When you sit in a state of loneliness for too long, you eventually begin to isolate yourself and after a while being alone seems like the only thing you truly long for. You start to dread the idea of socializing, and if you do somehow manage to drag yourself out of bed for some human interaction, you often find yourself counting down the minutes until you can retreat back to your happy place; somewhere under the covers, watching your newest find on Netflix.
Maybe it’s just me, but at first I failed to notice just how far gone I’d become. After all, it wasn’t like I used to attend all of my classes anyway. But slowly it crept up on me and before I knew it, I was calling in sick to work, cancelling on friends and couldn’t even remember the last time I laid my eyes on the pages of a textbook. And even when I started to recognize that something just wasn’t the way it used to be, I wasn’t alarmed. I mean, everyone goes through these stages. I told myself that I’d pull it together soon enough, before anyone could even notice that I’d missed a beat.
But the feelings didn’t just magically disappear and next thing I knew this little “stage” had been going on for months. I found myself going whole days without eating, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d stepped into the shower or washed my hair, I’d stopped listening to sermons and worship music, and the sun seemed like a figment of my imagination because I’d been locked up in my room with the curtains drawn for so long. Most significantly, my Bible was nowhere in sight. Hidden beneath the mounds of dirty clothes that had been thrown across my bedroom floor, the life-giving book that used to hold me together now seemed so irrelevant as I was falling apart.
Imagine this. You’re stranded in the middle of the ocean drowning and although you know how to swim, you’re unable to do so because you feel exhausted, worn out and defeated. You start to wonder whether you’ll be stuck like this for the rest of your life, fighting to keep your head above the water. This is what depression feels like to me.
Depression is a hard season to walk through but it is very important to remember that you will walk through it. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel and you will have your chance to stand in it, basking in the glory of its warmth. Now is not the time to give up! This is not where you pitch your tent and set up camp. Though the journey is long and hard it is not insurmountable. We have already been given the victory, the fight has been won and all that’s left to do is step up to the podium and claim the prize which is rightfully ours.
So the question is, how do we get ourselves out of the water?
1. Remember that we’re wearing a life jacket
The life jacket is our faith, and sometimes we forget that we have it until we’re fighting for our lives in the middle of the ocean. Our faith allow us to regain strength when we no longer have any of our own to draw from. Realistically, this looks like prioritizing time each day to spend with God. Whether you’re listening to a sermon, reading your Bible, praying, or singing some of your favourite worship songs, you need to ensure that you spend time nurturing this relationship daily.
2. Swim towards the boat
The boat is made up of the people that God placed in our lives for this very reason. Our family members, friends, spiritual leaders, counsellors and church community are there to lift us up out of the water and into the boat. They provide us with a dry safe place to catch our breath and remind us that we don’t have to do this on our own. Practically, this could look like making coffee plans with a friend and holding yourself to that commitment or even asking certain people to pray for you.
3. Trust the Captain
The Captain is and always will be Jesus. He steers the boat in whichever direction He sees fit and though there will be some uncomfortable ups and downs along the way, we simply have to trust that He will get us safely to shore. His plans may not always make sense to us in the moment but we can rest assured knowing that He only wants the very best for us more than we may even want it for ourselves.
Let’s start a conversation! Is depression something you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing? Also, what advice do you have for others who find themselves in this dark season? Let me know in the comments below.