a “not ever.”
Some would say, “no wonder he was depressed.” Not me, for one, neurons and emotional thoughts have to BOTH be considered. I see him as a person who had the guts to stare reality in the face and deal. AND, Lewis was also willing to stare in the mirror and deal.
He also says, “…there is such a thing as false hope. False hope is when it is based on other people’s lies, or a cheap escape from the messes we make, or expecting a happiness that the thing we hope for cannot bring. We hope in “delusions,” “misguided expectations,” and “egotistical dreams.” Been there.
As a person that has a chemical issue with serotonin and craves the sunlight during the bleak winters, I can say to anyone struggling, you are not alone. I can also say, as someone that was at times in my life dealt a hand of shame from religious elites, for not having enough “faith” to overcome the sad times- that’s a crock. Faith doesn’t mean everything is A-ok all the time. It means there is a place to land, no matter how I feel on any given day.
But you, Sovereign Lord,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is wounded within me.
I fade away like an evening shadow;
I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees give way from fasting;
my body is thin and gaunt.
I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they shake their heads.
Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
Let them know that it is your hand,
that you, Lord, have done it.
While they curse, may you bless;
may those who attack me be put to shame,
but may your servant rejoice.
May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.