When one battles depression, it doesn't take much to bring them down into the depths of emotional suffering. Even trivial happenings might negatively affect one's demeanor, and cause them to be unhappy, or disconnected.
I've suffered from depression for much of the past 14 years, following the death and home-going of my wonderful wife. She suffered a sudden devastating heart attack that took her from this life in April of 2004, leaving me with our then-five month old daughter. The grief was overwhelming, and I had a difficult time getting through that first year. I had a good support system, though, with my parents and my in-laws assisting with the care of my daughter for much of her first two years. My pastor was also a great help, providing me with advice that assisted me with suggestions for getting through the worst of my difficulties. It was not a cure-all, but it really helped me and I was able to find things that could pull me out of the malaise that would frequently grab me and send me reeling.
I'm going through a bout of this now, which is related to much of the stuff that I've been dealing with lately, from anniversaries and losing Scout, to some really stupid work stuff. I'm frustrated, angry, paranoid, moody, and depressed.
A contributing factor in all this is my inability to hold on to close friends. I've been blessed to have so many incredible people in my life over the years, and some of those relationships have been really special. My problem is that I tend to push people away when things get particularly bad. I've been burned on occasion, when trying to get through a particularly rough trial, with close friends taking my anger or sadness personally, or not believing just how badly I'm suffering, and blow it off. I had a friend ridicule me a few years after my wife, Teresa, died, for not wanting to start dating. Some of my friends just give up on me, and while I probably deserve it, I've become programmed now to see my down slopes coming and will push people away instead of just asking for help and support. It's not always the right thing to do, but I hate dragging people down into the pit with me, and the last thing I want is to be a burden on anyone. There are very few people who understand what this feels like, and are willing to stand beside me as I work my way through it. I'm too stubborn to accept help, too.
Being an introvert doesn't help me at all, either. I find myself trying to stay away from others even when things are going well, but when they're not, I avoid other people completely, and will disappear. I found myself doing that just last night, at church, and I will even arrive late and leave early in order to avoid having to talk to anyone. I'm pretty good at putting on a poker face around people who don't know me well, and I can pretend that things are fine when they're not. Again, I just don't want to be a burden on anyone.
So where is my faith in all of this? I've only reached the point of feeling despondent a couple of times in the past 14 years, but I've continued to pray every day. At times, I forget to turn to God when things are bad, and He'll give me a reminder of some kind (yes, it may even be of a supernatural kind), and I'll pray and thank Him for letting me know He's there. Too often, though, I'll just get so overwhelmed, I'll forget. It happens. Life isn't easy, and I recognize that, but I also know that He is always there. That's the promise. He's not going to prevent heartache or bad stuff from happening to us, but He will be there and help us through it when we need Him. I can actually feel His physical presence.
Please pray for me. I appreciate it so much. Have a great evening.