un-slumping myself


rock portrait, originally uploaded by orangejack.

For the past several months I’ve been dealing with depression. I wouldn’t say I’m severely depressed, though the chemicals in my head are out of balance. However, there are days that the emotional discouragement is through the roof and it’s tough to do or say anything.

At first if you were to ask me why I felt depressed, I would have had no answer. But I’ve been reading a lot. Some are books for fun (like CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia) and a few books on depression by a couple of pastors. One is a Bible study on Elijah and his depression in 1 Kings 19. I’ve been learning a lot about the subject of depression itself.

But that hasn’t helped me understand why I feel depressed.

Dr. Seuss wrote in “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!“,

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

I never realized there was such wisdom in a Dr. Seuss poem! Un-slumping myself is indeed not easily done — at least not by myself.

And if I may extend my theology to another children’s book, CS Lewis told the story in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” of how Eustace turned into a dragon; but he couldn’t get the dragon skin off of him. Tried as he might, it kept coming back. But when Aslan, the Lion, took his claw into the dragon skin, the dragon skin came off. Eustace couldn’t do it alone.

Patricia and I have talked a lot and the vacation we took in November was well timed. It gave me a chance to reflect, pray, read, relax, and process my emotions. I have also been seeing a professional Christian counselor who has helped me process more. I’ve started prescription medication that has been working some.

I’m writing you to invite you into this tough and sometimes dark time with me. I don’t expect many people to fully understand, nor do I expect any to “come to my rescue”. Instead, I ask that you talk to God for me and just be a friend to me.

I’m learning more about why I’m feeling the way I am and as it turns out, I can trace a lot of it back pretty far. As I reflect on when I’ve been feeling the weight of depression, I realize I’ve had bouts with it at least since college, perhaps further back. But it’s been the most intense it’s ever been these last several months.

It’s taken me a while to even write about this. I’ve opened myself up to others in the past and I’ve gotten really burned by it. A trusted friend abused my vulnerability and judged me for what I shared. I’ve been pretty shy about opening up and sharing ever since.

Today I’m taking a step of faith that hopefully will not haunt me, but instead help me grow. I invite you to join me if you dare.

Romans 5:2 in The Message reads:

…we throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand — out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

I’m hopeful this will be true for me. It’s not easy opening the door again. But I’m willing.

[tags]depression[/tags]

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  • Tom

    Rob,

    You aren’t alone. I’ve been there too on many occasions and I know many others that struggle as well. I think there are so few that are willing to say that they are depressed because there is such a stimga associated with it, but I think it is a fairly common human experience.

    Stay the course, seek to know God more than you seek to find a way out.

    I heard a devotional on Psalm 23 today and in a discussion about it a couple of things stuck out:

    In vs. 4 when it says “lead you in the path of righteousness”, it means the right or correct or best path and not necessarily the “morally correct” path.

    The the next verse follows and says even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. . .”

    I got to wondering if the sometimes the valley isn’t the “right” or “best” path for us in God’s eyes. When I read that verse before, I’ve assumed that something went wrong and therefore he was in the valley. I think He takes us through the valley in order that we might learn to need Him more and know Him more.

    Hang in there and don’t fear!

  • Leah

    Wow, Rob Thank you for opening up and sharing. I will be praying for you and Patricia.

  • Hey Rob,

    Good entry. Not that it is “good” that you are going through the depression, but it is “good” that you are able to voice it.

    Someone very close to me is also on medication to counter depression. There is NOTHING wrong with that. If someone is on cholesterol medicine to prevent heart problems, Christians don’t seem to have problems with it. Why is medication somehow “unspiritual” when it helps balance the chemicals in the brain?

    Be vulnerable and give me the address of anyone who attacks you for it.

  • When you said you would have no answer if asked why you are depressed, I can relate. For me, common sense tells me things are ok, in fact good. yet there is always this underlying doubt and sadness.

    I tend to think of depressed and depression as two totally different things. Depressed is down or discouraged. Depression is more like being overtaken by sadness, that half the time seems unjustified.

    Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend have some intersting books on the subject. You may want to check them out.

    Thanks for sharing Rob, it took a lot of courage. I will keep you in my prayers.

  • Hey Rob,

    Thanks for sharing about what’s going on in your life. If you want to get together for lunch sometime soon, let me know. It’ll be my treat 🙂

    Scott

  • Hang in their, brother. The darker days help us recognize the light.

  • I’ve had you in my prayers — and continue to do so. I admire your courage in “going public” about this — it is not easy — but I admire what you are doing. As always, let me know if there is anything (besides praying)I can do.