The Sadness of Depression (And a Prayer for Good Measure)

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

thawingout

I am a Texan-born Bostonian who wants to understand how we get through hard things in life (aka trauma) using spirituality, meaningful work, life-giving hobbies, connection with other trauma survivors, friendships with non-traumatized people, animals, etc. I am a hospice social worker (LCSW) and I have a bunny named Nadia.

8 Replies to “The Sadness of Depression (And a Prayer for Good Measure)

  1. Ah depression. That stealer of hope and joy. Thank you for the prayer. I find it hard to use the word courage in this context because it does imply a person has control of their depression. And yet, the person who has finally emerged from their pit of despair is courageous! Hmmm. Trying to make sense out of something that makes no sense at all, is a challenge.

    1. Sally, you are welcome, and I’m glad something in the prayer resonated with you. And yes — I hear you on the thing about courage and responsibility. It is confusing, and sometimes, just so nice to step away from that question altogether.

  2. Great post. <3 The best thing I ever did was to separate myself from my depression and give control to God. Every time a sad or scary thought flashed through my mind, I questioned where it came from. The unnaturally negative thought almost never came from my circumstances, but from depression, anxiety, and/or paranoia. Just like my allergic rashes that plagued me were not a part of the real me, so was the depression not a part of the real me. It is much tougher to separate oneself from depression than a rash, but the grace of God sustained me and gave me hope when I thought it couldn't be found. He gave me a supernatural ability to see other's perspective when depression blinded me from reading people's faces and actions. It was so hard to see the difference between friend or foe, love or thinly veiled hatred. I have now found the particular keys to my healing, though sometimes the environmental triggers sometimes still happen, but I will never forget the lessons I learned and the deep, deep love of Jesus. In fact I think I truly found out who Jesus really is during that time. I was began to sift out so much of what I had learned wrong about him and draw closer to him. He was as sad as I was that I misunderstood his heart.

    1. Jolynn, thank you so much for your words about your own path of healing from the beast of depression. I’m so sorry you’ve had to walk such dark paths and I’m thankful that it seems as if the worst is past? Thanks be to God. And what you said about Jesus being just as sad as you about your misunderstanding of Who He is — someone of deep compassion for the sufferer. Hug to you! I miss you.

  3. THawing Out – I really like your prayer a lot. 😊👍🏼💚

    When I feel depressed, I try to remember what I heard years ago- “Depression is anger turned inward.” In our society, depression for woman is much more acceptable than anger or rage.

    1. Thank you for reading and passing along the encouragement! And yes, I think your point about depression is often part of the cause. Good reminder!

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