The sadness of depression is, of course, that we forget the reasons to live and remember only the reasons to die.
We bend over laughing at our friend’s joke, that’s as clever as it is inappropriate. Then our next thought is of killing ourselves. Of hurting what is not ours to hurt.
We stare into the face of man who filled his lungs for the last time exactly five minutes ago. A man left alone in his dying days. Where exactly was his family? Oh, he didn’t have one. Well, what about friends then?
And we think more about that man than we do about the rolling ripples of chub on a baby. Or we don’t think about the dead man, but somehow, a piece of hopelessness has lodged itself deep in our soul without asking our permission first. We don’t realize it’s there until we’ve slept twelve hours straight.
And depression is sad because we just don’t know where it came from and what to do with it. Do we just carry on and ignore it? Do we try to laugh at it? Or do we look it in the face and cry and scream? Thinking about it — that stuck thing inside us — makes us tired. Very tired, like that very old, very dead old man who finally stopped the struggle of being alive.
There’s the guilt, too. The guilt about being depressed, about thinking depressed thoughts, and about feeling sad, hopeless, dead inside.
The sadness of depression comes when we don’t know what to say to ourselves anymore. We don’t know what to say to people who love us anymore. And we don’t know what not to say, either.
That moment when we try to think of something to think after the suicidal thought has come and gone again, leaving its nasty after-taste in our mouth.
Depression makes us sad because it makes us feel alone. We look around and ask, “Don’t all of you feel this way? Doesn’t everyone wonder on a daily basis about the point of living? About why we should keep on living?” But we usually just ask ourselves these questions because, well, who wants to be such a downer?
Yes, depression is sad. The very word itself is sad. The commonness of the word is depressing. Depression is depressing to think about, to write about, to read about, to talk about.
And since we use it all the time, what exactly does the word mean? If depression means “severe despondency,” what does despondency mean? If despondency means “a state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage,” how do we, the depressed people, find hope and courage again — or for the very first time?
What is hope? What is courage? If depression means we don’t have courage, does that mean depression is somehow our fault, caused by some weakness in our character? What if we just don’t care what’s our fault anymore, and what’s someone else’s fault? What if we just want to sleep instead of asking questions?
God, give us this thing we call hope, this thing we call courage. Meet us right here — in our questions, our doubts, our guilt, our shame, our anger, our sadness, our deep grief we can’t yet name. Sustain us, somehow, in the valley of death and in the valley of life. Bring us to a place we can call Home. A home where we can breathe in air made of nothing but goodness and light. And bring us to this rest within ourselves and in Your presence even now, somehow. We ask this, trying, stumbling to believe that there is such a Presence, such a resting place, such a Home.
~ Your weary children