Christian Living · encouragement

Depression: The Big Conundrum

This is part 3 of the series “Invisible Illnesses.” To read the previous post, click here.

The heavy beat of drums and the wail of electric guitars blared through small white earbuds. Her cold, trembling fingers pressed them deeper into her ears, attempting to drown the screaming and thumping echoing down the hallway. Another uncontrollable tantrum. A tantrum over… what, exactly? She couldn’t put her finger on the triggering moment.

Would her life ever be normal again?

A great heaviness swept over her body.

Thousands of dollars poured into remedies, doctors visits, elimination diets, and supplements, only to be rewarded by tiny increments of progress. Thousands of hours spent researching. Thousands of tears. Thousands of prayers.

All of it fruitless…

She had fought the good fight. Couldn’t it just be over? What was the point of going on?

“To die—to sleep–no more…” Sleep—something she used to do in another life. What was Shakespeare doing in her head? “To sleep, perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come…”

What dreams may come… That sleep of death. Sweet relief.

No. She shouldn’t—she wouldn’t—think of killing herself. Plain stupid. An eternity of suffering would be far worse than all this garbage. “Stop being an idiot,” she thought.

“I’m—so—tired, Lord,” she gasped through sobs,  So—tired—of—failing.”

Another cry sounded in the hallway—the cry of her other child, barely a month old. The pounding tantrum had finally woken him.

Her body shuddered as she rocked back and forth, the feeling of helplessness washing over her once again. The demands just kept coming.

A searing pain shot through her heart. So heavy… it was all so heavy.

Her husband opened the door right into her as she lay unmoving on the ground. Her eyes flew open. When had she fallen over like this?

He looked down at his wife, her face streaked with mascara and tears. Her momentarily startled eyes quieted and dulled. With a twinge in his heart, he gazed reflectively on this beautiful woman, whose eyes had once glowed with passion. Eyes—full of sagacity, mystery, beauty—now worn into a lifeless gray. He had hoped to come home from the tire shop and be comforted, but instead he found her curled in a tight fetal position, needing compassion he didn’t know how to give right now. She tugged the earbuds out of her ears. Faint, tinny thuds whispered up from her hands where they lay.

“You need to go get help.” he murmured, a little coldly.

Another jolt of pain shot through her body.

Her eyes flashed with sudden emotion, small tears sparkling in the corners. She moved into a sitting position, shoulders squared for a fight. He held up his hands defensively. “You’ve got depression. You need someone to talk to. I know, you feel—” he paused, considering, “I know you feel like you can’t talk to me about it because of what I’ve been through.”

He was right. She couldn’t talk to him about it. He shut her down, minimized her pain, didn’t want to discuss their mutual heartache. What ever happened to the days they would share their unfiltered thoughts with each other into the wee hours of the morning? No secrets. No walls. No barriers.

Why was this beautiful, loving soul crushed just when she needed him most? Why had her soulmate been replaced with this cold, callous figure towering above her? He didn’t even bother to hold her, touch her, or comfort her in any way.

He used to be her safe harbor. And now…

The ache throbbed painfully in her chest again.

Where did I go wrong? A lone tear traced it’s way down her cheek.

“I don’t want to fight this fight anymore, Lord,” she thought, closing her eyes slowly, “I just want to it all to be over. I’m utterly useless. Totally worthless. I’ve failed You over and over again. I’ve failed everyone.”

A resigned sigh escaped her lips as yet another searing pain coursed through her chest.

Why did she even bother? Why get up? Why keep trying? Why go on?

Exhausted, she lifted her phone, swiped once, and paused the music. Her eyes drifted cautiously toward her husband.

Invisible illnesses were shredding them to pieces. What on earth could they do?

The causes of depression remain highly debated. Like PTSD, many think it is a sign of weakness, lack of will power, or merely a destructive pattern of thinking.

The “experts” are unable to agree on why depression runs rampant in our society.

Recent studies have suggested depression may be linked to a mutation of the MTHFR gene. Other studies believe significant hormonal changes/imbalances lead also to depression (i.e. Postpartum depression). The basis for administering drugs is based on the assumption that depression is due to chemical imbalances in the brain.

The sources of depression remain enigmatic. Instead of assuming laziness on the part of the sufferers, we ought to extend compassion to those suffering and gently lead them to help.

In the next post, we’ll dive into this subject more deeply and explore helpful solutions!


17 thoughts on “Depression: The Big Conundrum

  1. My mentor in the faith…James is his name. For years he minimized the idea of depression and those who had it. Said all of those things: lazy, just get a grip…so on.

    Until he suffered from it himself.

    Now he sings a different tune.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing that Wally. I admit, I thought in much the same way until I was afflicted myself. It opened my eyes.

      I think God wants us to use these “thorns” for two purposes: 1) to learn compassion and 2) to realize He is our source of strength in good times and bad.

      How are things going for you, my friend?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They are good Elihu, thank you for asking. I do feel God has been testing me the last few months by piling stuff on me, especially work wise. He didn’t seem inclined to take anything off of my plate, though. I asked LOL. He apparently said no. As is His way, He gave me the ability to seemingly get it all done. He’s pretty great that way huh? Which actually ties right into your comment! I must have needed that. Awesome!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry things have been so hectic. Maybe this season of busyness is setting you up to enjoy with thankfulness a season of refreshing. Only God knows. Hang in there my friend! I know you are striving to serve God wholeheartedly, and He always honors diligent service.


  2. Thank You Elihu for another excellent post on an important, serious matter that many suffer. I know a number of persons suffering with depression, including my sister, who has all of her adult life. God Bless you as you continue to minister, share information, and help many.
    Reblogged, and posted on fb so many more may possibly think of how they may assist a loved one who is suffering.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, George! I greatly appreciate the reblog and Facebook post. My aunt suffered from severe depression and it resulted in the loss of her life. As Christians, we ignore/minimize depression to our peril and the peril of others.

      Liked by 1 person

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